Prompts List

Prompt- Story Cubes 08/19/12

SpringLea found this Rory's Story Cubes dice 'game' at Wel-green. The bag has 9 dice (all six sided) and each side as a picture on it. It cost about $7.00. I figure it would be a good first prompt for all of us.

Easier writing prompt: write a story that includes one of the three dice groups' icons', or something relating to the icons, in the above picture:
  • dialog bubble, balance scale, unhappy face
  • flashlight, letter 'L', open book
  • parachute, turtle, tree
Harder writing prompt: write a story that includes all nine icons and fits into the theme-- "wedding day."
  • dialog bubble
  • balance scale
  • unhappy face
  • flashlight
  • letter 'L'
  • open book
  • parachute
  • turtle
  • tree

Images and Songs and Writing (not entirely work safe) 08/20/12

The following are some pictures and some songs (just a few that I had handy) that may or may not awaken anything in your creative mind, but just like in improvisational acting, it's always better to say yes than no.  'No' limits us and 'yes' frees us artistically speaking.  So why not have a look and a listen and see if you can pick up what I'm currently putting down?


First image: I simply love pictures/renderings of little children juxtaposed with something dark and almost nightmarish.  It's the obvious implication of innocence and corruption but it's even more because the little child in question finds strength form whatever menacing/powerful creature they are near.  Kind of an interesting idea to ponder. 

Second image: Homo eroticism, which, let's face it, I am somewhat obsessed with.  It's not that I don't enjoy and find value in the traditional partnership of masculine and feminine, because I do (I love all eroticism and romance elements), but homo erotic things really push my tingly buttons and this image is interesting because of the artistic value found within.  A picture is worth a thousand words, isn't that right?  Also, I want their chain veils!  

This next image: Something fun to do - though it does waste some time in the grand scheme of things - is to go and google Doll Generators and Dress Up Games then play around with the designs until you create something yourself that appeals to your artistic authorship.  This is one of many little dolls that I designed on one such doll generator.  You can make something or someone that resembles a character you are working on and that might be a healthy way to stir up some creative juices.

Doll Dress Up Games

These are just a few pictures, I have scores and scores more, some of them saved on the computer, some of them hanging on my walls and all of these things, I hope, foster a visually stirring atmosphere in which to work and live and dream and all that good stuff.


What follows now are some songs that bring up intense images either via their lyrics or their instrumentation and composition.  Enjoy: 

Farewell by Apocalyptica 
Tears of an Angel by Ryan Dan
Ding Dong Song by Gunther 

What are some pictures and songs that inspire you?  Did any of the pictures or songs create images or ideas in your head?  Did you check out the doll generator?  Please share your thoughts or images.  Do you think that visual and audio media (not necessarily these images and songs, but just in general) help you or hinder you in the creative process?  

prompt-picture 8/21/12

Write at least 500 words on this character.

Prompt-random free word 8/22/12

Start with the word 'tree.' add eclipses until you think of another word, pharse, or picture. do this as a freewrite for 5 minutes.

example: tree... Ears...bunny...Easter...fake green grass.

Start with the word 'tree.' add eclipse until you think of another word. do this as a freewrite for 5 minutes. Highlight your favorite words, and create a poem that includes those hightlighted words.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Character Building Sheet

The following is a very thorough character building form that was emailed to me some time ago by a good friend and fellow writer/blogger. It's a tool that you can personalize for your own needs: add to it, subtract from it, expound here and minimize there, and hopefully flesh out a good basis for your character. You can create a character from scratch (if you want to spice things up a bit you can flip a coin or roll some dice to help you decide on the basics), or you can take a character that you already know very well (or think you know) and fill this out for them to see just how well you really know him/her/it. At the end there are some character specific creative prompts as well as room for notes. I recommend/challenge us all to apply this to one of our preexisting characters, or to use it to create someone brand new. For further character sheet exploration you can check out this Blank PDF Form or take a gander at this awesome website complete with numerous helpful character building links.


Name ( Title, Given, Middle, Surname, Suffix ):
Alias ( Title, Given, Middle, Surname, Suffix )/( Alternate )/( Nickname ):
Sign/Omen ( Astrological, Chinese, etc ):
Current Residence:
Birth Place:




  • Race:
  • Sub-Race:
    • Strengths:
    • Weaknesses:

Physical Characteristics (subdivided as needed)

  • Height:
  • Weight:
  • Build:
  • Measurements:
  • Hair ( Color/Style ):
  • Eyes ( Right/Left ):
  • Skin/Fur/Scales/Etc ( Color/Pattern ):
  • Handedness: [ Left/Right/Ambidextrous ]
  • Marks
    • Birthmarks:
    • Natural:
    • Scars:
    • Tattoos:
Basic Description:
  • Primary Outfit:
  • Secondary Outfit:
  • Occasion Specific Outfit:
  • Location Specific Outfit:

Internal Biology

  • Blood Type:


  • Most Prized Possessions (Material Value):
    • 1)
    • 2)
    • 3)

  • Most Prized Possessions (Emotional Value):
    • 1)
    • 2)
    • 3)

  • Background

    Family Background:


    Life's Ambition ( Single greatest goal ):
    Crippling Fear ( Single Biggest Fear):
    Least Outspoken About:
    Most Outspoken About:
    Vernacular ( Way of speaking ):
    Mannerisms ( Behavior quirks or traits ):
    Psychological Condition:
    Positive Characteristics:
    Negative Characteristics:

    Social Interaction

    Relationships ( With who, and what kind )
    (Family/Relatives/Friends/Coworkers/Associates/Acquaintances/Rivals ):
    Reaction to meeting new people who are ( Good/Evil/Neutral/Young/Old/Younger than self/Older than self/Other):
    Social Pressures/Problems:
    Other Pressures/Problems:
    General Public Behavior:


    Catchphrase ( General / Personal ):
    Favorite Sayings:
    General Philosophy:
    Least Favorite Sayings:

    Likes / Dislikes

    [Subject] ( Obsessed / Likes / Neutral / Dislikes / Repulsed ):
    [ Explanation ]
    • Food
    • Television Show
    • Animal
    • Movie
    • Book


    • Normal
    • Physical
    • Extraordinary
    • Technological
    • Supernatural
    • Magic
    • Psionic


    Getting to Know Your Character (Prompts)
    Relationship: (How would a spouse, significant, friend, family describe the characters)
    • Significant Other (if they have one)
    • Friendship
    • Parent (if they have one)
    • Sibling (if they have one)
    • Arch Nemesis
    • Random Homeless Man on the Street (Omniscient Limited)
    Scene Placements: (write a scene for each once sentence promt given)
    • Conflict Situation (this can be verbal or physical)
    • First Date
    • In trouble with the law
    • Learning a Important Secret (would they reveal it, or keep it to the death?)
    • Walking by a burning house, what would they do?
    • The First thing they remember
    • The Last thing they remember
    • Heard someone is spreading rumors about them, how do they physically react?
    Internal Thinking:
    • Have them think about the meaning of life?
    • Have them think about religion.
    • Have them think about Justice, is it there for everyone, is it not?
    • They have a love interest, have them think about approaching said person.
    • Just had a fight, what is their internal conflict/resolve after?
    • Heard someone is spreading rumors about them, how do they internally react?
    Anything Else You Want!



    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    Aimee's writing prompt 1.

    Think of all of the random objects we use everyday. Craft items, tools, utensils. Or think of all of the knick-knacks that we all seem to accumulate over the years: decorative boxes, resin figures, dolls, toys.

    Now imagine that you are an archaeologist a thousand years in the future, and you are examining these odds and ends. You do not know what they are, how they were used, or why people had them. It is your job to figure out the reason behind, let's say, the infamous rubber duck.

    Write about a few of these items, re-imagining their uses and purposes.

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    I remember prompt from Wild Mind

    **Note from Dani: When I first came across this exercise, I thought it was vanilla. However, I have to admit that this is my go to exercise for free writing that I have repeated many times.**
    Do a timed writing for ten minutes. Begin it with “I remember” and keep going. Every time you get stuck and feel you have nothing to say, write, “I remember” again and keep going. To begin with “I remember” does not mean you have to write only about your past. Once you get going, you follow your own mind where it takes you. You can fall into one memory of you’re mother’s teeth for ten minutes of writing or you can list lots of short memories. The memory can be something that happened five seconds ago. When you write memory, it isn’t in the past anyways. It’s alive right now.

    Okay, after the ten minutes, stop. Walk around your kitchen table or get a piece of leftover fish from last night’s dinner to nibble on, but don’t talk. Now go for another ten minutes. This time, begin with “I don’t remember” and keep going. This is good. It gets to the underbelly of your mind, the blank, dark spaces of your thoughts.

    Sometimes we write along one highway of “I remember,” seat-belt ourselves in and drive. Using the negative, “I don’t remember,” allows us to make a U-turn and see how things look in the night. What are the things you don’t care to remember, have repressed, but remember underneath all the same?

    Now try “I’m thinking of” for ten minutes. Then, “I’m not thinking of” for ten minutes. Write beginning with “I know,” then “I don’t know,” for ten minutes. The list is endless: “I am, I’m not”; “I want, I don’t want”; “I feel, I don’t feel.”

    I use these for warm-ups. It stretches my mind in positive and negative directions, in obvious and hidden places, in the conscious and the unconscious. It also is a chance to survey my mind and limber me up before I direct my thoughts to whatever I am working on.
    Excerpt from Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
    Goldberg, Natalie. Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life. New York: Bantam Books, 1990

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Waiting to Read Write prompt from Natalie Goldberg

    *Dani's notes- though I do believe in writing and not reading until later, I don't necessarily agree with Goldberg's time table. Feel free to revise this prompt so the timing works for you. write a week and go back to it a week later. Really you want to just give yourself enough time to distance yourself from your writing.*
    Write every day for ten days in a row. Do not reread anything you have written for those ten days until two weeks later.

    Then sit down in a comfortable chair and have a soft heart and read with interest and compassion what you have written. Underline sentences that stand out. Use those sentences as first lines for future writing practice. Put parentheses around sections you like. Develop those sections, if you want, not by reworking them but by reentering them with more timed writing practice.
    And be brave. Let some of the good writing go. Don’t worry. There’ll be lots of it over time. You can’t use all of it. Be generous and allow some of it to lie fallow. What a relief! We can write well and let it go. That’s just as good as writing poorly and letting it go. Just let go.
    Excerpt from Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
    Goldberg, Natalie. Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life. New York: Bantam Books, 1990

    Obsession List prompt from Natalie Goldberg

    Every once in a while I make a list of my obsessions. Some obsessions change and there are always more. Some are thankfully forgotten.
    Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released.
    I have my writing groups make lists of their obsessions so that they can see what they unconsciously (and consciously) spend their waking hours thinking about. After you write them down you can put them to good use. You have a list of things to write about.

    Excerpt from Natalie Goldberg's Wild Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
    Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Boston: Shambhala, 1986

    Wedensday, September 12, 2012

    What are your deep dreams? prompt by Natalie Goldberg

    I asked my Sunday-night group (many of whom had been doing practice writing for three years), “Where do you want to go with writing? You have this strong creative voice; you’ve been able to separate out the creator and editor. What do you want to do with it?”
    There comes a time to shape and direct the force we have learned. I asked them, “What are your deep dreams? Write for five minutes.” Many of us don’t know, don’t recognize, avoid our deep dreams. When we write for five, ten minutes we are forced to put down wishes that float around in our mind and that we might not pay attention to. It is an opportunity to write down, without thinking, wishes at the periphery of our perceptions.
    Reread them. Start to take your dreams and writers seriously. If you’re not sure, if you honestly don’t know what you want to do, start wishing for a direction, for your way to appear.

    Excerpt from Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
    Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Boston: Shambhala, 1986

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Random Syntax prompt from Natalie Goldberg

    Try this. Take one of your most boring pieces of writing and choose from three or four consecutive lines or sentences and write them at the top of a blank piece of paper.

    Okay. See each one of those words simply as wooden blocks, all the same size and color. No noun or verb has any more value than the, a, and. Everything is equal. Now for about a third of a page scramble them up as though you were just moving wooden blocks around. Don’t try to make any sense of what you write down. Your mind will keep trying to construct something. Hold back that urge, relax, and mindlessly write down the words. You will have to repeat words to fill a third of a page.

    Now if you would like, arbitrarily put in a few periods, a question mark, maybe an exclamation mark, colons, or semicolons. Do all of this without thinking, without trying to make any sense. Just for fun.

    Now read it aloud as though it were saying something. Your voice should have inflection and expression. You might try reading it in an angry voice, an exuberant, sad, whining, petulant, or demanding voice, to help you get into it.

    Excerpt from Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
    Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Boston: Shambhala, 1986
    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Prompt-Scrabble Game

    This prompt I got from my advanced creative writing class in high school.
    Play a game of Scrabble or Words with Friends. Write down all the words that were played and create a short story using all of the words.

    Easier: Just write down and use the words that you used.

    Beth's Prompt - Your Story's Song

    1. Pick a song. Preferably a song that is not well known, overdone, famous or popular. (i.e. avoid bands such as Linkin Park, Evanescence, Skid row, etc.
    2. Make sure that the song has lyrics, this is crucial.

      • A lot of good writing comes from classical compositions, however this is a prompt meant to be challenging, so adding the influence of lyrics will challenge you as a writer.

    3. Finally procure a prompt. The best way I've found to do this is have a friend suggest both the song and the prompt, or pick a song yourself and then go to a theme generator and randomly generate a prompt. This is a project meant to get you out of your comfort zone however it is also meant to be fun so just make sure to enjoy the prompt.

    Let me share a few examples, one is the prompt that Skoora herself gave me when I requested this prompt on my personal blog. This was a beautiful example, and this is a story that I am working on currently. This prompt is ambiguous in what it wants.

    Ex.) SONG: Donovan's, "There Is An Ocean." PROMPT: A man reflects on a battle (any battle you can conceive of) and as he walks through the quiet battlefield, he touches things (weapons, clothes, dead bodies prior to being carted away, etc.) and when he touches these things, he can see the past of these objects. Let the objects tell the story of why there was a battle.

    This next one is a less abstract prompt that tells you exactly what it wants.

    Ex.) Emily Autumn's, "I Want My Innocence Back." - Write about the kidnapping of a child and the lengths a mother/father will go save that child.

    The prompts may be as simple or complex as you want them to be. Challenge yourself. If you want to make it more difficult try to make the prompts and the song have a dichotomy - not the exact meaning, contradiction, etc. Some ways to go about this is make your prose poetic. To include lyrics from the song. To use the lyrics to build dialog, or to use song lyrics to set up a scene and theme. Stephen King's, The Stand, is famous for using this technique in order to create abstract themes throughout the book.

    Another famous Author, Joyce Carol Oates, dedicated a story to Bob Dylan, the short story is entitled, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? - For Bob Dylan, This story focuses on the late 1960's, early 1970's when stranger danger became a realized threat in the United States. This story is widely available on PDF if you are interested in reading a wonderful example of music in prose. Oates used an interesting technique of having the antagonist quotes songs in his natural speech, something very different than King's use of throwing songs into a scene, such as on a radio or The Walking Man singing.

    Both are very creative uses of music to foster writing, and so I challenge you to try this yourself, and of course have fun!


    Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? For Bob Dylan If there is any problem with me sharing this story here I will immediately remove it. If not, please enjoy it. The Stand, can be found at any library or bookstore for those who have not read it yet and would like to.

    Music is the Life of a Writer This is the original blog post about this topic if you'd like further information on the premise of this prompt.


    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Prompt-List of Truths

    The Pocket Muse's Ten Commandments post, reminded me of this prompt from my first creative writing class in high school. This is also a prompt that I come back to every so often and re-do or re-read. It's amazing what values change and what don't.

    Create a list of life's truths. Everything and anything can be included. These are YOUR truths. Pull from your experience and view point to create this list.


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