Inspiration can come by the simplest things in life. If we take the time to truly observe all that is around us our situations will become our own writing prompts. Instead of searching for lists of prompts and saving them to your writer’s block file, take a look around you and relax. I’m sure you will find something that will spark your imagination and get your hands to writing. If you somehow aren’t able to open your mind to see all the possibilities, try my list below for 7 writing prompts. Many of these suggestions are for novelists and storytellers, but other writers can use these too.
Have you ever looked at a piece of art and wondered what was the artist trying to convey? Maybe you’ve wondered what made them decide to draw or paint this? These simple questions can open your imagination to a world of wonder, insight, and inventiveness. Let your mind run free as you imagine the life they led or the experiences they’ve encountered that caused them to create that particular piece. Think about what was happening in their time period and how you can put a twist on it or just write a story about a fictional character that painted a similar piece of art as the one you’re looking at.
Write your Dreams
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Twilight series and how the author, Stephanie Meyer, wrote the first book based on a dream she had. I don’t have to tell you that she made millions of dollars and even had her books turned into a series of movies. Even if your dreams are weird you can still use them. If you write about romance and you had a dream about aliens, put a spin on it and write from the perspective of a loving couple that has to work together during an alien invasion. You don’t really have to focus on the aliens, but you can use what happened as the reason the couple falls in love. Another way to spin your alien dream would be to make the two lovebirds into aliens, but never tell the audience until the climax or as an end of the story twist.
Have you watched this scene from the movie Date Night?
Some people may say it’s mean, but if you look at it from a different perspective then you would be able to turn your idle people watching moments into active writing sessions. It could make your book more personable and your dialogue more believable. Also, write down their actions and reactions. Then observe their facial expressions and gestures. Maybe she flips her hair and maybe he scrunched his nose a lot. Those types of idiosyncrasies make characters stand out. I bet all that happens in one people watching session is too hard to even write down; you’d definitely won’t be able to capture it all. In fact, I believe this would work so well, I may do a 7 day people watching challenge. Anyone care to join?
Get together with your friends and family to see what they’ve heard lately or what conversations they’ve had with others. The conversation doesn’t have to be about your writing genre. As a writer, you should be inventive and abundant in imagination that you could merge two genres and lean heavily on the genre you prefer. However, I feel like retelling conversations would be suited towards self-help or religion/spirituality genres. You could gather what you hear, hold onto it and compile a “retell list”. You don’t have to use one conversation to write one book, mix and match conversations.
Pet & Nature Watch
This will help children’s writers. Watch how a bird builds its nest or how a squirrel gathers acorns and write a story about it. Try giving the animals or insects a name. If you watch long enough, you’ll see things that go wrong and how they have to fix it. Use it as a learning lesson for children to never give up or to be patient. It’s sort of like the “Bee Movie”. The writers used the drone like actions of bees to write about a rebel bee who wanted to choose his own profession. This method could also be used for those that write poetry.
Use Your Real Life Problems
Everyone has struggles and situations in life that can be turned into a great book. All books are centered around problems the characters must overcome or solve before the book is over. It’s much easier to write about your issues and what you would like to do about them even if you aren’t able to actually do it. If you’d rather not write about your personal issues, you could try writing about your children’s issues. Do you have a kid that seems to find trouble? Perhaps you have a child that overthinks and analyzes everything; use it as the basis for a character.
Spin-off a TV Show or Movie
In 1996, a movie called “A Time to Kill” was shown in theaters. It featured a young Mississippi lawyer representing an older Mississippi, Black man who murdered his ten year old daughter’s assailants. At the end of the trial, the lawyer, who was very new to the courtroom, ended his defense by having the jurors close their eyes and imagine the brutal beating, raping, failed hanging attempt and overall violation of the young black victim. It caused the jurors to shed tears knowing that this happened, but then, as a twist in the story, the lawyer asked them to imagine that the young girl was white. Due to the time period that was a huge statement that ultimately caused him to win the case.
You can do the same thing. Imagine your favorite show and change or expand the characters. Here’s the thing – if it’s a really good movie, chances are, a lot of other people like it too. For example, The Predator series is a popular franchise which Jeff Vandermeer took advantage of and wrote a spin-off book about it, and it flourished. He went on to write 6 more novels! Here are more authors that wrote spin-off books.
- The Prisoner by Thomas M. Disch
- Beowulf by Caitlin R. Kiernan
- The Coming of the Terraphiles by Michael Moorcock
There’s inspiration all around you. Just tap into your everyday life, stop and smell the roses – and then write a book about it. Let your imagination run wild and leave the editing for another day. Don’t forget to make writing fun, if you don’t, why do it?
If these suggestions don’t get you out of writer’s block, click here to try this.