Making Prompts Work for You

Last week, I talked about different types of writing prompts in the hopes that it will help anyone looking for help getting ideas for their stories to realize that there are a ton of options out there for you.

This week, I wanted to dive into a few helpful tips and tricks that I’ve learned throughout my own journey in figuring out how to make prompts work for my own writing flow and style.

Prompts are not writing jail

First and foremost, even though prompts are ways for you to get your creativity flowering, they aren’t meant to be restrictive to the point that your creativity actually ends up locking up in your mind. Instead, think about the prompts as suggestions, a gentle nudge in a direction, so whether you select one, or are assigned one, feel free to experiment and figure out how this prompt can lend itself to your personal style and interests.

Change up the order

Next, even if the prompt is meant for a first line, or the picture is of a castle, that doesn’t mean that your first line needs to be that line or that your character starts at the castle or ends at it. Play around with order and use that first line as the ending, or even write around it and make it something in the middle.

Add in twists

Even when a prompt seems to indicate something, one way to make it work for you is to add in an awesome twist. This is where prompt writing really ends up hitting its stride because you can give a group of 100 people the same prompt and the best ones will probably be the ones that added a twist or changed it and made it unique in some way.

Step out of your comfort zone

Even though I said at the beginning to make the prompts work for you, sometimes what we really need is to be taken out of our comfort zone for a little bit because our comfort zone has lost some of its spark. So, when a prompt asks you to step out of your zone and try a new genre, or even including a line of dialogue that is so different from the style you usually use, TRY IT! There’s a lot to be learned from making a great story, but there is even more from stretching our creative expectations and possibly even failing in our own eyes.

I hope that some of that was helpful to you. If you want a few ideas or prompts, don’t forget to check out my previous blog post since I added a couple of prompts for each type as well as a few plot and title generators at the end.

Published by Leslie

I'm an author, teacher, wife, and mother of three who just finished an MFA program and is working on a YA fantasy novel.

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