18 Comments

Be Prompt

I’ve written several posts about dealing with writer’s block or the lack of inspiration.  One way to get around that is through the use of writing prompts, those little slivers of ideas that provide oil to the rusty gears of the imagination.  There are a number of sources on the internet that provide writing prompts and there are books devoted to them.  I even found an app for my iPod Touch that generates writing prompts.

cartoon growing the seed of an idea in a man's headSome might feel a little squeamish about adopting someone else’s idea as their own but feel free to put your own twist to it.  Liberal interpretation is definitely allowed.  Think of a writing prompt as a seed of an idea that you nurture and fertilize until it has grown into something that you alone are responsible for.

So here’s the deal: below are ten prompts that I have collected or made up. Take one (or more), write a story (or stories) using 500 words or less (I’m not going to be counting but keep it close to 500 if you must go over), and share your story in the comments field.  Read what others have written and leave constructive feedback for those who have shared their stories. Be sure to indicate which prompt you are writing to (not considered part of your word count). If there is nothing in the list below that excites you write 500 words or less beginning with: “I write because…”

  1. A woman needs a kidney transplant and finds out the person who is the perfect match is a man she despises.
  2. A man checks a book out of the library and finds a business card that had been used as a bookmark stuck inside.  On the back of the card is a hand written woman’s name and phone number.
  3. The tooth fairy pays a visit but is taking more than teeth.
  4. Start a story with the words: “I’m pregnant.”
  5. A man buys a lottery ticket and that night he hits the $216 million jackpot.  The next morning when he looks for the ticket to double check his numbers against the newspaper he can’t find it.
  6. You make it into the office only to discover that it’s one of those Federal holidays that no one remembers and your office is closed.  Everyone thinks you are at work so what do you do with your own personal “Farris Bueller” day off?
  7. An attractive woman is pulled over for speeding and instead of giving her a ticket the cop gives her his phone number.  How does the woman react?
  8. You pick up the morning newspaper off your driveway and see a report that your ex-spouse has been arrested for suspected murder.
  9. You are two subway stops away from your usual station and you are already running late for an important meeting.  The man in the seat next to you suddenly slumps over onto your shoulder. When you push him off you realize he is dead.  Do you alert the authorities or quietly change seats and hope you don’t get delayed any further?
  10. Write a story based on/inspired by a favorite song.

I hope that there is something here for everyone and that you will share your efforts in the comments section.  Don’t be bashful, we’re all friends here.  Just to start things off, I’ll go first…

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Please take a moment to fill out my poll on the right if you haven’t already done so.
illustration by Andy Black

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18 comments on “Be Prompt

  1. Prompt # 3, The Tooth Fairy.

    Derek slowly stirred awake. His laptop was open and throwing its cold blue light out into the night’s fuzzy dark. Had he forgotten to shut the damn thing down? He rolled away and pulled the covers up over his shoulders which had grown cold. The clock informed him that it was 3:17 AM. He had no intent of getting out of bed, so he closed his eyes heavy with the weight of fatigue. He needed his sleep, he had a big presentation in the morning.

    The soft snickity-snack of the keyboard dropped into his left ear and his eyes popped open. Derek continued to lay there with his back to the computer listening intently to see if he had imagined the sound.

    There it was again.

    He slowly and silently rolled over, squinting towards the desk where his laptop sat. The Apple icon on the back of the open hinged screen glowed back at him. He couldn’t see anyone accessing his computer. He must be losing it. Snick-snickity-snackity-snick. What the hell was going on? That was definitely not his imagination. Someone or something was typing on his computer. Derek carefully swung his feet to the floor without a sound. He froze when he heard a tiny voice.

    “Come on, come on, come on already,” the voice was urging in a whisper. Derek crouched so that his approach was shielded by the screen of the laptop. When he got to the desk he raised up inch by inch to find out who his intruder was.

    “What the?…” Derek’s exclamation rang out harshly in the quiet morning dark as he jumped back startled at the sight.

    “Crap! Busted,” came the reply. There was a small little man with bandy legs and a potbelly. A tiny cigar stub fell from his mouth and rolled a few inches across the desk leaving an arc of gray ash behind. The winged sprite was no more than four inches tall, wore a leather vest, had what appeared to be about a three-day growth of beard, and sported a mouthful of pointed, razor-sharp teeth.

    “Who the hell are you? Or maybe ‘what’ is a better word.”

    “Norman G. Krakenbush. Tooth Fairy is my title. I’m a Region Three fairy. New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.” New York was said ‘New Yawk’ in a stereotypical New Jersey accent.

    “You’re the Tooth Fairy?”

    “Not THE Tooth Fairy, Bozo, A tooth fairy. There’s thousands of us.”

    Derek scratched his head in confusion, “I haven’t lost any teeth in over 20 years.”

    “A huge misconception. We don’t collect teeth, that’s pure myth. You’re parents did that, ya nimrod, and then they’d leave ya a quarter in it’s place.” The word quarter sounded like “kwatuh.” “We’re called tooth fairies because of our prolific dental display.” He smiled widely.

    “Well if you’re not here for my teeth, what brings you here?”

    He held up a flash drive and said, “Identity theft,” as he flew out the window laughing.

  2. I may try number 7, but it’ll have to be later because I’ve been up all night with night shift. If I do it, is it okay if I just post to my own site and link back here?

  3. First of all, you’re up early for a sunday blogger! And second, I’m going to save this blog for the day I start writing fiction. There is definitely a prompting factor instilled in these words. Very cool. For now, I will continue to write non-fiction and finish the trilogy of Jennifer Monahan…past (An American in Oz), past and present (My First Three Husbands), onward to the future with “Remembering My Future – Debunking the Myth of the Law of Attraction” (working title). Another great post. Keep ’em comin’. You are a wealth of information.

    • My excuse this morning is a head cold. I woke up because I couldn’t breathe. Plus early morning seems to be my creative time. And I love the working title of your third book. Remembering the Future, What a great image….

      • The head cold…it’s making its way around the office where I work too. The subtitle of my book is already changing, and will continue to change until I figure out the best way to capture the essence of the book. Meanwhile, the title remains. Glad you like it, and I hope you feel better soon!

  4. […] prompt I found on Andy’s site. Using 500 words or less (this is just over), write a story using one of the prompts given. […]

  5. I loved your prompts Andy. Read them to my wife. They got my mind-a-turnin’ and I’ve posted a link to this post on my page today. Fun.

  6. I might try a few more of these. I’ll link back here if I do.

  7. […] (tiny) book of idea generators, saucy illustrations and super teeny-tiny stories. Coupled with this post of writing prompts I read yesterday, I thought I’d try my hand at a few tiny stories as […]

  8. […] prompt from Andy. I really encourage trying prompts. They don’t have to be erotic, but they stretch you […]

  9. […] here. Same length as before (500 words or […]

  10. […] Andy’s going to get tired of the pingbacks on his post. […]

  11. […] Black presents Be Prompt posted at Andy’s Words & Pictures, saying, “A few writing prompts for those who […]

  12. […] that get in the way of your creativity and efficiency as a writer …”Andy Black presents Be Prompt posted at Andy’s Words & Pictures, saying, “A few writing prompts for those who […]

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