Writing prompt: Book store

Inside Between Two Covers New and Used Books, Sarah Simpson stood behind the counter, waiting for her next customer.  When Dexter Roberts, a young man wearing a hoodie and skinny jeans, walked up to the counter to pay for a copy of [title of book], she tried to not be judgmental.

Write a scene based on the above sentences.

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Writing process: Deciding what to write about

In the video “Life & Poems,” poet William Stafford says:

“In everyone’s life there’s all this torrent of things happening; and a writer, maybe one way to say it, would be someone who pays attention, and close attention at least at intervals, to that torrent.…A writer isn’t someone who has to dream up thing to write but (someone who) has to figure out what to pick up out of the current as it goes by. The current happens to everybody, the selection happens to some, and the crystallizing of the selection happens to a writer.”

Writing prompt: What is happening in your life right now? Write about that.

Writing prompt: Silly similes

Read these funny similes and then write some of your own.

  1. Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.
  2. He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.
  3. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
  4. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
  5. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  6. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  7. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  8. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  9. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  10. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  11. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
  12. The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.
  13. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  14. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  15. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  16. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
  17. Even in his last years, Grand pappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
  18. He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose.
  19. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
  20. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
  21. The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.
  22. Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”
  23. The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.
  24. He was as bald as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo.
  25. I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either.
  26. She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can’t sing worth a damn.
  27. Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
  28. It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.
  29. Her lips were red and full, like tubes of blood drawn by an inattentive phlebotomist.
  30. The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black.

Writing prompt: Crying baby

The Oregonian recently published an article about a Tri-Met bus driver who told a mother with a young child to get off the bus because the child was crying. Write a serious fictional scene based on that information. Then write a funny fictional scene based on that information.

Writing prompt: Get political

To find ideas for stories, you don’t have to go any further than your local newspaper. Pick up a copy or read it online and create a character based on someone who’s running for political office. Show him or her at a rally, expressing strong views.

Writing prompt: High fallutin’ language

Last night I was watching a movie in which one of the characters (to show how smart he was) used the word “casuistry,” which means the use of clever but unsound reasoning.

Writing prompt: Write a passage of dialogue in which one of the characters uses high fallutin’ language to impress others.

Writing prompt: Description

Describe your bedroom. Describe everything in it — the furnishings, walls and windows, etc. Convey the overlook appearance of the room. Is it messy or neat? Sterile, erotic or romantic? Imagine someone walking into the room for the first time. Use that person’s point of view to describe the room.

Writing prompt: Hobbies

1. Make a list of your hobbies. Some possibilities: gardening, hiking, collecting sports memorabilia, photography, dancing.

2. Now write a scene in which a fictional character is taking part in one of those hobbies. Use lots of detail. Make use of your expertise about the subject.