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.

Writing prompt: Independence Day

Independence Day took place two days ago. The Fourth of July, as it is also called, commemorates the year the United States declared its independence from Great Britain. When did you declare your independence? What were you declaring independence from? Your parents? An unhealthy habit? A troubling past?

Spend five minutes writing about that.

Writing prompt: Clever trickery and deceit

It’s Wednesday, which means…it’s Writing Prompt Day! There’s nothing that jumpstarts a writer faster than responding to a writing prompt. Why? Because the prompt takes one of the challenges of writing — coming up with a topic — and does it for you, so you can focus on what you really want to do — write.

Just read the prompt below and then spend 5-10 minutes writing about it. That’s it. Sounds simple, but it works.

Chicanery: n. 1. The use of clever but tricky talk or action to deceive, evade, etc., as in legal dealings. 2. An instance of this. Synonym: See deception. — Webster’s New World Dictionary

Show a man using a bit of chicanery to get his inattentive wife to pay attention to him, even if she’s just complaining or reporting a problem. Maybe he hides her car keys so she can’t leave for work in the morning and comes to him all frazzled. Maybe he throws away all the salt in the kitchen, even when she buys more, so she starts to think she’s going crazy.

By “show” I mean instead of this:

The man kept hiding his wife’s car keys just to see her get flustered.

Do this:

The minute his wife’s back was turned, Jeffrey grabbed her car keys off the counter and stuck them in his pocket….