writing prompts

Prompt: A Roll of the Dice

Attending a weekend writing retreat led by science fiction author Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Writers in the Grove member, Lorelle VanFossen received permission from Nina to introduce our group to The Story Catcher technique she developed. The following is a summation of the technique for inspiring writing prompts based upon random words and phrases. The document used for the prompt exercise is available for download and printing in a link at the bottom of this post.

Collection of multi-sided, colorful dice.A prompt is anything that inspires you, the writer, to write. It could be a word, a phrase, an idea, and the source of the inspiration could come from anywhere or anything at any moment. The prompt this week was also a workshop on generating random prompts.

How would your writing change if you could generate the serendipity of your prompts on a regular basis, possibly turning it into a habit, a writing exercise used daily?

Nina Kiriki Hoffman developed The Story Catcher, a tool to generate random prompts based upon chance, specifically a roll of the dice.

Nina’s Story Catcher is a booklet where you collect words and phrases as you go through your day-to-day living, twelve words on a page, each page numbered in sequence.

To use the Story Catcher:

  1. Roll one or two standard dice.
  2. Select one or both dice to generate the page number. For page 11, one or both of the dice could total 11. For page 64, one die would be 6 and the other 4.
  3. Turn to that page number and roll again.
  4. Write down the resulting prompt from among the 12 on that page.
  5. Repeat this process three to five more times, noting each word or phrase generated.
  6. Using the resulting randomly generated words or phrase, write your prompt within a 15 minute time limit.

This process generates a completely random set of prompts. Examples might be: (more…)


A Prompt a Day for NaNoWriMo

To honor NaNoWriMo and members and fans of Writers in the Grove, our members are submitting a prompt-a-day for the entire month of November.

The prompts cover everything and anything. They might include an image for a wordless prompt or a quote or suggestion.

You may do what you wish with these prompts. You may twist them around to meet the needs of your story, characters, or plot. You may use them as a tangent writing project to help you break out of a blocked thought or walled-off idea. The word count still goes into your official ledger.

If you would like to join us for NaNoWriMo, we’ve put together “It’s NaNoWriMo Time: How To, Tips, Techniques, and Survival Advice” to help you ensure a successful month of writing in November.

You will find all the prompts in our Prompts post category. Follow/Subscribe to the site to keep up with these throughout the month of November during NaNoWriMo. You may unsubscribe at your leisure afterward, or keep being inspired by the great weekly prompts and activities from Writers in the Grove.

If you live in the Forest Grove, Washington County, Oregon, area, we invite you to join us. We meet weekly on Monday from 9-11am at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center, and monthly at the Forest Grove Library, typically the second Saturday of the month at 10AM.

NaNoWriMo Prompts for November

The following will be a list of the NaNoWriMo Prompts on this site for the month of November 2015, starting the morning of November 1.

Come join the fun and write, write, and write some more!

Prompt: Writing Letters You Might Never Send

This week’s prompt talked about how we communicate? What do we use to communicate? Eyes, attention, body language, respect, support, and words.

You can communicate with a person and have it be a very intimate connection. You may also connect with someone and have it be a one way experience.

There are many ways to communicate with each other, as there is with your characters. How do they communicate with each other?

As a writer, how do you connect on a deeper level to your readers? Sometimes you write to a specific person, even if you are writing for many. Others say they write to and for themselves.

The prompt narrowed down to this:

Write a letter to yourself or someone else that speaks the truth, says what you really wish to tell them, no holds barred.

It could be a letter sent, or one that is written and never sent. It doesn’t matter.

If you’d like to experiment with character building, have your main character or any character in your story write that letter.

Unlimited Health and Resources Were Available – Who Would I Be?

The following is by Diana Lubarsky, one of our active and prolific members. It is in response to the prompt, If You Had Unlimited Resources.

Spiral of clock.With all the funds I’ll ever need in my pocket, and health and conflict gone, I see myself shedding the skin of survival mode. I slip my thin, healthy young woman’s body from my yacht onto a kayak and paddle gently across the tepid Caribbean waters under a perfect blue sky. A gentle sun warms my back. No longer in survival mode, I am free at last to write of stars and sun, mountains and ethereal beauty; the sights I’ve been privileged to see; the God woven fabric of life.

But soon, I am bored. Inhaling beauty all day is like eating only sugar. My stomach aches. My gaze focuses beyond the magnificent harbor where I lounge, toward the teaming city; a place of dreams and despair, of fortunes lost and lives gambled.

At night I leave my silk shawl behind, scrub my face, don sackcloth, and enter the gates of the destitute. This is where I belong. Birthing babies, bandaging wounds, bringing hope … neck deep in sweat and blood.

Although the majesty of mountain peaks and orchestral music sing to my heart, the first cry of a slimy new born taking its first breath in my arms replenishes my soul.

I have learned, wealthy or not, I am a healer.