Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Plot Bunny for You

One month from today, I will be getting married! Yippee!

Okay, done with the mushy real life stuff!

Back to the blog.

I have recently found a great website for writing prompts, otherwise known as Plot Bunnies (You all know what a plot bunny is, right? It's an idea that spreads through your manuscript, procreating like...well, bunnies. The new idea usually have nothing to do with the main plot, and can lead you astray. But sometimes plot bunnies can spark some creativity to your first draft and take it places you never imagined.). I don't like to use writing prompts to write something completely new, but they have helped me out of a sticky scene a time or two, or recharged a saggy manuscript.

So I thought I would post some of the more interesting ones on my blog from time to time.

I can hear you groaning from here.

I promise, I will only post the prompts I think are different, and actually have a chance of sparking someone's imagination. I don't like the writing prompts like "A man meets a mysterious stranger". Too vague. A good writing prompt should spark something inside you, and make you immediately think of the possibilities. I will only post the most high quality, writer-tested prompts for your enjoyment.

And before you scoff, saying “I don’t need no stinkin’ prompts”, remember the last time you stared at the computer screen, knowing the story should be going somewhere but you aren’t sure where?

Sometimes prompts can help. They can provide a springboard for you to jump into the scene in a cool new fashion. Most prompts I have used never go into the book exactly as it reads, but are changed to fit the story or situation. Sometimes I don’t even use the prompt itself, but thinking about the prompt made me think of something else, which in turn made me think how cool it would be if…you get the idea.

Think of them as inspiration Energy Drinks. A Red Bull for your Muse, if you will.

Here is today’s prompt, from the Forward Motion for Writers forum story idea generator:

_ _ _ _ _ _ _


You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and that's never truer than in fiction. What you write about a character when they first enter a story will create that character in the reader’s mind, so make sure the intro counts!

Today, see how many one line character sketches you can do, giving attention to making a vivid first impression for each of them. For example:

'Long blonde hair and a face so sweet it was hard to believe she could be standing there with the bloody knife still in her hand, the smell of death and gunpowder clinging to her gown like lilies in at a funeral.'

Okay, your turn!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

I especially like this one for vamping up your secondary and tertiary characters. Not exactly main characters, but people that exist in your story to make it more real.

You could also revamp the introduction to your main characters, paying attention to the most unique details of the person. Let us know who that character is immediately, and your chance of hooking the reader goes up exponentially.

So what do you guys think? Do you like the prompt? Should I be burned at the stake for posting a such cliché writing tool? Do you have a favorite search engine for story prompts? How do you like to use them?

I would also love to know if anyone has actually created an entire book from a writing prompt. I assume this mythological creature exists, but I have yet to sight one.


  1. I never use prompts. Well, I have once or twice but only for journal or blog entries. I already have a ton of writing to do without being inspired to start another project.

    However, I know a lot of people really love them so, if you enjoy it - keep it up. It's your blog after all.

  2. I think I love this idea! Most of my little scenes start with a word or phrase I can't get out of my head. Which is disturbing sometimes when they're murder scenes.

    *shields Elizabeth* NOBODY BURN HER AT THE STAKE. She used an unsual prompt and it worked :~)

    Ooooh! Yay for the wedding in a month! :)

  3. I've created short stories from writing prompts, but never an entire book! I'll have to check out this site. Sometimes I need subplots...

  4. @Liz: Well maybe you can at least laugh at some of them...and still get something out of them? I understand having loads of ideas though.

    @Mia: Yay! You're protecting me! Nobody seems to want to burn me though, so I think I am safe. I like that site's prompts too!

    @Aubrie: I also really like some other generators I will make a complete post about.