Last year I began an Instagram account dedicated to writing prompts. I’ve always enjoyed reading and doing them, so I decided to give it a try. A little over six months later, and I am still going strong! I thought that it might be fun to go over my process for creating them.
First, I pick an emotional wound or setting that interests me. Then, I write everything that goes along with it. Let’s take the setting of a wedding. What do you see? Hear? Smell? What actions happen?
Sights: Stained glass windows, lectern, wooden pews, flowers, men tugging at uncomfortable collars, uncomfortable shoes, bible verses projected, family being seated, programs passed out.
Sounds: Children squirming, hushed piano music, clearing throats, coughs, sniffles, microphone checks, camera
Smells: Coffee, perfume, cologne, mints.
Actions: runaway bride, judgment from family members, having trouble forgiving and moving on, family drama, an ex showing up uninvited, or a fight breaking out between bride and groom.
After I get a few ideas running through my head, I will begin writing scenarios related to the sighs, sounds, smells, and actions I have previously written.
Here are a few prompts I came up with from the above:
–With one final reflective glance, she was gone forever.
–Pinched toes were not the only affliction she hid the day.
–Her focus was on the door that stood between denial and admittance.
When I choose an emotional wound, I think of the lies resulting from those wounds, fears they may have, and how one would respond. Let’s look at an unexpected pregnancy.
Lies: They’ll never be able to accomplish their dreams, the baby is the source of all their problems, love is temporary.
Fears: abandonment, fear, judgment, always being alone.
Responses: looking for a replacement, doubting mothering skills, wallowing in self-pity.
– I did something I can never take back.
–For if they knew the truth, they would want nothing to do with a soul as damaged and broken as hers.⠀
–The one thing she is good at is running away from her problems.
That’s it! It does take some time, but I find it enjoyable to create different scenarios, and it helps in my writing to come up with ideas and plot twists. Sometimes I’ll even use portions of my writing that I won’t be using any longer. Regardless of how awful I think a prompt is, I write it down. You never know when or how you’ll use them in the future.