Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Prompts – you can find them everywhere … on websites, on blogs, and in books. Do love them or hate them? Do you use them to fight off writer’s block or spark creativity? Or not? If you do use them, do you have a favorite source?
Jamie Wallace: I haven’t used them formally, and I don’t use them routinely, but I do like the concept. I usually have enough odd bits and pieces of my own creation and observation floating around that I don’t need to look elsewhere for inspiration. I keep my collection of “snippets” – scenes, images, people, dialog, and so forth – handy and can pick and choose which ones to work from at any given time. Usually, my mind will come up with a series of snippets for a single story idea – little pieces of the puzzle that I can play with to start to get a feel for the setting or characters. Other times, I’ll just have a single, random something that sticks in my head. Those are the most fun because there are no strings attached – no expectations. That feels more like “play” than “working on something.” I suppose that’s the whole point of prompts, right – to just have fun with them?
Lisa J. Jackson: I use prompts to exercies my muse, not consistently, but when I do write to a prompt, 95% of the time I’m happy with what I come up with. As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I love photographs as prompts. Especially black and white photos. There’s just something appetizing about an image captured at some point in time that lends itself (for me) to crafting fiction.
Wendy Thomas: Not so big on prompts. I have used them with my kids to demonstrate how to think outside of the box (don’t tell me the typically story, tell me something that you wouldn’t expect.) I don’t use prompts as much as I use triggers (and I may be splitting hairs here.) I am constantly jotting down ideas that have been triggered by something that I’ve read, heard, or seen, but other than that, except as a very occasional exercise – you’ll not find me working too much with direct prompts.
Deborah Lee Luskin: When I’m really hung up, I have a couple of prompts that never fail: “I love – ” and “I remember – ” They usually have nothing whatsoever with what I’m trying to write, but they do get me started, which always helps.
Julie Hennrikus: I don’t use prompts. That said, if an idea strikes, I listen. That means I may jump to another scene in my manuscript that is inspired by the idea. Or I may mull over something, and write a blog post about it. But prompts themselves? Not outside a writing workshop. Or not yet.
Susan Nye: Except for one workshop, I’ve never worked with prompts. There is so much that interests me, so many stories that I want to tell, I haven’t found the time or felt the need for prompts. I lead a memoir writing group and never use prompts in my classes either. Instead, I let people explore and find the stories they want to tell.