So while we’re all struggling with social distancing and wondering if this is a new cough or an old one, here’s a plan: 42 writing prompts, one a day, starting now. Because.
Well, in a perfect case of serendipity, I hit on this idea when there were 11 days left in March, 30 in April, and if we add another day we get to: May Day, May Day. And then who knows?
Perfect, because everyone knows this is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything*. Also, I figured I needed to keep myself motivated, as well as my other writing chums (who may or may not be missing our fortnightly get togethers).
I intend posting each day (until May Day) at 5pm – alive at five (Dublin time).
Day 1 (Making a big show of ignoring mothers and all that. I don’t have one any more, and my own children are banished because of this COVID-19 malarke, although I did get a splendid gift and a photo of a hand-made Mother’s Day card).
Prompt One: Serendipity – A happy accident. Yours or someone else’s, or your character’s.
Imagine a fortuitous chance meeting that results in securing a business deal, the beginning of a romantic relationship, or the achievement a life goal. Perhaps you’re down on your luck but you find a random bank note that enables you to buy a winning lottery ticket? Maybe you are running late, but because you miss the bus you get to meet the love of your life waiting at the bus stop? What if you are house hunting and take a wrong turn, only to then find the perfect property just getting a for sale sign installed? Serendipity is happenstance – there’s a lot of it about.
Write in first, second or third person, in past or present tense. Think about the differences.
Usual rules apply – there aren’t any. This is to trigger some new writing from you for your own amusement. There’s no competition or publication opportunity – although I hope you can use these prompts to produce written work for eventual submission.
I will be asking for specific genres at different times, but unless I’ve specified, follow the suggestions below.
- If you write memoir, go back into your childhood and recall something from when you were aged eight, 10 or 13.
- If you write flash fiction, create a story of 300 words that has a beginning, middle and an end, but be mean with adjectives and adverbs. Nothing is leisurely about flash fiction, no flowery descriptions because you must nail the action in as few words as possible.
- A short story, of course, gives you more scope to set up and develop characters. Don’t forget how dialogue can move things along. Go for 2,000 words (which is what a lot of competitions ask for).
- If you write poetry, try a formal structure if you usually write free verse (perhaps a sonnet or a villanelle?), or vice versa. If you never usually write in rhyme, give it a go this time.
- If you like writing essays, opinion pieces, or ‘creative non-fiction’, get some grief down on paper about the state of the world as you see it. There’s no better time to do this, trust me.
Look out for a new prompt tomorrow, alive at five.
*If you claim not to know about Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then I’m seriously disappointed in you.