Friday, April 22, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Elizabeth Spann Craig

Happy Earth Day! 

Today I'm proud to feature mystery writer Elizabeth Spann Craig as our guest prompter.  Many thanks to Elizabeth for providing us with creative writing prompts.  I hope they will keep you busy throughout the weekend. 

And for those of you celebrating Easter, may you all have a blessed holiday celebration!

And now, here's Elizabeth. . .

Thanks so much to Anjie for allowing me to guest post today. 

As a mystery writer, I’m constantly on the lookout for new characters for my books.Mysteries frequently have a good-sized cast of characters so it’s important to give the folks who populate the books distinguishing characteristics.  Not so much physical characteristics, which I think are tough to keep track of, but personality traits that show through in dialogue and the character’s actions—excitability, a tendency to exaggerate, self-centeredness, shyness, or enthusiasm.

What I’m going for, as a writer, are characters that pop a little on the page. They don’t have to be wildly quirky, but they’re individuals.  When I’m out running errands I’m on the lookout for these types of people.  Thankfully, they seem to obligingly come out in droves whenever I’m out of the house—it’s almost like they know I need them, that I need their odd traits, their rudeness, their peculiar mannerisms.  Many times these strangers will come up and talk to me.  I must look really receptive to them. J  I hope they’ll always be there for me as I make amalgams of different people and traits to form characters.
Since this is National Poetry Month, I thought I’d refer you to one of my favorite poems as part of my prompt.  It is called "Summons," by Robert Francis and you can read it by clicking on this link: 

                                                                       Picture by: bosela

Fiction Writing Prompts: 

           1. This nighttime summons was a happy one, but usually calls or visits in the middle of the night are  dreaded.  Write a story involving a different kind of nighttime call or visit.
 2.  An invitation from a friend is the titled summons.  But there are many other summonses in life. Come up with a story about a different type of summons—is it a call to military service?  A jury summons?  A call to the ministry?  Something different?
Poetry Prompt:
Write a poem about a nighttime walk.  What types of things do you hear or see?  What type of  mood are you in—joyful, as the poet in Summons?  Or is your mood darker?  Show either your enjoyment of night or night fears in your poetry.
Phrases as Prompts:
Come whistling up the road.
Start a story with someone whistling as they walk.  Who are they?  Where are they going?  What happens when you encounter them?

Journal Writing Prompt:
What kind of a sleeper are you?  Do you sleep soundly or are you restless?  Are you creative at night?  Do you get ideas at night? Are you happy to interrupt your sleep, or do you really need it?  Have your sleep patterns changed since you were a child?

Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), and the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011. Her next book, Finger Lickin’ Dead releases June 7, 2011. You can find her on Twitter as @elizabethscraig.

1 comment:

  1. More great prompts. The night caller would work so wonderfully at any level, opening the writers, whether children, elders, or anyone between, to imagination and wonder or suspense and intrigue. Thank you, peace,



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