Friday, April 29, 2011

Nancy Canyon Mountain Dreamer Creative Writing Prompts

This beautiful painting is called "Mountain Dreamer" and it is by Nancy Canyon, who is our guest prompter today.  My appreciation to Nancy for supplying us with many creative writing prompts to get us through the weekend.  We will be featuring more of her artwork on our site in future posts.  So, here's Nancy with some thoughts on painting and writing. 


About the paintings:  I paint quickly, not thinking about what I want to paint, just using color freely and passionately.   This is also the way I write.  I like the surprise it allows and the depth the process adds to story and in image.   "Mountain Dreamer" turned out to be one of my favorite paintings.  To me, the image looks like something I might happen across when I'm doing a shamanic journey to the lower world.  When I journey, I meet my power animal, wolf, on a rocky bluff overlooking a desert landscape.  I ask her a question then wait for the answer.  Usually her answers are symbolic, a metaphor of sorts, that helps me with direction and resolution to life questions. As prompts, try the following:

Non-Fiction starters:
I remember a dream I had as a child. . .

I don't remember how it played out, but when I woke...

The trees are filled with cawing crows. . .

Fiction Writing/Story Starters:
The clearing in the woods, with its pitchy pines and black-eyed Susans, is where we first met. . .

I set down my tea and headed in the direction of the drums. . .

The markings on the rock wall showed. . .

 Poetry Writing Prompts:

Write a poem based on the sounds you might hear in the "Other World."  (For Nancy, the "Other World" is a dreamlike world she drifts to when she relaxes with music.)

Write a persona poem from the viewpoint of your power animal.

Write a poem with the repeating first line: She danced. . . She danced. . .

You can visit Nancy's website by clicking on the following link:

Nancy Canyon, MFA, is published in Water~Stone Review, Fourth Genre, Floating Bridge Review, Poetry South , Main Street Rag, Exhibition, Obliquity, and more.  Her paintings have been shown and published in Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane, and Hawaii.  Ms. Canyon holds the MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University and an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Art Therapy from Marylhurst University.  She is a Fiction Editor for Crab Creek Review, as well as a creative writing instructor for Whatcom Community College and Western Washington University's Academy of Life Long Learning.  Currently she is revising her third novel and working on her art in a vintage studio located in historic Fairhaven, a village set along the edge of Bellingham Bay in Washington state.  


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Small Boat

Christopher Howells |

For me, one of the most relaxing things is being on a small lake in a boat about the size of the boat in this picture.  I have fond memories of fishing with my dad and grandfather.  I especially loved stopping at the bait store before we left in Grandpa's truck because they always let me pick out candy bars and other snacks to take along.

Creative Nonfiction Prompt:  Write about any memories you have about fishing.

Poetry Writing Prompt:  Read the poem "Fishing" by A.E. Stallings by clicking here.

After you read the poem, write your own poem about fishing.

Fiction Writing Prompt:

Write a scene with two characters who are fishing. 

Drama Writing Prompt:  Write a monologue where a character explains why fishing is important to him or her.

Free Write Prompt:  Write from the picture for 10 minutes without stopping.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Crocus and Random Words

Aurinko |

Today, for your creative writing prompts, please pick from the following words or any version of the words below.   (For eample, if you would rather use "familiar" instead of "unfamiliar," that is fine.  Or "snoozed" instead of "snooze," etc.)

flitter, inscribe, trickle, reclaim, darken, refuse, crocus, hard knock, unfamiliar, find, snooze, elite, peer, clipped grass, sand trap, crash, snowbird, pail, tulip, willingly

Poetry Prompts: 

1.  Pick one word to be the title of your poem and write a 10 line poem.
2.  Pick at least 7 of the words and use them in a poem. 

Memoir Writing Prompt:  Pick 4 words to weave together a memory and write at least one paragraph about the memory. 

Fiction Writing Prompt:  Pick at least 4 words to start a story.  Put yourself on a timelimit of 8 minutes for both the opening line and what follows.  Continue if you would like to. 

And for your free-write prompt, study the picture.  See how something beautiful pops up of the soil which looks pretty "blah."  Reflect on the image and the concept, then write, write, write.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts: Two by Two

© Marilyn Barbone |

Today's photo is "Twins Together" by Marilyn Barbone.  Today's writing prompts have two steps, since we are focusing on "twos" today.

1.  Time yourself for 5 minutes and make a list of things in life that come in twos.  For example, here are a few things from my list:

Reese's peanut butter cups
warm mittens

2.  a. Fiction Writing Prompt:  Start a story with something from your list in the opening line.
Example:  She was sure she hid the Reese's peanut butter cups in the best place ever, but when she went to retrieve them from the _________________________, they were gone.  

b.  Creative Nonfiction Writing Prompt:  Pick one thing from your list that prompts a memory and write about it in relation to your life. 
Example:  I'll never forget the soft gray mittens my grandmother made for me. . .

c.  Poetry Writing Prompt:  Write a 14 line poem about one of the subjects.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts Inspired by Little Things

 Tiny Star Flower Power © Digitalfestival |

 Little Things by Julia A. F. Carney

Little drops of water,
    Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
    And the pleasant land.

Little deeds of kindness,
    Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
    Like the heaven above.

"Little Things" by Julia A. F. Carney. Public domain.

The Oak Ridge Boys had a famous line in one of their hit songs.  It was, "Baby, it's the little things that make me love you so."  Today we are going to think about little things and let them inspire our writing.

Fiction Writing Practice Prompt:  Start creating a new character by free-writing two paragraphs.  One paragraph will be about the little things that your character does that are not so positive, or little things that others do that bother the character, or things the character does that might be annoying to someone else.  And the other paragraph will will be about the little personality traits your character has that are very enduring.  Write a scene that shows your character portraying those traits.   

Journal Prompt:  A lot of people buy little things on their vacations as souvenirs.  Many people collect small things like toothpick holders, little dolls, and tiny cars.  Think about some little things you have and write about what your connection is with one of them.

Creative Nonfictin Prompt:  Write about the little things that make you love someone special even more.  How are those little things symbolic to who that person is?  Connect the little things to the special part of that someone you are thinking about.

Poetry Writing Prompt:  

1.  Poems are great for capturing details.  Today, write a poem that captures little details within your theme.  For example, if you would like to write a poem about a person you love, what are the little details in the mannerisms of that person you can capture?  Or, if you would like to write a poem about something in nature, what little details can you include about the theme?

2.  Write about the little things in life you love.

Tip:  Details are effective in writing when there are just enough.  Be careful not to over-do it.  For example, if you are starting a story about when you took your dog camping, you wouldn't spend a whole paragraph writing about every single tree you passed on your walk.  Too many details can bore your reader.  But just the right amount of interesting details will reel your reader in.

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mark Twain Inspired Creative Writing Prompts

Beatrice Killam |

It was this day in 1910 we lost whom William Faulkner referred to as the "Father of American Literarture," Mark Twain.  In memory of Mark Twain, I had to find a photo with a fence, and you can free write from this photo if you'd like.

Here are some wonderful quotes from Mark Twain.  I will use these as a springboard for the creative writing prompts today. 

Mark Twain Quotes and Prompts

"I can live for two months on a good compliment." 

Letter Writing Prompt:  Write someone a letter giving them a sincere compliment.

Creative Nonfiction:  Write about a compliment you received that really made you feel good, or write about something you wish someone would compliment you on.

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."

Fition Writing Prompt:  Write a short story where one character cheers another character up.


"Better a broken promise than none at all."

Poetry Writing Prompt: Write a poem about a promise, either broken or kept.
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."

Essay Writing Prompt:  My theory of kindness is that there are four receivers we can target.  We can be kind to ourselves, we can be kind to others we know, we can be kind to strangers, and we can be kind to the earth.  In my book, the amount of kindness we give has a lot to do with how happy we are.  Kindness can be anything from a smile to an act of service.  Kindness is in sincere compliments.  I could go on and on. 
Write an essay about kindness.   

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earth Day Creative Writing Prompts with Peace in Wild Things

© Paul Schneider |

Because Friday is Earth Day, and it is still National Poetry Month, I thought I would share one of Ted Kooser's earlier column's from American Life in Poetry.  Please enjoy the column which features a poem by Wendell Berry, and your prompts will be waiting for you below.

American Life in Poetry: Column 17


Nearly all of us spend too much of our lives thinking about what has happened, or worrying about what's coming next. Very little can be done about the past and worry is a waste of time. Here the Kentucky poet Wendell Berry gives himself over to nature.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things" from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998. Published and reprinted by arrangement with Counterpoint Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group ( All rights reserved. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Poetry Writing Prompt:

Wendell Berry ends his poem, "I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

What is the grace of the world to you?  Write about the grace of the world as it relates to nature with a poem titled, "The Grace of the World."

Fiction Writing Prompt:

Write a scene where a character discovers some peace in something wild, something from nature.  What was the conflict the character was facing, and how did nature bring him or her to ease?  Show us all that in your writing.

Creative Nonfiction Writing Prompt:

Pick something in nature you truly enjoy and write about how it enriches your life.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recycled Art Creative Writing Prompts

I've been thinking a lot about Earth Day lately, and this weekend I took my daughter to poetry event at the library where there was a beautiful showcase of bug sculptures made out of things we might normally throw away.  There were bumble bees made from water bottles, caterpillars made out of egg cartons, and lady bugs made out of other throw aways which I couldn't really identify.  However, they were all pretty cool.  This morning I watched the news and there was a young gentlemen from Habitat for Humanitytalking about Habitat for Humanity's upcoming art show which is all made from recyclables.  It sounded awesome so I went an checked it out online.  I found the picture above titled, "Roller Mania" by Dee Dee Pellegrin.  And I found the sculpture of "Robo" by artists Hilarie Deleon and Nicole and Alex Polley.

For your free write prompt today that can be in any genre you would like, pick one of the two pictures here, or go to the website and pick another one, and just go where your pen or keyboard takes you.  Here is the website where you can vote for your favorite and see more.

Here are some story starters:
"Robo was the most amazing pet because. . . "
"Even though Robo was programmed to be perfect, one time he got into some trouble that all started when he had an encounter with Sparky the Robotic Cat. . . "

Poetry Writing Idea:  Write a poem about the artist creating "Roller Mania," or about any artist creating something. 

Habitat for Humanity is one of my favorite non-profits out there making a true difference for those who need it.  I applaud the organization for such a unique Earth Day celebration. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Random Words as Creative Writing Prompts

Photo by Jeff Jones/

Since it was on this day that the first book of crossword puzzles was published, I found some random words from two crossword puzzles and you can play with them any way you would like. 

Poetry Writing Prompt:  Write a poem with 8 lines, using one of the random words in each line.  Then pick the line you like best and write a poem with that line as the title.

Story Writing Prompt:  Write the opening line of a story using at least 5 of the words.  Then freewrite on that story for fifteen minutes.

Creative Nonfiction Prompt:  Pick one word that triggers a memory and write about the memory.

Random Words of the day:

lava, single, acres, gears, wear, soda, cigar, double-decker, mock, stray, prime, morph, RSVP, moss, scam, sirens, chain, slant, bend

Friday, April 15, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Kelli Russell Agodon

Look!  It's a lonely cloud wantering! 
Photo "Cloud and Trees" by Rcaucino |

Many thanks to Kelli Russell Agodon, on of my favorite poets and bloggers, for being our guest prompter today.  The creative writing prompts she offers should keep you writing throughout the weekend. 

Today's Creative Writing Prompts:  April 15th

 This Day in History
by Kelli Russell Agodon

Throughout the years, this has been a pretty busy day in history—

On this day in 1452, Leonardo da Vinci was born.

In 1802, William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy see a "long belt" of daffodils, inspiring the former to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died after being shot the previous evening by John Wilkes Booth.

In 1912, the Titanic sinks killing 1517 passengers and crew at 2:20 am in the morning, 2 ½ hours after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball's color line.

In 1983, the Tokyo Disney Resort opens in Japan.

And every April 15th in the United States is Tax Day.

And now for your writing prompts—

Creative Nonfiction Prompt: Chose one of these events and write about your connection or relationship to it, and more specifically, how it changed you.  It could be a particularly frustrating tax year or missing receipts that made you take your record-keeping more seriously or maybe it’s an emotional visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.  Whatever you choose is fine, but write an essay about how one of these events changed something for you.

Fiction Writing Prompt:  Choose two of these events and weave them together in a story.  Maybe your character is at Tokyo Disney trying to remember the lines to Wordsworth poem.  Or maybe your character while doing his taxes in the present is visited by Jackie Robinson.  Find two events and connect them somehow while having your main character want to learn something, but be struggling to find what s/he needs.

Poetry Writing Prompt:  Choose three of these events and work them into a poem about something that circles or is circular in shape.  Begin with the line, “On another day…”

Journal Writing/Free Write Prompt:  Choose all of these events and write from top to bottom of the list flowing through the different events in history.  As you write, think about yourself and what you wish you knew about these events, moving from one event to another.  

On all the prompts, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.  Just allow things to happen and realize, you can go back later to revise.  Now is just the time to generate work.

Have fun!

Kelli Russell Agodon is the author Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize, which is currently a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year Award in Poetry.  She is also the author of Small Knots (2004) and the chapbook, Geography.  Kelli lives in Washington State with her family where she is an avid mountain biker as well as the co-editor of Seattle’s 28-year-old print literary journal, Crab Creek Review, and the co-founder of Two Sylvias Press.  You can find her blogging at Book of Kells, where she writes about living and writing creatively: or visit her website at:


(Geography is also a book of poems by Kelli Russel Agodon.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Kangaroos and John Steinbeck

Gary Unwin |

April is National Poetry Month and today we celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day!
Here is my bonus page of pocket poems for you today.  You can click here:

And for your regular prompts:

Today I also offer you a picture of two kangaroos.  The little one seems to be watching something.

Fiction Writing Prompt: 

Write a short scene about what the kangaroo sees.


Today is the day The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck was published in 1939.

Here is a quote by John Steinbeck:

"I am impelled, not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion out of pride in my profession."
Memoir Writing Prompt:  Write about a time when you were very proud of something.
Poetry Writing Prompt:  Write a poem about something you are proud of. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts Inspired by "The Country" by Billy Collins

Creative Wrting Prompts:  A Little Bit Billy Collins, A Little Bit Country Mouse

photo by LockStockBob,

I am partial to mice right now because my son, who has limited langauge ability, has been speaking about a character he refers to as "Ultra Mouse."  Apparently, "Ultra Mouse" is associated with Obama, and on request, I've been asked to make up stories about "Ultra Mouse."  It is an interesting mystery, but I go with it. 

Today's prompts for creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry are all the same.  In celebrating Natinal Poetry Month, I am providing the link to the Billy Collins' animated poem, "The Country," to inspire you, and you can turn a few of these little phrases from the poem (which I listed below) into any genre you would like. 

Here is the link to the animated poem:

Phrases as prompts:

"The one unlikely mouse. . . "
"The tiny looks of wonderment. . . "
"Behind the floral wallpaper. . ."

Title as a prompt:  Title a story, poem or short memory, "The House in the Country."

And for a bonus children's story writing prompt, "The Crazy Adventure of Ultra Mouse" is your title.  Write a short story about "Ultra Mouse" in less than 1,000 words.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Yellow Spring Flowers

Here's to Springtime!  We are having great weather lately and everyone around here has spring fever.

Today's prompts are based on the photo, "Young Woman Enjoying Spring" by Melinda Nagy.

Poetry Prompt:  Write a poem about how you enjoy spring.  Is it in a nature hike?  A spring dance you look forward to?  Is it the flowers?  If it's the flowers, be specific and name them.

Fiction Writing Prompt:  This woman in the picture looks like she is having a pretty good day.  Write a story about what happened to make her day so great.  What happened before she got to the field of flowers? Don't forget to give the woman a name.

Creative Nonfiction:  Write a memory you have about spring from when you were little. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts: Tunnel Under a Railway

Photo credit:  This photo is by Peter Guess and it is titled "Tunnel Under Railway."  It is a a tunnel under the Cumbrian West Coast line near Dalston, Carlisle, Cumbria, UK.  Many thanks to the photographer and to Dreamstime for making the photo available. 

Fiction Writing Prompt

Study the picture and start a short story where two people meet under this tunnel.  Focus on dialogue and let us see who the characters are through the dialogue.  

Creative Nonfiction Prompt

Do you have any memories connected to tunnels or railways?  Explore the theme of tunnels and/or railways in your writing. 

Poetry Writing Prompt

Explore the theme of tunnels or railways in a poem. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Kathie Giorgio

Today I'm very thrilled to introduce our first guest prompter, Kathie Giorgio, the director of AllWriters' Workplace and Workshop.  Kathie was my writing teacher after I finished college.   I learned more from Kathie about the writing life in one year than I did in all my years of college combined.  I'd like to say thank you to Kathie for providing today's creative writing prompts and for being such a great teacher who helps get writers where they want to be.  You can read more about Kathie under the prompts.  ENJOY the prompts and have a wonderful weekend.  Also, don't forget to comment!
Creative Writing Prompts on Dali Time 
by Kathie Giorgio 

Poetry Writing Prompt:

Clocks are often used in literature as a metaphor for the passing of time.  In this painting, time doesn’t seem to be passing, but melting away.  Spend the next twenty minutes writing the rough draft of a poem where time melts, rather than flies. Try to connect in a new way with the idea of a clock as metaphor.  Your working title is, “Time Melts.”

Fiction Writing Prompts:

While looking at the painting, start to formulate an idea for a short story.  You can take this storyline one of two ways:
1)      Write a story in which the painting becomes literal: A person is holding a pocket watch and it begins to melt in his hand.
2)      Write a story in which the painting is metaphorical.  Write about a person who feels like time is melting away from his grasp.

Journal Writing Prompt:

Try to remember what it was like to learn to tell time.  Did you learn on a clock face or digitally?  When did time become a concrete concept for you?  Start your journal entry with, “Time began to have a meaning for me when…”

KATHIE GIORGIO’S first novel, “The Home For Wayward Clocks,” was released on February 1, 2011, by Mint Hill Books, a division of Main Street Rag Publishing Company.   New stories will be appearing soon in Lalitamba, Karamu, Alimentum, Gemini, and Evening Street Review.  Her poem, "In Retrospect," appears now in Fearless Books' newest anthology on love and touch.  Her short stories have appeared in Los Angeles Review, Harpur Palate, Fiction International, Dos Passos Review, Ars Medica, Thema, CutThroat, The Pedestal, Bayou, Epiphany, Eclipse, Potomac Review, Arabesques Review, Hurricane Review, Oyez Review, Jabberwock Review, Karamu Review, Reed Magazine, The Binnacle, Licking River Review, Bellowing Ark, Hiss Quarterly, Midway Journal, The Externalist, Fogged Clarity, and many more.  Her stories have also been in anthologies by Papier Mache Press, Main Street Rag Publishing Company, EBibliotekos, and Susurrus Press.  She has been the featured author in Women Writers’ ezine.  She’s been nominated twice for the Million Writer Award and for the Best of the Net anthology.  She is the director and founder of AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop, a creative writing studio.  She also teaches for Writers’ Digest and serves on their advisory board.

Kathie's websites:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts Inspired by Hana Matsuri and Gratitude

Many thanks to Sascha Dunkhorst and for making this photo available.

Today's Creative Writing Prompts are Inspired by Gratitude

Today Hana Matsuri, Buddha's birthday, is celebrated in many parts of the world.  Children in Japan will take turns pouring sweet tea over a Buddha with flowers.  For those celebrating, it is a day of gratitude. 

Starter Prompt for EVERYBODY today:

In the spirit of gratitude, make a list of 10 things you are grateful for.  Taking moments to reflect on gratitude has been proved to lift moods, so this is something I recommend you do on a regular basis.  Your list can include simple things such as your warm cup of morning coffee, to something super-big, like a project you recently finished at home, work or school. 

Creative Nonfiction Prompt:  Pick one thing from your gratitude list and write a little testimony about how it is important to your life. 

Fiction Writing Prompt:  Pick something from your list that you can turn into a conflict.  Then create a character who struggles before the good ending comes full circle.  For example, if you are grateful for a new bike, perhaps this could be turned into a story about a character who crashes his bike, but through some great miracle, he is okay and somehow gets another bike by winning a contest or ???? 

Poetry Writing Prompts:

1.  Pick something from your gratitude list and write a poem that shows how and why you are grateful for it.  Make sure to include details about the thing you are grateful for. 

2.  Research the story of the Buddha's birth.  It is quite fantastic as far as images are concerned.  Dragons apparently flew from the sky, and they poured fragrant water all over the land.  Collect some of the vibrant images from the story and write a poem about anything that uses some of those images.

Why not celebrate National Poetry Month by buying yourself a new journal? 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with the Decorah Eaglets

Creative Writing Prompts

If you haven't see the Decorah Eaglets, you have to take a minute to watch this video.  I think it is just an amazing project to have a web cam follow the life of these beautiful creatures.

Fiction Writing Prompt:  Write a short story that starts out with a character observing a live creature in nature.

Creative Nonfiction:  Write about a strong connection you have had from observing an animal and how it influenced you. 

Poetry Writing Prompt:  Write a poem about an animal that is endangered or has been endangered.  See the poem below for  inspiration. 

Song Writing Prompt:  Write a song about animals who have become or are becoming extinct. 


Since it is National Poetry Month, I've inserted a Ted Kooser column from American Life in Poetry that features a strong and sad poem about many endangered species by poet Charles Harper Webb.  You can use this to jump start a poem of your own if you'd like. 

American Life in Poetry: Column 203


To read in the news that a platoon of soldiers has been killed is a terrible thing, but to learn the name of just one of them makes the news even more vivid and sad. To hold the name of someone or something on our lips is a powerful thing. It is the badge of individuality and separateness. Charles Harper Webb, a California poet, takes advantage of the power of naming in this poem about the steady extinction of animal species.

The Animals are Leaving

One by one, like guests at a late party   
They shake our hands and step into the dark:   
Arabian ostrich; Long-eared kit fox; Mysterious starling.

One by one, like sheep counted to close our eyes,   
They leap the fence and disappear into the woods:   
Atlas bear; Passenger pigeon; North Island laughing owl;   
Great auk; Dodo; Eastern wapiti; Badlands bighorn sheep.

One by one, like grade school friends,   
They move away and fade out of memory:   
Portuguese ibex; Blue buck; Auroch; Oregon bison;   
Spanish imperial eagle; Japanese wolf; Hawksbill   
Sea turtle; Cape lion; Heath hen; Raiatea thrush.

One by one, like children at a fire drill, they march outside,   
And keep marching, though teachers cry, “Come back!”   
Waved albatross; White-bearded spider monkey;   
Pygmy chimpanzee; Australian night parrot;   
Turquoise parakeet; Indian cheetah; Korean tiger;   
Eastern harbor seal ; Ceylon elephant ; Great Indian rhinoceros.

One by one, like actors in a play that ran for years   
And wowed the world, they link their hands and bow   
Before the curtain falls.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2006 by Charles Harper Webb. Reprinted from “Amplified Dog,” by Charles Harper Webb, published by Red Hen Press, 2006, by permission of the author and publisher. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Creative Writing Prompts with Cat, Dog, and Random Words

Creative Writing Prompts

Today your prompts are based on the picture below along with some random words.

Random Words:  bus, breeze, heeled, baby blue, jungle, parallel, lift, moon, imagine, wild, icy white, sway, tight, away, poppy, seek, speckled, luck

Fiction Writing Prompt: 

Write a story about  what happened before the cat and dog arrived where they are now.  Use at least 5 of the random words in your story. 

Caption Writing Exercise:  Write a caption for this photo using one of the random words in your caption.  After you write the caption, you can write a  paragraph about what happens next. 

Poetry Writing Prompts: 

1.  Use at least 5 of the random words in a short poem about any subject of your choice in 15 lines or less.

2.  Give one of the animals a name and write a poem about the animal.  Use at least 4 of the random words in your poem.

Bonus Writing Practice Prompt:  Make an opening line with at least four of the random words.  Use it for an opening line of a story or poem.  You can use any other words you want to in your opening line, but limit your sentence to under 18 words.

Many thanks to the photographer of today's photo, Jiri Vaclavek , and for making this photo available.

If you would like to celebrate National Poetry Month by learning more about poetry, I highly recommend the book below by Steve Kowit.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts Inspired by the Beatles

Today's Creative Writing Prompts:  Playing Around with the Beatles

Who doesn't love the Beatles?  It was on this day in 1964 that the Beatles held the top 5 popular songs on the charts.   

The top five songs were, in this order: "Can't Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "Please Please Me."

Here is a flashback of the Beatles for your viewing pleasure, many thanks to YouTube's share button.

Poetry Writing Prompts:  Bouncing off the song titles from the Beatles, here are three possible titles for poems you can write today.  Please write for 10 minutes without stopping. 

How to Buy My Love

Why I love __________ (insert the name of something you like, not a person)

I Want to Hold Hands with ______________ (insert the name of a famous person)

Note about National Poetry Month:  Since April is National Poetry Month, I will be including a poetry prompt in every post this month.  Please feel free to post a sample of your writing that is inspired by the prompts, and as always, feedback on the pompts is apprecaited.  Thanks!

Fiction Writing Prompts:

Here are some story starters bouncing off the word "please":

1.  Of all things that made him happy, it was peanut butter that pleased him most because. . .

2.  Every time she tried to please her mother, she failed.  One time she even tried. . .

3.  After John died, the only thing that could please her was. . .

Journal Writing Prompt:

Write about a memory of holding hands with someone.

Reference on today's facts about the Beatles is from The Writer's Almanac.  Retried on April 4, 2011 from