Michille: NaNo Story Prompts

typewriter-004When the story isn’t moving, some writers use story prompts. With NaNoWriMo in full swing, it seemed like a good time to compile some here (and then attach them to my bulletin board to use for the next two weeks).

  • False appearance: _______ was/were not what it/he/she seemed.
  • Regrets: If only I/he/she/they had/hadn’t __________.
  • The lemon: your character buys a new _________ and discovers it has terrible problems.
  • 3 unrelated things: identify 3 unrelated things and write a story about it, like small engine repair, a butterfly collection, and designer boots.
  • Google: type “Images” into a search engine and choose an image to write about.
  • Weird news: Google “weird headlines” and write the story that goes with it. “Woman Attacks Man With Bowl of Spaghetti.” “Computer Virus Spreads to Humans.” “Stolen Clowns Found Stuffed in Car.”

And note on weird news – when the Internet was blowing up on Monday with stories about the violence in Paris and the tragedy of it all, this showed up on my local news station: “Pastafarian allowed to wear colander for license photo.” I get free speech, but something about a story on the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster didn’t seem to fit with the other news of the day (I hope I haven’t offended any Pastafarians).

  • First lines:
    • This time her boss went too far.
    • “Did you hear that?”
    • “Hello. My name is ___________.”
    • This is a fine time for the fire alarm to go off.
  • Problem: Locked in the attic, leg is broken, car won’t start.

Have a go at some of these if you get stuck or add some here (please).

6 thoughts on “Michille: NaNo Story Prompts

  1. I like #9 from the Emma Coates/Pixar Storytelling Rules – when you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up. The other trick I like is to figure out what my characters would most hate to do next, and make ’em do it.

    • I love the what they hate most idea. The one about what wouldn’t happen next sounds like a great way to generate a surprise in the story. If the writer didn’t expect it, the reader certainly won’t. Maybe I’ll try to write a scene that wouldn’t happen and see where it goes. Thanks for the ideas.

    • This is a particularly good idea for overplotters like me. Forcing myself to go ‘offbook’ every now and then can be just what my story needs. In fact, it’s probably what it needs right now! I’m off to figure out what Daniel would hate to do next…

  2. Pingback: Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now with Random Holiday Words! | Eight Ladies Writing

  3. (-: I like the lemon one. I kind of have that — Bunny was given a camera that seems to have a mind of its own. The lens pops out even when she emits a little cussword, sometimes the pictures are blurry when she is mad, stuff like that.

    As for the Pastafarians, they are going to be out in droves. I think their point is that if everyone was a Pastafarian, we wouldn’t have religious shootings like this. Maybe religious food fights, but surely not shootings. Perhaps the Pastafarians are naive. The Spaghetti Sandwich heresy could come to knife-fights and gun battles in convenience stores all over the world. Pastafarian extremists could be just as bad as any other extremists. (Not a Pastafarian myself, but I could sympathize with the movement, especially if it comes with extra garlic toast.)

    • Actually, I thought pastafarianism was strictly a satirical religion that posits that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is just as likely as the existence of other gods. I don’t think they dip their toe in the religions shootings thing.

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