Tag Archives: Writing prompt

Weekend Warrior 5/3/2103

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From Michelle Naka Pierce and Andrea Rexilius’ Experiment, Innovation, and Community course:

Write a description of yourself in: 1st person / 2nd person / 3rd person / future self. Use these different viewpoints to see the different sides of your personality. i.e. What you tell people about yourself. What you hide from other people. What other people notice about you that you refuse to recognize. What you and others don’t know about yourself (hence, future self). –Laura Keck

Bring in a historical document that you want to change or integrate into. Starting with the first line count four lines down. This is your first line. Then write your own corresponding line. Continue this process. Taking five lines of historical text and five original lines into one cohesive piece. –Mikiel Ghelieh

Happy Writing!

Weekend Warrior 4/12/2013

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Every story starts somewhere, and sometimes the best stories run parallel or perpendicular to their
starting point. Think Run Lola Run. Or this from a BOMB interview with César Aira:

If a little bird enters into the café where I’m writing—it did happen once—it also enters into what I’m writing. Even if a priori it doesn’t relate to anything, a posteriori I make it relate.

For example, if I’m writing a scene about a couple, a marital spat in a house with closed windows and doors . . . . So, I make the bird appear flapping around among the furniture, and I find a way for the bird to have a reason for appearing in the story. It could be a mechanical bird designed by an engineer who was the woman’s first husband, whom her present husband thought was dead, but the engineer faked his own death to escape justice—he had invented killer mechanical pigeons. He continues to live under a false identity, and she’s discovered him and is blackmailing him . . . . It could be this or anything else. In spite of all my admiration for Surrealism and Dadaism I never liked the mere accumulation of incongruous things. For me, everything has to be sewn together in a very conventional fashion. I always think of something. And what I think of also changes the course of the plot. Since the next day something different will happen at the café, the plot continues to change accordingly. That sinuous thread in my novels is more interesting to me, more writeable, than a linear plot.


Think of a story, subject, or character. Write that story or idea. Now write about another moment; nothing significant, just a starting point. Keep writing until the stories meet.

Happy Writing!

Weekend Warrior 4/5/2013

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This week’s writing prompt comes from The Loft Literary Center. Founded in 1974, the Loft Literary Center is one of the nation’s leading literary arts centers. The Loft advances the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature.

Prompt by Chuck Palahniuk:

The composer Cole Porter was famous for taking everyday phrases and building songs around them. Catchy hooks like “You’re the Top” and “Anything Goes” were already popular; all he had to do was use them as lyrics. Doing that demonstrates the principle I have in mind: Using cultural precedent as a bridge to something new. Stated simply, use what people already know to introduce them to what they don’t yet know.

As a writing assignment, consider the old warning, “Always wear clean underwear just in case you’re in an accident.” Now depict an accident in which the victim has foregone nice underwear. Invent whatever you need to make the ridiculous plausible. Make your consequences so credible that a reader will never leave the house wearing day-old shorts. Make Kafka love you.

Chuck Palahniuk is the author of fifteen novels including Fight Club, Damned, and Choke.

Weekend Warrior 3/29/2013

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This week’s writing prompt is from upcoming SWP guest CA Conrad’s (Soma)tic Poetry Exercises. Read more here.

CA Conrad:
The son of white trash asphyxiation, my childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for my mother and helping her shoplift. I am the author of several books of poetry, and I am a 2011 PEW Fellow, a 2012 UCROSS Fellow, and a 2013 BANFF Fellow. I am also a 2012 and 2013 visiting faculty member for the Summer Writing Program of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.


a collaborative (Soma)tic by CAConrad & Matthew Zapruder

Put a piece of fruit on a plate, sit it near speakers, cover the fruit and speakers with pillows, then blankets, then towels, then more pillows, then more blankets, then play the recording of Anne Waldman reading I REMEMBER BEING ARRESTED as LOUD as you CAN!! (about 4 minutes long) After the recording is finished uncover the fruit and eat it immediately while playing the recording again!! Do not hesitate for the water molecules of the fruit have fully absorbed her reading!! Her mantra in the reading!! Eat it, eat it, eat it!! As soon as the recording is finished and the Anne Waldman-infused food is inside you, pick up your pad and pen and begin writing as fast as you can about the uses of nuclear weapons after they have been disarmed. Write about the love you feel for ALL that can survive if we put an end to this madness!!

Find a piece of metal, or some functional object made entirely of metal, from your home. It can be a household implement you use all the time, or jewelry, or anything, as long as it is small enough to hold in one hand. That night, take the paper you wrote on earlier, and carefully, lovingly, wrap the metal in it. Sleep. The next morning, wait for a little while. Think about the metal safe in the paper, near all your words. Sometime during the day, when you are ready and alone, take the metal out of the paper. Put it in your writing hand and hold it for a few minutes. Think about how old the metal, like all metal, is, and how young you are. Then put the metal in your non-writing hand. Write down all the ways you want to thank the metal for being dug out of the earth, put in a furnace, pounded, torn, combined, and shaped into something humans can use. Or any other feelings you have about the metal. And all the things you think or imagine (or suddenly truly know!) about the metal, what else it was used for. If there is anything else you want to say to the metal, or to anyone who might have touched or known it all these thousands of years along the way, this is the time and place to do that too.

Happy writing!

Weekend Warrior 3/22/2013

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This week’s image and writing prompt inspiration comes from Swordfish at Deviant Art.

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

George Orwell

Choose an image that acts as a metaphor in relation to your current project. How does this image add depth to the metaphor? Is it fresh? Does it make it new? Choose something that won’t allow your audience to look away.

Happy Writing!

Weekend Warrior 3/15/2013

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This week’s writing prompt comes from The Loft Literary Center. Founded in 1974, the Loft Literary Center is one of the nation’s leading literary arts centers. The Loft advances the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature.

Prompt by Dobby Gibson:

Ask a friend to email you a list of ten obscure words for which you’re unlikely to know definitions. Select the most interesting, beautiful, or otherwise curious word on the list, so long as you cannot define the word. Do not look it up. Do not Google this word. This word is the title of your poem. Now write a sequence of imagined definitions for this word, or scenarios in which you might use this word. Reorder and refine this list until it pleases you enough to become a poem.

Dobby Gibson is the author of three books: Polar, Skirmish, and It Becomes You. His work has been featured on public radio’s A Writer’s Almanac and All Things Considered.

Weekend Warrior 2/22/13

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In honor of Harryette Mullen’s tremendous lecture last night, this week’s writing prompt asks you to consider your own poetics of soul food. What foods have shaped your story, or more importantly, what is the history of these foods in relation to the people, events, and places that have shaped your story? Mullen’s lecture last night placed her definition of soul food in the context of literature, tracing the shifting, and sometimes opposing, metaphors that these foods represent. What is the metaphor of the food that “feeds your soul?”

A few ideas:
• A recipe embedded in a poem or narrative
• The history of a dish in cultural, social, or historical context
• Use the language of cooking to discuss a social or cultural point

Happy Writing!