{Between the Lines}

The Agents of Books & Such Literary Management Muse About Books, Publishing, and Life

Prompts and Writing

Michelle Ule

Blogger: Michelle Ule

Filling in for Janet as she is on faculty at the Mount Hermon conference. Michelle is traveling as well. We encourage you to comment and talk amongst yourselves. Thanks for understanding!

Some writers overflow with ideas and need no help to get started; others, however, have trouble and often can use a writing prompt.

What is a writing prompt?

Daily Writing Tips explains it this way:

“A writing prompt is simply a topic around which you start jotting down ideas. The prompt could be a single word, a short phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being to give you something to focus upon as you write. You may stick very closely to the original prompt or you may wander off at a tangent.”

I recognized the value of a prompt on one of my first writing projects–written to pay back a debt to my then-boyfriend.

He wanted me to write a story in exchange for his fixing something. I couldn’t come up with an idea of what might entertain him, so I asked my father to give me a title, any title, and I’d write a story to match.

A mischievous sense of humor was Dad’s stock in trade. He laughed. “How about The Creature that Ate Bakersfield?

promptsUh, thanks, Dad.

I wrote it, though, and the boyfriend married me; so obviously I’d found a way to turn a prompt into action.

Creative writing prompts are readily available on the internet, of course. You can view some here, here and here.

Prompts are given for action, they’re to motivate us: write anything!

They’re to get us moving in the right direction, whether in writing, prayer or even making it to the dentist on time. They’re a tool, and as such are a help. The rest is up to you.

Is it cheating to use a writing prompt to get started? Does anyone else use them and does anything publishable come from them?

They’ve worked well for me.

Aside from landing that terrific husband, I’ve used prompts five times to write novellas that were published.

Got any suggestions for me?  :-)

Where do you find inspiration for what you write?

Have you ever used a writing prompt, and did it help you?

Tell me of any unusual “prompts” that satisfied you!


What is a writing prompt? Click to Tweet

The value of a prompt. Click to Tweet


Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

This week and next I’m going to pull up a couple of blogs from the past for a review session. (Remember review sessions from school days? Luckily, no test to follow.)

Just when you thought you couldn’t …

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