See my hub "Using a Memories Graph to Generate a Story Idea" for one approach to using your own life experiences to generate fiction writing prompts. You graph the emotional highs and lows of your life and then, choosing one of them, you use your memory of your emotions as a prompt to draft a scene in a story. Suppose, for instance, that once upon a time you were engaged and were jilted. Begin with that memory of confusion, rejection, and heartache and let your imagination "bring on stage" a character, perhaps long ago and far away and in many ways different from you, in a situation that will cause him or her such emotions.
Another technique is to choose an object that is in your sight and imagine that object in another setting, perhaps long ago and far away, and imagine characters interacting with or near it.
The two techniques can be combined. I might, for instance, choose a floor lamp in my Kalamazoo apartment. I might imagine such a lamp in a Chicago flat circa 1949. A young woman lives there with her cousin. Her boyfriend has come to take her to the movies as usual on Saturday night, but she is at a roller skating rink with another man, and the cousin sends the boyfriend away with a lie.
I got the book HUMANS OF NEW YORK STORIES by Brandon Stanton for Christmas. Stanton is a New York photographer who goes around taking photos of people and asking them personal questions. He then posts photos and quotes on his blog and on his Facebook page and eventually gathers them into a book. Many of the photos and quotes are poignant and would, I think, make good writing prompts. Browse through a copy in a bookshop and see if the glimpses into personal experiences of love found or lost, of wisdom gained the hard way, of innocence, of crime, of grief, and so on might work for you as writing prompts.
You could look into your local, regional or national dailies/evening papers for .ideas. There's a welter of background detail available in some reporting - remember the Washington Post's treatment of Nixon's underhand dealings? ("There'll be no whitewash at the White House")
Then there's a possible mix of crime, sport and politics. We've got this business at the moment of Russian athletes and drug-taking in the Olympics and Lord Coe just about scraping through without being heavily tarnished.
How about plain, straightforward crime? The Hatton Garden jewellery robbery is top news at the moment, almost knocked ISIS/Daeth off the front pages, one of the gang being 'grassed on' by a 'Moll' for jilting her.
There's so much material available there, right across the spectrum. I found my idea for historical fiction from reading a tabloid interview with James Blunt about nine years ago. It'll keep me going in material for another few years yet, with a range of characters both real and fictional..
"Extra, Extra! Read all abaht it, getcher paper 'ere!"
by Nicola Thompson 5 years ago
I recently wrote a hub about writing prompts, and what works for me. But I want to hear what works for every one else. I like actual prompts for a story, such as "You walk into your sister's livingroom. The furniture, wall colors and even the scent is different. A stranger comes in from the...
by jdeschene 10 years ago
I feel like I've seen every possible writing prompt website there is? I want to try something fresh and new. Does anyone know of any fun and exciting writing prompts? I'd love to hear about them.
by akuigla 7 years ago
What is the most important quality for a writer?
by Blake J Rudy 6 years ago
Hey guys, I thought it would be a fun idea to ask everyone to give a writing prompt. Simply set up a story in a few sentences or less. If you would like to expand on someone else's prompt, by all means do so. However, the point of this thread is to generate some ideas and/or inspiration for...
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