When You Need a Jump-startby Rosalind Foley on 04/26/15
Life does have a way of handing out surprises. Sooner or later, most writers hit a dry spell. When several of us in our weekly critique group were between major projects and failing to show up with fresh writing, one member suggested a 'prompt.'
The first prompt we tried was "Maggie couldn't believe what she was seeing...." Depending on the mood and mind of the writer, Maggie could be a hotheaded redhead or a pigtailed schoolgirl or maybe even a Labrador Retriever.
Besides making us productive, the exercise was fun. It highlighted the variety of our backgrounds and experience. Some of us are city bred, some had known farm life. Only one is native to the area in which we now live. Week after week, we learn from each other, and not just about writing.
Another session, the prompt we used to launch us was "The last time Ralph saw his father..." Two people wrote very different pieces with Ralph telling the story from a child's point of view. From the same six words I came up with a middle aged son realizing the extent of a parent's dementia.
Then there was the prompt about a moving star. Leave it to the male in our group to imagine the star as a faded femme fatale on the prowl.
Exercise your imagination. It's good for it.