The Evanston Writers Workshop holds Prompt Group sessions every second and fourth Wednesday at the Barnes and Noble in Evanston. While you could certainly join us, I figured I’d feature a mini-session for today’s Thursday 13: thirteen writing prompts to prime the pump and get you moving. If you decide to try one or two (or all!), please link to the result in the comments so I can come visit and see!

1. You are a middle-aged woman, dressed in black, walking in New York’s Central Park at six o’clock in the evening on a Sunday. Who are you, and what are you doing?

2. Go to your bathroom and find something scented: soap, bubble bath, cologne or perfume. Take it back to your desk or wherever you write. Close your eyes and inhale the scent. Then write.

3. Try a picture prompt. You can go to Google Images and look up random things, or use this one as a starter:

4. Try using prompt cards: take 6 settings, 6 plot ideas, and 6 characters, shuffle each set and pick one of each. Then write about the combination.

5. Setting: desert. Plot: betrayal. Character: Charlotte, 33, hairdresser.

6. Go to Pandora dot com and enter the name of a band you don’t often listen to, but that a character might. Listen to the resulting station and write a story with your character.

7. Open a book at random, and pick the first sentence on the left page. Write that sentence on your paper or type it into your word processor and write for 500 words.

8. “Martin never thought he’d see the day when…” and keep going.

9. Take a short story or flash that you’ve written and rewrite it, from the perspective of another character or with a different type of ‘feel.’ Example: if it’s a romance, write it as a spy story; if it has a happy ending, change it to a murder.

10. Rewrite a story from the Bible. Old Testament ones are interesting: try the story of Ruth or maybe the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah.

11. Rewrite a modern story that you like (this one is tricky, because it can be plagiarism if you mimic word for word, but I’m speaking more of using something as a model and creating your own story from it). Example: Star Wars is about a young man, coming of age, on a hero’s journey. For your story, set that same saga somewhere else, like a young police officer in modern-day New York…

12. Tell a story from the point of view of your pet. Make it serious, not a parody. Make the setting without humans.

13. Write a story without a sense: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, something. Don’t use that sense at all in description. Bonus points if you eliminate one that you use all the time: if your characters are usually very visual, then eliminate that and describe everything by sound and touch.

~Happy TT!~

19 thoughts on “Thursday 13: Thirteen Prompts

  1. Felicia Lind says:

    Great prompts! Though the last one… I do that involuntarily sometimes. Without all the senses actually. And it’s NOT pretty!

    It was a long time since I did anything like this, though I used to make prompt card boxes for friends as gifts. I don’t think ANYONE used them, though. Too few writers in my life!

  2. That’s a shame that no one used them! I would totally use them. I’ve been wanting to make a deck for my prompt group, in fact. 🙂

  3. Paige Tyler says:

    I’ve never done writing to a prompt, but it sounds like fun!


    My TT is at

  4. Inez Kelley says:

    I love prompts and sometimes the weirder ones create the best stories/scenes.

  5. Thoes are some excellent prompts! I’ll have to try a few of them the next time my muse gets constipated.

  6. I may just end up with a flash fiction for tomorrow! You’re always an inspiration. Thank you!

  7. That will teach me to preview before I post, LOL! I meant THOSE, of course. I was so worried about spelling “constipated” correctly and not screwing up the word verification…

  8. These are great prompts. Thank you!

  9. Alice Audrey says:

    I’ll do your prompt meme if you do my association meme.

  10. Elise Logan says:

    great prompts… but no way do I have time to deal with them now!

    Though… hm. well, one of those is actually an existing WIP….

  11. Great prompts, too bad I’ve already got more plot bunnies running around than I can wrangle with as it is! Thanks for sharing them. *adds them to my list of great prompts*

  12. Alice Audrey says:

    I did it! It’s posted now.

  13. Sasha Devlin says:

    I especially like #7. I will have to try this out.

  14. I refuse to read this right now lol My muse is hard enough to keep in line and I really need to focus on what I am writing. What a great idea for a meeting of minds.
    I promise I will come back and read it one of these days *wink
    Happy T13!

  15. Heather says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve used writing prompts. May come back when it doesn’t feel like I have a migraine coming on. I sent a journaling jar I made, along with a new blank book, to a friend one year for Christmas and she loved it – but it certainly wouldn’t work for everyone.

  16. I do pretty well with prompts, but I tend to go off on wild tangents.
    Oh wait. I do that anyway.

  17. I’ve never written with prompts either. I think it would be a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

  18. Thanks, everyone! I’m so pleased they inspired you!

  19. Janice says:

    This reads like a mini workshop.

    Happy belated TT.

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