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Friday, May 26, 2017

Writing Prompts: News from a Writers' Group

Writing prompts helped empty the junk drawer that is this writer's brain.

I belong to three groups. Two are active and focus on the craft of writing and one is an as-needed group for questions surrounding the business of writing . 

The group that focuses on the craft starts with five minutes dedicated to a writing prompt. One author chooses a prompt either from a list of about 100 different starting points or creates one and shares it with the the group. We have five minutes to write whatever comes to mind. Not only is it fun, but the exercise helps empty and organize that grey-matter mess we call the writer's brain.

I was emptying out my junk drawer - the exterior physical one - and came across responses to prompts from past meetings. For fun, I've decided to share them with you so I can toss out the papers from the exterior junk drawer while preserving the fruits of the interior one.

The prompts are in bold and are set apart from responses which follow. 

So, an hour after prohibition ends... daddy drove up in his brand spanking new Packard -- chrome all shining and seats smelling like a tack shop.

"Where'd you get the money for that?" I asked.

He grinned in his way which was more slanting eyes than full tooth smile.

"Where'd ya think?" he said, looking at my uniform. My badge reflection glinted off his eyeglasses.

I didn't want to answer, but heaved a sigh of relief.

"No more," I said.

"No more what?"

"You know."

Yeah, I sure as scat knew! No more 2 AM sounds of engines in my barn. No more women in beaded gowns hanging 'round the shed.

Yep. One hour after prohibition ended I got my daddy back.


I looked around the room. Nothing seemed unusual, but then... feet left the ground. Not all at once as if I had jumped, but slowly, heels first, then toes as if I was trying to hang on to the earth like a chimpanzee to a tree.The chairs slid to one side, then a table crashed into the armoire.

"Mom! What the Fah..."

My son, all 6'2" of him rippled in front of me as an image in a funhouse mirror.

"Oh! Ry! So sorry," I murmured, trying to sound like this was nothing new. "Just a little housekeeping."

"No. You said no more witchcraft."

Damn him. A promise not to do spells is meant to be broken. Can a horse not neigh? Can an elephant not trumpet?

All at once, the room righted itself and the dust, motes, and webs settled into one ball in the center of the sideboard.

"See? All done!"


There is a knock on the door. When *you* open the door, there is a man standing there with an envelope...

...Kathy eyed it suspiciously. A long tail emerges from the fold. The man doesn't seem to notice.

"So, um, seen anything interesting lately?" She winces. What the hell is she thinking.

"Nyah. Just some kids next door making a racket," he replies.

Almost on cue, they hear a loud crash from upstairs. The man turns his head.

"Your son is one of their friends, right?"


"I have this more him." With that, the man gives Kathy a silver ball. "Just toss it in his room. Go ahead. I'll wait."

Kathy goes and returns. All is quiet.

They talk for a few minutes. The man leaves, envelope in hand.

"Let me know if you see anything interesting," he says over his shoulder.

Kathy goes to her son's room. Inside the room she finds only a silver ball and a snake.


(Hey, I know these suck, but for five minutes worth of writing, it's fun to see where your mind goes!)

Are you part of a writer's group? Do you do writing exercised like these?