Writing Prompt: Genre Writing

Most writers tend to stick to particular genres. I have alway leaned towards contemporary fiction and stayed away from Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Western. As a reader, I love all of these and have the utmost admiration for anyone who can write in these genres. However, I think in order to fully explore your imagination and writing capabilities, it’s probably not a bad exercise to have a go at something you’re not used to.

Try this: pick a genre that you’re not used to writing in, like one of the following: Romance, Western, Sci-Fi, Horror, Adventure, Fantasy, Historical…

Once you’ve decided on one, just jot down ideas for a story. You don’t necessarily need to write the whole thing, but start playing with plot lines or characters that would live within your new world.

An alternative exercise is to write an elevator pitch for a story or novel for 5 genres. See what comes out…

Happy writing!

Writing Prompt: Stranger Than Fiction

I glanced around the room and let my eyes rest on everyone around me. Each person has something interesting about them. It’s not the physical characteristics that caught my notice. It was the sudden realisation that I know something about each of them that makes them unique. When you come down to it, the physical characteristics of an individual will only go so far when you’re writing, but it is the little facts about how they behave, their history and speech that makes them special.

A woman in the corner leaned over her desk, typing away. The other day I met her on the street putting up posters for her missing cat. She had a friend with her and after a brief greeting, I wandered off, sad for her and the missing moggie. It made me think of how heartbroken I would be if I ever lost my little cat.

Nearby, a young man spoke on the phone. Although I sometime get the impression he is aware of people watching him, he’s quiet and buries he head in his work, a little late each morning and bolting out right on time every evening. He’s a sports fan. That is the measure of my knowledge of him.

There’s a fellow at the end of the hall that enjoys motor racing, keeps horses and dogs and often swears to himself when he’s annoyed.

One person is elated, then drops her shoulders, just a little calmer at the sight of a kitten. (much like myself).

In the next room, there’s a woman who spends time doing charity work, always has a kind word for others and is a vegetarian.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say. I think it just hit me that everyone is so unique, so special in their own way. Everyone has some tendency towards good or evil, but there are so many little parts to a person. Pick someone you know. Don’t name names, just think of the things that make them unique, good and bad. Try to see them clearly. Add no judgement or opinion, just observation.

Writing Prompt: North and South

It’s interesting how places can be so different with only a few hundred miles between them. In California, I lived in both the north (San Francisco) and grew up in the south. There was a distinct contrast between attitudes, lifestyle, climate and culture. When you consider there were only 400 miles between my hometown and my university in the north, I was surprise to see so many differences. Still, I had my preference, but each city had certain things to recommend it as well as things I could do without. I suppose the same could be said of any city.

Many years later, I find myself in the same situation. I spent the first years of my UK residence in London, with its marvellous noise and the speed of everything and everyone. The myriad of things to do and the influx of colourful strangers from all over the world pouring in from every corner of the city. The expense made it the sort of place that could be exciting and varied for those who had the money and cold, hard and unfriendly for those who didn’t.

Four hundred miles to the north is Edinburgh, with its spectacular castle on the hill, the rugged beauty of the mountains and lakes so nearby and the picturesque views of the Forth. People are polite and appreciate culture and are ready to laugh and have a good time. The cost is your anonymity. There is a littleness of the place that gives it a claustrophobic air and there is no escape within the city when you wish to be left alone. The friendliness of the people takes the sting out of knowing that you’re never just a stranger, reading the paper or weaving in and out without identity. The weather, cold and damp and chilling for much of the year bears down on its residents with only a few weeks of sun to look out for.

No place is perfect, but we don’t always step back and really analyse the places we’re living in for both the good aspects and the bad. Have a cold hard look at the place where you live. What do you like about it, what don’t you like so much?

Up ↑