Writing prompts from Writing Excuses podcast

One of the sci-fi orientated podcasts (though you’d only really know it from their reference to the fantasy novels/comics they write) is the weekly ‘Writing Excuses’ (http://www.writingexcuses.com). As they say “it’s 15 minutes long because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.”! It gives you an idea of how friendly the podcast is. It’s such a great programme. Writing Excuses is usually hosted by three guys Howard, Dan and Brandon and it’s really informative and informal. At the end of each show they give a writing prompt which can be done by anyone, not just sci-fi writers. Here are the first few from way back (thanks to a dig around in my files for info for my the latest podcast – links on the left-hand ‘Where to find me’ menu):

  • 29.09.08 – “Take an old piece of writing, look at the dialogue and tweak it – have it evoke a bit more character but mean the same thing. So the story doesn’t change its meaning.”
  • 29.12.08 – “Write a story with no theme and that means nothing.” Is it easier said than done? Actually writing complete garbage is good for you. A fan approaching Larry Niven once gushed “I’ve read everything you’ve written”, to which the cool Mr Niven says, “I doubt it.” Writing something that doesn’t get published is still writing and if it’s rubbish then the chances are that the next thing will be better. I look at some of my writing from 2004 and cringe…but then I look at some of my writing from 2008 and do the same but that’s what the editing process is for. There’s very little that has no ‘legs’. A rejected story can be rewritten or pulled apart for another project so even if you have an idea that you think no-one will be interested in, do it anyway. What’s the harm? Sometimes a rant and rave on paper is very therapeutic and you never know there may be someone out there who will buy it! 🙂
  • 05.01.09 – Have some fun in the worst possible way: write an extremely violent sequence and then write the consequences (moralise it afterwards and force yourself to walk that path)
  • 12.01.09 – no writing prompt but a very interested programme on time-saving
  • 19.01.09 – Write an ending and start your book (or story) with it.
  • 26.01.09 – Write a credible alien and write something from his perspective.
  • 02.02.09 – Write a story about the worst website ever.
  • 09.02.09 – Come up with a unique governmental/bureaucratic title name, i.e. something completely different to minister, king, priest etc.
  • 16.02.09 – Write a story about a golfing metaphor!
  • 23.02.09 – Come up with 25 words that distil everything you want to say about your next work.
  • 02.03.09 – Write a fight between two people who have never been in a fight before and have to use their environment cleverly. Nothing to do with sci-fi etc. but there was a hilarious ‘fight’ scene in both Bridget Jones’ Diary films between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant – definite must sees.
  • 09.03.09 – Pick your favourite author and in 50 words or less, write down what you think their brand it (and they suggest discussing on their forum).
  • 16.03.09 – Write a story about a character getting attacked by flying monkeys!
  • 24.03.09 – Write a story about a non-genre character (example given was Winnie the Pooh!) within the world of your genre (“on a spaceship”!)
  • 30.03.09 – Write something that you are passionate about. Their guest that episode was an editor and she said she only accepts stories where she can feel the writer is passionate about what they’re writing. I’ve heard so many times that if you are bored with a particular piece it will come through and the reader will get bored. So if that’s the case, put it to one side for a while and move on to something else. That way it will, hopefully, it will seem fresher when you return to it (and you must!) and easier to see where you are going wrong.

We'd love you to leave a comment, thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.