Sparks Creativity a prompt does as Yoda would say. J Vincent

So what is a prompt that gets one writing? For me it can be one of many things. A word list, a phrase, a sentence, a photo, an old barn or house you drive by, an unusual rock formation, an overheard conversation, a memory, a dream, even another story. I’ll give some examples of some that have worked for me:

Word Promts: In Mission Possible a list of words is sent out and the object is to write a story with all the words.

A phrase prompt: Penny is very good at providing these. Check out her May and her August 31st blog. She gave a list of prompts and invited us to play . Mine was

"After the door shuts and the footsteps die there will come the moment you know you are truly alone. Alone and safe.

“What if I don’t shut the door?”

“That’s a choice. Consider a door. Open. Anyone, anything can intrude, can disturb, can overwhelm you.”
“But to be alone forever . . . “

“To be safe forever.”

“But then you’d be gone.”

“Never. I am always with you. Am I not enough?”


“With me you touch and stay on the edge of sanity. That is what you wanted? After all you’ve done all I’ve asked.”

“Yes, the room is empty.”

“Then take the knife and close the door.”

The woman gripped the handle of the knife. All she had to do was make one swipe across each wrist. Just one. She knew how. She knew it would close the door. Still she hesitated. Would the voice still be there is she did it? She needed the voice.

A photo: You’ll find the story I wrote from this photo about a Garden Bench

A Memory: This is what I wrote after recalling a favorite Christmas memory. Santa’s Hand

An unusual rock formation: In Colorado from La Junta to Walsenburg runs a very barren seventy miles. About half way to Walsenburg outcrops and steeply cut hills start to appear. They made me think of Roman Breton hill forts. Because of this scenery I wrote a Roman Breton romance---not yet published. You can read a rough draft of Chapter 9

These are a few of the things that inspired me. What type of prompt do you find most inspiring!


Melissa Robbins said...

Ooo, Joan, that door one was creepy. Chills.

Joan Vincent said...

Melissa, the turn it took rather surprised me too! Even we don't sometimes know where our minds are headed.

Reese Mobley said...

You have a knack for writing suspense. Do your books contain a little mystery/suspense as well?

Joan Vincent said...

Reese, Almost all of my books have an element of mystery or suspense. I read a lot of mystery/suspense series and I guess it colors my writing.

Rox Delaney said...

Word and phrase prompts have never been much help to me. I consider that a negative and envy those that use them and end up with something as great as what you created.

Starla Kaye said...

I totally agree with it can be anything that suddenly sparks my creativity...a word list (I loved the Mission Possibles), a photo, an overheard conversation, a dream...

I'm also influenced by where I'm at right then. For example while on my recent vacation, I came up with a new women's fiction idea based on the place.

We just never know when that magical writing moment will hit us.

Penny Rader said...

I'm tickled you liked the prompts I shared, Joan. Your piece about the door gave me shivers. Thanks for sharing.

Penny Rader said...

I also loved your Santa's Hand story. You captured the anticipation of the presents and the fear of discover perfectly. How long did it take you to figure out who that hand belonged to?

Joan Vincent said...

Penny I was probably in high school before I figured that out. Mom and Dad were very good at keeping the belief in Santa going and we were rather isolated--remember this was before tv--which we didn't get until I was an 8th grader.

Penny Rader said...

Joan, I think I was 9 or so when one of my mom's best friends came over for a visit. Her daughter told me there was no such thing as Santa. Made me so mad. I went and got a book that said there was too a Santa. Even though I know Christmas isn't really about Santa, that Jesus is the reason for the season, much of the magic of Christmas was destroyed by my thoughtless, know-it-all friend and I've never quite regained it.

A couple weeks ago my 9 yr old grandson was talking about there not being a Santa with his younger cousins only a few ft away. I shushed him and told him ANYONE can be Santa, that Santa is the spirit of giving. He didn't really buy it. I miss the days when I believed whole-heartedly that there was one person who was Santa.

Wow, sorry to go off on that rant. I guess that memory and its repercussions still rankle.