Are you prompted to write?

Along with meeting our weekly Creativity Workshop goal, Merrilee gave us tips on ways to come up with writing ideas and assigned us the task of looking at three photos to spark three ideas each. Sometimes a story idea sparked, sometimes a line, possibly an opening, for a story came to me.

Creative Commons via Cobalt123

It was hard not to see this photo other than in a “techo” sense, so I went with that … and a bit of fantasy (which I don’t write.)

  1. A radical new technology enables photographic evidence of the human soul.
  2. She stared at the beautiful blue visualization on the monitor as his favorite song played in Media Player and her heart slivered into shards.
  3. She held her breath and touched the pulsing blue orb, but this time—oh, this time—encountered no barrier; she reached further.
Creative Commons via bslmmrs

Since the main character in my recently completed novel is a brokenhearted man who flees to his cottage by the sea, that’s what immediately came to mind, but I pressed on … sort of.

  1. A suicidal woman retreats to a beach cottage and falls in love with life again.
  2. A recluse suspects that her neighbors on either side are planning to kill her.
  3. In a rental cottage overlooking the sea, a man finally confronts the fallout from his years of alcoholism.
Creative Commons via moriza

This photo just struck me funny, so I had a little fun with this one.

  1. A woman realizes that her husband had lost his mind along with his hair.
  2. If she had to listen to one more of his ridiculous ideas, she would murder him in his sleep.
  3. She knew in that instant on a sidewalk in Manhattan, their marriage was over.

I’ve rarely used photos as prompts, though something I actually see often sparks an idea. Dreams are a big source of inspiration for me. Music can be a good one. Occasionally, some bit of conversation sets my muse to scribbling down an idea. What serves you as a writing prompt?

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27 thoughts on “Are you prompted to write?

  1. I LOVE the ideas you came up with for the cottage. Mine are a bit warped – I should be posting them soon. I really struggled with the last picture. It just didn’t speak to me. The ideas I came up with are flat, but yours are great.

    Pictures and Music are both great inspiration. As well as spending time in the garden and taking walks in the woods or along the shore. Different enviorments usually generate different results. Music (fiction). Pictures (Fiction & Essays) Walks in Nature (poetry).

    I wish I could learn to tap into my dreams the way you do. Maybe that will be a project for next year. I’ve seen some creative courses that teach how to dream journal and they sounded interesting.


    1. Thanks, Trista. I’ve been gone all afternoon and evening, so I haven’t seen your ideas yet, but of course I will. Warped can be good. 😉

      That’s interesting that different prompts produce different writing forms. I’ve never thought of it that way … but I will now. 😀

      I wish I dreamed more like I used to. I could use more good story ideas.


  2. Skipped the first set because I haven’t worked on that photo yet. I really love the other two sets, especially the house. That was definitely my favourite photos. I came up with oodles of ideas for it! I especially like your ‘woman falls in love with life again’ idea.

    As for inspiration, they can come from all over for me. I actually came up with the idea today to write a blog post about it, though I won’t get to it for a few months. pictures, music, conversations, words, just plain imagination… anything can spark a story if you’re open enough to it.

    I’m with you on the dream journaling. When I was younger I was really good about remembering my dreams and even manipulating them. Not so much anymore. I’m lucky if I can even remember them when I wake and usually it ends up being something boring 😦


    1. I can only remember a couple dreams where I manipulated them. The older I get the less I remember my dreams. That’s why the ones I remember in detail usually end up as written stories … or even novels. 🙂 Not the nightmares though.


  3. You have come up with some very ingenious ideas there, I admit I saw the cottages differently, but that is where we are each individuals and ideas are from our own experiences and moments of vision and clarity, or just pure life!

    Have fun! :o)


    1. Oh, certainly, Karen, I think diversity is the beauty of a writer’s mind. I haven’t had time to read the others ideas yet, but I doubt any of us came up with any identical ones. And even if we had the same initial thought, I know we’d take it in different directions if we wrote it into a story or novel.


  4. I visited the blog and read about the workshop today. I don’t know why, I just thought I’d see what was going on.

    This post got bookmarked. Awesome.

    I like those middle exercises you did. Very cool. 🙂


    1. Are you playing along, Darc?

      Of the three photos, I think it’s obvious I was most inspired by imagining what could happen at a certain place. Which is also the theme for my last workshop goal.


  5. I love your responses to the blue orb, especially 1 and 3. I don’t write or read fantasy either, but you definitely grabbed me. Let us know if you decide to pursue either one!

    I have so many prompts, I can’t keep up – nearly every day an article in the newspaper (or the News of the Weird, the comics, or Action Line – go figure) gives me an idea. I’m also bombarded with ideas from overheard conversations, situations at work (most of those don’t work out), and just pure mulling over “what if?”


  6. I love writing from picture prompts, I’ve got so many stored *somewhere* to carry on with *sometime*. I also love using random words, or sentences. The only short stories I’ve ever finished have began life as a random collection of 3 or 4 seemingly unconnected words.
    I love the ideas you came up with for these pictures 🙂


    1. Four unconnected words? Hmmm … the only thing I’ve written to a word prompt was a microflash piece from a sentence beginning prompt. Most of the time when given a prompt like that, my mind goes blank. I think it’s just important to learn what works best for us. There is not best prompt for all.


  7. Great ideas! The first picture was hard for me but your #3 made me think of time travel. Time travel opens it up for tons and tons of things.
    Do you all have to write one of these stories?


    1. Oooo, yes, time travel would be perfect, Dayner. Do you write stories like that?

      No, we don’t have to write the stories, though if I had to, I would choose one of the “sea cottage” ones … or maybe all three eventually. In fact … 😉


      1. I do not do Sci-fi.
        I lack the imagination…or desire, I’m not sure which. 🙂
        You could combine these pictures into one story. The time traveling sea cottages and the angry married couple that live there.


  8. He absolutely did look like he might be losing as much of his mind as his hair.

    I never used to be a prompt writer, but one day I woke up and became one instantly. I can’t explain it other than to direct you to the blue photo prompt and convince you that is my brain waves.


  9. I’m constantly brimming with sparks on every day things. It’s gotten to the point my husband will see me staring at something and ask, “What do you see?”. He’s intrigued at how I’ll twist something so simple and insubstantial and make it more. (Hugs)Indigo


  10. I’m like a dog in that I don’t want to settle into writing until I’ve circled a few times. I’ll pace until a daydream starts (when one needs kick-starting); hold completely still to capture a theme, phrase, or whatever and direct that bit in the direction I need it to go; then sit down to work.

    Anything and everything can prompt a line or idea for me, but to seriously write, I use the above routine.

    These are good image prompts, diverse and emotional. All right; I agree to the challenge. Tomorrow’s post will include three ideas (or… concepts) per photo.

    By the way, I’m itching to throw the first photo’s #1 to Hatrackers. You wouldn’t mind, right?


    1. Yes, Merrilee picked some good photos for prompting. I balked at first because I don’t usually work that way, but when I forced myself, it turned out not to be as hard as I expected. 🙂

      You said: “I’m itching to throw the first photo’s #1 to Hatrackers.” Go right ahead. That’s not a story I would ever write.


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