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Could writing prompts help you in the writing process to be more creative? (1 Viewer)

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
So some writers swear by this advice to write to the point that they are writing novels because of the writing prompts. It a way to practice. And btw does this stifle your vision as a writer since a writer is considered an artist? Does it make you feel more creative or less creative? Why or why not? Do you write what you like to read? Because we usually read what we like to write. Do you think this works to be more productive as a writer?
 
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TheMightyAz

Senior Member
I did four years of writing courses and during that time never did a single exercise the tutor assigned. I would continue to write what I was already writing or start new projects. Once I have a prompt, I feel a slave to it. Those fleeting ideas that skip through my head, some of which I latch onto, are immediately overshadowed by the prompt.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
We cannot all have the pleasure of conviction.

I'd be the same if some tutor in the Scrubs said 'paint a flower,' I'd paint a dog. Fight the power.
 

TheMightyAz

Senior Member
We cannot all have the pleasure of conviction.

I'd be the same if some tutor in the Scrubs said 'paint a flower,' I'd paint a dog. Fight the power.

It's not that I 'rebelled'. I just can't find inspiration in a prompt. When I have a limitless landscape in my head, to focus entirely only ONE thing seems counter productive.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Well, what you do the course for? I'd be gurning over the keyboard, being a good little boy for tutor and you didn't even do the homework? [Harrumph rage ;)]. I was on OU courses like that, ten of us there and two never spoke once.

Although the ones that did speak were great. One old pop star sent me his CD. So depressed (his writing shit, sadly-obviously, just been chucked...) I miss him. Bo? Bo something? I dunno. Hoh. I like prompts although 'Defiance' and 'Default' are certainly difficult.

'Defiance' has me all rat-a-tat-tat, fuck you Nazi, or 'as a Nazi it vas my duty to guard the vagon...' stories. 'Default' quite gross like tech word, HAL in space poem?

...

I do-do understand @AZ, don't want to come across narrow-minded...
 
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Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I pretty much felt this way before I posted this thread. But what if the prompts were open-ended or if a writer was an outliner and or planner? Would writers still think it stifled their creativity?

For example write about a time you lied. Write about a time you did something wrong and got away with it. Write about something you remember from your mother, father, brother, or sister.

I liked this last one. It's open ended and could not stifle creativity as much. The advice is good for the most part but this situation for a writer is rare. The prompt can overshadow and control our creative output. For me I need a way to practice sometimes since writer's block is real for many writers.

I think it might be useful if it helps us recall our memory. I can if the prompt triggers my memory maybe imagine something. Maybe an anecdote of my past could create fear. I remember at time I got lost riding a bicycle in the neighborhood when 7-8 years old. What if someone purposely spread false rumors and kept me from getting home?

I read this craft advice and it ultimately recommended books by this author:

https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Barbara.../ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Since I haven't bought the book yet I can say I don't know. But this one has good prompts and she authored 3 books full of prompts. I sort of agree it would make it more difficult to write about the subjects I like. For example if theme I wanted to write about is that beauty in all its forms needs to be disregarded, neglected, abandoned since it corrupts those who have it. I probably would be ignoring what I brainstormed using the prompt for example if I wanted to write about the bicycle incident or event I experienced. It might depend on what my goals as a writer are. Because it might limit the theme 's arguments which don't work for the story's theme and its message and limit creativity.
 
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Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I agree with both of what you both said concerning it stifling creativity. Discussion is good to find out what the consensus is and what works for other writers. Maybe for someone with a lot of writer's block it will have its uses. The most blocked writers need to write from somewhere.

What advice does anyone have versus writing inspiration and versus writing with prespiration? What about writer's block? How do we handle it?
 

Matchu

Senior Member
No, I like prompts.

My 'prejudice' lies more toward the 'how to' and the super-planning efforts with spreadsheet, the 'life-project' until I am finally ready to launch my opera on Amazon. But those guys are good guys, have as much a right as anybody. Enjoy & a hobby, and no beef. We are only the different shades of grey :)
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
I think the LM is brilliant. It is a teaching tool that works.

If you can't relate to the prompt then write what you can. You still get some valuable feedback and that is worth the effort.

Sometimes, and it has happened with 'Defiance,' I get a tie in with another story I'm working on. That is an unexpected and welcome bonus.

Brain in gear, Spin the Muse. Go.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
To quote Tom Good
'Hoppy Bithdot.'
Have a good un.
BC
Yeah, of course. Tho' spinning old story is Spanish practice really. SO you're disqualified.

[archaic me]

..also it's my birthday and posts will become increasingly erratic toward maybe 10:15?
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Ok I have been persuaded this could work. I guess the argument is that all that matters is to write something. It doesn't matter if we use a writing prompt as practice. Going to begin writing using writing prompts soon.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Board Moderator
Whatever gets you writing is a good thing. I journaled for years and wrote short stories that came from my motorcycle adventures. Then ideas for longer works began to smack me between the eyes, and I was compelled to write them.

In my view, two things are important to my writing. First, I give my dreams and crazy ideas power; I consider them over time and mentally compose them into stories. The story has the most power for me because it builds to a point where it demands to be written. Second, routine and dedication. I treat my writing as a job. Every morning I have coffee with my wife, then head up to my office to write. I work my novel until 6pm, then I back everything up and go downstairs where we watch television. Later, I read for two hours before going to sleep.

Back in the 90's one of my karate students opened his own training all. He created a motto for his students that encompassed: Discipline, Dedication, Responsibility, and Respect. Those are the aspects to foster within ourselves in order to succeed at everything in life. In writing, I see it this way:

Discipline: Get your butt in the chair everyday, especially when you don't feel like it.
Dedication: Stay committed to story. Do research. Think about your story before you fall asleep.
Responsibility: Don't slack off or get sloppy. Tell your tale as well as you can.
Respect: Your story came from somewhere, often from the ether outside of yourself. It's a gift; do your best to do it justice.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
Not personally, I have no problem being creative on command and it's been many years since I last looked at a writing prompt. I just don't need the help. Of course, everyone has their own systems and what works for you, go ahead and do it, so long as it leads to the results you're looking for. I've got enough books to write, in fact, I realized today that I need to go back and reorder my writing plan because I have even more books than I'd thought and they need to be fit in. I'm now half-way through my current book, the last book in a trilogy, and I'll be finishing it up in less than 2 weeks. If nothing goes wrong, that'll be a complete book in a month. I should hit 7 this year.
 

Irwin

Senior Member
I like to work from prompts. Without some way to narrow your options, you're standing in the middle of a forest without a map or compass and no idea which way to go, and that's especially problematic for someone like me whose sense of magnetic north is ass-backwards; I'd wind up in Canada! Likewise, even if I choose the best topic of all possible topics, I'll never be convinced that there wasn't a better topic about which to write.

It's analogous to buying blue jeans. When I was younger, you only had two options: Levi's or Wranglers. I always bought Levi's because they fit me well for the most part, but each pair was a little different. Sometimes you got a pair that was flawless in fit and quality, and they became your favorite jeans. You'd continue to wear them even after holes had formed in the knees until finally you had to say good bye, and it was like saying farewell to an old chum.

Today you have dozens of brands from which to choose, so you're never really sure if you made the right choice. You can look at the ratings and read the reviews, but the masses can be and are often wrong. Even though today's stretch polyester blend jeans are far more comfortable than the cotton jeans of yore, you're never as happy with them as you were back in the day because there's always some doubt that you might have chosen wrong–not that you made a bad choice, but that you might not have made the best possible choice.

Similarly, in writing, if you can choose from a limitless number of topics, you'll always have doubt whether you made the best choice, and had you only chosen a better topic, you could have won the competition, and the only possible validation is to be awarded the 1st Place victory!
 
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MistWolf

Senior Member
Writing prompts can help creativity. They get you to think about subjects you'd never consider on your own.

Prompts can inspire creativity when you turn them on their heads. During a creative writing class in high school, we were assigned to write an essay "If I Were an Animal in the Zoo, Which One Would It Be?" I was the only one to pick "Zoo Keeper".
 

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