"Once upon a time…"; "It was a dark and stormy night…"; "The shrill scream cut through the stillness of the night like a knife…", You know these beginnings by heart if you are a reader. No two ways about that. Well, as clichéd as they are, they are still the most commonly used prompts for creative writing in schools even today.
The best thing about writing happens to be the fact that it is a skill that can be inculcated and honed. Anybody (literally) can be a writer – no matter what the dialect, what the language, what the subject. All you need are a few ideas to begin with, the courage to let your imagination go where you won’t dare in real life and a little practice. Yes, you might hate what you write in the beginning, but things will get better gradually. So, have a go at the prompts provided below and cook up the supposedly absurd just for fun.
✏ When Sharon opened the door of her closet the next morning, there were two of every piece of clothing she owned. How had her clothes duplicated overnight?
✏ The whole family sat down for the picnic, and the bear sat down with them.
✏ Write 200 words on the life of a mosquito.
✏ Pen a piece called “50 Reasons for Dressing Well Everyday”.
✏ Five students stumble upon a cave when they drift away from the main group, while on a picnic in the forest. What ensues?
✏ A beggar has won a million dollars in the lottery. Write about the thoughts that emerge inside his mind and the behavior of the people around him before he goes and takes the money.
✏ Compose a piece telling readers exactly how one should go about caring for a pet Komodo dragon.
✏ Write a story that includes this sentence: “This pendant is the only way that you can enter the castle.”
✏ A spaceship stumbles onto a planet full of aliens who look like flowers.
✏ The new house owner discovers an old photograph in the attic.
✏ Begin a story with “Phoebe was known for her hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia” and end it with “… buying a house in Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu was only sane.”
✏ The world is going to end tomorrow. You are left with exactly 30 hours to live and all the money in the world. What are the things you would like to accomplish?
✏ When Sasha was five, her parents made her get devil-like horn implants on her forehead. Why?
✏ Gretchen has lied to save her friend from trouble. Now she is in more trouble because she has to keep lying to continue the story that she has told. When will her troubles end?
✏ Police Officer McCarthy finds a dead body. There are no clues except for an elaborate gold key lying beside the body…
✏ A random cleaning up of the house leads to the discovery of an old diary. What happens next?
✏ End a 1500-word short story with “… a severed hand.”
✏ Beginning with Ellen DeGeneres’ quote “Procrastinate now, don’t put it off”, pen 20 advantages of procrastination. Each advantage should be written in a paragraph of exactly 55 words – not more, not less.
✏ Write down 10 things that you are absolutely sure about.
✏ If you could resurrect three people from the dead, who would they be and why?
They say that author Tory L. Hayden wrote her first piece in a matter of eight days just to chronicle her experience with an extraordinary child called Sheila. She did not have any intention of getting it published while writing. However, in exactly 42 days time (from the day she began writing it), she had gotten herself a publication contract with G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Today “One Child” has been translated in 28 different languages and is lauded the world over. She just wrote because she felt the need to express herself. Appreciation followed on its own. This could be your story as well. So just pick up that pen, find yourself a comfortable den and let the words flow.