Six-Word Stories

Parsimony: difficult to achieve, but powerful. Working with constraints is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. That is exactly what the six-word story does. The rules are simple: six words only, any punctuation allowed, and you must tell an entire story. The idea is attributed to Hemmingway, along with the heart-wrenching example…

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Where in the world are we? (A visual writing prompt using maps)

For this month's writing prompt, I looked up a bunch of different maps on the internet, printed them off, and took them to my writers' group. I spread all the maps on the floor. Then I asked each person to pick one up and write whatever it made them think about. It turns out that…

Dialogue: The white room challenge prompt

In a white room, imagine two people, sitting on either side of a table. Who are these two people? Two of your good friends? Characters from your novel? A policewoman and a criminal from that TV show you were watching yesterday? You and your boss? One of the people starts speaking. What does he or…

Found Poems

If you have ever absentmindedly re-arranged some word magnets on your neighbor's fridge, you have already created a "found poem". These exercises are a great way to encourage creativity under constraints. In brief, a found poem is a poem that consists entirely of words already present in another source. You are "finding" (or creating) another…