Tag Archives: practical prompts

Practical Prompt 3-22-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

In the beginning of most stories, the protagonist often plays a defensive game, reacting to circumstances driven by the opposition. But at some point, she has to take charge of the story. Write the scene where your main character goes on the offensive and takes control of the story’s direction.

Practical Prompt 3-15-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

If you have trouble figuring out how to take your characters from one plot point to the next, you might try the “If this, then that,” game. For example, in the story of Cinderella, when the clock struck midnight, Cinderella had two options. She chose to flee the ball before the prince saw her change back into a servant. But she also could have stayed. Brainstorm a list of different actions your protagonist could take given her situation and knowledge base. Then, work up a brief flow chart for each possibility. Ask whether each option stops the story, ends the story, or keeps the story moving forward, perhaps in an unexpected way. Hopefully, this exercise will help you figure out the best path to get your character to the next plot point.

Practical Prompt 11-10-17

 

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

For our current “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine the protagonist’s character arc in a book. Now, it’s time to apply what you learned to your own manuscript.

Last week, we discussed the protagonist’s mistaken worldview at the beginning of the story. This belief needs time to develop, to grow and mature, to become more deeply entrenched in his or her way of life. For this week’s prompt, highlight in scene sketches three moments in the character’s life.

  1. One at the beginning of the book, where the character truly believes the lie.
  2. Another further on, where something happens in the story to challenge the character’s belief.
  3. And lastly, a scene where your character is forced to confront this mistaken belief.

Learn to Write By Reading: Scene Structure

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

Successful writers say it all the time: To be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. So we challenge you to read more and to read outside of your comfort zone.

This month, find the underlying scene structure in the current book you’re reading. Good writers keep readers turning the pages by crafting one scene that builds on the next in an inevitable, but surprising way. As you read this month, make note of patterns you see from scene to scene so you can identify what keeps you interested in the story and what makes you want to skip ahead. Below are some books we recommend, but feel free to chime in and offer other options to our readers. Then stay tuned for some practical prompts based on our Reading Challenge that you can apply to your own writing.

Alicia: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Laura: The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-banks by E. Lockhart

Megan: Arcadia by Lain Pears

Naomi: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Stacey: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Practical Prompt 3-2-16: Attraction Part 3

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

For our February “Learn to Write By Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books in which authors did a great job of building the attraction between two characters.

Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript. Write a scene in which your two characters finally act on their feelings for one another. What might they say or do to express those emotions?