Uploaded by chrismillis

Writing Advice and Prompts

Writer’s Block
Set out to purposely write the worst thing you have ever written (it’s very hard, once
you’re conscious of your intention). Start off by writing, “This is the absolute worst bunch
of junk I have ever written because…” Keep writing. Don’t stop. Aggressively write
badly. Do it on purpose. Don’t think about it. Just do it.
Midpoint: Act I and the first half of Act II. List the big narrative beats in your story so far.
Is there a clear narrative event that ends Act I? If not, what is the closest thing to it?
What can you do to clarify and make more definitive that narrative shift?
Is there a new character before the midpoint? Who are they, and what do you think their
current purpose is in the story?
Is it clear what your protagonist wants before the midpoint? Write it in a sentence:
(Character name) wants (blank).
What happens at the midpoint?
Write the Hardcover inside flap copy for the book jacket your current novel.
Project yourself five years into the future. Imagine that you have accomplished some of
the goals you’re setting for yourself right now. What do those accomplishments look
like? What are you doing professionally, personally? Where are you living? Now write
your Author Bio for the back flap of one of your future novels (your current novel-inprogess has already been published).
Pick a scene from your outline that’s ahead in the storyline, something you have not
written. Write that scene.
Write a scene set during the childhood of your protagonist — or antagonist.
Choose a future scene — or, rewrite a scene you have already written — and either
switch the overall narrative POV, or write from the first person POV of a character that is
not your protagonist.
Think of a seemingly minor plot element of your story and start to write a side quest
based on that element. Consider making a secondary character the protagonist of that
side quest.
Interview your protagonist or antagonist as though you are a reporter writing a profile
piece on them.
What do you believe is the best advice you ever got? Now, give that advice to your
protagonist. Who gives it to your protagonist? Under what circumstances? What does
your protagonist choose to do as a result?
Close your eyes. With your eyes still closed, open them in your mind as your
protagonist. What is she looking at? Experience the entire environment with all the
senses. What is air like, and how does it feel on the skin? What does she smell? Hear?
When she moves, where does she go — to do what? What is she thinking? What does
she want right now (even if it’s a glass of water). Follow her and write it all down.
As your protagonist in the first person POV, have your protagonist write a letter to
someone they love. In the letter, reveal a secret that they are sharing for the very first
Picture your protagonist on their death bed. They are reviewing their life. What are they
most proud of? What is their deepest regret? Why? Write about one, then the other.
Choose a future scene in your novel. A conversation you know takes place between
characters. Write the scene — focused primarily on dialogue and the physical dynamic
between the characters (keeping other descriptions at an absolute minimum).
When it arrived wrapped in brown paper, I was excited to read the ancient first edition of
the book I had ordered. But when I opened it, I saw that a deep rectangular hole had
been cut in its pages and inside that hollow space was…
“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the
straightforward pathway had been lost.”
It’s a story about…
What they’re doing about the problem (sense of irony?)
Friends/Antagonist(s) … (Helpers and Hurters)
Writer Emergency Pack
Think of your favorite novel. Not film or TV show, but novel.
What is your favorite scene from that novel? Think about it and try to recall every detail.
At what point of the story did it occur? What was it’s purpose in the overall drama?
Do you have a similar scene in your novel?
If you do, how could you improve it to make it more memorable as a moment in your
If you don’t, where could you include a similar scene in your own story?
Take down some notes as you think about these questions.
Remember: there are reasons why you remember your favorite scene from your favorite
novel. Don’t you want to provide that same experience to your readers?
Think of one of your favorite scenes from one of your favorite novels, films, or TV
Really transport yourself there. Be IN the scene. Feel the sensations of the body of the
character you choose to inhabit. Look around at the environment of the scene. Think the
thoughts of that character, based on that point of the story they are in.
Think about WHY each character is in that scene. What are their individual motivations
in that moment of the story.
Think about WHY each character is in that scene. What are their individual motivations
in that moment of the story.
Start to write a short story that has three characters and takes place entirely on
a lifeboat lost at sea…