Do You Use Writing Prompts?

Guttersnipe

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I'm not talking about prompts that say "Write about this thing that happened to you," or, "Include these three things in your story"; I'm talking about taking a prompt that basically gives you the premise and gist of what happens. Do you ever use a prompt in its entirety? I personally rarely do this, but I do read a lot of them, as they sometimes knock something loose in my mind and then I get my own idea. Do you consider it to be a form of "cheating?"
 

Christine Wheelwright

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I'm not talking about prompts that say "Write about this thing that happened to you," or, "Include these three things in your story"; I'm talking about taking a prompt that basically gives you the premise and gist of what happens. Do you ever use a prompt in its entirety? I personally rarely do this, but I do read a lot of them, as they sometimes knock something loose in my mind and then I get my own idea. Do you consider it to be a form of "cheating?"

Can you give an example?
 

Christine Wheelwright

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I don't think its cheating. These are really meant to be writing exercises (I think) rather than the basis for a bestseller. It is interesting though, because most aspiring writers would say they have no problem thinking up plots (the difficulty comes with the technicalities of telling the story).
 

Guttersnipe

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I don't think its cheating. These are really meant to be writing exercises (I think) rather than the basis for a bestseller. It is interesting though, because most aspiring writers would say they have no problem thinking up plots (the difficulty comes with the technicalities of telling the story).
I have loads of ideas of my own; it's mostly for non-speculative stories I wish to write about. Straight drama, thriller, etc. don't always come naturally to me.
 
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Venusian Broon

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Do you consider it to be a form of "cheating?"
In theory not at all - assuming the prompts have been put out in public.

However, looking at your examples, I'm instantly put off by the specificity of the various prompts. They just don't look fun at all to think about with so much already 'decided'. :giggle: They look like the sort of thing that might be given out on a creative writing course for weekly homework (I've never done a real creative writing course, so I may be wrong on that sort of thing. The only- cheap! - writing course I've done had much more generalised prompts on what to write for each lesson.)

If I had a gun put to my head, that I had to do something, I would probably feel most comfortable: taking one of those prompts and extracting the main theme/message in it, then spinning a story with my own details.
 

Venusian Broon

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@Venusian Broon I don't use those ones, but some like those help inspire me, and I'll glean some details here and there.
I can get inspiration from all sorts of situations - sometimes it comes unbidden out of nowhere while gazing out the window, sometimes from a particular phrase in another peron's novel that I'm reading, etc. - and I don't seeing a problem getting ideas from such lists, if that's what gets the creative 'juices flowing'!

I'm sure in your case as well, they are generating personal flashes of inspiration that are unique.
 

Bramandin

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Last time I tried to use a prompt, it was "two characters argue about shipping" and I know the prompt meant relationship shipping but I decided to make it about flat rate USPS versus by-weight. I didn't even get to that part because I did a thousand words about the character getting snacks for the care package and called it good.

What I use for prompts is to watch a documentary and see if anything strikes my fancy.
 

THX1138

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I'm like @Venusian Broon and @Bramandin. I get inspiration just like they do as well as looking at everyday things and events from a different perspective or angel of view. Like doing the 100 word anonymous challenges. You know the subject and genre, but the interpretations are so varied. Just a wealth of imagination. Sorry, i think I got a little off track.
 

THX1138

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I'm like @Venusian Broon and @Bramandin. I get inspiration just like they do as well as looking at everyday things and events from a different perspective or angel of view. Like doing the 100 word anonymous challenges. You know the subject and genre, but the interpretations are so varied. Just a wealth of imagination. Sorry, i think I got a little off track.
Sorry about that! Had to take care of a few things.
My point was that any of those word challenges are good exercises, as I look at the requirements as prompts that can become a source for a story as well. :)
In addition to what the other two said as well.
 

sknox

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It certainly isn't cheating, or else all reading of books would be called that. Just plain living would be a form of cheating. I say use whatever works for you, and don't give the rest a second thought.
 

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