In my Wednesday's Writer spot, I'm delighted to hand over my blog to the rather wonderful Mary Calesto who has something intriguing to tell us about using writing prompts to inspire our work.
There’s some truth in the old adage, “write what you know.” Granted, most of us don’t hang out with vampires, or deal with shape shifters and demon hunters, but we do have several times during the day when our muse gets prompted. After all, I tend to write pagan romances. Part of this is enjoyment on my part. As a Wiccan woman, I love to see my religion accurately portrayed in fiction (witches and magick are an oft abused trope in romance and fantasy), but also, because I can draw on my deep feelings toward my spirituality and the “warm fuzzy” emotions that writing (and reading) romance tends to evoke. It’s why I love to put pets in my books, too, because I can draw on my own experience as being owned by cats or taking care of a beloved dog.
Combine things that happen in our lives with the “what if” game and we get quite the rich tapestry from which to weave our stories. What if she missed the big meeting and instead found out her job was taken by an old college crush? What if he had to juggle his busy career, being a single parent, and now runs into the one who got away in high school? What if she wakes up and finds out her neighbor is a vampire? And what if she discovers that her life as a single-mom and pastry cook is turned upside down by a calling to fight demons?
Pretty hefty questions, and any of them could spark a book (or three!). And yet, even for the supernatural stories, the core of them came from our daily lives. Who doesn’t want to find out the mundane suddenly is normal, and reality is something completely different and far more exciting and sexy? Our every day lives become springboards for multiple book ideas. That’s the beauty of writing prompts.
But if you feel your life just doesn’t lend itself to writing prompts, then I encourage you to check out writing prompt books. These make fun exercises for groups, or individually, and they can help you train your inspiration to move quickly, something that’s great if your preferred writing length is in the novella (20-40K range or shorter). It’s why I wrote my book UseYour Muse: Writing Prompts for Romance Writers, because writing prompts can be so powerful in working with your inspirational muse and training it to create the stories your readers will love!
While I certainly think you should check out my book, I also encourage you to look at your daily life to see what writing prompts you can discover. You might be surprised.