Friday, May 04, 2012


1.       Photos of hot guys.  I keep them on my computer for inspiration in writing my heroes.  Plus, they make my eyes do the happy dance.

2.      Music to set the pace of writing.  This is an idea I got from Laura Hayden, who does an entire (and awesome) workshop on how to incorporate music in your writing.  I can’t write with people talking to me, so I listen to epic movie soundtracks on Pandora, hold the lyrics, please. 

3.      My thesaurus and the dictionary.  I know, sounds boring, but in looking at the thesaurus for one word, I often come across another one that gives me ideas.  Take the word “froward,” for instance.  It means perverse or willfully contrary.  Know any characters like that? 

4.      The internet.  News stories, reviews, weird but true items.   “Body exhumed to swap dentures.”  I mean, really, you can’t make this stuff up!

5.      Visualization.  When I write a scene, I see it in my mind like a movie.  Sometimes, I’ll get an image that haunts me.  I’ve got an entire book planned around one such blip.

6.      Fairy tales and myths.  I write paranormal romance, so I get a lot of ideas for stories and characters from these sources.  For example, in DEMON HUNTING IN THE DEEP SOUTH, I describe a fairy I call a wiggin.  Yep, a wiggin; I totally made it up, but I based the critter on the fairy tales I love.  Here’s the passage and a description:

A wiggin hovered at the end of Ansgar’s nose; a fairy gardener, caretaker of root, moss, bracken and bramble.  No bigger than the palm of his hand, the wiggin was naked but for a few strands of cobweb.  It had skin the color of old leaves.  Brown, lacy wings delicately veined with streaks of silver-green fluttered rapidly from the fairy’s slender shoulders.  The tiny creature regarded him with hard, dark eyes from a face like carved bark.

7.      Life experiences.  When I’m writing a scene, I try to put myself in it and feel what the character(s) are feeling.  My own life gets poured onto the pages, whether by accident or by intention.  I don’t think as writers, we can help it!  It’s therapy.  ;-)
      8.      Television and books.  I get ideas on story development, character arc, and conflict from watching television and reading.  Let me just say, there are NO new stories, but you can put your twist on them and you can get ideas from books and the boob tube.  Hey, that’s a cool idea.  What if I took it and . . .
     9.      People watching.  Like the internet, there is a world of inspiration around you.  People are interesting, no bones about it.  You can get a buttload of ideas if you pay attention.

    10.  Fear.  I am a world class chicken.  As a kid, the monkeys in THE WIZARD OF OZ scared the crap out of me.  To this day, I don’t like scary movies, unless there are monsters in them, and I’m not talking Freddy or Jason.  I’m talking Godzilla, or the Blob, or those things from ALIEN.  I tap into my fear of the boogieman when I write. 

What are some writing prompts you use?


Gwen Hernandez said...

Great list, Lexi! I don't think I have anything to add, but thanks!

Heather said...

Love #1!

These are some great suggestions.

Lexi said...

Thanks, guys! I am at HOD luncheon and having a wonderful time! Talk about writing prompts, being around other writers is a blast!

Cari Hislop said...

I enjoy surfing on-line archives of Portrait Galleries (or Museums) for interesting faces. It's amazing how much our face reveals who we are. After I find a face that summons my curiosity demon I start searching for information on the person. I've discovered all sorts of weird fascinating people/stories that way. Lots of bits and pieces I've learned this way have ended up in my stories.

I enjoy combing The National Portrait Gallery in London because I write historicals set in England, but there are museums all over the world with lots of portraits on-line.

Lexi said...

Cari, that's a cool idea. Hadn't thought of that, but you're right. Pictures tell us much about people.

Chris Bailey said...

Love your list! My most-used writing prompts is: Okay. Do it.

Second thing, for times when I get stuck: What does the MC really want? Do I really want/need to write this scene, or should we move on to something else?

I love photos of people and places, too.

Carla Swafford said...

Yep, Chris, I do that, too. Try to make each scene move the story forward in some fashion or reveal something about a character!

Carla Swafford said...

Oops, Jean/Lexi. Sign out of Blogger when you get a chance. The above comment was hers. LOL!

I was showing her some stats on Blogger and we were using her computer.

Here's mine: Love the picture and my prompt vary but music is certainly a big one. Words in songs inspire me and give me great ideas for stories. Plus I can write (most of the time) when people are singing. A leftover thing from high school I'm sure.

Suzanne Johnson said...

Great list! I also use photos and definitely music. I also use in fifteen-minute spurts during which I can't check email obsessively.