When I first began writing regularly, I didn’t necessarily think of myself as a “writer.” I thought of myself as someone who liked to write, but never someone who would try to make a career out it it. Since then, I have written one full-length YA novel, about 17-year-old Mason Radley who develops schizophrenia when his twin sister Maisie (aka M) dies. With the help of the charming Olivia Overly, Mason is getting a lot better- until Maisie’s voice comes back in his head, and he must choose between moving forward with his life or holding onto the only part of M he has left. I am working on a second, unrelated novel, and am a trying to make a career out of it.
So what prompted this change? Well first of all, I joined a writing group -just for fun- that sent out a prompt every week. Our responsibility as members of the group was simply to write anything at all based on the prompt. A short story, a scene, stream of consciousness; anything was valid, and suddenly I was validated. I never missed a week, and began adding “writer” to my list of self-identifiers.
The prompts would vary in tone and weight every week. Some of my favorite examples are, “I used to think…”, “Underneath the floorboards…”, and “Parking lot Area B.” Sometimes the prompts were instructions, such as “Your piece should include a natural disaster and a song.” Sometimes they were a series of numbers reminiscent of a barcode.
My first book was born out of one of these prompts. Their greatest attribute, I think, and why they worked was because they got me writing at least once a week. No matter what I wrote, it was something, and more often than not I surprised myself with my own ideas and inner voices.
Sadly, this group no longer exists. But their are many other resources you can use to receive prompts: including BookHive’s very own weekly prompts, which begin today! No matter what kind of writer you are, try your hand at writing something new, something so unlike your usual style. The experience will only be rewarding.
And to begin, your prompt for this week is:
“In a matter of seconds…”
Some prompt generating websites:
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Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She’s a member of InViolet Theatre and works with BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.
She currently lives in Astoria and at the Strand Bookstore.