When I first started writing novels, I bought a book with 365 writing prompts. Every single day, I began my writing sessions with five to ten minutes of a writing exercise. Then I resumed my work in progress. Today, I use some of my ideas as prompts. If a strand of a dream still lingers in my mind when I wake in the morning, I seize on it. Perhaps it will become an entire novel. Perhaps it will serve as a creative exercise. But no time spent writing is ever wasted. It is always an opportunity to grow and explore the ideas we are trying to communicate.
Here are some prompts to get you started:
1. Think of a trait you always admired in your best friend when you were ten. Now create a character who embodies that trait. What would he or she be named? How would he or she look? Don't limit yourself to human characters, make your character an animal or an enchanted being. Give your creativity space to explore.
2. Now think of the school bully when you were ten. What made him or her behave in that way? Create a villain with those same characteristics. Describe the physical appearance of the villain. Give him or her a name and one special, completely unique talent.
3. What if an emotion were personified? What emotion would you choose? How would it look, sound or behave? Then take the converse emotion and work the same exercise again. Are they exact opposites or are they more similar than you would have thought?
4. Think of your dream setting. Create a beautiful description of the place. Really take yourself there and allow the words to conjure an image of the exact location you imagine. What do you see, smell, taste, feel? Use your senses to enhance the description.
5. Now try the converse. What is the scariest place you can imagine? Challenge yourself to write through fear.
6. Close your eyes. What is the first thing that popped into your mind? Write a short story about it.