It is the second day of this blog’s existence, and the fifth — and probably not yet final — layout/theme choice, and I’m still noodling ideas for what to make of it overall.
I plan to look for a daily writing prompt book at the Barnes & Nobel near my office tonight, something to give me writing ideas to structure my main, daily posts around, but preliminary online searching leads me to believe the book I’m looking for doesn’t exist.
I’m looking for a book that will give me, as an author currently caught up in the minutia of worldbuilding and writing the first draft of a fantasy novel, daily writing exercises to practice in my own world. Ideas for mini background exercises that get me thinking about my world, characters, and plots, leading to writing that could possibly turn into scenes or whole plot twists later, who knows.
A lot of the writing prompt books I’ve looked at aren’t bad — for example, I have a yellowing, well-worn copy of A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life, by Judy Reeves (my copy was published 1999, but there was a revised edition in 2010). I’ve gained insight from the essays, and used the daily prompts to spark my creativity and get myself writing again after many a dry spell. And the first few prompts look promising for what I’m trying to accomplish…
Jan. 1. Write about a Sunday afternoon.
Jan. 2. Write about a time someone said no.
Jan. 3. You’re standing in a doorway.
Jan. 4. “A year after your death, …” (after Czeslaw Milosz)
(Now, I’m not ashamed to admit, I’ve no idea who Czeslaw Milosz is off the bat, but as a historical fiction writer, I’m not averse to a quick Google search, just for my own satisfaction. He was a Polish poet, and you can check his Wikipedia page for more info if you’re also the curious sort.)
These prompts could work for my purposes — the days of the week aren’t labeled “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…” in my universe, but I could write about a day of rest. Imagining what might happen to my world a year after the death of any of my characters is a bit trickier, since I’m not altogether sure what’s going to happen to the world while they’re alive, let alone if or when they might die.
But flipping forward through the pages leads to more troublesome prompts that just don’t quite fit a historical fantasy setting…
Jan. 11. You are in a motel room.
Jan. 21. Write about something you bought mail order.
Jan. 27. Write about a used car.
Not only are these prompts more suited for a modern setting, but they all seem to be about different, disparate stories, with no thread of interconnection between them. Not what I’m looking for at all.
So, this got me to thinking: perhaps I should try creating the book I’m searching for myself?
I really don’t know how I’d go about it yet, but it’s a nugget of an idea. It’s not like I don’t have enough on my plate already, of course:
- A first draft of a novel, that I’m estimating will be 120,000 words, due by my own self-imposed deadline of one year from now.
- At least one non-fiction article written every month and submitted to appropriate publications.
- This blog and daily writing exercises to keep me motivated, accountable, and focused on my fiction.
- And another historical fiction novel, set in 11th century Spain, waiting in the wings.
All of this, with work, social time with friends, vacations, and family commitments.
I suppose a personal blog is meant to be anything you want it to be… so perhaps, as well as writing short pieces using someone else’s writing prompts, I can also work on a more focused writing prompt book of my own?
I guess we’ll all find out if it becomes that, together.