Post from the Past: Dial a Writing Prompt

I thought I would tell you about a neat little writing prompt generator that I thought of a while back.

Get out a piece of paper or open up your favorite word processing program. Now, think of ten different protagonists, numbering them 0-9. (The numbering system is important.) Your protagonist can be as vague or as specific as you like. Some ideas: police officer, librarian, little old lady, friendly monster, toddler, department manager, forgetful neighbor, shy girl in the corner, garbage man, step-mom. Next, again numbering each from 0-9, think of 10 locations, 10 items, and 10 antagonists. Don’t forget to stretch your imagination as far as possible. Your location ideas might be as common as a supermarket or as spectacular as a galaxy far, far away. (My personal favorite location idea is “under the sea.”) Item ideas: pencil, heirloom, coin, donut, notebook, sword, pocketwatch, railroad spike, strand of hair, game token. Once in a while, use something unexpected in the antagonist category, such as blond 10-year-old girl. You could do the same thing in the protagonist category.

Here’s the fun part:

Get out your cell phone or phonebook, and look someone up. The last four digits of their phone number will tell you which protagonist, location, item, and antagonist combination to use. For an added twist, write the story from the point of view of the actual person who’s phone number you chose. Have fun!

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2 responses to “Post from the Past: Dial a Writing Prompt

  1. Ha ha, I like that!! Might use it sometime. 😀

    • Glad you like it! My kids’ choir and I use the same technique for brainstorming characters and plot for our annual musicals. Only, instead of leaving everything to chance, we actually choose our favorites from each category. It really opens up the imagination!

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