Thursday, February 10, 2011

Writing Prompts to Help Get Your Muse Going

While everyone else is giving you great tips on writing, querying, etc. I thought I'd take a day out to talk about writing prompts. They are a fun way to give your muse the kick in the butt that sometimes it needs to get going. Writing prompts can be anything from a situation, an object, or a picture. I particularly like using pictures as writing prompts. I've found that anytime I'm stuck, I start searching the internet for pictures to inspire me. Then I use those pictures as writing prompts. The trick with writing prompts is to securely tape the mouth of your internal editor shut and just write.

Here's today's writing prompt picture:

Here's what I came up with from this picture:

Rain splattered against the foggy windows. The dim light filtered in through the curtains and cast the scene in somber shades of gray and blue. I knelt down beside the chocolaty brown smudges on the carpet. The mask over my face did little to dampen the putrid stench that filled the room. The flash from my camera exploded in the dim light.
I got up from my crouch, my knees creaking in my old age. I was getting too old for this.
Officer Maloney winced and dropped the sheet back over the body. “So what do you think?”

Let's have some fun. Write a story using the photo prompt with 100 words or less. Enter them into the comments below. Its fun to see how different people's imaginations are when looking at the same picture. And for one lucky commenter, I'll do a query critique! The winner will be announced on Monday!


Shelley Watters writes romance for young adults and adults. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two kids and two dogs. She loves listening to music, reading good books and letting her imagination go wild as she creates new worlds and torments her characters in delicious ways. She is an active member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is currently seeking literary representation. You can find Shelley on her blog at and twitter @Shelley_Watters .


  1. Ah thank you! I'm battling my own writers block... ok I refuse to actually call it that. I call it writing intimidation. I just need to pull my big girl panties up and do something!

  2. Hmm, my query could definitely use some help and I did get an idea from the pic so here goes.

    Not again.

    The trail of mud and water weaved through the living room, down the hallway and into the bathroom where they had a chance to seep onto the white tile floor before circling back and heading to the kitchen. I plucked up the offending shoes by the heels and tossed them out the door.

    “Am I the only one who has any sense?” I grumbled and headed to find the culprit.

    He sat on his bed, one foot propped on his knee. When he noticed me, his smile was full of innocent. “What's up Mom?”

  3. Love your take on it, Shell ;o)

    Patricia, Nice job ;o) I love the pluck the offending shoes line!

  4. Great idea Shelley!

    Awesome Patricia, "his smile was full of innocent" --so cute!!


  5. Okay, here's my stab at it:

    I heard it at the General Store. Jessie Lynn went hysterical. Hit one of them plumbers over the head with a roll of paper towels.

    I told her white was the worst color she could’ve chose, but Jessie Lynn’s not one for listening. Never has been. Been that way since we was kids.

    When I visit her on Sunday afternoon like usual, I’m gonna bend down and make a long inspection of them boot marks on that white carpet. Then I’ll say, sweet as sauce, “You tried my vinegar spray recipe yet? Works wonders on whites.”

    Better than an I-told-you-so.


  6. Erica and Diane thanks!
    A.L. OMG Loved the last line!