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Writing Prompt: Choose a strange phrase

17 February, 2008

idea-generator-x.png

Unfortunately, when I checked this post in September 2016, the link to the generator itself no longer appears to exist. Here’s another  phrase generator—or check the Web for ‘phrase generator’.

Use a generated phrase for writing ideas

  • Explore the mental possibilities the phrase suggests to you. Try freewriting, or go visual and map/cluster your responses.
  • After letting your imagination generate possibilities, you may be inspired to develop a coherent longer piece—an article, story or poem.

There are no rules. Decide the challenge you want to set for yourself. Will you try to include the phrase itself in your writing? Or let your writing follow the associations the phrase conjures up for you?

Examples

I ‘spun’ the original generator 4 times. Below are some questions I’ve developed for each phrase. They suggest some possibilities that could lead to interesting writing—I’m sure readers will think of many more.

  • Phrase generated: Inexpensive nuclear garden
    Why inexpensive?
    Side-effects?
    On earth…or?
    For special plants…or?
    Why is a nuclear garden needed—what’s happened?
    Who makes the garden? Who keeps it up? Who likes it? Who uses it? Who hates it?
    Past, present, or future?
    Metaphor or symbol?
  • Phrase generated: Do-it-yourself torture game
    Who would do this? Why?
    What happens? What kind of torture—physical, emotional, social?
    Fun, scary, a bit of both?
    Do we all indulge in our do-it-ourselves torture games in our lives and our relationships?
    Past, present, or future?
    Metaphor or symbol?
  • Phrase generated: Secret foam art
    What’s secret about it? Is it a ritual in some society?
    There’s all kinds of foam, from shaving foam to hard packing foam. Which one?
    Who’s the artist and why this form of art?
    Is there something strange or sinister about this? Humorous?
    Can the term art be thought of more broadly?
    Past, present, or future?
    Metaphor or symbol?
  • Phrase generated: Medieval inflatable instrument
    For war? Music? Sex? Religious observance? Medical?
    Who makes it? Who uses it? Who likes it? Who doesn’t?
    Is it restricted to a certain group or level of society?
    An instrument of vengeance, power, help?
    Past, present, or future?
    Metaphor or symbol?
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