Prompt: Five odd lists
Here is a writing prompt that will stretch the boundaries of your imagination. And isn’t that what writing prompts are all about?
I’ve made five lists. The words and phrases in the lists are taken from Cobralingus, Jeff Noon’s experimental book of ‘metamorphiction’. I’ve slightly altered some to fit this exercise.
Ways to use this prompt:
- Five lists
Pick a number from 1-20. Find the item in each of the 5 lists that corresponds to your number. Start writing, with the goal of incorporating all five choices.
If a word or phrase does not work for you, feel free to pick another one or change it in some way to suit what you’re writing.
- Totally random
Ignore the five lists and choose randomly from everything listed below.
Choose one item from the Sentence list as a starter for your freewriting.
Choose one item from the Question list and use it to start writing.
- Second time around
It is fascinating to see what your mind comes up with the second time.
After freewriting on your chosen five words and phrases, start over—immediately. Use the same choices but create a different kind of story, theme, or topic.
If your first freewriting produced something gritty and modern, try for something different the next time. Maybe imitate a Victorian crime story, a romance, etc.
If what you wrote first was humorous, go serious, angry or scary the next time.
If your first attempt was in first-person, try another point of view.
Even if you simply start writing again, with no aim as to form or storyline, you will find that your mind will take you to new scenes, characters and situations. You can undertake the same writing prompt many times and always come up with something different
- Lank and dark-eyed children
- Young guy with crazy eyes
- Velocity poet
- Word burster
- Youthful Lordings
- The rider
- Sad-eyed dancer
- The Fool
- Pure heat-racing girl
- Fiery king
- Oscar Poppa
- Hip old gal
- Tall distinguished gentleman
- Young DJ
- Serpent girl
- Crazy angel
List 2: Things
- The blood
- Sympathetic ink
- Chemical wedding
- Burst of new staggers
- Yellow butter moon-mist
- Maniac city
- Blood red lights
- Vision wheels
- Mutated elixir
- Inner darkness
- Cure for dead love
- Crying cure
- Tiny flickering scarlet light
- Tangled threads
- Paradise of dust
- Voices dark and hoarse
- Bathroom mirror
List 3: Actions (You can use whole sentence or only the verb)
- Play the sex
- Thunder on
- Plough the skin
- Serenade ice
- Wake from sleep
- Shape into phantoms
- Redraft chemistry
- Fret the heart
- Trace in faint and visionary colours
- Find the music
- Offer songs
- Loose the Flood
- Watch the lights
- Take the usual shock
- Walk blindly toward a precipice
- Set a course
- Cast the runes
List 4: Questions
- What has been lost?
- Shall I ever be brave enough to take mouthful?
- Where are the cameras, the lights, my fellow performers?
- What has been lost; and what given birth to?
- And what of the missing crew?
- Was this the Escaping Game?
- Now, do you doubt that your Bird was true?
- What’s the problem here?
- What have I done?
- What actions are demanded of me?
- Why did they remain behind?
- What were they doing, partaking of such arts?
- How do you live with that?
- Look, uh, what’s going on here?
- Is that how it got you?
- And what’s with these cards?
- A bloody funny way to run a gig, don’t you think?
- You got the same messages and everything, right?
- Like it’s the latest thing, you know?
- What rainbow of wings will stir from the cocoons?
List 5: Sentences
- I just had to follow the signs.
- The door handle sizzles in my grip.
- I gather my few things together, head for the stairs.
- He decided he must go in search of the missing guest.
- I felt a guilty pleasure.
- The people offer their songs.
- Outside, the air blisters.
- We are to be paid generously, on completion of the exercise.
- One by one, blessed drops of rain begin to fall.
- He never played that tune, that night.
- Take this hand, just one more time.
- We drag ourselves back to the vast engine of the city.
- And then it floats away, vanishing into the haze.
- Flow, my crazy angel.
- I beheld the wretch.
- Sunday morning lays sorrow on the heart.
- The workers are dancing wildly.
- The bouncers have to move in, hatchet-faced bastards one and all.
- I am dumb to speak in straighter lines.
- I’m on the tenth floor, watching the crackle and buzz of the city.