Have you ever had the creative urge to write, but don't have any solid ideas at the time? One of the most difficult parts of writing is the conceptualization stage, when you start deciding what kind of story you want to write. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be original. Often, we want to say something unique to ourselves as individuals when we write. We worry that the things we write will just be a re-hashing of the stories we've already told. We want to try something new, but all too often, we worry that we will just end up sticking to the same genres, the same themes, the same structure. How can we overcome this mental block and get back to our "zone" when writing? One way you can do it is by challenging yourself with writing prompts.
Here's a challenge for you to try to test out your writing chops! Taken from a short story-writing guest lecture on Brandon Sanderson's master class on writing science fiction and fantasy, from Hugo award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal, this will not only challenge you to understand how to engage audiences quickly, it will help you say more with less words. In the lesson, Mary challenges aspiring authors to write three sentences that tell readers exactly what kind of experience they're in for by picking up your book. Can you rise to the challenge?
In the still of the night, as the crickets’ chorus crescendoed and slowed to a scarcely recognizable tune, the cold air crept onto the property of Charles Douglas. The peaceful silence, which had always been the best salve for his tired and restless body, came upon him as it had most nights. At 87 years old, Charles appreciated every ounce of sleep his mind would allow. After all, Charles had seen more shit in his lifetime than anyone else he knew, and that made him an angry old man, unloved by everyone with whom he came into contact in the few times a week he would venture to show his face in public. But that was the way he preferred it; if he didn’t make any new friends, he would never have to lose them in one tragedy or another.