Faithful readers know that TSHS loves writing prompts as a way to shake out, and up, the daily routine. (For daily prompts, follow us on Twitter @TSHighSociety.) But what happens when good writing prompts go bad? Just in time for All Hallows’ Eve, the following beasties—byproducts of diabolical experimentation in TSHS’s writing lab—promise to get your ghost. So proceed w/ caution, dear reader. For these are bad, bad writing prompts.
Prompts for Fiction
1. Twist endings are due for a comeback. In fact, they were inside the house the whole time!
2. Write a story in which every character sounds exactly like the narrator. The narrator sounds like T.S. Eliot circa The Sacred Wood: “Qua work of art, the work of art cannot be interpreted; there is nothing to interpret.” Chilling qua chilling.
3. Didn’t Donald Barthelme write a story where every sentence was a question? Try that. Except every sentence is an answer. (The question is: “Is that a goat?”)
4. Instead, go shopping.
5. Rewrite Waiting for Godot from the perspective of Godot, who’s returning some videotapes.
Prompts for Poetry
1. Sonnets are hard. So. Just don’t.
3. Write a poem on the occasion of a friend’s wedding*.
*Note: Your friend is a haunted body pillow.
4. (see below)
Can be a lot of fun,
I don’t think I’ve
Prompts for Nonfiction
1 – 5. What even is nonfiction?
Scare your writer friends with this list of prompts for Halloween, or give it out instead of candy to tricksters (PDF download here:Bad Writing Prompts for a Better, Scarier Halloween). And Happy haunting from all of us at Tate Street High Society! For more seasonal writing fun, follow us on @TSHighSociety.
About the Author: Gregory Brown
Gregory Brown, Reviews Editor, hails from Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro MFA program for Fiction and Memorial University of Newfoundland's Master of Arts program in English Literature. He is the recipient of the Roy Daniels Memorial Essay Prize and his fiction and criticism have appeared in Postcript and Paragon.