Tuesday 14 March 2023

The Big Book of Prompts - Dawn Knox talks to me about Writing Prompts today.


Do you use writing prompts yourself? 

I never have a problem finding ideas to write about. The problem I have is finding the time to write about all the ideas I’ve got! So, no, I don’t deliberately use prepared writing prompts. However, there have been several occasions when I have used them, and the consequences have been quite surprising. Each one has resulted in a book – The Basilwade Chronicles, The Macaroon Chronicles and The Crispin Chronicles. I’ve just embarked on a new set of short stories about the members of a zany club who make post box toppers and I suppose they all started from having seen one of the amazing, knitted toppers in my town. So, I rarely search for writing prompts, but they certainly find me.


What are the advantages of using prompts such as those included in the books?  

 On the occasions when I have used writing prompts such as when they’ve been set as a task in one of my writing groups, I’ve found the resulting story is something I would never have come up with on my own. Before I start a story, I usually like to have the beginning and end sorted out but with a writing prompt, I’m more likely to ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ and not worry that I might ‘write myself into a corner’. I suppose at the moment, I’m doing that with my post box topper society stories. In the first story, I set up a ‘villain’ who is believed to be sabotaging the toppers. At first, I had absolutely no idea who he or she might be, but if I’m going to carry on, I need to have an identity for the mysterious A. Godbin, who is quick to complain via email! Have I given them an identity yet? Watch this space!


Where else do you find prompts from? 

 Anywhere and everywhere! An overheard snatch of conversation, an unusual item in a news report, a bizarre or touching historical story, or interesting photographs. There are too many prompts and not enough time to take advantage of them all!



Have you a prompt for today? 

 If anyone is lacking inspiration, here’s a photo I took in a churchyard in London just before the first lockdown! I don’t know why, but this image always comes to mind when I think about writing prompts. Perhaps it will inspire you too!


Anything else you’d like to add?

If you’ve never used a writing prompt, it’s definitely worth giving it a go and seeing if you agree with me, it’s likely to lead you into places you most probably wouldn’t have gone otherwise. Happy writing!

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