November prompts (for December meeting)

Life Writing and Family Stories

  • November and March celebrate you. This month pays homage to your life; March honours your name. So the following prompts explore you, your life and your story.
  • Prologue your life — Write a Shakespearean prologue of your life. Include your past, present and future.
  • Authentic youTell your life story, with the twist that you do so with a time limit in an entirely new way.
  • The story you tell yourself — What is the story you tell yourself about yourself?
  • A personal map — Create a personal map. Tell your story visually, through sketch rather than writing, and see your experiences and memories from a different perspective, through storytelling, drawing and spatial orientation. Where has your life taken you?
  • Second chance — Imagine you could go back to the age of five and relive the rest of your life.
  • Your life: A mystery novel — You are a world-renowned mystery writer living a life of seclusion. A random email informs you of a great story, the next bestseller. Unfortunately, you find the details to be a little too close to home. Write a scene where you confront the mystery informant, who seems to know a little too much about your personal life.
  • Neighbourhood — Make a map of your neighbourhood and explain its key features to someone who does not live there. You could make your neighbourhood your family and friends or a favourite haunt or trip.
  • Carpe diem — What would happen if you started today what you always wanted to do? After you speculate in your response, carpe diem hodie and see where your first steps lead your life.

This is a picture

  • Unphotographable — Pictures can see things our eyes miss, but our eyes see the essence of things. Find a picture, view or event (something) that catches your attention and intrigues you emotionally. Study it or don’t, then respond to it through writing. You may choose to also include why you chose it. Start your response with “This is a picture I did not take of”. Here is the start of one response: This is a picture I did not take of storm clouds sailing through the sky with the promise of rain later in the day … And of another (a stream of consciousness): This is a picture I did not take of a breaking news story, replete with camera trucks & satellite dishes mushrooming into the sky, reporters in suits doing …

From Observances to Prompts

  • Need more inspiration? November is a busy month with many month-long, week-long and day-long observances. Find an observance that intrigues you and respond to it. Then write about the experience.
  • Life Writing, Family Stories and Family Literacy — See the prompts above for inspiration on family and life writing.
  • (Inter)National Novel Writing, Blog Posting and Non-fiction November — These observances are really calls to action to start that novel or that blog or that work of nonfiction. So start. Don’t think about completing or the length of these projects. Just take a small piece and start it. See where it leads or how far it goes. Then repeat and repeat and repeat.
  • Tongue twisters, puns and clichés — Get your tongues awagging, your alliteration on and your humour humming. It is playing time. So play and bring what you wrote to our next meeting.

Alternatives to National Novel Writing and Blog Posting

  • Book in a Week — Can’t write a book in a month? How about a week? Write a book of any length – starting from one page to 200 – in one week. This prompt falls in the scope of carpe diem hodie. And you do not need a completed work by the end of the week. What you get is peer encouragement.
  • 52 Week Short Story ChallengeThis challenge requires a year-long commitment, and follows Ray Bradbury’s philosophy of writing a story a week to hone and sharpen your skills. “It’s not possible to write 52 bad stories in a row,” he famously stated. And hey, Bradbury did alright for himself. Why not give it a try?
  • A Round of Words in 80 DaysThis challenge may be over twice as long as NaNoWriMo, but it has the advantage of letting you set your own goal. And since this challenge refreshes with a new crew every 80 days, there are plenty of opportunities to give it a try.
  • Continuous Creation Challenge — In this challenge shift all your energy usually spent consuming (news, TV, books, Internet randomness) into creation. You simply identify your goal, determine your time period, and tackle it. Write about your experience.