Whether you are young or old, writing can be an enjoyable experience, a great hobby, or a decent job. Yet at times, writers need a little help generating ideas for things to write about. Doubtless, you have heard of “writer’s block,” the dreaded condition of being unable to think of anything to write. Sometimes, a writer, just like an old car, needs a kick-start. That’s where our group, The Writers Kickstart Group comes in. Twice each month, we gather and share short stories based on “prompts” provided at the previous meeting.
A prompt is an idea, usually given as a few words, or a phrase, and submitted to the group by its members. Usually, two or more prompts are presented, and the individual writer may use either one as the basis for a short story, or combine them, or simply generate their own ideas. If you’ve been skimming through the Table of Contents, you have already seen forty-four examples of prompts, the Chapter headings.
It doesn’t even matter whether the word or phrase appears in the story, the prompts are simply available to stimulate ideas for writing. And you will see that each writer derives wildly different stories or poems from each prompt.
For streamlining our group meetings, we have only one rule...a very loose rule...that each author try to limit the text to about five-hundred words, which technically makes it “flash fiction” (stories of less than 1000 words), so that everyone has a chance to read their story to the group during each meeting. That doesn’t always work, but we have found that up to twenty members can easily read their work to the group within a two-hour time frame.
Each chapter of our anthology provides one example of a prompt we have used within the past year, and some of the wild ideas our various authors have written based on that prompt. You will note that while some of the prompts generate a great many good ideas, some completely fizzle, and our authors choose something else to write about. You will also find that some of these stories could be assigned to more than one prompt, as their authors have combined two or more prompts for that particular story. It’s something that’s often fun to try, and sometimes it works amazingly well. At any rate, you’ll find quite a bit of variation in what different writers have written with each prompt. You’ll note that we have elected to begin each chapter with a short poem. Oh, you’ll also find that some of the stories and poems are definitely adult fare, and NOT for the children.