Wednesday, 31 October 2012

NaNoWriMo writing prompts

Tomorrow is the start of the fabulous National Novel Writing Month, which I may be crazy enough to try for the eighth time. I've never actually completed it before, but I'm trying my own personal Octowrimo challenge and am at 47,500 words out of a 50,000 target. Hoping to finish it in the 12 hours or so remaining, but taking a quick break to publish some writing prompts which have really helped me.

Not all of these have resulted in scenes which will make it into my finished novel, but all have helped me to understand my characters a bit better, and have spurred me on to get moving with my writing rather than come to a grinding halt as usual. I hope they're of use to anyone trying NaNoWriMo - and good luck!

1. Write a flashback scene to the week before your novel starts.
2. Write a scene where two of your characters who AREN'T in a relationship kiss.
3. Write a scene where your main character argues with his or her best friend.
4. Write a scene which has less than six lines of dialogue.
5. Write a scene set in a hot-air balloon.
6. Play a random song (using your iPod, Spotify, or whatever) and write a scene inspired by it.
7. Open the nearest book to you at a random page, read the first full line of dialogue, write something in response to it and build a scene around your response.
8. Write a scene where a character loses an item of clothing.
9. Write a scene in which a character talks to their pet.
10. Write a scene in which your character recites a poem. (But don't just choose an epic poem and use it to pad out your word count!)
11. Write a scene in which 2 characters converse only in song lyrics.
12. Write a scene when your main character is being told off by one of their parents.
13. Write your main character's profile for an online dating site.
14. Write a conversation between your main character and their favourite celebrity. (Either an actual encounter or something they imagine.)
15. Write a monologue in which your main character tries to convince someone else that their 'guilty pleasure' TV series is worth watching.
16. Write a scene in which your main character becomes a superhero.
17. Write a scene in which your main character dances.
18. Write a scene in which your main character talks to someone on Facebook chat.
19. Write a conversation between two of your characters on Twitter.
20. Write a scene from the POV of a character who ISN'T your narrator.
21. Use this line to start a scene. “Do you have any idea how to fix this?”
22. Write a sentence which includes the titles of three different novels in it.
23. Write an epilogue showing your main characters five or ten years after the book ends.
24. Start a scene with the worst first line you can possibly create.
25. Write a scene in the style of a classic novel.
26. Write a scene in which your main character sees a spider in his or her bedroom.
27. Write a scene involving at least one drunk person.
28. Write a scene in which two or more of your characters watch a sporting event. (Either live or on TV)
29. Write a scene in which your character wins a bet.
30. Write a scene which starts and ends with the same sentence. (Repeated, rather than just a one-sentence scene!)


  1. Great prompts! I'm participating in NanoWriMo this year (second time!) I'm shutterbug_99 on there if you want to add me as a writing buddy! :)

  2. I don't use the forums that much, but will definitely add you. Thanks - and glad you liked the prompts!