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Some of the weirdest writing prompts I found today

Flipping through prompts from 642 Tiny Things to Write About

By Kay HusnickPublished 5 months ago 3 min read
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Some of the weirdest writing prompts I found today
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

When I'm feeling uninspired and freewriting leads to nothing but repeated "the, the, the, the . . ." on the page, I turn to writing prompts. This is a common approach for writers, but every time I do this, I find myself disappointed with the prompts I flip or scroll through.

This has happened so many times that I have written and published two separate lists of my own prompts on Vocal over the last few years after trying to get past my writer's block.

While my search today did not have quite an inspiring outcome, I wanted to share some of the worst, weirdest, or most disappointing prompts in my review of 642 Tiny Things to Write About:

1. You see your old girlfriend at the gas station. She tells you she's moving away to Tennessee with her husband. Her nine-year-old son is in the car. He's never known that you're his real father. What's the boy doing, right then, sitting in the car?

Note: Out of all the details provided in this prompt, what the boy is doing in the car seems to be the least interesting question to answer. I could see this prompt inspiring a story, but not in the way it is intended. Instead, do you know you are his real father? If so, what are you thinking after hearing the news of their move and seeing him now, nine years old, sitting in the car in the parking lot nearby?

2. What do the Post-it note reminders say on the desks of the following people: The President of the United States, Dumbledore, and God.

3. Aloha! You're a lost tourist on a locals-only beach in Hawaii. Talk your way out of a night mugging, using only surfer slang and sea turtle metaphors.

Note: This book was published in 2014, and some of the prompts have not aged well. Reading it in 2023, this one feels incredibly problematic now.

4. Santa's reindeer were named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph. Rename them all as Satan's reindeer.

5. Your dog senses something is not right in the family, but you don't know what it is, and the dog can't talk.

6. Find a passage in your favorite novel. Re-tell it, using only one-syllable words.

7. Once upon a time, there was a (ADJECTIVE ___) wrestler named Tiny. One day, Tiny was (VERB ending in -ing ___) near the White House when an enormous (NOUN ___) fell on Tiny's head. Because of that, Tiny was forever (ADVERB ____). For some reason, no one investigated. (END THE STORY.)

8. You are leafing through a book of portraits of well-known people in ecstasy. Describe the expressions of: George Washington, Attila the Hun, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon Bonaparte.

9. Write a conspiracy theory involving multiple countries and individuals regarding the disappearance of your soap.

10. You have a crush on your first cousin. Describe him or her, injecting your own self-loathing, denial, and conflictedness about your feelings into the description.

Bonus Prompt: Your Starbucks coffee order. (How is this a writing prompt?)

Some of the writing prompts weren't bad or weird or completely uncomfortable (like prompt #10 in this list), but the best of them did not live up to the idea of a "tiny" thing to write about and would not have had enough space on a 3" x 4" page.

Would you try any of the writing prompts in this list? What is your favorite weird or terrible prompt that you've come across when you've been feeling uninspired?

If you do try any of the prompts on this list, I would love to see what you come up with.

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Kay Husnick

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Comments (2)

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  • Jazzy 5 months ago

    I want to try every single one of these. Gosh that book really didn't age well! 😂

  • Kendall Defoe 5 months ago

    The Post-It Note and dog prompts intrigue me. I also had an idea that was close to your Starbucks request: how about a story that is just a set of orders (that could work)?

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