Writing Prompts 2: Prose Challenges

Stretch Yourself as a Writer with Prose Challenges!

Writing Prompts 2: Prose Challenges combine genres, settings, emotions, characters, and more to create an almost never ending supply of writing prompts to stretch your mind and your writing skills!

Writing Prompts 2: Prose Challenges won’t let you get stuck in a rut. You might be writing an epic sci-fi story today, a hard-boiled detective story tomorrow, and a young adult screenplay the day after that.

Witty, tongue-in-cheek, serious, profound, or just way out there–and maybe all of those at once–you’ll never be bored.

Examples from Writing Prompts 2: Prose Challenges

Example Basic Challenges

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For 20 minutes, write about: Three main characters. They betray each other. Spend 5 minutes beforehand brainstorming the main character(s). Try to get them down in every detail, really understand who they are.

Optional Challenge: Perspective – First Person, with an unreliable narrator (can’t trust what the story is telling you).
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For 20 minutes, write in a mystery style.

Optional Challenge: Use a number in every sentence (written out or numerical).
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Example Setting and Mood Challenges

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For 20 minutes, write a(n) gloomy story.
Setting: Village.

Optional Challenge: Unattributed dialogue – work on making the conversation clear without saying who is speaking.
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For 20 minutes, write a(n) confused story.
Setting: Clubhouse.

Optional Challenge: Use jargon. Put the characters into a specific trade or field, and liberally apply that field’s jargon (made up or from your experience).
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Example Crazy Challenges

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For 20 minutes, write following these ridiculous rules:

#1 – Only one character. Explore the antagonist’s motivations, so that the reader understands why they do what they do.
#2 – Perspective – Third Person.
#3 – Use foreign/made-up dialogue, with the meaning implied otherwise.
#4 – Mood: quiet.
#5 – Setting: The internet/cyberspace.
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For 20 minutes, write following these ridiculous rules:

#1 – Multiple characters which all represent aspects of the same character (how is up to you!).
#2 – Perspective – First Person. Re-tell a story you’ve already written from a different character’s point of view.
#3 – Use foreign/made-up dialogue, with the meaning implied otherwise.
#4 – Mood: prickly.
#5 – Setting: Desert.
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Write It, Don’t Fight It!

You may find you get a set of rules you really don’t like. Maybe they’re asking you to write in a genre or style that you aren’t comfortable with. If so: Don’t worry about it! Don’t delete it! It’s only 20 minutes (or even just do 10 minutes) of your life, and it will broaden your writing skills all the more for being outside your norm.

Some of the goofier rules will ask you to do things like only use 2 syllable words. You don’t have to do a perfect job of it, but definitely put in the effort. Try to follow the rule. The effort will get you thinking of words and ideas that you might not use otherwise, and lubricate parts of your mind that might have been rusting for decades.

That’s what writing exercises are all about – opening your mind so that stories can flow more freely in the future.

How to Purchase

The Journal Writers Edition includes Writing Prompts 1, Writing Prompts 2 – Prose Challenges, Writing Prompts 3 – Starting Sentences, and the Memorygrabber, and can be purchased for $89.95 US.

If you already own The Journal, you can buy the Writing Prompts 2 for $15 US. Click on the Help menu (in The Journal) and choose Buy Add-ons for The Journal.

About Mike Hommel

Mike Hommel is the owner of Hamumu Games, an independent game developer in California. When not crafting mind-blowing textual challenges, he makes what he calls “Dumb games.”

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