As a writer and teacher, I know that one of the most frustrating things about writing can be the process of coming up with ideas. I sometimes teach poetic form and I can see the irritation on my students’ faces when we’ve spent half and hour talking about what constitutes a syllable, and how many syllables should go into each line of a traditional haiku.
When I then say, “Write a haiku,” I know that some of them are thinking, “My head is not in a creative space right now. I’ve just spent half an hour listening to the technicalities of counting syllables and I’m still trying to remember which is the kireji and which is the kigo.”
This is where writing prompts can be so useful.
In poetry classes I’ll use a big, brightly coloured beachball that has words written all over it. The idea is, the ball is tossed at a student, they catch it (hopefully), and they write a haiku based on the first word they see.
99 Horror Prompts is the e-Book version of that creative process: but for horror writers.
I’ve spent a lot of time creating a list of prompts that are generic enough to suit a range of styles, but sufficiently specific so they work for minds invested in the horror genre.
Some of these prompts might look like summaries of existing stories. There are reasons for this, all of which relate to our predilection for similar shapes in narrative structure. Some of these prompts might leave you cold. This is good because not every story idea is right for each of us in the same moment. However, as a writer and teacher, I’m confident there will be some ideas here that could spark your next scary story.
I know some writers worry that, if they use a prompt, they’ll produce the same story as another writer. The laws of probability say that this could happen. We all know that an infinite number of monkeys pounding away at an infinite number of typewriters will produce the complete works of Shakespeare. But I’ll be honest and say I think it’s very unlikely.
In all my years of using the brightly coloured beachball to teach haiku, I’ve never heard two students produce the same piece of work.
So, please subscribe to my email list and secure your free copy of 99 Horror Prompts. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what you want to write next, or you’ve been teasing your brain for stimulation, this is the book that could inspire your next horrific masterpiece.
And, if any of the prompts in this book do work for you, I’d love to hear about it.
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