Plot Possibilities...

Writer’s block? Try one of these:

·      Your character gets a phone call that changes everything.
·      There is a car accident.
·      A secret is revealed.
·      The weather changes.
·      The power goes out.
·      Someone picks a fight with your character.
·      Your character gets his/her fortune read, or even just breaks open a fortune cookie. What does it say? What is your character’s reaction?
·      A shiver runs down your character’s spine. He/she has a bad feeling…
·      The car breaks down/runs out of gas/pops a tire.
·      Your character is out of milk.
·      Your character is allergic to ________ and, unbeknownst to him/her, has been exposed to exactly the thing he/she is allergic to.
·      An animal enters the story.
·      Your character receives a mysterious postcard/letter in the mail/email.
·      Your character’s best friend suddenly stops speaking to him/her for no apparent reason.
·      Your character's significant other, brother, sister, mother, father, or someone else close to them says, “I have something I've been meaning to tell you…”
·      A new person moves in next door.
·      Your character is invited to _______. Does he/she want to go?
·      Bring in a holiday, any holiday.
·      “Someone, call 911!!”

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review.


Karen Cioffi said...

Dallas, what great tricks to blast writer's block out of your path!

elysabeth said...

Dallas, interesting thing about your tricks - about 3 months ago I had gone to an open house for a local writing group and came home inspired after brainstorming with my friend who went with me to the fun get together. I knew a secret was involved with my protag and thus had to write a prologue in order to get the secret out but know that the prologue was only a place marker so when the secret really comes out in the story that I already have that backstory down so I won't forget it. Thanks for sharing - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a middle grade/YA paranormal mystery written similar to a Nancy Drew mystery

Heidiwriter said...

Great list! I'm going to keep a copy of this...just in case!

Magdalena Ball said...

Hi Dallas, that's enough for a whole course worth of writing ideas. The nice thing about those starters is that they are all open-ended - every story written with them will be completely unique from every other one.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Just read a piece of advice from the late Ray Bradbury who advised a writer facing writer's block to write a short story every day for a year...this brilliant list will keep me going writing one a fortnight for the year. l shall revisit it often. Thanks Dallas.

Dallas Woodburn said...

Thank you for your kind words, everyone! I'm so glad you found it helpful. I'll be sharing more next month, too!

Donna McDine said...

Terrific writing prompts to break through writer's block. Thank you very much!

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