Writing Prompt: Everyone in the neighborhood has heard the bad news: monsters from outer space are on their way to take over the Earth. Some people are more excited about taking on the aliens than others. But they all know they must be ready…what happens next?
It didn’t occur to me that my books would be widely read at all, and that enabled me to write anything I wanted to. And even once I realized that they were being read, I still wrote as if I were writing in secret. That’s how one has to write anyway – in secret.
Writing Prompt: You’re writing a scene set in the past (say, between 1890 and 1912). Two people go out on a first date. They could take a walk in the park, see a play or visit the ice cream parlor. But what if she suggests something a little more offbeat? Or what if he’s just received two pairs of stilts from his eccentric great-uncle? Or a newfangled zipline has just opened up down the block? What happens next?
As I’ve gone through life, I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old.
Writing Prompt: Create a scene in which one, two or dozens of characters are inspired to start dancing in the street. (Humming Motown as you write is optional.)
So this seems like a good day to mention that there’s a mini-Star Wars theme in my first novel, The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney. (One of the characters, Jack, has this action figure on his bookshelf. It means something…)
Check out my Pinterest board for other images related to Sparrow!
The advice I always give the aspiring writer is persist — and don’t get stuck on one manuscript. I think that’s a mistake that a lot of writers make. They write one manuscript, one book, and then they spend an awful lot of time trying to improve it, to get it just right, whereas in fact what I think they should be doing is going immediately on to the next book and starting the second manuscript. So that’s my advice to aspiring writers: Don’t get stuck on your first book or indeed your second. Go on and write manuscript after manuscript after manuscript. Writing is like playing the piano or long-distance running; you have to practice it.
— Alexander McCall Smith