writing prompts Archive

Walking to Write

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It should be no surprise that walking relieves stress and anxiety and increases creativity, but now a recent study at Stanford University has found that walking, even for just ten minutes, increases creativity by sixty percent. (Apparently, there was no difference between walking outside and walking on a treadmill in

Writing Lessons: Sarah Sherman

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In our Writing Lessons series, writers and writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. This week, we hear from Sarah Sherman, an MFA candidate at The College of Saint Rose. —Andrew Ladd, Blog Editor Before speaking to us, he sat comfortably in

Dancing About Architecture

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“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture,” said Elvis Costello once, probably quoting someone else. And yet, and yet… It is apparently a strong urge to write about (or somehow with) music. The list of creative writing that involves music in some way is long, and grows longer every

Dancing with Myself

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Anyone who has had a dance party alone in their room can attest to the helpfulness of an impromptu hoe-down. In her textbook Writing Fiction, Janet Burroway advises writers struggling with revision to “worry it and walk away,” but sometimes you need to dance away. The play involved might

The Magic of Objects

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“I would say that the moment an object appears in a narrative,” Italo Calvino writes, in Six Memos for the New Millennium, “it is charged with a special force and becomes like the pole of a magnetic field, a knot in the network of invisible relationships. The symbolism of

Story as Architecture / Architecture as Story

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“Think of revision as architecture rather than interior decorating,” my teacher Sonia Pilcer used to tell her Writers’ Block class at the West Side YMCA Writer’s Voice. Narrative as architecture is a useful analogy. Does your story stand on its own? Can its doors open and close? Is it solid

That’s What She Said?

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It’s not polite to eavesdrop. But how many gold nuggets of dialogue have you overheard in your life? I always feel at a loss when I don’t have a notebook and pen in my purse to jot down ideas and strangers’ intriguing utterances. Recently, in a restaurant in Seattle, 

Eye Want

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In honor of Valentine’s Day later this week, and my first post in a series of writing prompts, I present to you this ever so schmaltzy “Cupid in a Wine Glass.” (More on that in a minute.) Between drafting my first novel and teaching creative writing to undergraduates and

For Those About To Write (We Salute You) #16: Bring On The New Year(s)

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For Those About To Write (We Salute You) will present a writing exercise to the Ploughshares community every few weeks. We heartily encourage everyone reading to take part!  It seems ridiculous, especially considering this series has been about getting over the blank page and just going for it, but I’ll

For Those About To Write (We Salute You) #15: Eat, Drink, and Be… Something

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For Those About To Write (We Salute You) will present a writing exercise to the Ploughshares community every few weeks. We heartily encourage everyone reading to take part!  Holy smokes, pals, we’ve almost been at this for a year now! YES! How’d we all do gettin’ small? I’ve always loved