December 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write a story w/ two antagonists.
  2. Submit a story or article to a paying market.
  3. Scene: A snowy, abandoned carnival.
  4. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: handed, going, perhaps, after, Wednesday.
    2. Write a scene where the lighting contributes to the mood.
    3. Use the phrase “This is the end.”
  5. Try genre writing, like fantasy or mystery.
  6. Use “bounce” and “softness” in a story/poem.
  7. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  8. Write from a second person POV.
  9. Submit to an online journal or magazine.
  10. Scene: backstage at a community theater production.
  11. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: parent, would, also, quarter, nicely.
    2. Write about a form of nonverbal communication.
    3. Mix a couple of immiscible metaphors.
  12. Write in bed for 15 minutes, longhand,upon waking or just before lights-out.
  13. Use “mask” and “hibiscus” in a story/poem.
  14. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  15. Your MC is celebrating a birthday… one you’ve passed.
  16. Research contests. Write for one, even if you don’t enter.
  17. Scene: A blind date… with three characters.
  18. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: little, crawl, quality, lights, meeting.
    2. Include a handwritten note (or something longer) as a prop or element in the story.
    3. Use the phrase, “what are the odds?”
  19. Write an episode of a TV show. Get creative w/ kids shows & reality programs.
  20. Use “moon” and “violet” in a story/poem.
  21. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  22. A character is eating something inappropriate with his hands.
  23. Do an in-depth critique of your own work.
  24. Scene: “Twas the night before Christmas…”
  25. Take a day off from writing. Make a hot drink and read instead.
  26. Listen to summertime music while writing today.
  27. Use “rivet” and “quench” in a story/poem.
  28. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  29. A character doesn’t remember what he/she did the previous day.
  30. Submit to a print journal or magazine.
  31. Scene: What else? A New Year’s Eve party!

November 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Use “flail” and “thrust” in a story or poem.
  2. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  3. Your character failed out of medical school.
  4. Submit a story or article to a paying market.
  5. Scene: three people at a coffee shop discussing the tip.
  6. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: work, rubber, home, because, people.
    2. Write about an awkward introduction.
  7. Open a novel and begin with the first sentence that catches your eye.
  8. Use “oil” and “resolve” in a story or poem.
  9. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  10. Your character has a dream job but it’s not exactly his/her dream.
  11. Submit to an online journal or magazine.
  12. Scene: an unexpected meeting of two former lovers.
  13. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: since, turning, doorway, spaces, change.
    2. Use the phrase “But I thought you were…”
    3. Use the phrase, “not for a couple months.”
  14. Do you snack or drink while you write? Imbibe something different today.
  15. Use “yank” and “invasion” in a story or poem.
  16. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  17. A character regrets a recent purchase.
  18. Research contests. Write for one, even if you don’t enter.
  19. Scene: a character is moving back in with his/her parents.
  20. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: thing, pressed, life, blood, where.
    2. Use the phrase “it’s hard to believe.”
    3. Write about an interruption.
  21. Write something for children today. Aim for a specific age group.
  22. Use “coil” and “migrate” in a story or poem.
  23. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  24. A character who likes waking up in strange places.
  25. Do an in-depth critique of your own work.
  26. Scene: things are “evening out” for a character, then things “crash”.
  27. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: little, jumped, deal, quite, spoon.
    2. Include a detail (or details) that appeal(s) to a sense other than sight or hearing.
    3. Write about happily ever aftering.
  28. Write something adults-only today. It need not be “naughty” (but it may be).
  29. Use “useful” and “beautiful” in a story or poem.
  30. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.

October 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Scene: A wedding party with an unwilling participant.
  2. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: case, remembering, consumer, aunt, record.
    2. Use the phrase “in the dark.”
    3. Use the phrase “let’s take this (or it) apart”.
  3. Write a poem about a small moment of change.
  4. Use “chunk” and “limp” in a story or poem.
  5. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  6. Your main character’s decisions are all the opposite of what you would do.
  7. Submit a story or article to a paying market.
  8. Scene: A couple doing a crossword puzzle in bed on a Sunday morning.
  9. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: should, whatever, voice, floor, himself.
    2. Use the phrase “I’m going to wander around” or some variant.
    3. Write a twist on a common saying or proverb.
  10. Write a flash story set in a grove of fruit trees.
  11. Use “lap” and “trinket” in a story or poem.
  12. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  13. Make the antagonist of your story “the nice guy”.
  14. Submit to an online journal or magazine.
  15. Scene: a character coming to terms with gender identity and/or sexuality.
  16. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: point, side, gracious, other, completely.
    2. Use the phrase “As a blank, you should blank”.
    3. You or your character is forced to make a decision.
  17. Write a creative non-fic story about the last time you set foot outside.
  18. Use “tag” and “leather” in a story or poem.
  19. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  20. Your character is a one-time star athlete.
  21. Research contests. Write for one, even if you don’t enter.
  22. Scene: An unconventional funeral.
  23. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words:parents, finally, perfect, century, directed.
    2. Use the phrase “We need to use up the _____ [fill in the blank]” or some variant.
    3. Write something based on a phrase from the song going through your head right now.
  24. Write a short story about the contents of a grocery bag.
  25. Use “history” and “crave” in a story or poem.
  26. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  27. Character is someone in the public eye… but is quite different in private.
  28. Do an in-depth critique of your own work.
  29. Scene: two people in a remote cabin as winter sets in.
  30. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: sitting, glass, people, systems, stress.
    2. Fill in the blank: “If ____________, then it must be true.”
    3. Treat an inanimate object as if it had a personality.
  31. Write something you find suspenseful. Add a twist ending!

September 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Your main character is a kleptomaniac.
  2. Submit a story or article to a paying market.
  3. Scene: an arrow lands at someone’s feet.
  4. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: mean, impressive, pumped, equal, prone.
    2. Write about a scar.
    3. Use the phase “it counts extra”.
  5. Write longhand in a notebook or diary.
  6. Use “evildoer” in a story.
  7. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  8. MC has a hidden scar.
  9. Submit to an online journal or magazine.
  10. Scene: Why is he naked? In public?
  11. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: watched, existence, knot, blame, inside.
    2. Today is 9/11/05. Talk about a moment when you (or a character) recalls exactly what he/she was doing, and where s/he was
    3. Use the phrase, “hundreds of miles”.
  12. If you’re overwhelmed today, make a writing appointment for later this week.
  13. Use “spirit and “waste” in a story/poem.
  14. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  15. Give your MC a “pet phrase” s/he overuses.
  16. Write for the Three Cheers Contest this weekend!
  17. Write for the Three Cheers Contest this weekend!
  18. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: conspiracy, still, pushed, head, already.
    2. Write about an obscure or hidden talent.
    3. Use the phrase, “there’s an extra”.
  19. Rewrite your Three Cheers story as a mystery.
  20. Use autumn colors creatively in a story/poem.
  21. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  22. MC is a vegan or vegetarian.
  23. Research contests. Write for one, even if you don’t enter.
  24. Scene: The hospital waiting room. A nurse enters…
  25. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: indiscreet, would, trash, love, day’s (or days).
    2. Use the phrase “I like your…”
    3. Write about a rumor or an urban legend.
  26. Write something just for yourself.
  27. Use “yarn” and “cinnamon” in a story/poem.
  28. Use an archived AB article to improve existing work or to try something new.
  29. Make your main character “a little bit pregnant”.
  30. Do an in-depth critique of your own work.

August 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Use a symbol consciously in your story.
  2. Use “liquor” and “napkin” in a story/poem.
  3. Start a handwritten journal or writing notebook.
  4. Write about a character who is obsessive-compulsive.
  5. Submit a story or article to a paying market.
  6. Scene: a disastrous (outdoor) family get-together.
  7. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: vulnerability, smoked, being, things, accent.
    2. Write about an unexpected grief.
    3. Write about the anniversary of an event, or some otherwise significant date.
  8. Write from a POV you don’t normally use.
  9. Use “crayon” in a story/poem.
  10. Start a personal or writing weblog.
  11. A secondary character has her head in the clouds.
  12. Submit to a prestigious literary journal. Aim high!
  13. Scene: The MC is a day late and a dollar short, literally.
  14. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: bleached, binge, seasons, whine, language.
    2. A System Test Engineer wrote recently, “[I]t’s my job to break [computers], not … math them to death.” Write a twist on the phrase “… them to death.”.
    3. Write about plans upset by weather.
  15. Use a prompt from your writing notebook. If you don’t have one, start one.
  16. Use “leather” and “rain” in a story/poem.
  17. Try your hand at creative non-fiction.
  18. A practical character decides to follow his/her heart instead.
  19. Research contests. Write for one, even if you don’t enter.
  20. Scene: they meet at a public fountain.
  21. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: option, framework, through, nameless, glasses.
    2. Write about ethnic or regional food not from one’s own culture.
    3. Complete the phrase, “I’ve got a date with …”
  22. Write a story based on a recent dream.
  23. Use “waning” and “flight” in a story/poem.
  24. Stuck in a story? Rename all your characters.
  25. Your narrator doesn’t want to share.
  26. Do an in-depth critique, spending at least half an hour on it.
  27. A child says something inappropriate.
  28. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: bookshelf, devices, concern, tomato, tough.
    2. Write about an irrational dislike or aversion to something.
    3. On the radio this morning, I heard the phrase “exotic luxury eco-tourism.” Use three (or more) mutually incompatible ideas in as many sentences (or fewer).
  29. Write only during the commercials of a show you watch tonight.
  30. Use “wrinkle” and “tangy” in a story/poem.
  31. Stuck in a story? Try a different narrative point of view.

July 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Set aside $10 and spend it on something writing-related for your workspace.
  2. Scene: two former lovers bump into each other in a bookstore.
  3. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: confusing, friends, uttered, attention, backlog.
    2. Write about pockets.
    3. Write about an encounter with an animal.
  4. Write about a day that has unseasonable weather.
  5. Write some fan fiction!
  6. List five verbs from today’s headlines. Use them in a story/poem.
  7. Your main character has acute amnesia.
  8. Frame something you’ve written that you love and display it.
  9. Scene: two friends in a waiting room.
  10. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: fluent, speaks, whispers, because, winter.
    2. Write about someone (or something) outside of their/its usual environment.
    3. A while ago on overheardintheoffice.com someone was quoted as saying, “If you could un-fuck this situation, I’d appreciate it.” Write about “un-” doing something.
  11. Set a scene at a convenience store.
  12. Rewrite using “The Musical Magic of Words” as inspiration.
  13. Use “contour” in a scene/poem.
  14. One character doesn’t speak the language of everyone else in the scene.
  15. Find an old, abandoned piece of writing. Post it & say it’s today’s prompt!
  16. Scene: the prelude to a fight or battle w/ an inevitable bad end.
  17. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following 5 words: unfortunately, trip, through, normally, darkness.
    2. Write about traffic lights or a similar signal.
    3. End a sentence with one of the following phrases (your choice):
      … that it might rain.
      … speechless. Just speechless.
      … dumb as the next guy.
  18. Write a two-character scene in dialogue only. No speech tags!
  19. Finish it! It could be a novel, story, article or poem.
  20. Use “baby” and “roasted” in the same story/poem (in an unrelated way).
  21. Your character doesn’t know his/her birthdate.
  22. Time to research free-to-enter contests and paying markets. Earn some cash!
  23. Scene: a girl in a white dress enters…
  24. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following five words: road, velvet, resonating, being, slipped.
    2. Write about trying to answer a difficult question.
    3. The last prompt this week is “The First” — write anything this phrase suggests.
  25. Write a love scene/poem w/o using “love” or any synonym (verb or noun).
  26. Step back from your story & look again with fresh eyes next week.
  27. Use “sobered up” in a story/poem.
  28. A character is doing an impersonation or using a fake accent.
  29. Write/edit in an unusual place today, outside if you can.
  30. Set a scene on December 30.
  31. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: especially, vocal, lived, outside, hitting.
    2. Write about finding or receiving a message intended for someone else.
    3. Write about a conversation held in traffic.

June 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about an unexpected test result.
  2. Use the title of a book as your opening line.
  3. List five excuses for not writing. Post them!
  4. Write about someone who thinks it’s Monday.
  5. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: long, company, will, comment, never.
    2. Write about unexpectedly matching clothes.
    3. Write about showmanship in a situation where it’s unexpected.
  6. Protagonist: Birnham Wood. Write the opening paragraphs.
  7. Use “miasma” in a scene.
  8. Work on your “A Midsummer Tale” entry.
  9. Work toward this closing line: “No one did it better.”
  10. Research contests. Write for one, even if you don’t enter.
  11. Write a scene at an unconventional funeral.
  12. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: rewinds, matter, about, concept, hundred.
    2. Use the phrase “I don’t believe that”.
    3. Write about haggling, or selling something.
  13. Antagonist: Lucy Pleasant. Establish her relationship with Birnham.
  14. Use “hoist” in a scene.
  15. Write about a dinner-and-a-movie date.
  16. Use circles or rings as a theme or symbol in a story.
  17. Buy or borrow a book about the business of writing.
  18. Rearrange and/or reorganize your writing space.
  19. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: coworker, drive, works, laughed, married.
    2. Write about a character (or yourself) picking a pseudonym.
    3. Write about rearranging things.
  20. Love interest: Selene Widdershin. Write an argument scene.
  21. Use “deadline” in a scene.
  22. Write about someone addressing a crowd.
  23. Think of something you’d be uncomfortable writing about and write about it.
  24. Check out five links at Mustard & Cress and share one you like on the boards.
  25. Write a scene with a 20-something character watching cartoons.
  26. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: anyhow, surge, woman, party, names.
    2. Write about two or more things happening in the same space (physical or metaphorical) at the same time.
    3. Use the phrase “… can’t remember ever feeling…”
  27. Write the scene revealing the surprise connection between Selene and Lucy.
  28. Use “a house divided” in a scene.
  29. Write about the aftermath of a disasterous wedding ceremony or reception.
  30. Show us a scene with a character who is knitting.

May 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Your character is at target practice. Why?
  2. This scene takes place in a library.
  3. Your character contracts malaria.
  4. Start with an unexpected death.
  5. Create a premise for a new reality program (250 words max).
  6. Someone vomits in unfortunate circumstances.
  7. Someone shows you his/her badge. What happens next?
  8. There is (a) cricket in your story.
  9. Create a mix CD (10 songs), then write a blurb explaining your choices.
  10. Something is on fire.
  11. Your character is in the audience at a concert or play.
  12. Use the newspaper for a purpose other than reading.
  13. Someone is on trial—what are the lawyers doing?
  14. Your character finds him/herself in a buffet restaurant.
  15. The bride or groom runs away days before the wedding. Why?
  16. George Costanza wanted to be an architect. Write about your fake career.
  17. You’ve given two weeks’ notice—what happens now?
  18. What would you do if you were a billionaire?
  19. You overhear a cell phone conversation—write about it.
  20. A missing plane is found.
  21. Write about a non-traditional wedding.
  22. Your character encounters Bigfoot (or another mythical creature).
  23. Rant about a pseudo-celeb who gets too much media attention.
  24. Someone has just been released from prison. What does s/he do now?
  25. You find a severed body part. Write about it.
  26. Write about what you are talented at.
  27. Fabricate a 911 call. Use dialogue only, and make it funny.
  28. Write a review of the book you’ve just finished reading.
  29. Create an email scam / hoax letter.
  30. Your character has to make an apology. Write it.
  31. You’ve broken the law. What’s your crime?

April 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. A character is wearing clown makeup.
  2. Go to a public place and transcribe overheard dialogue.
  3. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: bunch, drink, average, names, tophat.
    2. Use the phrase “I expect that behavior from my dog”.
    3. Write about the ringing of bells.
  4. Narrator’s name: Edgar Rush. Write your opening pp.
  5. Use “pungent” in a scene.
  6. Write a scene set in the 1980s.
  7. Find an abandoned story. Change all the char names & rewrite accordingly.
  8. A character is wearing a huge furry hat.
  9. Make a one-hour appt to write today and keep it.
  10. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: modern, huge, believe, ranting,because.
    2. Write about a situation with nervousness, dread, or tension.
    3. Write about something that happens on the wrong day of the week.
  11. Antagonist: Sylvia Moon. Write a scene of conflict.
  12. Use “robust” in a scene.
  13. Write a scene set in the 1910s.
  14. Find an abandoned story. Post it and ask what changes should be made.
  15. A character is wearing stockings and garters.
  16. Read an archived AB article (and the new one!)
  17. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: renegade, gone, making, feigned, planned.
    2. Write about one event or incident which is used as a metaphor for another.
    3. Write about plans that change.
  18. Love interest: Robin McCarty. Write a quiet romantic scene.
  19. Use “inclined” in a scene.
  20. Write a scene set in the 1950s.
  21. Find an abandoned story. Change the beginning to have the “opposite” result.
  22. A character has an odd and visible tattoo.
  23. Explore a writing technique book or website.
  24. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words in a story or essay: terrible, mess, other, born, relationship.
    2. Write about weather that reflects a character’s mood.
    3. Write about a rite or ritual.
  25. Hangout is named “Scarlett’s.” Someone unexpected enters. Write the scene.
  26. Use “moribund” in a scene.
  27. Write a scene set in the 2020s.
  28. Find an abandoned story. Start the main action in the first pp and rewrite.
  29. Combine all the Friday prompts into one character!
  30. Check out five links at Mustard & Cress. Submit a review!

March 2005
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Choose a novel to read outside your usual genre.
  2. Say, “I am a writer.” To five people today.
  3. Research three new publishers for your work.
  4. Take a new route to work.
  5. Write a full page by hand, by candlelight.
  6. List 10 things that make you cry.
  7. Rewrite a fable or fairy tale.
  8. Describe every physical aspect of one of your characters.
  9. Ask a friend to read your work.
  10. Take a picture of spring.
  11. Ask an elder to share a story with you.
  12. Write about something very, very ugly and make it sound very, very lovely.
  13. Write about a trampoline.
  14. Play a board game.
  15. Write about a surgery.
  16. Eat something exotic and write about the experience.
  17. Time yourself and write for five uninturrupted minutes.
  18. Write from a clock’s point of view.
  19. Write a paragraph using successive numbers in each sentence.
  20. Celebrate a strange holiday.
  21. Join an online cause you believe in.
  22. Listen to someone else’s favorite music.
  23. Make a bookmark.
  24. End a story with, “It’s as simple as that.”
  25. Organize your desk.
  26. Read something about writing.
  27. Pick up an old story and continue it.
  28. Write about a fruit.
  29. Describe a different culture.
  30. Start a writing discussion.
  31. Think up five names.