December 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. She was short and as round as a tumbleweed.
  2. A chest mat of dark male fur.
  3. A series of burglaries; giraffe figurines are involved.
  4. The funeral, the bitterness, was unbearable.
  5. Rewrite your main character into a cartoon.
  6. She never stopped complaining on the car trip.
  7. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises
    1. Use the following words: really, people, habitat, longer, future.
    2. Mad-libs prompt: “(noun) in/on (personal pronoun) (part of the body).”
    3. Write about waiting for something to happen.
  8. Let the child in you play today.
  9. He played the saddest music on his violin.
  10. Her wrists were still taped together.
  11. He bellowed like a cow caught in barbed wire.
  12. I only eat fettuccine alfredo at that restaurant.
  13. A small man with thick ears and toy-like face.
  14. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises
    1. Use the following words: matter, wants, vinegar, suddenly, turns.
    2. Write about a treehouse.
    3. Mention something that you usually see in the sky.
  15. The jury convicted him of second-degree murder.
  16. His forearms flexed as tight as iron.
  17. Let music rule your writing today.
  18. A police officer stood guard at the front door.
  19. I was afraid his web cam would be sexual.
  20. An odor from the marsh like fish spawning.
  21. 2008 Dead of Winter Writing Contest Closes. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: climbed, materials, partially, influx, risky.
    2. Write about something that isn’t safe. Or, for those who like a less restrictive prompt, write about something that isn’t a safe.
    3. Use the phrase, “Tell me a story.”
  22. She seemed nice, not fake nice.
  23. His washed-out eyes never blinked.
  24. The iron grillwork on the balcony was torn loose from its fastenings.
  25. My head jerked back from his sour smell.
  26. His shirt pocket bulged with fat, cellophane-wrapped cigars.
  27. An alcoholic right-wing simpleton.
  28. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: climbed, materials, partially, influx, risky.
    2. Write about rapid weather changes.
    3. Use the phrase, “compare two of them.”
  29. A room stacked with school desks.
  30. Two fresh sets of footprints glistening in the mud.
  31. He flipped his towel on top of an azalea bush.

November 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. 2008 Dead of Winter Writing Contest Opens!
  2. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: brown, million, mouth, worked, mother.
    2. Write about something or someone without a name.
    3. Substitute a word in a familiar phrase with another word. Bonus points for a word that’s similar to the original with a completely different meaning.
  3. Can Zombies find love?
  4. Let the moon be the theme of your writing today.
  5. His enthusiasm energized them both.
  6. She scraped his face with a pumice stone.
  7. Deep green ivy hid the brick wall.
  8. We were so happy.
  9. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: fashion, last, headboard, reading, arrival.
    2. Fill in the blanks: “______ is the ______ of ________.”
    3. Use the phrase, “under the bed.”
  10. The sweat ran off his skin like snakes.
  11. You could hear the jukebox roaring through the front door.
  12. The edge of a public park, where the wildflowers bloom.
  13. Do not prolong my suffering.
  14. The building suggests unexplored spaces.
  15. Your protag communicates with deer.
  16. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: credit, responded, outline, placidly, shook.
    2. Use the phrase “everything depends.”
    3. The other day I saw a woman standing on a corner, gesturing at the passing cars as if half-heartedly hitchhiking and not really thinking she’ll get picked up. But as I passed by it actually looked like she was giving them the finger. So, you can write whatever you want from that, but the prompt is: Include a gesture that has a commonly understood meaning.
  17. Two brothers thumb wrestling.
  18. His mother was magical.
  19. Once the car was gone the wind was the only sound.
  20. I put the house key in my pocket.
  21. The air was like cotton.
  22. Fog creeping through a mountain valley.
  23. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: alone, digital, problem, unsettled, wondering.
    2. Write about someone starting to do something, then stopping.
    3. Write about the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.
  24. A blizzard of difficulties.
  25. A thick shroud of fog clung to the ground.
  26. Mourning the loss of innocence.
  27. The doctor was informative, curteous and even sympathetic.
  28. When stereotypes break down.
  29. Maybe he was right.
  30. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. These words are taken verbatim from Remainder by Tom McCarthy. Use at least five of the following: jug, bridge, cigarette, oyster, fruitbat, windowsill, sponge.
    2. Write about loss of balance.
    3. Write about something that is white.

October 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. “The other day, I invited my mother over for a cup of coffee.”
  2. “I know plenty of men my age who can’t do it.”
  3. “I’ll be alone forever, which is how I want it.”
  4. Submit for publication. If you don’t have a finished piece, finish one.
  5. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: smell, watch, distinguished, claimed, solid.
    2. Write about using beans for something other than food.
    3. Write something that involves a yes/no question.
  6. “The trick to it is remembering how to begin.”
  7. A birthday present — on no one’s birthday.
  8. MC walks past a church, glances up and continues to walk, faster.
  9. MC has a song in his/her head that influences the action.
  10. The love interest changes his/her appearance.
  11. Research markets and contests.
  12. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: while, forget, before, backlog, summer.
    2. Use the phrase, “It’s a long _______.”
    3. Write about being too late.
  13. Use the number “1013” in a story/poem.
  14. Something is stuck in a drawer.
  15. Scene w/ physically-oriented character (think dancing, fighting, sex, etc.).
  16. An everyday ritual.
  17. One size smaller.
  18. Use these in a story/poem: hammer, monster, look.
  19. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: spiteful, tiniest, bomb, turned, square.
    2. Use the phrase “I was expecting that.” (ana).
    3. Include a sex, gender, or species change. (bo).
    4. Write about a character who is in an altered mental state (drunk, drugs, screwed up brain chemicals, whatever). (toxicfur).
    5. Write about someone or something you love. (OSVG).
    6. Put a mathematical equation in somewhere. (Dame).
    7. Write about a bird — preferably metaphorically. (bob).
    8. Seasons: must mention two or more, failing that seasonings. (aethucyn).
    9. Fill in the blanks: “Make ________ not ____________” (sabeth).
  20. Include the following: journey’s end, youth and “her father’s daughter.”
  21. Board game night takes a turn.
  22. Describe a character’s breakfast and show him/her eating it.
  23. Forced to sleep outside.
  24. Set a scene on a ferris wheel.
  25. The medication stops working.
  26. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: water, pretty, sighed, feeling, accustomed.
    2. Write about a moveable wall.
    3. Use the phrase, “Only in _________[place name].”
  27. “We were so giddy about our plan that we forgot one detail: ___.”
  28. The address seemed familiar but the building felt wrong.
  29. The intruders leave a note on the fridge. What does it say?
  30. Use these in a story/poem: know, the letter E and a pig.
  31. The costume storage cabinet (closet, room, etc.) of a community theater.

September 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. First line: “Don’t touch that!.”
  2. A leader in denial.
  3. An orange tabby crosses the road.
  4. Write a short story or poem based on one of these images.
  5. Setting: a coffee shop twenty minutes before closing.
  6. Create an unsympathetic main character.
  7. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: white, days, quicker, clockwise, developed (bonus word of the day: ether).
    2. Write about using unfamiliar equipment.
    3. Write about having more than you need of something.
  8. Blowing the dust off an object… what is it? why is it in this condition?
  9. It’s the size of a golf ball and purple.
  10. Set a scene outside the judge’s chambers.
  11. Write a short story or poem based on one of these images.
  12. create a character with beliefs the opposite of your own.
  13. A fraudulent document surfaces.
  14. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: listen, together, wrapping, suddenly, drought.
    2. Write about the one that got away.
    3. Write about an unexpected blossom.
  15. Theme: joy and kindness.
  16. A ball of pink yarn and a pair of baseball tickets.
  17. Declutter your writing space; then write about a “fresh start.”
  18. Write a short story or poem based on one of these images.
  19. Write about a “modern day pirate.”
  20. He refuses to wear a tie.
  21. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: jagged, patiently, laughed, tense, mostly.
    2. Write about using the wrong tool for the job.
    3. Fill in the blanks: “You can __________, but don’t ___________.”
  22. Red, orange, yellow and brown… where it shouldn’t be.
  23. The result of a misheard bit of gossip.
  24. While cleaning out the car, your MC finds an incriminating personal item.
  25. Write a short story or poem based on one of these images.
  26. Opening line: “You did this.” (note: doesn’t have to be dialogue).
  27. Write the first paragraph of your memoir.
  28. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: silence, pocket, protest, small, despite.
    2. Write about a bottle or use a bottle as a metaphor.
    3. Use the phrase, “You want what?”
  29. Write a paragraph about your character’s mentor or guide.
  30. She fears that others find her too naive.

August 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. I have always dreamed of …….
  2. His office is on the 47th floor.
  3. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: finish, concrete, week, something, smile.
    2. Write about something underwater.
    3. Write about finding something hidden.
  4. She began taking piano lessons when she was 54.
  5. The soft give of a Persian rug.
  6. He lied about the ages of his children.
  7. Your MC changes her contacts to match her clothes.
  8. Describe eating watermelon.
  9. Three terrified children screaming for their parents.
  10. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: later, always, never, ordinary, divine.
    2. Use the phrase “What would you like to drink?”
    3. Write about something to do with circles, or loops.
  11. Write about a mother’s love.
  12. The pressure against my intensified.
  13. A scorched-black bank of thunderclouds.
  14. The window blinds were up.
  15. A young girl wearing a black Grateful Dead T-shirt.
  16. If you haven’t yet, read the AB article and try the accompanying exercises.
  17. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: gadget, alter, served, rescue, messenger.
    2. Fill in the blanks: “when _______ met _______.”
    3. Write about an unstated assumption or expectation.
  18. My code name was dragonfly.
  19. I rubbed his whiskers with the tips of my fingers.
  20. His eyes were radiant with goodwill.
  21. Your MC is in rehab.
  22. A poem about blueberries.
  23. He loved to fight in bars.
  24. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: course, blind, talking, pain, grandfather.
    2. Write about a moment of realizing there are greater possibilities (or no alternatives).
    3. Write about making a bad situation worse.
  25. My neighbors kept me alive.
  26. WIth you I think I’m everything.
  27. The setting is a circus.
  28. Why did she wear turtlenecks in summer?
  29. A rambling, paintless house.
  30. Plan to attend one lecture in September and write a review.
  31. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: situation, three, hyperbolic, pointing, kicked.
    2. Write about not finishing something you started.
    3. Fill in the blanks: “A ______ wrapped in ______.” (This was inspired by the description of the USSR as “A mystery wrapped in an enigma.”).

July 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about time.
  2. A magnifying glass, a kaleidoscope and a bucket.
  3. Caution as a character flaw.
  4. The sound of an electric train set in another room.
  5. Write a short story using only words of one syllable.
  6. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: haughtily, fort, screamed, crashing, medieval.
    2. Use the phrase, “wash, peel, eat” or the phrase “that’s the prompt.”
    3. Write about someone who loved only numbers.
  7. The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk.
  8. Running in a wind storm.
  9. Spend today listening for stories.
  10. Create a character based on your first grade teacher.
  11. The joy of flying a kite.
  12. Imagine each person you talk to today as an animal.
  13. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: nickel, library, center, attached, leaving.
    2. Write about the consequences of a lie.
    3. Use the phrase, “story about a man and ______.”
  14. Walking across a sheep-cropped field.
  15. A day at the circus.
  16. A lumpy mattress reeking of disinfectant.
  17. The fuchsia walls hurt her eyes.
  18. Maybe it was the salt air.
  19. I rubbed his whiskers with the tips of my fingers. OR His grizzled face showed disappointment.
  20. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: parts, saying, stove, shrugged, wings.
    2. Include the name of an alcoholic drink.
    3. Write about an accident at home.
  21. Write a poem about your first memory.
  22. She refused to live like a rat.
  23. I know more about the army than the army does.
  24. He had a lifelong fear of water.
  25. She’d forgotten how good it felt to let loose.
  26. The fortuneteller was declared not guilty.
  27. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: patch, stand, bottom, freeze, course.
    2. Write about being (or feeling) disconnected.
    3. Write about a lucky charm.
  28. He rescued others, but never himself.
  29. Stacks of fresh white towels.
  30. He had a strong need of music.
  31. Everything went black, again.

June 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: gives, developed, behind, concentrated, people.
    2. Write about being on the edge.
    3. Fill in the blank: “a place called ___________.”
  2. “The cricket on the hearth.”
  3. “Thick and thin.”
  4. “Staring contest.”
  5. MC is a teacher who uses drugs/drinks during work.
  6. Use sand as a symbol or metaphor.
  7. Two green lights and one red light.
  8. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: knife, finding, stumbled, native, warm.
    2. Write about making a very public mistake.
    3. Use the phrase “He/she/it is due right about now.”
  9. An explanation for the bruise.
  10. “Written on a banana skin.”
  11. “In less than 27 days..”
  12. MC is a stay-home dad who takes up a new hobby.
  13. Use black and white imagery in your work or as inspiration.
  14. The fallout from calling someone by the wrong name.
  15. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: heart, million, pinpoint, trapped, beach.
    2. Use the phrase “It didn’t seal completely.”
    3. Write about being under pressure.
  16. “Living up to expectations.”
  17. “Grandmother’s collection of velvet paintings.”
  18. “A basket full of little red hearts.”
  19. MC has decided to make a major physical change.
  20. The test results were a complete surprise.
  21. If you haven’t yet, read the AB article and try the accompanying exercises.
  22. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: slanted, parts, magnifiers, something, rather.
    2. Include a reference to a common pairing, like “sugar and spice” or “Fred and Ginger.”
    3. Write about a group being blamed for the actions of one member.
  23. “Ordering off the menu.”
  24. “Awakened by the smell of bacon and coffee.”
  25. John said, “Don’t touch anything.”
  26. MC is happy with who she has become. Write a step of her journey.
  27. Submission day — submit something for publication.
  28. “A box full of yarn.”
  29. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: everywhere, limits, knife, still, enough.
    2. Write about someone whose name (or nickname) is a regular English word.
    3. Write about a gift.
  30. Expand on one of the pieces you’ve already begun.

May 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write a poem set on a porch in summer.
  2. Finish or edit an old story or poem.
  3. Theme: sugar and spice.
  4. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: thought, after, transferred, rather, wardrobe.
    2. Write about trying to reconstruct what somebody said in your hearing.
    3. Write about pockets.
  5. Characters fill a room with silver and pink balloons.
  6. Write a story or poem using these words: orange, sunset, margarita.
  7. Your MC has a toothache.
  8. Write a western set in an ice cream shop.
  9. Sign up for a writing site’s newsletter.
  10. Character flaw: generosity.
  11. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: scattering, bless, chips, history, pitcher.
    2. Write about sun on a day when rain was forecast.
    3. Write about someone who’s too friendly.
  12. The shop owner recognizes the men who robbed the store.
  13. Write a story or poem using these words: date, lanyard, fascinate.
  14. Your MC’s long-lost relative surfaces.
  15. Write a flash story about a photographer’s assistant.
  16. Research markets/contests and submit/enter.
  17. If you haven’t already, try the exercise with this month’s AB article.
  18. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: wheel, breathes, waiting, between, black.
    2. Fill in the blanks: “the ______ is on fire and there’s no __________.”
    3. Write about something that is a part of a whole.
  19. A family stuck in a traffic jam on their way to the waterpark.
  20. Write a story or poem using these words: orphan, kite, carnival.
  21. No one believes your MC’s warning.
  22. Write a horror story set in an amusement park.
  23. Read some poetry to get inspired.
  24. Setting: A public park on a rainy day.
  25. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: confusing, short, sorry, newspaper, themselves.
    2. Use the phrase “I have become my mother|father”. Bonus points for the oppositely-gendered parent.
    3. Use the phrase “What do you mean, you can’t read my mind?”
  26. Fireworks trigger a flashback.
  27. Write a story or poem using these words: radio, trolley, haunted.
  28. Your MC’s wish is fulfilled… with disastrous results.
  29. Write a romantic or erotic story set in the rainforest.
  30. Reread a favorite writer then imitate his/her style.
  31. Base something on five words from today’s news headlines.

April 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write a story or poem using these words: fail, lamp, ball.
  2. Your MC is trying something new.
  3. Write a scifi story set in an elementary school.
  4. Be your own editor; suggest harsh changes to a stalled story/poem.
  5. Theme: Cold.
  6. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: closer, brush, things, retired, anything.
    2. Write about a financial transaction.
    3. Write about a heavy object.
  7. One character announces his/her impending divorce.
  8. Write a story or poem using these words: grieve, cushion, release.
  9. Your MC receives an unwanted gift.
  10. Write a romantic or erotic story set on a dairy farm.
  11. Polish a piece for submission and research markets.
  12. Character flaw: Indecisiveness.
  13. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: finally, finish, fifty, focused, front.
    2. Write about fraud.
    3. Write about a superstition.
  14. One character has just finished exercising.
  15. Write a story or poem using these words: press, hubris, negative.
  16. Your MC acknowledges an obession or addiction.
  17. Write a poem set in a child’s room.
  18. Submission day! Submit something for publication.
  19. If you haven’t already, try the exercise with this month’s AB article.
  20. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: samovar rouge grotesque misspoke endurance.
    2. Write about puppets.
    3. Use the following phrase “embrace the tiger.”
  21. One character falls asleep in the middle of the scene.
  22. Write a story or poem using these words: cross, anchor, tangle.
  23. Your MC is affected by the weather.
  24. Write a flash story about the contents of a handbag.
  25. Identify your Ideal Reader. Write something just for him/her.
  26. Setting: In a busy kitchen.
  27. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: pulled, moments, never, seemed, designs.
    2. bob: Include a line of poetry in the story.
    3. janra: Write about cheating.
    4. ana: Write about washing dishes.
    5. sabeth: Write about something that changes color.
    6. lonelyangel: Write about climbing a fence.
    7. aethucyn: Head, shoulders, knees and toes. Use at least 2, all 4 for bonus points.
    8. bo: “Attract women by smell with human pheromones” or: “Introduction to squid anatomy 101” Write about one; bonus points for writing about both.
  28. One character is losing a board game.
  29. Write a story or poem using these words: leaf. sprout, rain.
  30. It is your MC’s birthday.

March 2008
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. List five verbs. Use at least two in a ten minute writing burst.
  2. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: private, attention, star, pentagon, briefest.
    2. “If I were a(n) [fill in object], where would I be?”
    3. Fill in the blank: “it’s good, but it’s not __________ good.”
  3. Write a scene with one character knitting.
  4. Use these words in a story or poem: light, lift.
  5. Your character is on the roof and acting “strange.”
  6. Write a horror story set in a cubicle farm.
  7. Write a story using only dialogue (no speech tags).
  8. Setting: After the funeral.
  9. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: working, ask, rapidly, hauling, cultures.
    2. Write about a bad compromise.
    3. Write about your character doing something he or she hates.
  10. Write a scene with one character smoking.
  11. Use these words in a story or poem: green, glass.
  12. Your character is overeating a heathful food.
  13. Write a romance set in a grocery store.
  14. Make a list of ten words you hate. Base a story/poem on one of them.
  15. Try an exercise that accompanies the new AB article.
  16. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: metallic, eventually, proper, field, typical.
    2. Write about a sense of pending doom.
    3. Write about learning something from an unlikely or unusual source.
  17. Write a scene with one character drinking out of a mug or glass.
  18. Use these words in a story or poem: hesitate, strength.
  19. Your character is changing his/her name.
  20. Write a poem about an activity you performed before coming to the computer.
  21. Take an old story & attempt to edit it down to half the current word count.
  22. Theme: circles.
  23. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: often, Thursday, know, calling, window.
    2. Use the phrase “I’m not really like that.”
    3. Write something ungrammatical.
  24. Write a scene with one character practicing for something.
  25. Use these words in a story or poem: birth, judge.
  26. Your character just discovered someone else’s toupee.
  27. Write a 500 word story set in a college town diner.
  28. Retell something you wrote from another character’s point of view.
  29. Character flaw: confidence.
  30. Do the Sunday Brunch prompts and post your exercises.
    1. Use the following words: beginning, shortage, unlike, seeing, coarse.
    2. Write about something “original” or “classic.”
    3. Write about comfort food.
  31. Write a scene with one character dying.