Nexus Art Cafe Online Workshop – Finding Inspiration

Today we’ll be having a go at some exercises to help you find inspiration in mundane objects and images, and get past that pesky writer’s block. Most importantly with these workshops, be happy with writing something bad. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write!

One – warm up

Go to the random verb generator. Grab yourself a word as a prompt, and try and work this into your story. Use it to drive your character’s motivation in a short scene. Write for five or ten minutes, until you reach a natural end point.

Two – visual stimulus

Select an image from this collection of abandoned theme park photos. Take a minute to close your eyes and imagine the place: its smells, sounds, atmosphere, weather etc. Then start to write about it for five – ten minutes.

Three – mixed bag prompts

Complete these comparative sentences with the first thing that comes into your head, however poetic or mundane it may be.

as solid as

as fluffy as

as far as

as sinister as

as cold as

as uncertain as

as delicate as

as red as

as curly as

as sharp as

ie. as red as a toddler throwing a tantrum; as delicate as snow

Once you’ve completed them, reassign the endings to a new beginning ie. as delicate as a toddler; as red as snow

You can change them up in any way you like; do it randomly if you like, to give yourself a better chance of stumbling randomly on some piece of genius!

Four – extrapolating meaning

Once you’ve finished switching up your comparative sentence, pick one or two that are particularly odd, or speak to you in some way. Base a story or poem around these prompts and write for fifteen – twenty minutes. If you get stuck or finish, try choosing another one and starting again.

Five – character through belongings

Choose an object you can see around you. Pick at random if you like. Make up a history for that object; think about what kind of person would own it, where they got it, what kind of memories they associate with it. Decide how old the character is, what kind of person they are, etc. Think of/write down as much detail as you can, then start writing a story about this character, which may or may not involve the object. Fifteen – twenty minutes.

As before, do let us know how you get on with these exercises, and please feel free to post any resulting work in the comments!

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