Gonzo, my creative brain, loves one word prompts for stories. I've asked her why but she despises direct questions and insists on being mysterious. So, here's my best guess at why starting from just one word makes Gonzo (and me) happy:
It's a playful process. Gonzo avoids anything resembling hard work.
In play mode, I forget to worry about whether I'll ever be an agent magnet, then bestselling-critically-acclaimed-prizewinning nobel laureate and national treasure who'll politely refuse their MBE. Because of that, Sniffy Neg, my inner critic, doesn't even notice that I'm writing, let alone interrupt, so I can just get on with it.
We're not starting with one of my treasured story ideas which I'm going to overprotect. Gonzo can be as reckless with the prompt as she likes.
The prompt word is Gonzo's space hopper, on which she bounces wherever she may. Crikey does she end up in some unexpected places and cripes do these stories surprise me. Yay, go Gonzo!
The extra super hooray part is these are great creative habits to learn.
Here's a tiny hint: I look up the prompt word in more than one dictionary. This makes it fresh and gives Gonzo her first bounce.
Here's another even smaller hint: Gonzo rolls her eyes if I suggest common sayings the prompt word happens to be in - she likes to be odd. Even odder than me.
There are about a kerzillion one word prompts out there to try, like:
#vss365 on the Twitter: daily prompts for a single tweet story. This is a friendly and supportive community of absolute lovelies writing smashing stuff in all genres. Word of the day: smooth.
Ad Hoc Fiction: a prompt once a week, submit your 150 word story for free and there's a website vote on a long-list. I love reading 70-100 tiny stories from the same word. [The app is a wee bit clunky but, hey, once upon a time you'd have found a biro that wasn't running out, cut out and filled in a form, hunted for envelopes and unscrumpled one, before going to the post office, probably in the rain.] Anyway, word of the week: land.
Nowhere.Ink: monthly prompts for 500 words, $2 entry with a prize of $100. Actual moola. The last word: perfidy.
Bunbury Magasine is seeking submissions on the prompt word run for flash, shorts and life writing. These sweethearts give developmental feedback to everyone who submits. Deadline is June 16th, which feels like ages to Gonzo but not to me.
Not writing yet?
Then why not settle back, sip your hot beverage of choice, and read some miniature examples:
Defining Spippish (prompt was soap)
How to Become a Sage in Seven Simple Steps (prompt was, you guessed it, sage)
Ms H Takes Laurels (prompt was fast)
Hope you enjoy them and then write something even better. Maybe not too much better, yeah?