So, What's Your Story? Writing Prompts
This is the first in a series of writing prompts delivered directly to your inbox twice a month. AKA TMI Prompts - Kathryn Mockler's oversharing results in unique writing prompts for you! For "new" and "not new" writers! You can sign up for them here.
The Elementary School Nightmare
The other night I had a dream that I was in elementary school. I was sitting in my Grade 7 classroom. Mr. Rastow our tall rigid teacher with his yellow polo shirt, sandy blond moustache, and wire-rimmed glasses was standing at the front of the room giving us a creative writing prompt. For ten minutes, we had to write a story about a purple ball.
The room smelled like snow pants and mittens drying on radiators, a kind of burnt sweet odour that caught in the back of my throat and made me want to gag. My nose was running, and I didn’t have a Kleenex so I had to wipe it on the sleeve of my navy shirt which made a dark wet stain. I was too afraid to ask to be excused because Mr. Rastow was known for being cruel so the less attention I drew to myself the better.
I wanted write about the purple ball, I really did, but every time I put my pencil to the page, my nose would fill up and drip translucent nasal mucus. The sleeves of my shirt were damp with it. More and more was coming out. I was losing control of my ability to contain it. Eventually the mucus started running down my face, into my mouth, down my arms, onto the floor, and filling up the classroom.
When the other kids in the class looked up from their writing exercise and noticed what was happening to me, they pointed and laughed.
Finally Mr. Rastow noticed too and sent me to the principal’s office. The mucus had risen to my knees, and I had to slowly wade through it as I walked out the door.
Before I left, I managed to splash the kid near the front who was cackling the loudest. His eyes were shut, and he was laughing so hard, he was doubled over and it looked like he couldn’t breathe.
When my mucus got him right in the face, right in his opened mouth, and down his throat, his laughing stopped and quickly turned to tears.
Write a story about a purple ball.
Free-write for five minutes each on the following elementary school experiences. Ensure that you include details that relate to the five senses.
By combining moments of joy, pain, humiliation, and bad behaviour—you will likely have a more balanced story than if you just write about a time you were only happy or only sad or only bullied or only humiliated.
Ideally we want our characters to have a range of emotions and traits rather than experiencing or being just one thing.
Writing tips, prompts, and resources.