Writing Prompts and Peculiar Thoughts

Today member Mary C.M. Phillips shares some thoughts on writing classes, prompts, and this month’s reading selection. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, courtesy of Quirk Books!

I’ve taken a few writing classes, few as in “three,” which were not very helpful to be honest. 

In many writing classes, at least the ones I’ve attended, the attendees/students will be given writing prompts

A word.  A gesture.  A half-formed sentence, such as “I wish had been able to….” and then asked to write something on the spot.   

It’s just a vehicle for drumming up creativity.   Stirring up an emotion.  Sometimes that’s all you need to write a good story or essay.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about writing prompts this past week as I’ve been reading this month’s Dark Jane Austen Book Club’s book pick:  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

The book is difficult to categorize:  Fiction?  Yes.  Horror?  No.  Mystery?  Um, not really.  Romance?  Well, no, but yes…sort of.

It’s quirky, queer, eccentric and simply wonderful as far as I’m concerned. 

Page49MissPeregineThroughout this odd and somewhat eerie tale, antique photos pop up, helping the reader to visualize the characters.  Normally, I’d prefer to imagine fictional characters myself, but I find these photos to be more than helpful as these characters are, well, “unconventional” to put it mildly.

The photos are, in fact, writing prompts used by the author, Ransom Riggs (a writer who studied film at the University of Southern California).  You can tell from this book that he’s an artist in the truest sense. 

Using photos as prompts for writing is intriguing to me and one I might even try (although using my own collection of photos would probably produce only tedious stories about Christmas trees and birthday parties). 

What I love is the idea of letting your mind write into unchartered territories.  Writing from a visual response.  Opening new doors of your imagination.   Writing freely. 

Embracing art and prompting me to create.

Here’s a short video clip by Ransom Riggs (his response to watching rain fall from his window). 

What perks your interest to read this book? Any ideas prompted by the picture? What’s your experience with writing prompts or writing classes?


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