Jan. 15 Writing Prompt

Today we mark the half-way point of the month! Congratulations on making it this far into the new year.

I hope that you are still working on your goals, resolutions, plans or whatever changes you told yourself you would make this year.

For myself, part of those goals is to bring you a daily writing prompt. That prompt is designed to give you something creative to do in a short space. It should help get your juices flowing and ready to continue work on your project.

The prompts are also designed to offer you little bits of help with problem areas when it comes to writing.

Whether you realize it or not (sometimes, I don’t point these lessons out), you should be able to break through certain obstacles just by writing here, every day.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 15th prompt of the year!

January 15

Describe to me, a park bench. This bench is in your scene and the characters will be sitting on it.

The Bench
Writing about a bench today? What is this madness?

Sounds easy, right? This is a similar prompt to one that I use as a lesson in the Extra Draft Writing Method course.

There is a trick here. By “trick,” I mean something you need to constantly think about, but rarely do.

Before I explain the trick, here is what I want you to do:

Imagine you are writing a novel that has a scene that takes place in a city park. It is day time, but beyond that, I will leave the rest of the scene up to you.

Now, you have two characters that are in the park and they are going to sit on this bench. I want you to really think about this bench, then, using the prompt, get the characters to sit on it.

Now, stop reading the post and go write about your bench. When you are done (and only when you are done) come back and continue reading.

All done?

Good! If not, you will ruin the surprise (or it will have less of an effect) if you wait until the end to write your piece.

Alright, for those that followed directions and those that are cheating, here is what I came up with:

Marcy and Dale approached the bench near the walking trail and sat down.

There it is. That’s it.

I’m going to guess that you wrote a bit more. Perhaps you described the bench. You may have even given it character traits, a history. Some of you might have talked about the people that have sat on it in the past, where it was made, who it was dedicated to, etc. etc.

The Trick

The “trick”? You don’t need any of that shit.

Let’s face it. It is a park bench. All that extra fluff and filler is not needed. It doesn’t push your story forward, your characters don’t care and won’t know about the thousands of other butts that sat on that bench.

If your characters don’t care, why should your readers? More importantly, why should you?

99% of your readers are going to know what a park bench is. They have a good idea of how they look, how they work and why they are located in the park.

Let them decide, in their mind’s eye, what that bench looks like. That will help draw them into the story and it saves you having to be extra flowery and fancy when it isn’t needed.

Remember: not everything in your story needs to be a romantic poem. Give your characters a place to sit, let them sit and move on with your story.

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