Tuesday, August 22, 2017


When looking for a subject to write about, ideas are everywhere. Sitting on a bench in the park you have sights and sounds. Take a notebook with you wherever you go and use all your senses to capture the world around you. See the child sliding down the slide: capture the dialog and jot it down. What are people doing and saying around you? What about their mannerisms? How they walk, talk, look?

There are many things to look for when trying to find a subject matter. Look in the newspapers. Is there something that jumps out at you and captures your attention? Possibly a murder, or someone missing. Write about the search party; someone in the search party. Make the person interesting. Does he/she have anything to do with the missing person? Do they know this person? Just read the newspaper and see what you can come up with. Change the story to meet your needs.

Watch the evening news. Watch online news and events. What’s going on in the world that disturbs you and you want to write about it?

There are thousands of writing prompts online (google). Something might jump out at you and beg to be written.

I’ve always been interested in women’s issues, especially in other countries. For instance: kidnapping, female genital mutilation, child labor, unequal pay, beating of women, child & women abuse, elder abuse, animal abuse. I could go on, but you get the idea. There is so much going on in the world we could write about passionately.

Read and study about things you are interested in and start writing in your own words.

There’s a saying to not mix politics and religion together. Why? Because they are controversial issues. So, I say, write about it. How do you feel about how America has changed since you were a child? Is it better or worse? What changes have you seen? What improvements would you want to see happen? And religion. Why do you think there are so many? What’s the purpose of so many? What is the right one? How would you go about changing the views of those around you?

There is a plethora of things to write about, whether right or wrong. Someone will have a negative opinion about it anyway. But you will stir up interest. That’s what makes a good writer into a great writer.

Have you watched any good movies lately? How about an old movie…can you see a better ending? How about changing the protagonist to the opposite sex? Maybe change the storyline. Bring it up to date for today’s time.

Watch movies and read books you’re interested in. Can you see something entirely different than what the author wrote? Does your imagination take you on a diverse journey? Good! Go for it.

What about dreams. I know everyone has dreams that are dark or silly. Why not weave them into a story? Better yet, write an entire story and fill in the part of the dream that wasn’t there. Complete the dream. I’ve had some wild dreams about planes crashing around me, or bombing me. They were quite vivid and still remember them years later.

I don’t mind buying books that might help me with prompts. I bought one called, The Writer’s Book of Matches by the staff of fresh boiled peanuts. There are over 1001 prompts to start your imagination flowing. I used to run a writing group from 2001 to 2012. I used prompts in this group of writers to come up with a story each month and then we would critique: grammar, story, use of the senses, conflict and resolution and lots more. This book helped in keeping our creative juices flowing.

So, wherever you are, you can be sure to find something interesting to write about. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Your senses will pick up something interesting for your next story.

Let the journey begin, and have fun.

Article formerly posted on: Writers on the Move


Linda Barnett-Johnson is a virtual assistant for authors, former editor, former assistant editor of Long Story Short ezine. Published many articles, short stories and poetry.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article Linda. I agree and I find most of my prompts by reading a news article or even an advertisement. All writers should read this article. Nice photo too. My recent thriller involves child sex trafficking (not a pretty subject) but one that needs to be told. Nice photo too.


Chances are You Will Want to Come to New York City

In 1958 Her streets were paved in yellow brick leading to Fifth Avenue and 42 nd  Street. You might have seen a zealous couple dance-walkin...