Daily, genre-inspired writing prompts for authors, teachers, and journaling

Literary – April 18

“I never wanted to see anybody die, but there are a few obituary notices I have read with pleasure.” -Clarence Darrow, born this date in 1857. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist must conceal her/his glee at another person’s misfortune.

Big Questions – April 18

What’s the easiest thing you could do to improve your relationships with important people in your life? Journaling prompt: Spend 15-20 minutes writing your answer in the spirit of exploring yourself and the world around you. If you can answer with a simple “yes” or “no,” explain the sources or implications of your response. Fiction writing prompt: Write a scene that forces a character in your story to answer...

Journaling + Fiction – April 18

“A sharp sense of empathy can make a huge difference, and with it in an ability to manipulate, to gain cooperation, and to deceive.”Edward O. Wilson Journal prompt: Spend at least 20 minutes writing about what you learned from a person whose apparent empathy caused you to be deceived. Fiction writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist learns s/he was deceived by a person previously considered an...

Romance – April 18

Lucrezia Borgia, the illegitimate daughter of a future Pope, was born on this date in 1480. Her family personified Machiavellian corruption and committed bribery, theft, adultery, incest, and murder as well as strategic marriage — to which Lucrezia was thrice committed. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist is threatened with being forced to marry a person for political or financial...

Mystery – April 18

Richard Harding Davis, a writer who got his start as a reporter by infiltrating criminal gangs to write about them for his newspaper, was born on this date in 1864. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist discovers that someone s/he believes is a criminal is a reporter working undercover.

SciFi/Fantasy – April 18

Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist tells a close friend about the worst experience s/he ever had at a party.

Secondary – April 18

Bob Kaufman, the man who inspired San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen to invent the term “beatnik,” was born on this date in 1925. He said, “I want to be anonymous. My ambition is to be completely forgotten.” How would you explain such an ambition?

Primary – April 18

On this date in 1775, Paul Revere began riding across Massachusetts, crying out “The British are coming!” to rally American’s revolutionary Minutemen. Explain how you would spread such a message today.

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