Practising Writing

I’ve started posting writing prompts again. It was mentioned to me in quick succession from a few sources and I thought that I would have a play. At time of typing, I have writing prompts cued up for Tuesdays up to the end of February 2024. I set the word count at 500 words (I went over by fifty on my last response here), tried to pick out a good range of pictures and quotes and hoped for the best.

My goal was to work on my writing, like a gym. It can be tricky to keep the word count low, at least for me. My characters start talking and they get carried away. I was hoping to reference the crew at The White Hart, the former pub and now shop and cafe which is staffed by a very miscellaneous group of elfen, werewolves and boggarts with the occasional normal thrown into the mix (you can find more about the world of The White Hart here and some previous short stories here). The idea wasn’t to worry about background or characters but to write a complete, self contained scene that was at least a little interesting to read.

Writing that small scene can be unexpectedly hard.

The first consideration is to make that scene readable to those who haven’t read the three novels and associated short stories. Making that not only readable but perhaps interesting while trying to avoid irritating a regular reader is tricky and something that I’m working on. That’s one of the reasons I’m calling it a writing gym. I can’t just dump any old stuff. I have to carefully consider who could be reading this.

The second consideration is word count. I’m clear that the 500 word limit is a suggestion and not set in stone, but it’s very useful. I find myself carefully picking over the words when I inevitably run over. This is incredibly good gym work as I have to consider the value of every word. I’m choosing between adding information or rounding out description and it’s forcing me to look closer at my writing. This has to be useful when it comes to my other work.

As for making it entertaing, well, that’s something that’s always a work in progress. The brutal truth is that the more you write, the better you get. The short stories that I’m putting in after the prompt are my way of putting in time and effort to make my writing better. I’m playing fair and not looking ahead to the next prompt too early, which is I suppose the equivalent of training with the right weights. I’m taking it seriously, although I hope that the stories are fun.

So thank you for reading. I hope that I can make it worthwhile coming back again. I’d love to hear what you think so please feel free to drop a comment. And please enjoy the chance to play the writing prompts, as long as you find it fun.

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