Sunday, December 29, 2013

1000 Creative Writing Prompts by Bryan Cohen

Writer’s block has never really been much of a problem for me, but I do know people who wrestle with it every day. This book may well be one of the best answers I’ve ever seen. There are seven chapters with a hundred categories scattered among them, and each category has ten questions. Answering these questions is an excellent way to get the juices flowing. One of them might even help you though a difficult point in your story. Heck, it might even be the spark of the next big blockbuster. You never know until you try.

In an effort to showcase the book, I thought I’d do something of a self-interview by answering a few of the questions.

Chapter 1: Time and Place

The Past

#9. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from studying your own past experiences? Would you consider teaching that lesson to others? Why or why not?

Probably the most important lesson I learned was how to be strong, how to be my own person. After suddenly being shunned in first grade for a reason I never learned, I had to do my own thing, walk my own path. At some point I determined that it wasn’t my fault, whatever it was, so I took on the attitude that I’d be anyone’s friend, I’d help anyone, but they had to ask me first. If they didn’t want to be my friend, fine – their loss. It might sound cold, but it’s not, not really. You see I wasn’t cold to anyone. I wasn’t mean to anyone. I treated everyone I met like I would want to be treated if our positions and circumstances were switched. I guess you could say I live by the Golden Rule.

Would I teach this if I could? Sure, but the Golden Rule has been around for a long time, and it’s very simple. Treat others as you would have them treat you. There you go, lesson taught.

Why would I teach this? Because if everyone did this, just imagine what our world would be like.

The Present

#23. It’s been said that to be happy, you have to live in the moment. Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not? How well do you think you live in the moment and why do you believe that?

Living in the moment is something I think I do all the time. The past is past and to be learned from but not to be agonized over. It’s pretty much the same for the future. You can’t agonize over tomorrow; all you can do is do the best you can today with tomorrow in mind. Tomorrow will get here soon enough.

The Future

#31. What are you most looking forward to in the immediate future and why? What are you looking forward to in the next couple of years and why?

Ever since I published my first book, I have looked forward to the next book coming out. It has always been a thrill to know someone I never met is reading my books. In the very near future, I of course have another book coming out, and this coming summer will see my trilogy out in full. That one has been a long journey, but then begins the next one. I thought once I might get used to this feeling, but it doesn’t look like it, and frankly, I don’t want to. Yay for more books waiting in line so I can feel this yet again.

Chapter 2: People and Creatures


#233. Did you ever have a teacher who had no idea what they were doing? What was it that made the teacher so clueless? How did having a teacher like that make you feel and why?

In college, I wanted to go into the computer field. I was very logical about my decision, computers were up-and-coming, and they would be going places. However, I needed more math. The math class I signed up for had a teacher who was incredibly well versed in her field, but she had no clue how to teach what she knew. She’d scrawl these equations across the board and that’s the way it was. She never explained why it was that way. It left me in the dust. Asking for help was no better. her inability to teach, quite literally cast my future adrift. With a teacher like that, the computer field was out of reach. Now I had to figure out what to do next, and I didn’t have a clue.

Chapter 3: The Body and the Brain


#383. Think back to all of your most memorable dreams and single out the scariest recurring dream you ever had. What do you think it symbolized? If you had complete control over the dream, how do you think you would have conquered such a fearful night of slumber?

I have recurring dreams all the time. They are usually steps in solving some kind of puzzle. They also might not necessarily take place in the same location. These kinds of recurring dreams are seldom scary, but I have had a few very vivid dreams that would startle me awake; those, most of them, ended up in one or another of my books in one form or another. Probably the scariest one was of an asteroid destroying the moon. That too is in a book, in fact, that occurrence sculpted the entire world of that book. Imagine, Earth with no moon. The only control one can have in such a dream is the decisions of what to do next. Survive.

Chapter 4: Concepts

Good and Evil

#510. Would your morals change if you were in a life or death situation? What would be different if you or your loved ones were at risk and why?

Your morals are what define you, and maybe best in a life and death situation. However, there needs to be priorities. In a life and death situation, you must protect yourself first. With yourself safe, then you can save those most important to you. It’s very logical. Get yourself killed and there’s no protecting your loved ones.

Chapter 5: Money


#745. Contrary to popular belief, the wealthiest people don’t tend to live extravagantly. In reality, they live well below their means and save up, while those who appear to be the wealthiest are often riddled with debt. How do you think you and your family might be able to live this truer definition of wealthy? If you came upon a lot of money, would you be prone to spend it quickly like these other seemingly affluent folks?

Money is what it is, but I live in the wilderness of Alaska in a little house in the middle of nowhere. Frankly, I can’t see myself changing much. With money, however, might come a new house – this one is starting to have unfixable issues. Money might also see me being able to have a few more book signings as well. It’s not easy coming and going from here. It’s about as expensive just to go to town as it is to hop a flight to some city half way across the country.

Chapter 6: Love and Entertainment

On the Road

#891. Where have you always wanted to travel and why? What’s the first thing you would do when you got there?

I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland and England. I’ve always wanted to explore all those old castles I see pictures of.

Chapter 7: Mixed Bag

Air Travel

#937. Have you ever taken a helicopter tour of a city or island? If so, write about your experience about seeing the world from a much different view.

I work at a fishing lodge and one of our guests would come in his own helicopter. He brought his brothers to go fishing but he loved flying better. He’s taken me on more than one ride, but my first is probably my most exciting. I’m not sure what it is about helicopters, but I think it’s the rotor overhead. I’m not one to get airsick but in a helicopter I tend to feel dizzy. Like I said there’s no reason for it, I just need to steel myself for the feeling. This guy flies with a smooth and sure hand, no funny business – all safety. It’s an awesome experience. I’d fly with him every chance I got. I wish I could afford lessons – he teaches too.

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