Over the last twenty years I’ve employed many a writing prompt to get the gears cranking. I joined online writing groups that offered weekly suggestions and scenarios. I bought Leslea Newman’s book of writing exercises and tried her “kvetching” method.  I’ve tried the James Caan/Paul Sheldon method:

So far the most successful prompt devised came to me via a night writing class I took over twenty years ago in Athens, GA. There were a few established authors in the group, and also Beverly Connor, who would go on to publish numerous archaeological mysteries and thrillers. The guy who sat next to me looked like Wilford Brimley, and at the beginning of each class he’d turn to me and say, “Now, you’re Nadine, right?” I corrected him the first four weeks, then finally on week five said, “Yes. Nadine Kurosawa. Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior?”

Would have been funny if I had said that, but his weekly senior moments baffled me. People have gotten my name wrong for thirty-plus years, calling me Kathy, Karen, by my sister’s name, “hey, boy” and so forth. I still wonder where in the hell he got Nadine.

Anyway, here it was suggested to write the first sentence of each chapter you plan for your book. You may end up altering things down the road, but at least you’re writing. I tried this a few times and that’s how I finished Pithed. Of course, I also hand wrote the first draft, and I really don’t want to do that anymore because I can no longer read my writing. I write every day, but it’s nothing for public consumption. Then again, I don’t know what you’d call this blog post, but it’s Tuesday and I promised myself to blog this day at the very least.

For the new year, I’d like to try something different. I know this artist, formerly a podcaster, who wrote the stories she broadcast. On the Heat Flash podcast, she hosted a Random Words Theme where she asked listeners to send in three random words. Once a week, she’d draw from a hat and make up a story using the chosen phrase. I’ve done random word prompts in the past – usually at cons where I’m a guest and there’s a naughty story contest happening. I’d like to try this as an exercise and create not only flash shorts, but shape them into a continuing story. I’ll start with a phrase I picked myself, and endeavor to have installments on this blog.

What do I need? Three random words. Pretty much anything from the top of your head. I’d prefer all of them can be said on the radio and TV. In my memory, the phrase “sexy bacon bra” was a contender for the Heat Flash podcast, but I can’t remember if a story came of it. That’s about as blue as I’d get.

So, gimme three words. You can comment below or contact me privately. If I don’t receive hints I’m doing this anyway, and I can go weirder than sexy bacon bra. If you’ve longed to control someone’s destiny this is your chance.