On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
As it's December 1st, some Christmas spirit is due on Sophie's Proof, and I couldn't think of a better way to spread it then with some writing prompts (for the second year in a row).
So, here are 12 writing prompts (like the 12 days of Christmas, get it?)
You may want to complete one each day on the lead up to Christmas, or maybe even one every other day up until the 24th. Writing prompts are a great way to exercise your writing skill (which is why some are duller than others), help you to develop ideas and just to get you writing.
Describe a christmassy scene
Create a small Christmas world, perhaps a snowy day or a cosy night under the Christmas tree. What does this world look like? What does it smell like? What do you feel? What can you hear?
This world can be as mundane as you like, for example you could write out a relaxed evening at home or on the other hand describe what Santa's workshop looks like the few days before Christmas and how crazy it might be.
World building is such an important technique to work on and this is a great exercise to practice it.
What's your favourite Christmas movie?
Use your favourite Christmas movie as a prompt and perhaps tie up any loose ends with it too. What happens the Christmas after? Use those characters and the world they live in and write a short story about their next Christmas. For example, where did Buddy the Elf spend his next Christmas? In New York or The North Pole? What kind of trouble could he get into this time, especially now everyone knows Santa is real? Or now the Grinch doesn't hate Christmas, what happens when he spends Christmas in Whoville? I'm sure there would still be chaos.
A Christmas Carol
The Christmas Carol is a great writing prompt within itself and could bring out a great story from you. Write your past, present and potential future, or better yet try it with a character you've made up (this would be great as a character-building exercise and really help you develop one or more of your characters). This is just a prompt and therefore can be as light-hearted as you want.
A Christmas Carol pt. 2
Like I said, within itself the premise of the Christmas Carol is automatically a prompt anyway. If you liked the first Christmas Carol prompt, then you may want to try a different approach, or if you're struggling to write about yourself (as that can be a little intense when it comes to future) or you don't have a character in mind, then choose someone from history? Someone with a bitter end that maybe if the ghost of Christmas future visited them, then perhaps things wouldn't have ended so badly for them.
Christmas dinner dialogue
This was a prompt that I suggested last year, but I think it's such a great exercise for developing dialogue that I have included it in this year's post too. Play around with some dialogue around the dinner table. Christmas is a time for bringing people together whether that's a family dinner or a work's Christmas meal. We can't always choose who we celebrate with and that can cause some friction at the dinner table, so why not have some fun and write about that. Whether you're creating a story or using some memories to inspire your writing. This is also a good opportunity to work on characterisation and dialogue too. Remember, this is only a prompt, no one is going to know if you use real family members in your story. Another alternative is to use fictional characters, imagine if Elizabeth Bennet sat down with Bridget Jones?
Write out a synopsis for your favourite Christmas movie
I'll admit, this prompt is a little boring, but it's great for practicing writing out a synopsis, especially if you're looking to eventually go down the traditional publishing route. A synopsis is a brief description of the whole story, from beginning to end. It reveals all and the point is to basically inform a publisher or agent exactly what happens. Like I said, it's definitely not the most exciting, but practicing will definitely be beneficial for you.
A Christmas special
If you have a character all ready and thought out, then create a little Christmas special with them. What would happen if they all came together at Christmas. For example, if I wrote a Christmas special for The Way Back, I wonder what kind of conflict there would be between Penny and Gracie? Or if Louie and Andy would both be there? This can be valid with any world you have created. For example, Christmas in the Capitol? I wonder if there would be a Hunger Games special? Or Christmas in the Shire? How would they celebrate, what would they eat? What could possibly go wrong?
A great example of this is Giovanna Fletcher's 'Christmas with Billy' an add on to Billy and Me.
The story behind a Christmas song
Choose a Christmas song and write a short story about what the song is about. For example, Driving Home for Christmas, what happens when he gets home? You don't even have to follow a song word for word, how does that song make your feel? Write about that.
A Christmas tree
This is another boring one, but beneficial to your writing skills. Describe a Christmas tree from top to bottom. Write where everything is on the tree, what's hanging where and what it looks like, what colour it is. This will not only help you with developing your descriptive skills, it will also help you with writing out prepositions and making sure they make sense and build correctly in your reader's mind too.
The adventures of Elf on the Shelf
If you're looking to try a writing prompt to develop a skill in Children's fiction, then this might be the perfect prompt for you. Elf on the Shelf is such a fun part of Christmas for children and as an adult if you have children, it can be equally as fun to set it up each night. What if each night when you set up your Elf on the Shelf, you write how the elf came to get into that position. This is a great way to develop your writing and may also add a little more Christmas magic to Elf on the Shelf because you can share the story too.
Writing for children is fun but can be challenging, so this is the perfect way to practice.
This is another boring one, but a great prompt to develop your writing skill. Writing intructions is actually quite challenging as it's hard to not let your common sense take over and let you forget to add the more obvious things. Writing out instructions was a common exercise I used while studying at university. It's a lot harder than you think, I was always caught out by tiny details I've missed. This exercise will help you to make your writing more thorough which in the long run will help with the consistency of your writing.
Examples of instructions:
How to decorate a Christmas tree
How to cook a Christmas dinner
How to make the perfect festive hot chocolate
Dig deep into your past and share a Christmas memory, you may see things differently now and find a story in your memories that you didn't know was there. Christmas through a child's eyes is so magical. Writing about your past and sharing memories is a great way to use your experiences for your writing. You never know what it may bring out of you. I don't agree that you should write what you know, but sometimes your past can have a much bigger influence on your writing than you think...