- “Yes, it is my fault. But I can’t undo this.”
- “Let’s talk right now. We can worry about the others later.”
- We weren’t so sure he could handle this pressure…
- “Don’t freak out on me now. I need you! We all need you!”
- “Faking a call on your cell is the oldest trick in the book!”
“Trust me, I was desperate.”
- She dropped a thousand bucks on the table. “Go for it.”
- “You treat that dog better than you treat me!”
- “What’s your point?”
He reached inside his coat. “I’m glad you asked.”
- “That’s a whole lot of real estate you just bought.”
- Every time he raised that scalpel…
For more ideas how these warmups might help…How to use writing prompts by Emily Wenstrom.
- “If you’re taking this seriously, why are you blowing bubbles while I’m talking to you?”
- “Do more with less. Then we’ll talk about advancement.” At that moment, I certainly wanted advancement…of my fist on his forehead.
- “I’m pretty sure I don’t need a psychiatrist.”
“Ohhh, I’m pretty sure you do.”
- “Here’s what you have to do. Shut up and follow instructions.”
- “You keep an eye on my house for a day and you’re expecting a parade?”
- “Maybe we should take turns.”
- “The data doesn’t lie.”
“Actually, sometimes it does.”
- “Do you really know what you’re doing?”
- “This is the first stage of total organizational failure.”
- “Thanks for the positive strokes. I really needed them right about now.”
Comments: #’s 2, 5, and 7 could certainly take place in an HR office.
I could see #9 being uttered in a conference room of stuffed shirts.
But as I type these suggestions, I’d say it would be even more fun to choose a setting completely opposite in nature.
- “Get your girlfriend’s family here as soon as possible!”
- We knew we didn’t belong, but we were all she had…
- “Quick, contact social services!”
- It looked completely safe to me.
- “The worst thing I could do for you is feed your chocolate habit.”
I formed a fist…
- “A second injury? No way!”
- We needed it to be low-cost and under-the-radar…
- “Hey, I’m not here to marry your daughter!”
- “Go ahead, make my year.”
- “Honest! It’s 100 percent pure!”
“Oh, yeah, something here is definitely pure.”
Other use for writing prompts:
I look for one that speaks to what has happened to me or what I’ve read or seen in the last 24 hours that spurred anger, gratitude, or laughter.
Number five applies to my wife’s recent attempts to cut back on sugar. [No, no fist was formed in the making of that writing prompt.]
- “I can’t go back to the way things were.”
- “I’m pretty sure we’re going to need a lawyer.”
- “Come on, George, we both know all that stuff was just talk.”
- “Oh, sure, we threw away our future today, but we still have enchiladas!”
- It made us feel like kids again. And we couldn’t stop…
- “You really never believed in me!”
- “I’m calling today, ‘Launch Day’!’”
- “I’m afraid I’ve hit a creative roadblock.”
- Her mother…coming up the walkway. There had to be a place to hide…
- I sensed tension. Lots of it. I looked to Barkley for relief…
Note: These prompts only starting points and might–and probably will–elicit entirely different characters, settings, dialogue. If so, mission accomplished!
#9. Her mother…coming up the walkway. And my wife miles from the house. There had to be a place to hide. If only I could vaporize my car so the ‘nobody home’ message would ring loud and clear.
But nothing was ‘loud and clear’ to this woman. Except when she screamed at PBS commentators. That was loud and clear.
- “No matter what happens, this is how I want to remember my time here.”
- “Darn it. I think we have a future together!”
- The Ferris wheel seemed to be as good a place as any…
- “As I’ve always said, never judge a book by its table of contents.”
My brother and I looked at each other and cocked our heads.
- “This might seem a little narrow-minded, but I’m pretty sure the only real solution is to get a dog.”
- “Make sure you stop over and say bye to the kids.”
“Oh, yeah, that I’ll do for sure.”
I didn’t like the sound of that one bit.
- “Can you take this call?” The only right answer was ‘no’. And yet…
- “Isn’t she the absolute perfect bride?!”
We stood in the back and chuckled. How long would it be before…
- “I can’t do this anymore.”
“This? What do you mean ‘this’?
- She had finally figured out who she was. How unfortunate for all of us.
Photo by tanialee gonzalez on Unsplash
“So THAT’S why she was following you! I knew she wasn’t that socially desperate.”
“Hey, everything I do is above board!”
“My job is to put away bad guys.” It was impossible to not roll my eyes.
“You’re not exactly playing by the rules.”
“I’m just not following your point.”
“Your obtuseness—so convenient.”
“If that phone beeps one more time, you’re going to need it to be surgically removed.”
“I understand that you’re doing your job, but do we really need to be frisked? And twice?”
“Why don’t we team up on this?” It seemed like a good idea. But my gut said otherwise.
“Sure I’ll testify against him. But I need some reassurances.”
“Everything he claims? Baseless. Absolutely baseless,” he said as he backed his way out the door.
Photo by Nick Herasimenka on Unsplash
Another use: I have reduced one of my hard copies to 1000 strips of paper, each containing a Warmup. I pull out four or five at a time and see what story develops.
[Note: My first ebook of Writing Warmups is currently free.]
- “Why don’t you come with us?” As she considered the request, the three of us turned our backs and winced.
- “Don’t sweat it. You’ll get the hang of it.”
- I swear when I grabbed her hand for the first time, a jolt of electricity shot up my arm.
- “How do you get anything done in here?”
- “All due respect…” Oh, geez, I knew anything but respect was on its way.
- The deadline was approaching, but our solutions weren’t.
- “So, what’ll it be—root canal or a date with my brother?”
- “Should my hands be sweating like this?”
- “Let’s just make believe we get along…just for tonight.”
- “What is it with you? Why does everything have to be so organized?”
**Photo by Jeremy Beck on Unsplash