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by Writing Workshops Staff

2 years ago

15 Writing Prompts Inspired by Spring

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 years ago

15 Writing Prompts Inspired by Spring

by Writing Workshops Staff

2 years ago

In honor of our Spring 2022 Classes, we'd like to thank Kleopatra Olympiou for writing a list of 15 Writing Prompts Inspired by Spring.

The coming of spring is something that brings me infinite joy. If, like plants and myself, you thrive in direct sunlight, and are excited to write in less directly hostile weather conditions, I hope these prompts inspired by the season will help. Say goodbye to winter hibernation, and let’s celebrate another spring in the light of this unlikely world.

1. Write a story titled after the Latin name for a flower.

Nothing like a bit of esotericism, right? You don’t need to be a classicist for this prompt — simply look up the names of your favorite flowers and imagine the story that would follow if you were to turn one of these names into a title. Ideally, find a reason for the Latin within your story — the best titles are anchored in the narrative.

2. Write a story from the point of view of one of the figures in Botticelli’s Primavera.

This iconic painting comprises a full cast of characters in an orange grove: will your narrator be Cupid, hovering above the crowd? Or Venus, eyeing the viewer with a knowing look? You’ve also got Zephyrus, Chloris, the Three Graces, and Mercury to choose from, so study their expressions and the way they hold themselves, and try to imagine what they might be thinking or what they will do next.

For more on using images as writing prompts, check out this post by Jenny Bhatt.

3. Write about a character called Flora, April, or May.

We don’t always think about the significance of people’s names in real life, but we definitely analyze the names of fictional characters with active interest. Let one of these names guide you to the personality you feel it entails: explore your own impressionistic response to each name’s texture, sound, or implications, and let a person grow out of those abstract thoughts — if you’re synesthetic, you might enjoy this one a little more.

4. Set your story in a meadow in bloom.

Here’s your chance to go all Monet. Is your meadow a beautiful place of repose and relaxation? Maybe it’s a place so remote that a crime takes place there, or something magical begins to happen…

5. Write about someone obsessed with photographing cherry blossoms.

Are they a social media influencer, a perfectionist, a private investigator, or just someone for whom cherry blossoms hold a special significance? Up to you to decide, but you can use this as a starting point for building  a compelling character profile.

6. Set your story on a treehouse.

Is this a children’s story, a jungle adventure, or the next meet-cute bestseller to be picked up by young adult publishers? What do your characters see from up there? What if something unusual happens inside the treehouse? Is there a way out? Is someone hiding in the treehouse, or is it a portal to another world? You tell me.

7. End your story with the coming of spring.

The fun thing about spring is that it’s a kind of beginning, so to end a story with the coming of spring is to somewhat paradoxically end a story with the promise of a new beginning. Subverting your readers’ expectations of closure is always fun, so try it out!

8. Write a story about a world where spring never comes.

It’s up to you to decide whether this fantasy world experiences no seasonal climatic patterns, or if this is our world in the midst of an environmental disaster. Is this eternal winter, or something else? Let your imagination figure it out.

9. Write about a character who gets hay fever.

Whether you’ve got someone comically sneezing at all the wrong moments or going through a difficult time only exacerbated by allergies, use hay fever as a handy way to examine your character’s personality, their response to an allergic reaction, and their current place in the world.

10. Set your story on the Spring equinox.

Put on your Death Cab for Cutie, or fondly recall Robert Pattinson’s Twilight days if that’s helpful, and write a story that takes place on March 20th. It’s a day of astronomical equilibrium (or not, I know nothing about astronomy, but that’s not the point), so ask yourself what events might be falling into delicate balance on this day.

11. Write about a writer who can’t stop writing exhausting flower similes.

It’s true, writers love to read about other writers. So whether your protagonist works in publishing, is a Hallmark card writer, or a ghostwriter for a celebrity florist, consider what it might feel like to be immersed in literary and floral ornamentation all day long. Bonus points if you can tell the story in the medium your protagonist is supposed to be writing, e.g. in Hallmark card copy.

12. Write about “a spring day so perfect, / so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze / that it made you want to throw / open all the windows in the house,” as in 'Today' by Billy Collins.

Billy Collins has given you the exact weather conditions for your story’s setting. The next step is to figure out what happens on this very perfect day. Is it sounding a little suspiciously perfect? Maybe something utterly shocking is right around the corner — or maybe a sound is heard through those open windows that wouldn’t otherwise have been audible. Either way, perfect surfaces often reveal messy truths.

13. End your story with a character managing to keep a houseplant alive.

In the ultimate adulthood test for many young people, houseplants are often our unfortunate victims. But that’s not the case in this coming-of-age story! Your protagonist’s plant survives. Now let’s think about what it survives — what has your character been going through? And why did they succeed in their plant-rearing this time? Has something changed?

14. Start your story with someone taking a vigorous walk for their mental health.

We all know that too-relatable Tik-Tok trend about taking a ‘stupid walk for my stupid mental health’ — a trend that inevitably thrived during the pandemic. Use that trend as your prompt: your character leaves the house or the office, probably in the middle of the workday, to grumpily go on a walk because conventional advice says walks help your mental health. What goes through their mind?

15. Write a story that involves a birth.

Countless stories have been written about deaths, but births seem to be taken for less exciting writing material. So let’s try and see what narrative you can construct around a birth — a human birth, an animal birth, or the metaphorical birth of a feeling or new status quo, if you prefer. The point is to let the concept of birth lead you to a story, then start to write it down.

I hope you have fun playing with these prompts — remember that prompts are meant to give you a first nudge towards an idea, not keep you from writing because of their restrictions. Feel free to mix prompts together, deliberately write ‘badly’ or only adhere to part of a prompt, whatever you need! If you end up with a draft you’re happy with, head to this post next for tips on publishing short stories. Good luck!

Kleopatra Olympiou is a writer from Cyprus, and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Durham University. She’s previously written for Electric Literature, LitReactor, and Reedsy’s blog for self-publishing authors.

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