By: The Steps to Getting Published Team
Q: What is Impromptu Writing?
A: Impromptu Writing is timed writing, typically using a subject you are given on the spot. It involves writing without stopping to edit or revise.
Q: What are the benefits of Impromptu Writing for writers?
A: Impromptu Writing forces you to not only write, but to resist the urge to go back and edit your work, leading to higher productivity and creativity. It also serves as a gauge of your punctuation, grammar, and quick-thinking skills.
Q: How much time is allowed?
A: Generally, we recommend 15 or 20 minutes, timed. You could try shorter or longer times—like 5 minutes—but it’s best not to go too far over 20 minutes for best results. Here is a fun link for timers: https://www.online-stopwatch.com/classroom-timers/
Q: What happens if I run out of ideas before time is up?
A: Don’t fret! Just keep writing, even if the ideas aren’t directly linked to the writing topic. If you’re writing about the color red, for example, you might start writing about a red object and your memories of that object (a day in the park with a red kite, a day of swimming with a red pool float, a favorite red food, etc.).
Q: How do I start?
A: We have provided a few Impromptu Writing prompts, based on teaching techniques and our experience. It’s best to choose one randomly (with your eyes closed, if you can) without looking ahead first. Just choose a prompt, set the timer, and go. Do not stop!
Prompts for FICTION WRITERS
- Write a short story about a family who finds themselves in the midst of a long-term power outage
- Write a romantic short story
- Write about how you feel on your favorite planet
- Write a short story about an unexpected reunion
- Create a character profile. Write about your character’s history, their personality, their relationship with other characters, their ambitions—everything you know about this character
- Create your own restaurant. Fill in recipes, food, clientele, menus, and info about regular customers
- Write social media posts from famous people in history (ex: Napoleon, Queen Victoria, Abraham Lincoln, etc.)
- Consider the point of view of a tree and create a story about what it may observe
Prompts for POETS
- Create a poem or two about a childhood experience
- Write up a collection of short poems revolving around the theme of mortality
- Write about the first color you see
- Write a poem about a time you forgave, but did not forget
- Write a poem about berry picking
- Write a poem about your prom (or a dance). What were you wearing? Who did you go with? What music was playing? How did you feel?
Prompts for SCREENWRITERS/PLAYWRIGHTS
- Write a snippet of a screenplay about a girls’ or boys’ weekend gone awry
- Write a short sitcom script that takes place in a fantasy world
- Write a play about a runaway and a group of traveling actors
- Write a horror/drama script involving an unorthodox girl or boy with highly religious parents
- Write a short play about an overly polite pirate with a broken heart
Prompts for NON-FICTION WRITERS
- Describe a childhood friend
- Write about a treasured or sentimental item that has little or no material value
- Describe an object in the room
- Pick a news story today. Write about it. What side have you taken? Why?
- Write about the coldest you have ever been
- Write about a time you found something that did not belong to you (money, a purse, a backpack, etc.)
- Write about the first time you swam in a pool (or lake or ocean, etc.)
Feel free to try out other genres, and don’t forget to post your stories to the blog. We’d love to read them!