writing prompt literary list graphic

Hey there! I’ve been a slump lately regarding writing tips, so we’re trying something new. Everyone likes writing prompts, right? Sure hope so, because that’s what you’re getting! And just because I can, the prompts of this 1st post are a fun literary list!

Writing Prompts – Literary List (1st Edition)

In this first list, I’ve collected quotes from classic literature; sci-fi, fantasy, and  mystery fiction; non-fiction (including a book on science!); and poetry.

To find these prompts, I went to my bookshelf and opened a few books to random pages. Some of my favorite authors and books populate this list, as do a few random ones. If you want, read the books (and poem) yourself!

These prompts can be used in short stories, works in progress, poetry, or whatever else you like to write.  You can choose to use these prompts one at a time, or get wild and challenge yourself to use all 7 of the quotes in one go. Good luck with that last quote though.

Remember, though: you’re the author. If you feel the need, change names, pronouns, or even subject. The prompts may be quotes, but that doesn’t mean you have to include their precise words in your work. In fact, it’s better to not! No need to plagiarize–these are only inspirations, after all. Mix it up!

Here are your 7 prompts!

“Someone almost took a ride on the merry-go-round.”

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury


“Kate sat at the head of the table with an account book open before her.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


“[His] laugh was raw and sad. ‘I guess he wanted to warn me that everyone screws up sometime.'”

Wilde Lake, Laura Lippman


“I take to dying like a man. I do it to impress the crowd.”

“My Guilt”, Maya Angelou (read the poem if you use this prompt)


“According to Newton, everything exerts a force on everything else.”

1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Science, James Trefil


“They all got scared, about as regularly as they got paid.”

On the Road With Charles Kuralt, Charles Kuralt


“For some unexplained reason, the teleport cubicles were in the bathroom.”

Life, The Universe, and Everything, Douglas Adams

Good luck, and happy writing!

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Other writing tips and prompts can be found here.

Need a place to put your writing? Check out my line of notebooks on Etsy!

writing prompts literary list 1 pin

notebook open to "to do - start writing"

Welcome to Possum Paper Works’ Writing Tip Rodeo! This is the first post in what I hope will be a series of short weekly tips, tricks, and inspirations for writers like myself. Today I’m looking at the most basic part of writing: how to start.

Writing Tip #1: How to Start Writing:

1. Have an idea you love (or at least like)

Got an idea? That’s all you need. No, really.

It’s okay if it’s not the best thing you’ve ever come up with or you don’t have a full plan for where the idea is headed. If you like it enough to want to write it, chances are your idea has merit. Don’t start doubting yourself before you’ve even put words on paper (or word processor or stone tablet or whatever you use to write).

Just don’t let your idea go to waste.

2. Write that idea down with as much detail you can come up with

Put your words down until you have nothing else to say. Write until you think you might lose yourself to the gods of language and then write some more. Don’t stop until you have said everything there is to be said about your idea.

It sounds easier than it is. You’ll have moments of doubt, flashes of discouragement. You’ll want to throw your writing tools across the room and scream into the void. That’s okay. Take those moments inside of you. Use them to make you stronger, your writing truer.  Listen when the words don’t feel right, and fix what you most need to as you go.

But don’t stop writing.

there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you - maya angelou

3. Pat yourself on the back, you wrote something!

Editing? Improving? That’ll come eventually. For now, call yourself a writer and enjoy the feeling. Seriously. Did you put words down somewhere? Did you share your idea? You’re a writer.

What you wrote won’t be perfect. It never is the first time, or even the second, third, or hundredth time (if it is, can you share your secret with the rest of us?). That’s fine. I promise. Everyone who writes goes through that. We all have to start  somewhere.

Don’t let imperfection keep you from sharing your first idea. Don’t let doubt stop you from writing your next idea.

4. Rinse and repeat

Keep writing. As long as there are ideas in your head, keep letting them out into the universe. No one is going to tell your stories but you.

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Other writing tips can be found here.

Need a place to put your writing? Check out my line of notebooks on Etsy!

For your pinning pleasure:

Writing Tip #1