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Howdy! Here we have a new list of writing prompts for your perusal, featuring fantasy-based works. And apparently most of the fantasy and sci-fi books I have hard copies of are by cis white guys… 🙁

We can make it work.

Writing Prompts – White Cis Guys Fantasy Edition

Okay. I do read fantasy and sci-fi written by people other than cis white guys, I promise, I just haven’t bought new books in a while. I don’t have easily accessible copies of the Charlaine Harris, Seanan McGuire , and Kim Harrison books that I’ve enjoyed in the last year, nor can I include Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, having lent my copy to a friend.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t like the books that I selected from. Quite the opposite – the 7 selections here all come from books and authors I love. And one TV show. I have a massive book with all the Firefly scripts.

Although, whenever I read H.G. Wells I can pretend that I’m reading a book by a bad-ass bisexual lady, thanks Warehouse 13. And look, The Invisible Man is just a deliciously creepy book with a strangely sympathetic monster. I do love a good monster.

Anyways, as always, change things up and don’t be a plagiarist.

Actually, that’s your mission for this assignment – mix these prompts up into something new! Fantasy and sci-fi needs more diversity, and it starts with the stories being told. I can’t do it alone, friends.

Alright, so let’s delve into my unfortunately white guys heavy collection of science fiction and fantasy, and use these prompts to make it better. Honestly my brain has started writing a story already just from the prompts I’ve found. I hope they inspire you too.

7 Fantastical Writing Prompts

“Why come to me? Why not a private investigator?”

“Because you know about…” She gestured, fitfully.

“About magic,” I said.

Storm Front, Jim Butcher

“But it gets dark.”


“Aren’t you afraid?”

“Of what?”

“The dark.”

“Why should I be?”

– “Pillar of Fire,” Ray Bradbury

“What happens to the soul of a man who dies between the stars, far from his native world?”

– “The Haunted Space Suit,” Arthur C. Clarke

“The girl is a witch!”

“Yeah. But she’s our witch.”

Firefly Ep. 5, “Safe,” Drew Z. Greenberg

“There have been no wizards since [him], and you would never in this world  have beaten him. But I tell you this – he would never in this world have beaten you.”

“I am ready then.”

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

“I could have swore I heard a voice.”

“Of course you did.”

“It’s there again”

“Don’t be a fool. You think I’m just imagination? Just imagination?”

“What else can you be?”

The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells

“Where is she?”

“Gone. The darkness took her.”

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

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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!

For your pinning pleasure:

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Hey there! It’s officially University Season, so between that and the upkeep of my business, I highly doubt I’ll have much time to post. That said, I have a new writing tip! It’s one I found very helpful recently – having a daily word count goal.

Writing Tip #7 – Daily Word Count Goals

Last week, I finished writing a book. Okay, it was a rough draft of a book. A very rough draft. It still has many issues to fix before anyone besides friends and family even can know about it.

But I finished, dammit. I wrote a book.

And I’m not saying that to brag (much). I’m proud, but I also want you to have to tools you need to do the same.

If you’re here, you want to know how to write better (I hope). I totally get that. I didn’t find it in me to write a real book until after I’d read dozens of other author’s works, online and in print, on how to tell a story.

All of those things helped me get to the point I am today. I learned many lessons from all–on plot, characters, form, whatever.

That said, the tools for helping with the act of writing did little for me. For whatever reasons, certain tips that other authors swear by did nothing to motivate me.  I had to find my own limits and skills.

The tool that worked the best for me? Making myself write no less than a certain number of words every day.

Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day; it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised. - John Steinbeck

How I Wrote A Book

Early this summer, right after my spring classes ended, I told myself that I would try to write a book. I had no real plans to speak of for the summer, so I made a daily schedule for myself–write in the morning, read in the afternoon, do tasks for this blog and my business in the evening.

Based on the total word count I expected, and a rough estimate of the number of days I had, I knew I’d have to write more than 500 words every day if I wanted to finish before classes started.

It wasn’t the first time I gave myself that task for the summer. Two years in a row, I wrote at least 500 words a day on a vague comic book script (still not even halfway done). Sure, it was vague. The rules changed as I felt like it. Not writing on the weekends? Sure, why not. On vacation? That’s fine.

I wrote. Lots of words hit the page. It worked well, and got some of my story out.

This time, I wasn’t nearly as lenient.


The Rules

500 words had to happen. Each day. Every day. No exceptions.

It’s a weekend? 500 words.

Stressed out and tired? 500 words.

Only an hour to write? 500 words.

On vacation? 500 words. Or more.

Sometimes I could barely reach that number. Sometimes I blew way past. Writing dialogue? Suddenly 1,000+ new words are on the page. Writing a bit of plot that totally lost me? Exactly 501 words written, finished at 1:30 PM.

When I started working on the project, that barely happened. I’d finish before noon each day, often with at least 600 words. After two months of straight writing, it got a whole lot harder.

Should I have taken breaks? Probably. Did I have time to? Nope.

More importantly, was I gonna break my 500 per day streak just because I had a bad day? Hell no.


Going Over the Count is Okay!

In the last month or so of writing, I realized I needed to do 750 a day to get to the total count I expected the book to finish at. But I didn’t reset my count calculators to help. So I kept writing 500. Sometimes I’d get to 750, sometimes 1,000.

It wasn’t enough.

Last week I wrote 1,500+ words for 5 days in a row.

I’m still coming off of the exhausting high of finishing my book.

But I finished.

If you’ve got the muse or the determination, don’t stop. Get it out.


Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Miss the Goal

Okay, I have to be honest–at least with this last session, I would’ve beat myself up for not getting to 500. No matter what I say, my brain still thinks of 500 words as generously low.

It’s not.

Getting up and writing ANYTHING, be it a sentence or thirty pages, is so much more than most people will ever do.


I probably should’ve taken some breaks to clear my head. I didn’t. But I also had the luxury of not having many commitments while I was writing.

If I missed my goal right now, with all my other deadlines, I wouldn’t get too stressed about it. Remember, writing should have an element of love and passion, not just numerical goals all the time.

Or, to be blunt, unless you’re lucky enough to have a publisher/agent, you’re the only one who cares if you miss your goal.


Word Count Varies Per Person

The advice I see all the time is to just write. To put all the words on the page. Don’t think about it. Just do it.

That has never worked for me.  I am a perfectionist. Every word must be perfect. The sentence lengths must vary. The word choice must make sense for the given character. Words and phrases can’t repeat in the same section. So on and so forth.

I can’t turn my need for perfection off, but I don’t mind anymore. I just have to work around the slow pace that results.

That means that, for the most part, the 1,667 words a day or 10,000 per weekend or whatever that NaNoWriMo requires? Not possible for me. Especially not if I do anything other than write during the day or want sleep.

And I want sleep. That much I refuse to give up for anything, good grades and writing included.

So, 500 words is my magic daily word count.


Famous Authors and their Daily Word Counts

Years ago, I found this great article and chart at Writers Write that shares the approximate daily word counts of 39 different authors, plus quotes about writing from each of them. It’s worth a look.

But with caution.

I love Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury wrote 1,000 words a day.  I am not Ray Bradbury.

The thing is, the bulk of Bradbury’s words, especially in the early days? Those words paid him directly, thanks to the golden age of fast-paced pulp fiction where more words meant more money.

He had much more financial motivation to write more than me. The same goes for the 2,000 words Stephen King writes. No one pays me to write. I only have my own passion to drive me. Passion is great–but sometimes it needs a kick in the ass to keep up.

If you’re not a professional writer, you can’t expect yourself to meet the daily word counts of one. Especially not if you have a full time job or education that has nothing to do with writing.

Right now, the words I have time to write are limited to lab reports, blog posts, and my nightly journal entry. I simply don’t have the time or energy to write fiction. And that’s okay.

When I have the motivation to write again, I will. No matter my surroundings.

If you have the motivation to write, what are you still doing here? Go write!


What’s Your Magic Daily Word Count?

How do you know how many words you can write in a day?

Trial and error, my friend. That’s it.

See what you write when you’re feeling driven, when you can devote all your attention to your writing. See how much you write when you want to throw your computer across the room. The sweet spot for most days is probably in the middle.

As I mentioned, 500 is mine. I found out early on in writing that 2,000+ words a day? It ain’t happening. As far as I can recall, I’ve done that once. Last week. When I was pushing all of my energy into finishing by a deadline.

Most of the time? 500 is the max of what I can do in a reasonable period.

You might be able to drop 2,000 words a day like it’s nothing. More power to you. Maybe 500 is too much for you. That’s cool too.

Whatever you do, get the words out there.

"If you write 10k [words] a day, you will end up with a book. If you write 1k a day, you will end up with a book. If you write 500 words every Tuesday, you will end up with a book. If you write 100 words before bed, or 50 whenever you can, you will end up with a book. The only way you won't end up with a book is if you quit." - VE Schwab

The Main Point

Find a way to get yourself to write. Some writing is better than none. If you take nothing else away from this, remember that. If you want to be a writer, you have to write.

Having a daily word count goal can make that easier.

I’m not particularly goal-driven, but if I start something, good luck getting me to stop. I’ve written in my journal every single day since May 2013. I’m stubborn. Word count streaks work for me better than anything else.

Maybe they won’t work for you. That’s fine. I hope you’re able to find the method that does motivate you. Some people do well with timed sessions. That’s not for me, but I might write a tip on that someday in the future, since it seems to help others.

The big thing is to not give up. If one way of writing doesn’t work, find another. The internet is filled with helpful hints for your perusal.


Tools to Use

If you write non-linearly like I do, find yourself an app with word count tracking built in–as in, you can see exactly how many new words you’ve written.

I use Highland 2, which lets you make a “goal” of total words, total pages, new words, or new pages, and shows you the progress as you write. I love it and hate it. It makes it easy to check how I’m doing–but also how much I have left.

NaNoWriMohas tracking tools during the month of November, and possibly year round? Like I said–writing 50,000 words in a month is not for me. Worth

A quick web search for “word counter” will also reveal dozens of free tools for counting your total word number, and there’s a couple of free apps as well for tracking.

If all else fails, make a spreadsheet! Most word processors also have ways to display your total word count. You can make a note of the count when you start, or use the total count to make milestones. Start at 213? Aim for 750, or 1,000. 

Some authors track page count as an alternative. This is also great! Two double-spaced pages is usually a little more than 500 words. Most word processors can also track that.

As always, find what works for you.

About 1750 words in 2 days, in case you were wondering about this article. 😉

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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:

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Welcome to the literary list #2 writing prompt extravaganza! Today I’ve got 7 fresh prompts to share, all of which come from dialogue in books, plays, and comics.  For no particular reason, all prompts also appear on pages 37, 38, or 39 of my copy.

Writing Prompts – Literary List #2

Let’s be real, you’re not here to hear me talk about the list. You want the prompts, and I don’t blame you! These 7 are great fun, and since they all started as chunks of dialogue, you should find inspiration quickly for your own dialogue, poetry, or whatever.

I just need to say, that last one reads way more dieselpunk than it should, given the actual subject of the book. And I love it.

Remember to mix things up a bit if you’re planning on publishing the resulting work. I make an effort to find generic but interesting sentences, but don’t take chances. Change the wording, pronouns, whatever. Don’t plagiarize, people.

Good luck, and enjoy!

Prompts #8-14

“You made me look ridiculous in there.”

“I looked just as ridiculous as you did.”

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard


“I found another bone!…Boy, this is a weird one.”

Weirdos From Another Planet, A Calvin & Hobbes Collection, Bill Watterson


“Are you running away from anything?”

“No. I’m not running away from anything. Not in the way you mean.”

Shane, Jack Schaefer

“I don’t need anything.”

“You’ll need your nightgown.”

“I’ll sleep naked.” 

“The Next In Line” in The October Country, Ray Bradbury


“You can do what you want to do.”

“I’ll go back with you. I’m on my way down there.”

The Piano Lesson, August Wilson


“And if anyone comes–“

“Who might come? Will it be soldiers? Like the ones on the corners?”

“I really don’t think anyone will.”

– Number the Stars, Lois Lowry


“His ancestors have probably lived in that alley for generations.”

“So he’s one of us.”

“I suppose so.” 

Dewey the Library Cat, Vicki Myron (w/Bret Witter)

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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:

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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!

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