Imagination Sparks Blogfest: Prompt Generator

Posted 1 August, 2011 by DLWhite in Blogfests 9 Comments

I’m participating in the Imagination Sparks Blogfest! This Blogfest is all about getting those good words flowing, and how we do it. Our goal is to post our favorite writing exercises, then go around to the different blogs and try the ideas posted and talk about which ones work best.

For me, it’s all about a good prompt. It doesn’t take more than a few words or ‘what if…’ statement to get things going in my mind and give me a jumping off point. Two of my best pieces came from a single line prompt. One of my favorite ways to get a prompt is the prompt generator, which I posted about more than a year ago:

This is called The Brainstormer and was created by Andrew Bosley (click on Extras > The Brainstormer).

I created a list of objects, persons, things, etc. and a list of styles, adjectives, etc. These very large lists were in the back of my very first Moleskine (an address book used as a sketchbook). The idea was to combine an object or person with a style or adjective (ex. Byzantine submarine or subterranean factory) to create unique and interesting combinations to concept out and illustrate.

I found it useful in it’s crude form, but always wanted to turn it into a small, more sophisticated pinwheel format. Finally, a few months ago, during a lull in freelance work, I decided to make it happen. I inputted the lists into a free vector program called Inkscape. Designed a cover for it and called it the Brainstormer. I also added something new in this version: A story conflict list. I’ve spent a lot of time reading about stories and screenwriting since school and I recently found an interesting book called The Story Structure Architect. It broke down every plot idea into about 50-something different categories. I used this and narrowed it down to 45 for my Brainstormer. The point being to add greater depth to the combinations.

This works great for digging up prompts, combos of peoples/places/things/ideas, and especially if you use the Random button, your choices are endless. I just keep clicking until something comes up that I can work with, or I pick one element and spin, pick another and spin, and so on.

That’s my entry for this Blogfest! The Brainstormer!

9 Responses to “Imagination Sparks Blogfest: Prompt Generator”

  1. Tessa Conte

    What a cool idea! And I have the Story Structure Architect, too, it’s a highly useful little book, isn’t it? 


  2. Blake

    Interesting. And now that Tessa has pointed it out, I think I’ll get that Brainstormer app… 

  3. Gabi

    This brainstormer reminds me of the Prompt Builder I use (though mine is way more low-tech). I love leaving some aspect of creativity up to chance. Great exercise!