I don’t know about you, but writing has been more challenging for me than ever before in this pandemic. It seems that my mind is clogged with an overload of information and emotion, that I can hardly enjoy a flow of creativity. The last two weeks have been especially trying with the Say No To Rape movement in Nigeria and the Black Lives Matter protests in America. It’s really been one thing or another this year. 😢
If you’re struggling to find inspiration for your writing, here are five covid-inspired prompts that can fuel your writing.
‘I hope you are safe.’
Think of a story about safety in dangerous times. Perhaps dig into your own life to find a time where you found safety in someone, someplace, or an idea. Did it turn out well? Explore this idea of safety and unusual places it can be found. Why do humans have to feel safe? What drives this basic human need?
Think of safety as a commodity, and the price as intangible. How much would your character be willing to pay for it?
Let your mind exceed the confines of the typical definition and usage of this word; let power be the operative word, in which ‘the danger’ is some type of power that must be controlled or concealed. Think of someone who is afraid of their own power. How do they encounter or discover it? How does it work? Does it change them just as much as it changes others? Does it grow, or does it have limits? Can it end, or is it eternal? Is it transferable, can it be stolen?
Again, think outside the box. What story can you tell about things that can be covered? Why is it so important to conceal things? What is so terrible about exposure that people often shy away from it? What types of concealments exist? What types of things can be concealed? What kind of things can be done as a result of concealment? Explore story ideas in which concealment emboldens a person.
Cleanliness they say is next to godliness. In what ways can the concept of cleanliness and hygiene inspire immortality? How can this form the premise of a story? I think of this prompt as an offshoot of the previous one, in terms of the things that are unseen. Can there be a state of total cleanliness, and what would it mean to be rid of any form of impurity? Consider writing a story about a character who is frustrated at attempts to be clean. How would you capture their need? Do you know of any cleansing rites? Is there a story there? Or you can think about this conversely: in what ways can uncleanliness inspire immortality?
I never imagined a world where love must grow in spite of distance. Before Covid-19, proximity was mostly a prerequisite for love – or hate in fact – to thrive. Consider writing a love story in which the characters’ love (or hate) thrives as a result of distance. Let your mind explore the possibilities of location and distance: perhaps one character is physically beneath the earth, and the other above it; or both characters are in the same building but trapped within different rooms. Throw technology out of the window with this one, try telling a story about love without social media and the internet.
Is your mind buzzing with ideas yet? I hope you’ve found this helpful. Feel free to share your thoughts on this in the comments!
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