So as we head towards November, I’m sure a lot of you guys are working out your plot ideas for NaNoWrimo.  I hope everything is flowing right along, but in case it’s not, I wanted to do a writing prompt roundup.  (If you’re in the DFW area, check the NaNo regional calendar if you want to join us for an idea refining prep session, or for Arlington-based write-ins.)

You never know when a throwaway line, or something you read – or even perusing a list of prompts will spark the idea that becomes the core of your novel.  The Internet is, if nothing else, a treasure trove of writer resources.  Here’s just a few sources to get you started.

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION MOMENT:  I do a lot of visual writing prompts on my Instagram feed. In between photos of coffee and chocolate.  They aren’t systematic, just inspired by images I see wandering through my life.

Here’s a 30-Day Writing Prompts Challenge from tumblr.  Choose a few to get warmed up and generate ideas for your project. has a different kind of 30 Day  challenge – each prompt encourages you to think about a different aspect of your project – or examine your own motivations as a writer.

They Young Writer’s Project offers Weekly Writing Prompts, generated by teens.  These often include photo/video elements.

ThinkWritten has a list of 365 Writing Prompts – which could keep you writing every day, right through NaNo prep season next year.

WordPress also has a downloadable PDF of 365 writing prompts.  They’re more designed for personal journaling, but pick a few random ones and answer first person as your character, to get to know him before NaNo starts.

Scribendi proposed this list of creative exercises as an alternative to NaNoWrimo.  BUT nothing says you can’t incorporate these daily prompts into your NaNo project.

Penguin/Random House’s The Writer’s Academy lets you submit a 115 character writing prompt — and they add their faves to their genre-specific prompt pages.

Reddit has an extensive prompts thread.  Warning: sometimes these are a little odd, and the community is self-moderated.

Writer’s Digest also has an extensive selection.

NaNo has a “Word Wars, Prompts and Sprints” thread, if you need more inspiration once the month is underway. — (link when available)

And here’s a giant list from ServiceScape (301 to be exact).  Some of them are prompts and others are first-line story starters.

Sometimes you just need quick placeholder/idea helper instead of a full prompt.  Use a pre-generated idea, and you can fix it in post.  Or maybe it will be just the fit you needed . . .

A Variety of Randomized Generators can be found here.

Or Google the type of generator (name, setting, first line, etc.) you are looking for.

What resources help you?  Feel free to share in the comments section.

If you’re in Richardson, Texas the morning of October 21, come out for the NaNoWriMo Kickoff, from 11-2 at UTD.  I’ll be on the Surviving NaNo Panel.

If you happen to be in the Arlington, Texas area the afternoon of October 21, join us for Saturday Night Write from 4-6. We will be discussing Planning a Series.

NOTE: Photo taken at The Wild Detectives Bookstore in Dallas, Texas.

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