Writer’s First-Aid Kit

“Elyan, I think I have Writer’s Block. Do you have anything to relieve my symptoms?”

“Sure, right here in my Writer’s Medicine Cabinet. Let me just reach in here and–“

“Oh my God, what is all that? I need inspiration, not life-shattering creative enlightenment.

Well, too bad.

Phantasmagorium may have a Prompt Cellar, but the there are plenty of good writing holes around the Internet. So here’s a cellar of other peoples’ prompt cellars.


If you’ve got your eye out for some good writing prompt resources, my personal favorites have always been Seventh Sanctum and Writing Prompts That Don’t Suck. Of course, Prompt Guy is always a classic, too. The Writer’s Digest posts neat, engaged story-starters as well.

Speaking of classics, for anyone who’s never seen the Mary Sue Litmus Test, it’s over on Springhole with a bunch of other prompt generators, character makers, and worldbuilding articles, along with general advice for writing nonreality realistically.

I additionally happen to love “A Year of Creative Writing Prompts” as a prompt source. I certainly don’t keep to the yearly schedule, but I revisit whenever I need something new.

Character Exercises

Over on DeviantArt, I’ve mined out a few good resources, too. The Big-Ass Character Sheet in Character-Resource’s gallery always forces me to ponder details I never considered about my characters. The Nature. vs Nurture Meme by Leonca has helped me enormously in understanding past protagonists.

Printed this years ago!

There are plenty of 100 Theme Challenges around DA for your benefit, too, which work perfectly well as standalone prompts. I personally use them as challenges centered around one or two characters, so I can work more with their decision-making process outside of the plot. And, you know, it may be an oldie, but it’s a goodie–the first 100 Theme Challenge I ever did (and that I continue to use) was this one, though I can’t seem to find the original creator.

You might even try the myriad character number memes that roll around the archives. These work by taking a random list of your characters and assigning them by numbers into various scenarios with each other. It’s most effective for me when I use characters from different stories, all stuck together in scenarios completely outside their genres. Here are some good starters:

These “memes” vary in seriousness, but are usually fun and much more illuminating then you might give them credit for. After all, if you know how your chic super-spy would slay a dragon, you certainly know how she might respond to a little bit of in-genre action.

Regardless of what puts you in the writing mood, give other writers a chance to help you try new things! You may well think I’ve gone to ridiculous lengths using all these different tests and tools, but that is only because you haven’t seen the thousands of other handy writing boosts I’ve used along the way. Best of luck!

11 thoughts on “Writer’s First-Aid Kit

  1. It’s really beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing! A great helping hand for other writer…
    May I bring this post from Phantasmagorium to Cygnet someday? (In other words, reblog)

      1. It’s actually nighttime for me, but I’ll be up a while yet. We could start now, if you’d like–I’ve been looking forward to it all day!

  2. Dr Elyan,
    I am fixed in a terrible creative fix! Very complicated condition, you see. I used to keep my journal for more than one year and have started to see it as a friend. Very busy days are passing and I can’t write to it everyday. Also, it looks quite ugly and I don’t have time to start a new one. But I want to write, even if I don’t want to return to my journal. What do I do? Kindly help me out!
    Yours faithfully,
    A patient.

    1. To the patient:

      Hmm. These are complicated symptoms. The solution depends on the individual–I myself have never kept a formal journal outside of the notebooks I write my drafts in, and those can be full in weeks sometimes. You might try writing one final time in your old journal, to send it a proper farewell, if you’re having trouble letting go.
      Personally, I alternate my writing between paper, phone, and computer, so my notebooks come with me for emergency writing while I’m out during the day, I write on my computer while at home, and I write on my phone in emergencies. For your case, you might also want to try something as simple as carrying a stack of looseleaf paper in a backpack or bag–looseleaf gives you the opportunity to be as organized or disorganized as you would like, and generally has more space on a page than a notebook. I’ve done that in the past.
      It might be worth trying an online service like Quotev (https://www.quotev.com/) where you can keep private drafts for personal use if you’d like, or maybe a phone app meant specifically for journaling–I’m sure there are many available.

      With best hopes,

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