Mama Don’t Allow No Writin’ Prompts ‘Round Here

Trouble is, websites, magazines, and other purported supporters of writers in training keep saying,  “Well, we don’t care what Mama don’t allow, Gonna create those prompts anyhow.”

Lord preserve us from such people and the greatest time wasters they foist upon us rather than providing articles that actually help.

In fact, a poke in the ass with a #4 pencil would be more useful.

If an aspiring writer needs a prompt before s/he can write something, perhaps s/he should consider another line of work, like crime or politics.

Writing prompts appear for one reason only: they are easier for a website or magazine editor to create than an article.  All you gotta say is something like, “Five people walk into a restaurant and order burgers and then get into an argument about the condiments that need to go on them (the burgers). All hell breaks out. Marriages fail. Ultimately the cops are called and interview the five people while eating the burgers.”

Sure, you can write a short story or a novella or possibly a novelette from this prompt, but why waste your time even if the website (like one place I know) wants you to submit your work so others can vote on the best story. Let’s say you win. So what? You don’t get a check or even any resume material.

Waste of time. Should have listened to Mama or watched Yam Yam win Survivor 44.

Might as well have spent the time watching the grass grow because, while doing that, you might have come up with your own story idea maybe for practice, maybe for submission to a little magazine, or maybe to develop into a novel with or without NaNoWriMo.

Good work arises out of our own passions and interests and experiences. It’s that simple.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the Florida Folk Magic Series, four books about conjure and the Klan in the Florida of the 1950s.


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