The Write Way 2: Prompt Me - Getting inspired with one word | Cheryl Jung | Skillshare

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The Write Way 2: Prompt Me - Getting inspired with one word

teacher avatar Cheryl Jung, Writer/Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Lesson 1: Gamifying inspiration

    • 3. Exercise 1: Flash fiction from one word

    • 4. Exercise 2: Creating a character study

    • 5. Lesson 2: Dissecting your work and experimenting with prompts

    • 6. Conclusion

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About This Class

This is #promptme, the second instalment of “The Write Way,” my series of creative writing courses. This workshop is all about getting inspired, and I want to show you how it’s possible to do that - with just one word. 

At the end of this workshop, I hope you’ll have created a 1-2 page piece of writing. It can be anything from prose, to poetry, to little bits and pieces of a longer piece of work you’re looking at. All I ask is that you keep an open mind, and try experimenting with the exercises I’ll be sharing with you throughout this class.

Meet Your Teacher

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Cheryl Jung



Hello, I'm Chaerin. I work in the media industry and write for a living - but in my free time, I'm an author of short stories, novellas, and screenplays.

I published my first microfiction collection, "star fall", in 2021. It's available at Books Kinokuniya, and also on the Atelier Arcadia webstore.


I'm currently working on two projects - "Closer", an art/writing collection, and a novella titled "Under Your Sky". 

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1. Introduction: Hey everybody, my name is Sharon Jones and I'm a writer. Welcome to the right way, a series of bite-sized creative writing courses that I've put together to help you get cracking on your very own piece of creative work. Before we get started, here's a little bit about me. I'm currently based in Asia and in 2021, I published staff will I first micro fiction collection? I hold a Master's degree in the arts and creative industries from King's College London. And I'm the Director of two collectives, one for Asian creatives and one for Indie wires. I also happen to have a full-time job and Asian media industry. I hope that through these courses you'll be able to kick start a creative writing project or dive into painting a story of your own. We're going to be looking at different parts of the creative writing process, like how to translate your ideas into a piece of written work. The intricacies of world-building and the nitty-gritty of self-publishing. I hope you're ready. Let's get going. 2. Lesson 1: Gamifying inspiration: Welcome to prompt me, the second installment of the right way, my series of creative writing courses. This workshop is all about getting inspired. And I want to show you how it's possible to do that with just one word. At the end of this workshop, I hope you'll have created a one to two-page piece of writing. And it can be anything from prose to poetry, to little bits and pieces of a longer piece of work that you are looking at. All they ask is that you keep an open mind and try experimenting with the exercises, sharing with you. Throughout this class. Of course, we won't be getting started with writing off the bat. We are going to be tackling this through bite-sized exercises that we'll build up to a larger piece with the view of completing something more substantial. By the end of the course. We're going to start first with a short exercise where we'll try to give me 5 the inspiration process a little. I'll be asking you to create a rough sketch of your writing from a list of prompts. And from there we'll look to set the scene and build a character into it. Think of it like starting with a series of rough lines together to flesh them out and build something that looks a little more complete. I've set timers of each of the exercises, but feel free to expand on them a little more and take more time on some of those if you need. So let's get started. So let's play a game. I'd like you to choose a number from one to 20. Yeah. I mean, any number. Have you chosen it? Okay. Write it down somewhere and hang on to it because we're going to be using it. And this next exercise, from the number you've chosen, you'll be assigned or random prompts from a list of 20 word prompts. I'll then ask that you set a time of 10 minutes to create a mini piece of writing in response to this prompt. It can be extremely rid of mental event like a sketch of random thoughts. Or it can be a series of bullet points, or it can be something a little bit longer. The important thing is to get your thoughts flowing and moving and see what you can come up with. Windows 10 minutes. So here's a series of prompts you can use. Now, it might seem like any list of random words, but that's the point. Every word has a meaning and will likely resonate differently with every person. People might think of dramatically different things when looking at the same word. It's similar to help people get very different takeaways by looking at the same rpm. So take the word corresponding to the number you chose earlier and try writing something. Have fun. And I'll see you back here in 10 minutes. 3. Exercise 1: Flash fiction from one word: Oh, hey, there, you've made it. Welcome back. Now put your pen down and look at the ideas you've developed. No matter how many there are, I think it's fair to say that it's possible to generate ideas, however, rudimentary from one word alone. Now this is an exercise that I've been using to combat writer's block for the longest time. Whenever I feel like something is not coalescing, I go to a random word generator and let it roll out a word for me. And I'll see where it takes me. This doesn't have to be a purposeful exercise that needs to be expanded into something more complex. It's simply proves that inspiration can come from the most random of places. I'd like you to take a quick look at your ideas now and see what stands out. Is there anything that was related to your past experiences that you'll find yourself drawing on something familiar or bringing memories to the forefront to generate these ideas. Conversely, what did the word enable you to imagine them extrapolate from it? Were there any immediate top of mind thoughts that you thought you just had to include? I encourage you to do this exercise whenever you feel a little stuck, sometimes the most random of words can trigger the development of a scene that moves your work forward or helps you to work out an aspect of character development, of plotting that you were struggling with. My point is really that we often find ourselves caught up in trying to go towards grander, largest scale ambitious ideas. But when you condense the greatest works down to their core ideas, they usually can be summed up in key recognizable symbols. So if you break the process of creating something bigger down to its very basics, pretty much what you've just done building on the significance of something seemingly innocuous or common things and weaving it into a broader narrative frame. For instance, in The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald structures a lot of the narrative around a singular green light at the end of the dock. And that's green light isn't just a green light as it, it means much more to the protagonist. And it's a central plot point that sustains his way through the entire novel. Of course, incorporating too many symbols might not necessarily be a good thing, but symbols are good springboard for creativity. So let's build on that. Let's move on to the next stage of our process. We're going to do something similar to the last activity. But this time I'd like you to spend all while more expanding your thinking into broader, slightly more complex fields. In the next slide, I'll be sharing with you, uh, categorize list of text prompts. And these are sorted into three main categories. Darkness, light, and the gray area, which are common thematic concerns that are addressed in literature. As this is an extended exercise, are asked to, they choose up to five word prompts from any of the three categories. You do not have to choose all your prompts from the same category. Though you certainly can. Let's head into activity one, character creation and C and building. I hope you have your prompts written down somewhere because now based off of these prompts, we are going to be looking into creating a more fleshed-out character sketch. Please take the next 20 minutes to create a rough outline of the character and where they are. If it helps you to visualize the scene better, feel free to use character sketches or use temporary face cuts, or create a quick vision board. Whatever works for you. You can use tools as well, like mindmaps to cat, to sketch out where this character is and what you're doing. I encourage you to start writing down the phrases that come to mind when you look at the problems. What are the thoughts the surfacing in your mind? Hold onto them and jot them down quickly without fixating too much on what makes sense and what doesn't. They'll always be time to go through them later. When you look at your word prompts, try to consider various aspects of them too. What could the same word mean in different contexts? How does the word apply to the character's past, present, and future? And is it a good descriptor of their current environment? In addition, consider aspects of the world at large due to problems. Describe something familiar or unfamiliar. Think about the feelings they evoke as well. What do you think about or feel immediately when looking at the problems? Do you feel a sense of nostalgia or joy? Harnessed these emotions and channel them into something productive. Writing down what you feel as a writer can be a very interesting process. The world evokes emotions from you. And if you feel something for the characters, there is potential to create some really evocative and compelling work. I also advise you to use these prompts is jumping off points but don't feel limited or box didn't buy them, use them as guides or signposts to lead the way rather than bottom line must include points. Ever prompt is not working for you. Choose another. The point is to keep the ideas moving and build your work around certain central ideas. You what serves you as a writer and don't feel restricted by self-imposed constraints. This exercise is meant to help and not hinder you. Now if you get stuck, feel free to refer to these guiding questions. These are questions that I myself have considered while brainstorming and defining new characters are developing new plot lines. First of all, think about the five Ws and 1 H. Namely, who, what, when, where, why, and how. What is this character doing? Where are they going? What do they want? And for what do they care about? How do you see the larger world they're placed in? Is it violence isn't futuristic? Is it set at a different time period? And what's special about this character and the situation they're currently in? Does it have a defining characteristic to it? And what is that defining characteristic? These guiding questions will likely open the door for you to consider larger, more pressing things about the characters that you're writing. Use them as a means to ask yourself and answer questions about the work you're planning and writing. And as a tactic to work around things you might or might not have considered. In addition, I find that considering these questions at a planning or inspiration stages helps to lay the groundwork for things to develop down the road. They are vital questions that you, the writer, should know the answer to because they inform how the character will be written, understood by you. And more importantly, how the reader understands them. You don't necessarily have to include the answers to these questions in your work. But it's important that you know the answer to them. Feel free to include more versions of D5W one H that you can think of to answering questions yourself, like I mentioned, helps people to work around stumbling blocks that my surface and creates over rough blueprint for the character before you even start writing about them. Similarly, these are questions you can ask yourself about the world to make sense of it yourself, but we'll get there in good time. So let's embark on our writing exercise. I'll see you back here in 20 minutes. Good luck, Have fun. 4. Exercise 2: Creating a character study: Hi there, Welcome back. I hope that exercise was useful and that you've gotten an a character sketch down and sorted. We're now going to take some baby steps in the direction of churning this rough character sketch that you created from a couple of words into something more fleshed out that resembles a piece of creative work. I've now shown you how symbols can become ideas. Now, let's try to convert this fully formed idea into a full on character study. I find the best way to do this. If what you're doing is working on something fresh or new angle of an existing work. As to think of it like writing about a moment. Consider this as a snapshot of where your character is right now and capture one aspect of what you're engaged with. For instance, you can think about what is the character doing of this item? Why are they here and what are they working on in this place? Why did they do what they do? The best way I personally would describe this, would be to think of it as a series of frames. In a short 30-second scene. Think about the characters current position, how they got there, and how the story will develop from there. Consider how the character looks and how they addressed, and what they're presently engaged with. You can also opt to think about the internal and external states, both psychologically and emotionally speaking. This changes the tenor and tone of the character study. You can think about dialogue to why are they saying and how are they saying it? Who are they saying it to? And why are they choosing to honor these words at this moment, I think as well about why the scene is important enough for you to write or included. That must be a rational behind why a scene as meaningful or pivotal to your plot? Is it an emotional turning point in the scene? Or are there major plot developments? Alternatively, you can use this as an opportunity to color in their environment. How does the character feel right now where they are? Are they at ease or in great discomfort? And y and are they doing anything to change the environment? Considered sue the auxiliary relationships that you can add to, to see who else is there and why are they there? Are they have some importance to the character? And how are they reacting to what's happening right now? Remember that not a lot has to happen in the scene or character study for it to be important. Sometimes, what matters more is what doesn't happen. Inaction means as much as action does. If you get stuck during this activity. Here are some macro questions you can contemplate as well. I use them myself to get myself through writer's block. How does the concept of darkness, light, and a gray area considering the text prompts you picked, factor into your character's motivations and what they intend to do? Are they motivated by the darkness or the light? And why? Why this darkness or light appeal to your character? Why do they indulge in it or take ownership of it? There's always a reason why characters do things. Dolphin to the y is the reason why in their past, are they motivated by something in the future they feel determined to reach or achieve? Or is they present something that you find difficult to accept a deal? Explore facets of your character or the scenario that you can show and not tell through your writing. Or there are sharp edges or defining features or things that set them apart. And as I mentioned earlier, it's a game to tap on emotion. Is there a danger? Oh, is it pretty calm? It's now time to get down to the business of writing in Activity 2. Like I mentioned, this activity is a flash creation session. Take the next 30 minutes to create a one to two-page piece of work in response to the prompt and you've picked. During the brainstorming session. You can choose to follow my guidelines about turning it into a character study if you're working on a new piece of creative work. Alternatively, you can consider how to build this character study into a new aspects of your current work. A quick tip for me for this exercise be to not get caught up in editing while you're writing, unless it's your personal practice to do so. You'll have plenty of time to edit your work after the workshop. And I find it counterproductive for riders to keep writing and believing what you've just written. Nothing is perfect, but getting words on a page is important in a flash creation session. If you get stuck, feel free to refer to the guiding questions that are put in the references for your use. Let's get started and I'll see you back here in 30 minutes. 5. Lesson 2: Dissecting your work and experimenting with prompts: Welcome back. You've made, in case you haven't realized you accomplish something really cool. You've just created a piece of creative writing and a full on character study, just with the help of a few words. Now I think one of the more important things I've learned as a writer is to take a look at what you've written and ask yourself a few questions. Think about your creative process and consider your choice of words where your starting point was an emotional or literary influences behind what you've just created. Think about how long it took you to write this and where you started off and how you felt the ideas coming, come easy and why or why not. You can also reflect about how the inspiration occurred and find ways to, in some ways, replicate the magic where the images in your mind when you start writing that you rely on visual aids. And the Dewey imagined the character or the scene first. Now think about how you use the prompts that you find yourself leaning on a certain type of prompt more than another. What did you find particularly interesting about the prompts you did use an widened, you utilize other prompts in a similar way. This should give you an idea of the kinds of word prompts that will be most useful to you as a creative down the road. And give you more insight as to how you can develop your process much more efficiently. Similarly, I find it so useful to think about the work itself. If you've written a new piece, for instance, where they're broader ideas came up during the rough Character Sketch or the character study that might stem from the work. You can also consider character development at this point too. If you haven't already. What happened to the character before that? What happens after what has changed or remained constant? And how does this piece of writing fit into the general body of your work? Does it differ from what you've written before? Reflection to say, now that we've finished these exercises, you might be asking what next, which is a great question. The short answer is everything you can to have a character sketch whatever you wish. Follow the way for further reference or incorporated into your own work. Some character sketches that I've done have made their way into longer pieces. And some have been square root or the way they're important thing however, is not to write it off. These ideas do mean and represent part of your creative output. And even if they're less polished, it's fully understandable and to be expected for flash creation activity. I do encourage you, however, to experiment with prompts and write up some more extended sketches based on one word. And you can do the same exercises with it today with image problems or just flipped to random pages in a dictionary and get a word prompts of your own. You don't always have to create a new character like you've done today. In fact, I encourage you to imagine one character in different light. A single character can be put in different positions and situations. And by doing so, you might be able to flesh out the parts of them or expanded certain ideas that you haven't managed to do so within the constraints of your plot. 6. Conclusion: Thank you for joining me in this course. I hope it's given you some inspiration to work on your own creative work. Now that you know it's possible to get inspired to create full length pieces from one word alone. I encourage you to keep doing that and finding new ways to keep going. Feel free to communicate with me on my socials or in the comments section. And the meantime, you can check my word out at official chatting on Instagram or keep up with my projects at www dot chair and Thanks once again, and I'll see you in the next session. Bye.