Writing Prompt

Weekly Writing Prompt

“Spring is like a perhaps hand / (which comes carefully / out of Nowhere) arranging / a window, into which people look,” writes E. E. Cummings, using the image of a hand and its actions to describe the nature of spring. His musings go on in the poem to make various imaginative leaps, but its […]

Weekly Writing Prompt

Rubber ducks were first patented as floating rubber toys in the mid-twentieth century by sculptor Peter Ganine, thereafter becoming an iconic children’s bath toy and inspiring Ernie’s signature song on Sesame Street. Write a short story that revolves around the re-emergence of a long-lost childhood toy. What does this discovery bring to the surface for […]

Weekly Writing Prompt

Is it possible to tell a story about getting better that is as compelling as a story of falling apart? Write a personal essay on a topic or event in your life related to dysfunction or a low point in which you experienced a recovery. Submit your pieces to wlpenman@gmail.com.

Weekly Writing Prompt

In the past fifteen years or so, dozens of lighthouses no longer needed by the United States Coast Guard have been auctioned off to the public. Buyers have found a variety of new uses for their lighthouses, such as converting them into hotels or vacation homes, or even a concert venue. Write a short story […]

Weekly Writing Prompt

What can be accomplished without a brain? Three graduate biology students at the California Institute of Technology published a study last month revealing that jellyfish can sleep, the first documented instance of an animal without a brain having the ability to fall asleep. Think of an activity you engage in regularly, and then leap into […]

Weekly Writing Prompt

Earlier this year, Ernest Hemingway’s first short story was discovered in Key West, Florida, spanning fourteen handwritten pages of a notebook. The untitled story, written when Hemingway was ten years old, is a fictional travelogue through Ireland and Scotland that includes both researched facts and imagined scenes and characters. Write a fictional travel story that […]

Weekly Writing Prompt

“You can always tell prettiness from beauty. Beauty arises from contradiction, even when it’s under the surface. Any report of experience will be contradictory. And part of the reportage is to include those contradictions,” says Chris Kraus in a conversation with Leslie Jamison for Interview magazine. Write a personal essay exploring the idea that an […]

Weekly Writing Propmt

As the landscape and terrain of planet Earth shifts and transforms over time due to impact caused by natural and human forces, some ancient trees, bodies of water, cliffs, and stone formations have disappeared. Taking inspiration from National Geographic’s photo slideshow of natural wonders that are in the process of vanishing or have already vanished, […]

Weekly Writing Prompt

Though indoor shopping malls hit a peak in the mid- to late-1980s, financial services company Credit Suisse reported earlier this year that about a quarter of the enclosed malls still existing in the United States will be shut down within the next five years. Write a short story that takes place in what was once […]

Weekly Writing Prompt

Of the nearly 70,000 passenger elevators in New York City, there are likely less than a hundred left that are holdovers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, manually run by full-time elevator operators. This week, write a scene for a short story that takes place in a manually operated elevator. Do the passengers […]