Here’s a snippet from the Author Spotlight on Michael Arnzen in Dark Markets journal for writers….
DM: Most writing prompts (for me at leasst) are dull and uninspiring; your prompts are anything but! I think you’ve perfected the art form for people with twisted imaginations. How did you get started doing these prompts?
Arnzen: I started taking my writing seriously when I was in college, and I used to always enjoy the challenge of a good creative prompt in my classes. I used to take what the teacher was asking for — usually some safe and generic question, like “Describe what you ate for breakfast” and push it through the sausage grinder of the horror genre, just to mess with the professor or my classmates — coming up with things like “As a cannibal, a complete breakfast includes cereal, toast, juice, back bacon and legs.” I didn’t just do it for kicks — I always was frustrated with how boring and tame these prompts were… for being “creativity starters” they didn’t seem very creative at all.
So when I became a college teacher myself, I just adapted my sickness to the other side of the desk, and came up with the craftiest prompts I could — partially as a parody of the genre of the prompt, and partially because students really got into the challenge. They mostly wrote comedy, but that was fine too. Writing should never be boring, and neither should teachers. But there’s only so many situations in the classroom where a sick writing prompt can be used. So I took this seriously and started including the prompts in my newsletter, The Goreletter, on a lark. People really liked these, so that only encouraged me to keep going. It became a ritual process from there…and I’m still doing it regularly, posting “Instigation” on gorelets.com and twitter and in my classroom to this day.
Read the remainder of the interview, or check out Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side on Kindle or for other ebook formats. Or visit gorelets.com to read other interviews with Michael Arnzen.