We favor silence for writers who don’t know what to write about. Alas, not everybody believes in this. Those who would wake a would-be writer from sweet slumber use a dangerous trick: prompts. Prompts, of course, are little questions and suggestions to get the inert scribe scribbling. Without prompts there would be far more peace and quiet–and no sports talk shows to boot! (Sports shows are binary prompt machines: Nadal or Djokovic? Tim Tebow or Jason Collins? Michael Jordan or Lebron James?) But all peace and quiet all the time can get boring. Climbing out of the hammock we like our cacophony too–how else account for the blogosphere, the twittermania? (For blogs there is one company that does nothing more than prompt bloggers! It’s called Plinky, in case you’re stuck today.)
Yes, prompts are necessary. Without his having been brought to the town square early in the morning to be executed by firing squad, would Dostoyevsky (granted last minute reprieve from the czar) have given the world Crime and Punishment? The Brothers Karamazov? To help today’s directionless (but less endangered) novelists, LitBridge is “a space dedicated to the professionalization of contemporary writers.” The site genuinely tries to help a writer winnow her writing program choices, find an agent, perfect the craft, submit properly, hit the festivals and recognize good poetry! It’s a good comprehensive resource for writers, blocked or unblocked. But for the blocked it’s especially helpful: it has a list of writing prompts designed to turn every Lazarus into Paul. There is even a category called “Prompts About Hope,” proving that LitBridge, aimed at aspiring writers, knows its audience.