The Writing Prompt Part I

What should I write today? This question tends to run through a writer’s head quite often, and whether you’re working on a project or not you may come up with a blank. Never fear! Our helpful friend, writing prompt, is here!

What exactly is a writing prompt? A writing prompt is a topic that helps writers with writing short stories, flash fiction, and, on occasion, full novels. Writing prompts can range from pictures to themes to start up sentences.

There are plenty of places that give writing prompts, but this week I’m introducing Show Me Your Lits. Show Me Your Lits (SMYL) is a website dedicated to writing prompts of literary fiction. Once signed up, you can participate in weekly 90 minute writing challenges. After publishing other members read, comment and vote on entries to win. With a Mardi Gras theme, SMYL not only rewards participants with beads and doubloons, but with a short piece of fiction to call their own.

Kaolin, an active member of Show Me Your Lits, enjoys the website for its love of the craft of writing. “Challenges (at SMYL and elsewhere) have often been the only thing keeping me writing,” said Kaolin. “SMYL in particular has been a group that cares about the music of words, and it’s always a joy to dive in and comment on the various submissions that week.”

This site is strictly for literary fiction (although they mention in their FAQ section that they do accept slipstream, magic realism, and cross genre works). If you are interested in genre fiction they suggest you go to Liberty Hall Writers, whose founder helped create Show Me Your Lits.

If you fear participating because you want to be able to publish your work at a later date, worry no more! According to Laurie, one of the leaders of SMYL, any work posted on their website is not considered published.

“Since we are a password protected site, most literary journals do not consider the work posted within our ‘walls’ published,” said Laurie. “Thus, our authors are free to submit their works for publication.  Our various authors have had dozens of stories published which began life at SMYL.”

So if you enjoy writing literary fiction and need help getting around that writing block (or even if you don’t), sign up at and let the writing begin!

by Casey Murphy

One Comment on “The Writing Prompt Part I

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