Writing Prompts is one of those obviously-named apps that gives you exactly what the name suggests and nothing more. If you want some help getting started with your creative writing, then the Writing Prompts app might be able to help.
If you’ve done any sort of creative writing training, even if it was only at school, then you’ve definitely tried this sort of exercise. You get given a sentence or two describing an ‘interesting’ situation, and this sparks your brain into gear to write a whole story out of that set-up. I put inverted commas around ‘interesting’ because interest is subjective and there’s nothing worse than trying to write about something you just don’t care about. But this isn’t school, this is your phone – you’re under no obligation here.
On opening the app you get presented with a prompt chosen (as far as I can tell) at random. You can then either go through them in order, or continue to be given randomly selected ones. They range from the rather banal – “You are flipping through a magazine when a page catches your attention” – to the subtly sinister – “You find a box in the attic that doesn’t belong to you”.
Once you find a prompt you like you have the option of emailing it to yourself (or anyone else you think might be interested). This is handy, because while all the prompts are numbered, getting back to a particular one you liked isn’t necessarily that easy, especially with the app starting you in a different place each time you open it.
The app comes in free and pro versions. The pro version has more prompts and fewer ads. I personally didn’t find the ads too intrusive, but if you were really getting into the prompts I can see that you might be keen to pay $1.09 to double their number.
With an app like this it inevitably comes down to two things: the content, and the way that content is delivered. With Writing Prompts that delivery is fine – it’s quick, clear, gives you what it promises and doesn’t try to add anything unnecessary (with the exception of the ads, which are easy to ignore). With the content it’s a little harder to judge – a prompt that inspires a glorious piece of writing from me may do nothing for you, and vice versa. A lot of the ones I’ve read lean towards smaller, mundane stories – spilling coffee on a co-worker, missing a train, etc. Or else they’ll take the everyday and add some violence to it, which is a time-honoured way of writing an exciting story. Personally I don’t know how much use I’d get out of this app, but that’s not to say that others won’t. Try the free version first, and if it doesn’t help then you haven’t lost anything. If it does help you with your creative writing then Writing Prompts has done exactly what it was supposed to – and I certainly don’t get to say that about every app I try.