Saturday, November 10, 2012

Evil Writing Prompts

  • Write a query letter and ten sample pages for a novel about the dismal state of the publishing industry and send it to two hundred literary agents.
  • Write a synopsis for a time-travel vampire romance set in the fantasy kingdom of Twillador and hand it out to every speaker at a writer's conference.
  • Write a query letter for a young adult novel called H. Finn, about "a boy, a raft, and a runaway nigger." Sign it S. Clemens, and send it out to 100 literary agents. Publish the rejection letters in a blog.
  • In your latest manuscript, do a global search and replace, putting the name of a well-known literary agent in place of your novel's villain's name, then send it to publishers that deal with that agent.
  • Include the first ten pages of Flowers for Algernon as a writing sample in a query letter. Send to 100 agents, claiming you are a mentally challenged adult seeking representation, and mention that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires them to write you a detailed, personalized letter back, lest you sue.
  • Create a fake newspaper clipping about your unfinished novel, scan it, and paste the image directly into a fake bio. Hand it out at writer's conferences.
  • Using Google Translate, translate the first ten pages of your novel into Hindi, then have Google Translate translate it back into English. Use the resulting hysterically mangled text as your writing sample. Send it under an Indian pen name to your least favorite literary agents.
  • Find the personal e-mail addresses of ten literary agents who accept snail-mail proposals only. Send each one a Word attachment containing the full text of Moby Dick and include in the subject line "REQUESTED MATERIAL."
  • Write 25 queries containing 25 random sentences and send them all to one literary agent, from 25 fake e-mail accounts.
  • Write an e-mail marked "URGENT" to fifty literary agents, claiming you have gotten offers of representation from multiple agencies for a work you never submitted to anyone. Use weird fonts and font colors.
  • Write a fake interview with yourself in which you talk about having won fake awards. Include the interview's URL in queries sent to fifty overseas agents.
  • Come up with 25 fake "Praise for" quotations to put in the front of your book. Be sure to quote dead authors. Include with your manuscript.
  • Write your own first page for a (real) bestselling book that's on the shelves now. Print it out. Go to the bookstore, find that book on the shelves, and paste your first page over the first page of the book.
Disclaimer: Folks. Folks. This all meant in jest. For heaven's sake don't actually do any of this shit.

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