During a 2014 Mt. SAC fiction workshop, Michelle Dowd provided two prompts that build on the previous one. The key was to have a monologue with yourself. That means to talk to yourself. You could be reminding yourself about something, or figuring out how to do something. Either way, don’t hesitate to play with the prompt and if you just can’t think of something, then, write what comes to mind.
Here’s the first prompt:
Write from the perspective of a character using first person. Let the voice come through and have them talk to self in monologue about their problem.
Here’s my attempt:
My fist. My fist went through the wall.
Why do I do this? Why do I hurt myself when I get angry?
I just want to have them understand. Want them to hear me say the things I need.
My hand throbs. Rub my knuckles. Rub my knuckles.
There’s a hole in the wall. No one must know.
Where’s the bumper sticker I put away?
Cover it up, idiot!
Stop slapping yourself. Stop it! Stop it!
Cover it up so no one knows about the hole in the wall.
No one will be the wiser.
Here’s the second prompt:
Now, make your character have a scapegoat they blame for their problem, but still talking back to self.
My sister’s to blame.
She just talks and talks and lets things slip out.
She had no right to tell everyone about my need to keep things in order.
She doesn’t understand the need to keep it a secret.
The TV remote goes above the TV.
Make sure it’s placed there every time.
Or else the consequences will be severe.
Take some time to try the prompts. you never know, it might springboard another idea.
three of my poems in "Nasty women's Almanac: Poetry Edition- Feminine Voices for a Brighter Day." You can purchase a copy at