Fiction writing prompts are descriptively vivid words and phrases intended to jumpstart a writer’s creative juices. For example, phrases like “she cried for hours about the death of her old school friend” or similes such as “grinning like an insane clown” and “the sky was blue like an old bruise” are meant to get that idea factory in every writer’s brain up and running again so that the writer avoids the clutches of that viciously random ogre called writer’s block.
The minds of marketing writers are essentially focused on accomplishing one task—to sell a product or service by writing about it in a persuasive and positive manner. Since the motivation behind sales writing is somewhat one-sided, many marketing articles resemble each other in tone, style and word usage. Words like “affordable,” “improve,” “durable” and “dependable” are routinely found in articles promoting everything from apple slicers to wheelchairs. In fact, marketing writers often pen articles that sound like by-the-book, journalistic press releases simply because they write so many of them and have found the most efficient way to write marketing material is to use the same template over and over again.
Clients want marketing articles that are original, fresh and search-engine friendly but often receive content that is just the opposite—a rote description of the product or service with keyword placement that is awkward or irrelevant. Although you don’t have to spend hours laboring over one article, there are some things you can do to inject some creativity and just a hint of your voice in marketing content to help establish your reputation as a stellar marketing writer. Using writing prompts meant for fiction writers is one great way to do this.
Let’s say you have been hired to write an article marketing a swimming pool cleaning service. Instead of starting your article by saying “Getting your pool professionally cleaned can stop bacterial and mold growth detrimental to your family’s health,” do a search for “fiction writing prompts” and scan the first few you find. Some of the ones I found particularly useful were “reluctant confrontation” and “an invasion of red ants.” Hmmm, how could I incorporate these apparently dissimilar ideas into a marketing article?
Think about your prompts and what you are trying to sell in your article before you begin writing. A dirty versus a clean swimming pool, biting red ants, a reluctant confrontation…well, how about starting off the piece with this sentence: “Hesitate to ask friends over to swim in your pool because you just know the mosquitos, ants and other crawling biters will decide to feed on your friends instead of the debris in your pool? Instead of reluctantly confronting your dirty pool everyday with an ineffective net that does nothing but remove large pieces of debris from your pool, why not….”
With thousands of fiction writing prompts on the Internet, you should never again have to endure that monotonous hour involved with writing marketing content. Just avoid starting a sales article with “it was a dark and stormy night” and the bad writing ogre won’t have to bite you.
Kimberly M is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.