I recently got a book that hasn’t left my writing desk since. It’s called Hack Into Your Creativity: Story Prompts For Every Type of Writer by Michael Burns. I’ll confess, the title seemed wrong to me. I don’t want a book that’ll show me how to hack into my creativity. I want that to be a natural process.
But it was the book’s innards that got me hooked on to it. Prompts, neatly sectioned, with enough space in there to scribble around and throw ideas, the book looked gorgeous. And then I started reading the prompts, and well, fireworks haven’t stopped popping in my brain. There are so many writing prompts in there and each one makes me want to pick up my pen and write.
I had a chance to interview the author, Michael Burns, just before he left India for his home in the US. And there is no force in the world that can stop me from sharing it with all of you.
AG: I’ve got a copy of the book and it looks amazing. Going through the prompts really got my neurons firing all over the place. Where did you get this idea to have a book filled with such unusual prompts for writers?
MB: First, thanks for picking up the book. That’s always the first step towards actually reading it. Lord knows that I have a lot of books that I haven’t cracked yet that are on my list. I tried to take that into account, actually, and to create a book that writers would want to engage with rather than just put on their shelves.
What inspired this book is really interesting, to me at least. I always tell my students and coaching clients, especially when we’re talking about story structure in movies, that you can learn as much from movies that you don’t like as you can from movies that you do like. When you see something you don’t like, you learn to steer away from that. The same thing happened with this book.