Each month, a JCPL librarian interviews published writers who share their favorite writing prompts. Whether you're just getting started or have written for years, you'll find ideas and advice to inspire you and help you become a better writer. Brought to you in partnership with the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.
Tracee de Hahn
On this episode, we talk to Tracee de Hahn, author of the Agnes Luthi mystery series and coordinator of the Carnegie Center's Author Academy.
Tracee prefers "to think of a prompt as a possibility, but not necessarily a necessity." She's partial to the origin story as a writing prompt because it helps her understand the characters and places she's writing about. Listen to find out how to enrich your own writing with this prompt!
About Tracee de Hahn
Tracee de Hahn is the author of mysteries published by Minotaur books as well as non-fiction books for young adults which delve into historical events.
She is national vice president of Sisters in Crime, an organization founded over 35 years ago to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers. In addition, she speaks about Layered Career Paths to groups across the country.
She is currently Coordinator of the Carnegie Center Author Academy, where she has served for several years as a mentor.
Sean L. Corbin
On this episode of Prompt to Page, Sean L. Corbin, the Poetry Gauntlet Coordinator for the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, discusses his belief that "everything is a prompt."
"If you sit down to write a poem, you don't just pour it out," he says. "Something had to prompt you to do that."
If you've ever enjoyed Mad Libs or LEGO, you might enjoy Sean's favorite writing prompt, a "wild text exercise" inspired by his friend and mentor George Eklund. Sean even reads a poem he wrote using the exercise.
About Sean L. Corbin
Sean L Corbin is the author of The Leper Dreams of Snow (Finishing Line, 2018), and is the Poetry Gauntlet Coordinator for the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. His work has been published widely.
He holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from Morehead State University and the University of Kentucky. Sean lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his wife and sons, and also works in medical simulation.
On this episode of the Prompt to Page writing podcast, we talk to poet and visual artist Jay McCoy, author of The Occupation.
Jay discusses his passion for researching his family history and how that research has inspired his recent poetry projects. He also shares two of his favorite writing prompts, including one from Linda Gregg's essay "The Art of Finding."
While Jay encourages listeners to strive for a regular writing practice, he also believes they should be gentle with themselves. "Give yourself grace, read widely, and find your practice," he says.
About Jay McCoy
Jay McCoy is a multimedia artist working primarily in poetry and visual collage. He calls Lexington home but maintains his Appalachian connections and deep roots in Eastern Kentucky. Jay is an adjunct Professor at Eastern Kentucky University and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
Also, he is a writing instructor with the Carnegie Center and founder of their Q-munity program for LGBTQ+ writers, as well as the archivist for the Big Sandy Heritage Center Museum. In addition to his book, The Occupation, you may find Jay’s work in anthologies and journals, including Naugatuck River Review, Still: the Journal, and Blue Fifth Review.
Terena Elizabeth Bell
On this episode of the Prompt to Page writing podcast, we talk to Terena Elizabeth Bell, author of Tell Me What You See. Terena discusses why the events of the last few years compelled her to write experimental short fiction, and she offers encouragement to listeners who want to write about current events.
“You have to write with your voice, what you saw," she says, "and you can't worry about whether it's going to get published, whether if you publish it, anything else is going to get published, whether your mother is going to like it…. You have to turn all of that off and just write.”
Turn all of that off and write with help from Terena’s one-word prompt.
About Terena Elizabeth Bell
Terena Elizabeth Bell is a fiction writer. Her debut short story collection, Tell Me What You See (Whiskey Tit), published December 2022. Her work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including The Atlantic, Playboy, Salamander, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
Her short fiction has won grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Originally from Sinking Fork, Kentucky, she lives in New York City.
For Christopher Rowe, author of The Navigating Fox, writing prompts can help him generate work when he's feeling stuck. In fact, one of his first stories to be widely published, translated into a dozen different languages, and reviewed in The New York Times was based on a writing prompt.
Christopher's favorite prompt will challenge you to rethink some of the decisions you've already made in a piece of writing. "Because I think that if you're going to write from a prompt at all, in any circumstance," he says, "you should just go with it.... If you're going to trust the prompt, you have to trust yourself to work with it."
About Christopher Rowe
Christopher Rowe’s stories have been published, reprinted, and translated around the world, and he has been a finalist for many internationally recognized awards. His most recent book is a novella from Tordotcom Publishing, The Navigating Fox, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Locus Magazine said that Rowe’s stories are “as smooth and heady as good Kentucky bourbon.”
Comic artist, writer, and animator Bryce Oquaye considers mentorship to be "the most important part" of his journey, whether he's receiving feedback from other creators or working with young people.
"Because initially," he says, "I made what I made, and I shared it online, and that was helpful. But nothing helped me excel more than connecting with other people in a real way."
Bryce shares the importance of comic conventions to his professional development and describes his process of creating comics, both on his own and as part of a team. The prompts that Bryce uses to develop characters and story structure will benefit writers of all genres.
About Bryce Oquaye
Bryce Oquaye is an illustrator, comic artist, writer, and animator. His comic and graffiti-styled approach have placed him within a wide range of projects. From comics to cover art for publishers like Z2 Comics, illustration for Zox and Netflix, and animation for companies like Group Nine Media, Bryce has placed a focus on story-based illustration and sequential work.
A resident artist at the Loudoun House and Lexington Art League, Bryce Oquaye operates a studio he calls MADHUNDREDS, where he self-publishes comics and small animation projects as a freelance creator.
He also works closely as part of a collective called “Six Bomb Boards” where he had his start as a live artist. He travels to exhibit and perform live art in different comic conventions and art showcases.