Brimming with over 500 prompts, INSTIGATION: CREATIVE PROMPTS ON THE DARK SIDE is a treasury of twisted tips, strange scenarios and disturbing sparks to help ignite the fuel in your creative furnace. Its aim? To push you into the danger zone of your imagination, by thinking in unconventional ways and trying things you never thought — or dared — to try before in your writing, art, or dreams.
Writers, especially, will benefit from this book of “story starters” that can shatter writer’s block and possess your fingers with an impish creative spirit. Arnzen’s Instigation — filled with unique prompts drawn directly from his fiction workshops at Seton Hill University, his columns from Hellnotes and his Bram Stoker Award-winning newsletter, The Goreletter — has already helped hundreds of horror writers, dark “creatives” and unconventional artists…many of whom have not only crafted original material, but published it as a result of responding to these twisted prompts.
Contents include: Prompts: 365 Sick Scenarios | Spurs: 31 Turns for the Worse | Resurrections: 13 Radical Revisions | Memoir Mayhem: 151 Prompts for Journaling | The Devil Made You Do It Yourself: DIY Exercises | Essays on Writing on the Dark Side: “In the Mood: Getting Ready to Write”; “Binge Writing and NaNoWriMo”; “Discovering Your Hidden Intentions”; “Question-Storming”; “Making Modern Monsters”; “What Corrupted Me”; “The Five Laws of Arnzen” | Tips For Further Instigaton | Apps, Websites, Related Readings, and Writing Communities
Instigation is distinctive not only in the way it focuses on drawing out your dark side, but also in Arnzen’s provocations across the entire writing process, from brainstorming ideas, to starting on the blank page, to resurrecting a stalled novel or approaching revision from an alternative angle. You’ll also get plenty of advice in a series of articles that round out the book with tips about the writing life and creativity from a longtime professional author with over twenty years in the business, who has taught graduate writing courses on the dark side for just as long.
Whether you’re a thriller writer feeling a twinge of block, a gothic artist hoping to paint yourself out of a dark corner, a horror novelist stuck in your NaNoWriMo haze, a writing teacher looking for unique classroom activities…or just anyone looking to prime your creative pump, this book is sure to instigate the devil inside of you as you grope deeper into the darkness within and discover the unexpected.
For sample prompts see the newsletter department that started it all: “Instigation”
Instigation is presently only available as an electronic book from Mastication Publications and wherever ebooks are sold. However, you can also get a large collection of Instigation prompts in print as a bonus feature in the hardcover edition of The Gorelets Omnibus (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2012). That book includes a great “Horror Poetry Writing Workshop” in its pages.
+ “Here Comes the Fork”: An Introduction
+ Prompts: 365 Sick Scenarios
+ Spurs: 31 Turns for the Worse
+ Resurrections: 13 Radical Revisions
+ Memoir Mayhem: 151 Prompts for Journaling
+ The Devil Made You Do It Yourself: DIY Exercises
+ Essays on Writing on the Dark Side:
“The Five Laws of Arnzen”
“In the Mood: Getting Ready to Write”
“Binge Writing and NaNoWriMo”
“Discovering Your Hidden Intentions”
“Making Modern Monsters”
“What Corrupted Me”
+ For Further Instigation: Related Books, Apps, & Websites
“Mike Arnzen is not just a teacher but a mentor, in the true sense of the word. He’s still inspiring me. As I’ve struggled to honor the ideas that come to me, however twisted, Arnzen taught me that it’s okay to be dark, and that I must go there without flinching…Arnzen’s advice seems to jell like clotting blood: ‘I exult in my creepiness!’ Instigation set me free. I’m now working on the darkest story I’ve ever written, and it’s sharp as a scalpel.” – Lee Allen Howard, author of Death Perception
“A healthy dose of professionally warped encouragement. I have used his prompts throughout my book. For years I’ve been stealing his short, dark story prompts from the Gorelets blog and collecting them in a Word file that I revisit on occasion when I’m short on ideas. Well, he’s made the task a lot easier for me and us all with the Instigation e-book! ” — Nora Thompson, artist/author of Twisted: Tales to Rot Your Brain
“More than just a collection of quirky ‘what if’s, Instigation challenges writers to consider the ‘why’s and ‘what then’s that constitute good storytelling. Arnzen’s resource is entertaining as it is instructive.” — Scott Emerson, author and facilitator, Morgantown Poets
Learn more about Writers who have been prompted by Instigation by visiting the Instigation Showcase.
Sample Instigation prompts abound in the Gorelets department of the same name. Below is a meaty sampler of various elements of the book, excerpted from the Adobe .pdf edition (you can zoom in and view full screen using the scribd reader below):
“Risk and Transgression in Writing Fiction” is a related lecture by Arnzen to the “In Your Write Mind” writer’s workshop at Seton Hill University, from June 2013.
Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side
by Michael A. Arnzen
Kindle/.mobi ISBN: 978-1-939584-00-7
Nook /.epub and Kobo /.epub ISBN: 978-1-939584-03-8
Adobe /.pdf ISBN: 978-1-939584-04-5
Apple iBooks (for iPad or iPhone) ISBN:
Google Play (for android devices / online reading) ISBN: 978-1-939584-06-9
Cover art by Renate Muller
Published March 15, 2013
List price: $3.99
- Visit the INSTIGATION SHOWCASE to read authors and works responding to Arnzen’s prompts…and to share your own work!
- Diabolique Strategies: a random prompt generator to “spur” your creations on the dark side, in the vein of Oblique Strategies
- Arnzstigation Days: a collection of Arnzen-inspired weirdness, sponsored by Raw Dog Screaming Press in Jan 2013.
- Instigation department in The Goreletter (subscribe!)
- Hellnotes newsletter
- The Gorelets Omnibus
- Nathan Rosen’s Microhorror
- Raw Dog Screaming Press
- Many Genres, One Craft: an enormous how-to book for genre writers of all kinds