Writing a single post to respond to multiple prompts is very common here on WordPress, and I equate it to killing two birds with one stone. I have never seen anyone write about this topic before, so I figured that I would add my thoughts on this today. There are several writing challenges here that use more than one word as the prompt, like the Three Things Challenge that was started by Theresa the Haunted Wordsmith who left WordPress and became The Word Cubby. This prompt gives you three unrelated words to use, and you make up a story or a poem that puts them all together. Paula at Light Motifs II took over as the host of this challenge after Theresa left and she passed it on to Di of pensitivity101 who has been hosting this for much longer than anyone else. The other challenges that are similar to this, however using more prompt words are the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle challenge which takes place every Monday and The Sunday Whirl, and both of these challenges each use 12 prompt words. This Wordle should not be confused with the popular game that has you guess a five-letter word in six tries or less.
The Greek myth that tells the tale of Daedalus and Icarus, where the father and son escaped from the Labyrinth on Crete by making wings and flying out, is where the phrase “killing two birds with one stone” originated. Daedalus was an inventor and he built wings of feathers and wax to escape. Since birds of a feather will flock together, they will gather in groups on the ground, as they are inherently social creatures. It would be very difficult to throw a stone that hits a bird that is flying, so you will have a much better chance when it lands. If you are a skilled hunter and you throw the stone at the perfect trajectory, then I guess it would be possible to kill two birds with the same stone, providing that they are situated relatively close to each other. If you miss with your stone, there is a good chance that all the birds will scatter, and you will not get any of them. Since there were two men, they needed to kill two birds and maybe it was a lucky shot, but they were also lucky that the birds were close together at the time.
I think it is better to stick with one topic when I am blogging, but I understand why bloggers often tackle multiple prompts in the same post. Writing one post will be less time consuming than writing 5 to 10 different posts and it should get you noticed by more people. Maybe you feel a responsibility to respond to certain prompts because these same people are joining in on your prompts that you host. I like to focus on one thing and others like to cover a wide range and neither way is better than the other. It is more of a challenge trying to make multiple prompts fit into the same story, unless you can find something that they all have in common with each other. It would be easy to fit the prompts, “baseball”, “hotdogs” and “lemonade” together in the same post, but most times the prompts don’t align like that.
I admire the bloggers that have the ability to combine different things together into a coherent story, but sometimes I wonder if these prompts are dictating how the story is being written. I wonder if it would it be a better story if the writer just concentrated on one prompt and this reminds me of the saying that “too many cooks will spoil the soup”, not the Mick Jagger song. I think that when a blogger responds to too many prompts in the same post, that this will often have a negative influence on their story, and their final product will be worse as a result of this. I am curious about how this works, so I want to know if the prompts dictating what you write in your stories, or do you have the story first and then you adapt it so you can fit in the prompts?
For me, I have done it both ways, as I think that any prompt word can be made to fit into any story, but since the main purpose of a prompt word is to encourage interest in a creative way, that these prompt words should not be forced to fit the story. The whole purpose of a writing prompt is to inspire bloggers to write and be original and resourceful, and using their imagination and I feel that a well written story should not bounce around being driven just to satisfy the prompts. I feel it would it be better if your story made gradual progress rather pushing it through all the prompts and losing consistency in the process. If you write posts where you respond to multiple prompts, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.