Multiple Prompts

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.


  1. Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    Most of my posts are responses to prompts and the few that aren’t are my posts for the challenges that I host. By responding to prompts, you create a bond with the other bloggers here on WordPress and I think it is fun. I try to read what the other bloggers came up with when they respond to the same prompts which I did. It can also be very challenging, as you need to read the prompt and then analyze it, to see how you can fit it into your post. Sometimes the story will come to you quickly and you can write an immediate response, but other times you may struggle, not knowing just how you are going to use this particular prompt. I feel that writing prompts are great ways to spark my imagination and get me writing about a particular topic. Being able to respond to multiple prompts in the same post is an important skill, but by doing this, it will also make it more difficult for your writing.


  2. I allow one key prompt to set the theme or tone for a post, and then work the others in as it goes. I am interested in the range of places it takes me in my thought processes – not random- but sometimes unexpected.

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  3. I rarely do, only if my regular “days” overlap on my gardening blog. Like if the 15th of the month (Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day) is also Friday, I may also link to the Friday floral blog hop. For my poetry blog, it would be too confusing for me. And I do agree, some that link to many multiples leave me wondering, “How does this fit that prompt?” Making things fit, as you day, does not work out to the best writing in my opinion. Unless someone is eager for more views, I don’t see the point either.
    I will say, sometimes the writing prompts do overlap nicely, and I do link to both then, but I’ve never done it for more than two links.
    Also, I visit participating posts from the prompt Mister Linky or comments to read posts, not checking the blog (or site) itself daily, and have few email notifications of new posts, so I don’t get overwhelmed every time a new post is made that may not be in my interest.
    In shorter terms, I rarely do it, and sometimes find them confusing when others link to too many!

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  4. I don’t respond to multiple prompts because to me, that’s solving a puzzle, not writing. I will respond one prompt at a time — if they interest me. But I won’t do a lot of them with various words. To me, that’s a game. EVEN if a story emerges, it’s more accident than intent.

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  5. If you like word games that’s fine with me. I like word games too but that’s not why I blog. But we all have our reasons and I suppose some people just enjoy the (literal) challenge. I’m just not one of them.

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