Is It Cheating to Use Writing Prompts and Generators?

Hey everyone! Wow, we are halfway done with summer and I couldn’t be happier. I am more of an Autumn person and can’t wait for some cool comfortable weather, bringing on pumpkin flavors, red leaves, and donning comfy sweaters and blankets again. Just as long as there’s no snow to accompany it. God please, don’t bring any snow lol.

When I write, sometimes I have a difficult time coming up with names for my characters or a title for my books, and during times of being blocked, I have been known to look at the possibility of using writing prompts but generally don’t use them. But for those who do, have you ever wondered if that is cheating? Are we cheating if we use things to help us write that ruin the creative thought process?

Name Generators are all over the internet now. They create names for you to choose from for characters in your stories. Some are just devoted to fantasy names, others will even ask you to give information about the character such as age, nationality, gender, and race. Using these generators will take the place of having to think of your names for your characters. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Only you know all of the details about your characters. So, it seems to me like picking names at random would pose a risk in getting a name that fits the personality and the appearance of a character that you have already created in your mind. They have generators for naming cities, organizations, planets, and creatures to name a few. But are you really creating if you are using someone else’s titles, names, or plot ideas?

I think it can be helpful if you generally have a hard time thinking of the appropriate name for a character. Sometimes we need a little help in these areas. It’s nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about. In my opinion, it’s no different than using a dictionary or a thesaurus. Whatever aids you can find to help write that story, use it, and keep using it.

Title Generators are a little tricky though because your story may be about something very specific or a little different and not part of the mainstream. With that being the case, it would be difficult to choose a title from a generator. Be very cautious when using one because the title is extremely important in the selling of your book. If it doesn’t have anything to do with the plot, you could risk having your novel go unnoticed by readers. There are lots of different titles on the generators but not all of them may be a good fit for your story. And then again you might get lucky and find the perfect one. Just be mindful of making sure that you choose the best title that will get people’s attention and not choose a fancy title just because it sounds great. You want it to draw attention and allow it to help readers find the right kind of story they want to read. If the title doesn’t give them a clue as to what that story is about than your title will mislead those who think it’s about one thing then read it and find out it’s about something else.

As far as Writing Prompts go, I generally do not use them but I have looked for some in the past when I had writer’s block. I wasn’t published yet and was just looking for something to write about. Many of the ones I saw were either boring or silly. I don’t recommend using writing prompts for serious novel writing. It is always best to come up with your own plot. Even if you have writer’s block, just be patient. The ideas will come but the best thing about those ideas is that they will be yours and nobody else’s.

Thanks for reading.

Until next time…

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