This is a prompt from Lauren Harsma for the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program.

Don't forget to head over to the workshop to share your work and receive anonymous feedback, and remember to include "(WP)" in the title so we know that it's a prompt response!


Image source: Flickr / Andreas Levers

There are portals everywhere. A word on a page, a painting in a museum, a stranger's face - everything in our world leads to another world. You can find space and time printed on a train ticket or scrambled in with your eggs in the morning, if only you squint your eyes hard enough and open your mind wide enough. 

C.S. Lewis bundles us away to Narnia through an old wardrobe; J.K. Rowling takes us to Hogwarts via Platform 9 ¾; Cornelia Funke sucks characters from Inkheart into our world using SIlvertongue voices. Books are portals in themselves, transporting readers mind and spirit to places of grandeur, of impossibility, of adventure - of times gone by and times to come.

Look around you, right now: what's in this room? A telephone that tornadoes you in through the earpiece? An old sweater that, when worn, knits you into 1920s New York? A throw pillow that brings nothing but nightmares?

Whatever you see, write about it. Write about the portal in your fishbowl, the gateway through the kitchen cupboard, the alternate universe you can only reach if when sliding down the laundry chute. Sit down for an hour or two or ten and write out the most ridiculous place you can think of. Use adjectives! Get poetic! Draw pictures with your words!

Writing is transportive. Build a beautiful world or an intimidating one, and populate it with people you'd never see in your own. Write the ridiculous; write the not-possible.



Lauren Harsma, Communications Captain
Lauren’s ultimate goal is to turn her house into a library she’ll never have to leave. She eats books for breakfast (and also second breakfast and elevenses, lunch, dinner, and supper) and has degrees in Creative Writing and English Literature from Oswego State University and the University of Leeds. After spending several months train-hopping in Europe, wishing for thunderstorms, freeing insects trapped against cafe windows, and cultivating an impressive crop of freckles, she now responds with sass and gusto to writerly inquiries and plans totally wicked programs and events at NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month happens every November. It's a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create! Our Young Writers Program supports students of all ages.

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Sam van Zweden was Writers Bloc’s Online Editor from 2013 - 2015. A Melbourne-based writer and blogger, her work has appeared in The Big Issue, Voiceworks, Tincture Journal, Page seventeen, and others. She’s passionate about creative nonfiction and cross stitch. She tweets @samvanzweden.