Guided Writing Prompt Exercise: Open a Book at Random

Hi Everyone! This post is meant to get you writing! So stop whatever it is you’re doing (unless it’s important, like if you’re in the bathroom or something) and get ready to write!

For this exercise, you’re going to need a book, something to write on, something to write with, and a timer. I’ll discuss each in detail below. If you don’t have a book handy to use, you can use the same prompt I’m going to use. I’ll give it to you in just a minute.

The Book

It can be fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t really matter. However, if your goal is to write fiction, this exercise usually works better if you get a fiction book, if your goal is non-fiction, pick up a non-fiction book, if your goal is poetry, you get the idea.

Writing Materials

Sometimes I use my iPad to write with, sometimes I use my laptop, and other times I use paper and pen. I know, weird. But some people do still use paper and pen when they write. Don’t judge me. Just use whatever is best for you.


You will need a timer to use for the writing exercise. I use a timer on my phone, but you can use a kitchen timer or any other timer you have. If you don’t have anything to use as a timer, you can do the Guided Writing Prompt Exercise along with me in the YouTube video and I’ll time 2 minutes of writing for you.


So, what we’re going to do is just open the book at random and point to a line on the open page. The line we pick will be our writing prompt. You don’t want to use the actual line, word for word, in your writing. That would be plagiarizing. The line should give you an idea, paint a scene, or maybe introduce a character to you that you can use in your piece.

Without further ado, let’s get our line. The book I’m using is called ‘The Mists of Avalon’ by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I randomly open the book and put my finger on a line that reads,

“Gwenhwyfar was weary of the feasting.”

You can use the same line I’m using, or you can use your own book and find your own line to use. Now that you have a prompt, set your timer for a period of time you want to write for. I usually do writing exercises for 15 minutes at a time. If you do the Guided Writing Prompt YouTube video, you’ll write for 2 minutes. You can also pause the video and write for as long as you want and then skip to the end of the video. Whatever your choice, set your timer and get ready to write.

(If you have a writing program like Write or Die, you can use the software to write in as well as time yourself.)

I wrote for two minutes filming the accompanying YouTube video and I’ll post my results in the comments for this post. When your timer goes off, come back here and post your work! If you don’t want the general public to read your piece, email it to me. I’d love to read it! Ready? Go!

Happy Writing!


Here’s what I wrote from this prompt in 2 minutes:
Gwenhwyfar sat at the head table, in front of friends and family and people she didn’t have any idea who they were. They were all stuffing their faces, talking and yelling and laughing loudly. Ale flowed and dogs crept under the tables to catch any food that was dropped. Grease and food dripped from gaping mouths and Gwenhwyfar felt her stomach roll as her eyes revolted at the sight of the gorging. Her betrothed, Prince Arwyn, was more mannered than the rest, but he still turned her stomach with the way he chomped and chewed, food sticking out of the corner of his mouth. She thought it disgusting and vulgar, but she was stuck with him.


Reading and Writing Tips is a place where those who love literature can come together and get tips and hints in the reading and writing world.