Writing Prompt: We’re Making a List


Happy Friday, writers and shark fans! I hope your week is everything you’ve hoped for.

In the meantime, it’s Writing Prompt Friday! Every Friday, we will share a writing prompt, as well as the Editor-in-Chief’s (EIC’s) response to the prompt and some of her thoughts on the writing and/or revision process.

She’s always found it to be fun to get inside other writers’ heads, so she’s giving you the opportunity to get inside of hers.

In addition to sharing the weekly writing prompt and poem, Lit Shark and Lit Pup also invite you to share your own interpretations of the prompt. If you would like to submit your work to be featured as a Creative Highlight on our blog, please use the Lit Shark or Lit Pup submission portal that is age-appropriate for you (and please note the name of the writing prompt you used!).

Every Monday, we will review the submissions we have received. We understand that writing and art creation are fluid, so responses to ALL of the writing prompts on our site will be considered on a rolling basis.

We cannot wait to see what inspires you and how you address this prompt—and we hope you will submit your work!

The Writing Prompt

IThe Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, translated and edited by Ivan Morris, the eleventh-century Japanese poet and courtier created a series of lists based on her daily life. Her topics included “Hateful Things” (“A carriage passes by with a nasty, creaking noise”), “Elegant Things” (“A pretty child eating strawberries”), “Things That Have Lost Their Power” (“A large tree that has been blown down in a gale and lies on its side with its roots in the air”), and “Things That Should Be Large” (“Men’s eyes”), among others. The list form allowed her to celebrate, or denigrate, details that may have otherwise been passed by unnoticed. This week, take ten minutes to invent and populate a list of your own—the more specific, the better. Make more lists with each day if the spirit strikes you.


          the kitchen and its table
                    dark corners and wax        the bathroom        cabinets
          extra items            stored     up     and     away
                    wide     open     rooms                   quieter now
          the walls and their hangings            my daughter            ’s friends
                    cats gone missing               somewhere deep
          the dust                the shelves
                    the curtain            what white is left hanging
          off of it                scarves thrown
          over the back        of a chair
                    (my suitcase        is full)     what moon
          is left in the sky            what stars        what dreams
          what        what


I have moved so many times, and I first came across this writing prompt during a very big move in my life. It was grounding to think about individual items, and how the rooms transformed, during that packing and moving process. But the goal of the poem eventually became creating something that would reflect the complicated feelings I had during that transition. Sometimes, when we use a writing prompt, we start by trying to follow it exactly, only for us to realize what we truly need from it.

I can’t wait to see what you do with the prompt this week. Until Then ~

—McKenzie, EIC and Fellow Shark Lover (FSL)

Now It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s your turn to share, share, share! We would love to read the creative pieces you write and art you create.

Whether we publish the piece or not, we will give you a little feedback, but our favorites will be shared between Tuesday and Friday as Creative Features on our blog. Some may also be considered for our next issue of Lit Shark or Lit Pup.

Please submit your creative and artistic responses (including the name of the prompt you used!) to the Lit Shark portal if you are 18/older and to the Lit Pup portal if you are under 18.

We understand writing and art creation is a fluid process, so submissions will be considered on a rolling basis. Every Monday, we will select several pieces to be featured, no matter which writing prompt was used.

We look forward to reading your words soon! Happy Inspiration to all!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You will not be charged extra, but a portion of your purchase will help support Lit Shark’s causes in inclusive and accessible literature and writing resources, as well as our growing movement in conversation education, rescue, and revitalization.

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Written By McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan (she/her/hers) lives and writes in Europe with her family (originally from the Midwest). In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of Lit Shark Magazine and the Banned Book Review, she is a novelist, poet, and book reviewer. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University and her BA in English/BS in Education from Indiana University South Bend, where she began her work in publishing. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, Young Ravens Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Encore Magazine, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, Memoir Mixtapes, The Life Collective, Her Journal, Motherly, and more. When not writing, she enjoys reading, appreciating nature, and spending time with her husband and three children.




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