Creative writing: Prompt idea for breaking writer’s block

In the movie No Country for Old Men, two characters are doing a coin toss with a 25c piece when one of them asks: “Do you know what date is on this coin?” and then answers the question himself with the date and says, “it’s been travelling 22 years to get here.”
So, from a creative writing standpoint, where the coin has been in its travels is “the backstory” for that coin.


Who interacted with the coin in its travels?

What was purchased along the way with this coin?

Did it lay unused for long periods? Why?

What could be purchased 22 years ago with the coin compared with now?

Playing around with this idea while wearing your creative writing hat could be applied to any number of situations, objects and people you encounter.

The challenge for you, as a writer, to invent a backstory; in this case about the coin, for example.

This approach is probably good only for prompting a writing fragment, perhaps a short story.

The point is it could be a doorway to unlocking your writer’s block.

Dennis Mellersh

Note: Just for interest, here’s a link to the scene in the movie, which in itself is an example of interesting dialogue writing:

About Dennis Mellersh

Dennis Mellersh is an independent writer, journalist, editor, and editorial consultant.
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