You do NOT have to use the prompts. I am providing prompts because recent (last year) events made me wonder if some participants would enjoy prompts and if new participants would find the project easier with one less option taken out of their hands—or rather focused for them.
Each day of April 2018 I will post the FIVE prompts in a blog post at 3 a.m. CDT. (We are on Daylight Savings now.) Participants who live outside the US will get access at whatever the corresponding time is there, so expect to be a day later or earlier, whatever. Don't fret, just keep working. There is no happy work around for this.
The prompts are in five different groups. A prompt from each group will be released each day. You can use any or all of the prompts.
Or rather—your character can. Please keep that in mind, it is your character who is responding to the prompts.
Incorporating Prompts in Your Character's Journal EntriesYour character can incorporate prompts into his journal entry in the following ways.
1. You can sit down, get into character and he or she will sketch exactly what the prompt suggests. You'll date it, write the time down, as you will on all journal entries and you're done.
2. A more complicated way to deal with the prompts is to read all the prompts in the morning. Ascertain, based on your pre-April character analysis which prompts might work for a character's day and then do something in character and have your character respond to or include the prompts.
Example: One set of prompts is overheard dialog. You can take yourself off somewhere to work as your character, and as you work as your character you can work in the found dialog. You will be somewhere your character overhears people. As you work you will include on the page the overheard dialog as given in the prompt. And in this situation it would be typical for most journal keepers to then say something about why they are writing that found dialog down: it's so funny, weird, strange; it makes him muse on his own life and he starts writing more about it or what he wonders it means, etc.
3. You sit at home imagining you are your character, working as your character, and when you are doing the journaling portion of the day's entry you weave in the various verbal prompts.
Example: Your character puts the quote of the day on the page, simply because it's his habit. Or you are in character and pretending your character has just read that statement and you are writing it in your journal so that you can examine it from your character's perspective. It depends on how you want your character to journal.
4. With the "finish this sentence" category of prompts you will be in character and your character for whatever reason, for whatever is happening in his life/art/etc. will use that sentence and finish it from HIS PERSPECTIVE. Keep in mind that if the thought is about how he's going to spend an inheritance what he writes down must come out his character's mind, not yours. You are looking at getting answers which don't relate to yourself, it's the fun of understanding a character. Often the most fun is when a character holds diametrically opposed options from you. You then have to stay in character and let him have a voice.
5. For the Questions category of prompts you will again be answering the question from your characters point of view. He may be answering the question because it is a prompt in a project he is doing. He may be answering the question because he just read a book on the topic. Your character doesn't need to be doing a prompt project, but there does need to be a reason that your character is thinking about that question on that day. Before journaling think about what that reason is and write about it from your character's point of view.
Remember, you do not have to use any of the prompts to participate in 2018 IFJM.
The prompts are there because some people enjoy working with prompts.
You can work 15 or more days into the month using any or all of the prompts each day and then you can decide that it doesn't work for your character any longer and the rest of the month you work without the prompts.
The MOST IMPORTANT THING is that you keep journaling every day, in character. I cannot stress that enough.
If you find that the prompts are slowing you down, confusing you, frustrating you, or otherwise making you grumpy, well simply stop using them.
If you are going to use them come back tomorrow any time after 3 a.m. and get your first set!
Have a Great 2018 IFJM!