John Marsden’s 600 Writing Topics–Halfway Point!

As you can guess from the title of this post, I have reached the halfway point in my John Marsden 600 Writing Topics Challenge.

I wanted to publish another post to both record my progress and reflect on how I have found the challenge now that I have reached the halfway point, which has taken me over 9 months to reach (I started the challenge on September 2 2015).

As I stated in my introductory blog post to this challenge, the writing topics are split into several categories, which are:


Topics 1-93: Quickies

Topics 94-130: Discursive

Topics 131-149: Based on a Book

Topics 150-307: Topics for Short Stories

Topics 308-357: Poetry

Topics 358-501: Personal

Topics 502-521: Limits

Topics 522-585: Developing Skills

Topics 586-600: Letters


My first 100 writing topics comprised of: 60 Quickies, 11 Discursive, 12 Based on a Book, 14 Personal, 2 Limits and 1 Developing Skills.

The next 100 writing topics comprised of 31 more Quickies, 17 more Discursive, 7 more Based on a Book, 41 more Personal and 4 more Limits.

Now at the halfway point, I have completed: 4 more Discursive, 18 Topics for Short Stories, 14 Poetry, 52 more Personal, 7 more Limits and 5 more Developing Skills.

As I mentioned earlier, now that I am at the halfway point of the challenge, I would like to reflect on how I’ve found the challenge, specifically each category.



I focused on trying to get the Quickies done first as, due to its name, I thought that they would be easy and quick to complete. I’d say about half of the topics did live up to their category name, however the other half certainly didn’t. I have two more Quickies left to complete.


I’ve found the Discursive writing category to be the most interesting. I believe that this category is the most interesting as it is philosophical, the writing topics have made me question both the world and my views on the world and have required me to do some soul searching in order to complete them. I have five more Discursive writing topics to complete.

Based on a Book:

This is the only category that I have completed in full. The writing topics didn’t instruct me to only use one book or multiple books, however I chose to use one book to both make it easier for myself and to be consistent. The book I chose was Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. I chose this book as it’s one of my favourites and I thought that this book spanned a significant amount of time and had enough characters and subplots to be able to complete the writing topics with ease. I thoroughly enjoyed completing this category due to the fact as both a reader and a writer, I love dissecting and analysing stories.

Topics for Short Stories:

I’ve always loved prose growing up, both reading and writing it. When I went to uni to study creative writing, I wanted to complete only prose oriented subjects and was closed minded about developing my writing skills in poetry and script. However in my second year of uni, I experienced quite a bit of turmoil in my life within a short period of time. It was during this time that I discovered how much my emotions affect my writing, especially when it came to writing prose as I lost my abilities and passion for it, during that difficult time of my life and even when the dust eventually settled.

I’ve been trying to reignite my abilities and passion for prose writing by completing the Topics for Short Stories. I felt one of the best ways to both reignite my abilities and passions for prose writing and to complete the writing topics, was to “recycle” some story ideas I’ve had for over a decade that have never eventuated into stories. So far this has worked for three major story ideas, which I’ve decided to write as serials, one of them I have almost finished.

I’ve also bent the rules a little with this category with some of the writing topics. With some of the writing topics I’ve written poems instead of short stories. You could argue that it’s cheating as I’m supposed to be writing short stories and not poems, however I felt that the poems fit best for the topics and a story is still being told, just in a poetic form.

The Topics for Short Stories is the biggest category with 158 writing topics. I have 141 Short Stories writing topics left to complete.


I’ve really enjoyed this category as over the last three to four years, I’ve started to enjoy writing poetry, I’ve actually written three poetry collections and have published them online on YouTube. The poetry that I’m writing for this category as well as in the other categories will be published as a collection, once I’ve completed the challenge. I have 36 Poetry writing topics left to complete.


I was originally going to leave completing the Personal writing topics until second last, however I was continually experiencing inspiration surges when it came to the Personal writing topics and I obviously couldn’t ignore them.

The Personal writing topics have been a tug of war of being simultaneously easy and hard to complete. I thought that writing about me and my life experiences would be easy, however it is also very time consuming. That being said, reflecting on my life so far and how I’ve lived it has been interesting. I have 37 Personal writing topics left to complete.


As the title suggests, these writing topics are all about challenging myself as a writer even more with certain limits imposed on me. I believe this category is the second smallest due to its difficulty, however I have enjoyed challenging myself with this category. I have 7 Limits writing topics left to complete.

Developing Skills:

I haven’t completed many writing topics in this category and I have the feeling that this category is going to be my least favourite. I’ve come to that conclusion, not because I’m lazy and don’t want to develop my writing skills, if that were true, I wouldn’t have imposed this challenge on myself, it’s because I believe that having to develop my writing skills in sixty-ish different ways at once will drive me crazy. I have 58 Developing Skills writing topics left to complete.


This is the only category where I haven’t completed any of the writing topics yet. The reason why I haven’t completed any of the writing topics yet, is due to the fact that I think this is the category that I’ll have the most fun with. I love the epistolary literary form, in fact in my last year of creative writing uni studies, I wrote a mini-thesis on the epistolary literary form. I also enjoy writing letters in general, so I really am saving the best for last with this category and the challenge.


I’m hoping by the 400 mark that I’ve completed the Discursive, Personal and Limits writing categories.

I would also like to say thank you to everyone who has liked my posts, favourited/liked/retweeted my tweets promoting the posts and has commented on my posts and hard work. Please keep it up and spread the word!

Here’s to the next 300!

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