My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Prompts--Recombine, Reconfigure, Reconstruct

Not exactly what I.....
Eh, you know what?  That works just fine.
Here are a few prompts for this evening. I picked these based on some of the ideas going on in the blog this week. Don't forget that these are JUST exercises, and most importantly don't forget to HAVE FUN!!

Prompt 1- Let's work on writing what you know without everything needing to be completely autobiographical. Think of an event in your life that was intensely emotional (good or bad). Now remove yourself from this event and place another person who is very different from you in your place.  I'm not talking Mr. Bean or Ed Grimly or something but like and actually genuine, but very different person.  The more changes you can make, the better. Change the gender, the class, the education...whatever. They are having the same emotional reaction that you did, but they will express their reaction based on who they are as a person. Here's the catch--you may not simply state their feelings. If you use first person, they can't wax emotional about how they feel. You have to show through their actions and words. (And you might want to avoid having them cry--it's a lot less effective in fiction than it is on TV/film.) Use lots of visceral details. This can be as long or as short as you want, but try to push yourself to write at least a page.

Prompt 2- Imagine your current favorite character (or yourself) in a situation they've (you've) never been in. This doesn't have to be a supernatural or speculative situation, although it could be. The trick is to imagine something with a different emotional core than what you have personally experienced. If you've been to a funeral, having a funeral on the moon is probably not going to be sufficiently new. Try to think of things that would be emotionally unique. (Death of a loved one, marriage, divorce or a huge break up, having a child--though many people have experienced all these things--would be the kind of thing I'm thinking of.) Now imagine what experiences you have had and their aspects that might help you write about the moment you have chosen. Make a list. (If you picked a funeral of a loved one you might something like "1- The time I attended my friend's dads funeral--for visceral details. 2-The sudden break up with Hanna Tompkins--for the sense of loss and grief. Etc..." You can actually write up the scene if you want, but the exercise here is just to consciously consider how you would use the experiences you HAVE had to recombine and reconfigure into an experience you haven't had.

Prompt 3- Look around you. It's probably just pretty ordinary stuff unless you happen to enjoy reading W.A.W. in exotic locations (in which case put the computer down and enjoy the exotic). Find one detail around you something beautiful that isn't supposed to be. The way the light shimmers off an empty soda can, or the way a power cord looks like a serpent attacking the Dust Off can of air, or the way a pile of clothes says more about the person you love than a sonnet. See that thing not as ordinary you, but as artist you--the person inside of you that can see beauty in its opposite. Write about this in extremely sensory language for no more than a paragraph (about 300 words max). Try to describe what you see (or hear, or smell, or are experiencing from a new perspective), and avoid describing how it makes you feel.

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