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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dental Writing Prompts? Oh yeah. (Sunday Prompts)

[No progress report this week.  Tooth stuff literally set me back just about seven days exactly.]

The Sunday prompts are about to become the Every Other Sunday prompts just to mix things up a little bit here, but I'm not sure what I will throw into the mix on the alternate Sunday.  (I'm always up for suggestions!)

I had to tweak a few of these to go with a dental theme, but it was surprisingly easy, honestly.  Don't forget to have fun! 

1- Describe the pain of a toothache without using "dull," "sharp," "ache," "pain," "sore," "hurt," "throbbing," "shooting," "tender," "agonizing," "unbearable," any derivatives of any of these words or anything you think might be an overly clinical term for pain or an overused cliche for pain (like "flaring agony" or something).  You can use direct or figurative language, but attempt to describe the pain in a way that would make a reader a little uncomfortable.

2- This one might be tough for newer writers: Describe a dentist's office from the point of view of a patient.  Describe it in such a way that it characterized BOTH the dentist (by what sorts of interesting things are in the office) and the patient (by what they notice).  For example, if our character notices a lot of baseball pennants on the wall, but then becomes transfixed, with a slow swallow, on the tray of gleaming instruments laid out, you instantly have both a baseball fan dentist and a scared patient.  You've characterized multiple people with one quick description.  This exercise doesn't need to be more than a paragraph or two.

3- In much of the world the dream of losing one's teeth is ubiquitous and tied to moments of poor self image.  It's just one of those dream images that nearly everyone has (like floods, flying, and backed up toilets).  In much of the literary tradition missing teeth symbolize holes in one's character or spirit.  Since (almost) everyone has teeth, almost everyone has tooth aches, and it becomes as much a part of the human condition as anything cerebral, but what is important to consider here is how we react to bad teeth, and WHY we react that way.  Deep within our psyche is a place that judges straight, white teeth differently than assigned crooked or stained teeth and differently still than gaps of missing teeth.  In some cases these value judgement boarder on moral judgement.  Write a page or two that turns this convention on its head.  Now it is a sign of poverty to need all one's teeth and not to have had them pulled out.  You can write about any kind of character you want; a rich person who hasn't had their teeth in years...a poor person hoping to get a few more pulled, but try to get really deep into your character's head as they think about not having teeth.   The point here is to draw attention to the WAY society demands conformity on such things by using the relief of having the thing itself be absurd.  If you do this right you will probably end your two pages with some pretty interesting thoughts about how culture makes us care about things.

And that's not a bad place at all for a writer to be.

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