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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Writing Prompt: Significant Detail Eulogy

This writing prompt dovetails with the Significant Detail.  If you are unfamiliar with that concept, you should probably take a look.  As with any writing prompt, don't forget to have fun.  

First read this.  If you can't make out the words on the image, you can Google "You want a physicist to speak at your funeral" or "Aaron Freeman eulogy," and I'm sure you will find the source text.  This is a completely viral meme.  In fact, chances are, you've actually seen it before.

This image (and dozens like it) are impossible to attribute.
If this is your image, let me know who to give credit to, or if you'd like me to take it down.
This not only rocks beyond the telling of it, but it is a very powerful example of how significant detail works in characterization.  By deciding how a focalizer observes the world--which details they will notice and which they won't and what words they they will use to frame those details--the writer not only describes the event or person that is the subject of the description, but also the character acting as the observer.  Here we see a beautiful, poignant description of death and even some mourning family described, but also a crisp description of the physicist and how they see the world.

Prompt- You can generate a character for this, but you will probably have an easier time with an existing one that is dear to you.  If you do generate a new character, really flesh them out in your head before you do any writing.

Have your character give a eulogy about someone close to them who has died.  Using a second "known" character may help to make this eulogy more concrete and less cliche sentimentality.  Don't just do the "to know them was to love them" stuff, but describe some specific characterizing events in the deceased's life.  But make sure you describe these events through the filter of the one giving the eulogy. The way they describe the events should characterize not only the person they are eulogizing, but also the speaker themselves.

Doubled spaced pages can be read out loud at roughly one minute per page, so your eulogy should be 4-6 pages double-spaced.  (1000-1500 words)

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