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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Writing Prompts--Significant Detail

Given yesterday's attention to significant detail, I thought I would come up with a couple of writing prompts designed specifically to help bring attention to that element.

Don't forget to have fun with these writing prompts. 

1- For the first prompt, you're going to need three people you know very well--either real people or characters.  Two of them need to be very different from each other.  Set those two aside for a moment and consider the third.  Create a list of concrete imagery about this person including an outfit they might be normally wearing.  Try to avoid mentalities and stick to physical characteristics although well described physical mannerisms are okay.  (In other words, don't say "She has OCD" but instead describe how she's always clacking long nails against hard surfaces, for example.)  Make as extensive a list as you can.  Describe clothing, hair, features, behavioral ticks.  Remember this is just a list, so you don't have to write out a long description or complete sentences.

Now....take your list, and consider the other two people you picked who are very different from each other.  Assign one of them an X symbol and one of them an O symbol.  Go through your list and imagine which of the characteristics each of the other two people would think was significant.  (For example, I am not likely to notice someone's hair color unless it is neon [or I am in "writer mode'], but I will read a T-shirt from twenty feet away.)  Don't just think what would this person see or even necessarily notice, but what they would think was important.  One person might pay a lot of attention to a designer handbag.  The other might be more interested in physical beauty.  Come up with a few details that each person would notice.

2- Imagine a crowded scene and a character at the center of it.  It could be a restaurant or a bus station or a party or a rave.  Now, have the character look around the scene.  Give the character an emotional reaction to the scene around them.  Maybe they are turned on by the sexual energy of a rave or intimidated by the social mores of a fine restaurant.  Have them look around the room and see things around them.  Use significant detail in what they notice to make it obvious what their emotional state is without stating it.  Again...you may not state their emotional state or directly reveal their thoughts.  You are instead limited to revealing their emotions only through what they find important and significant in the scene around them. 

3- Think of a place you visit very regularly.  Now imagine that a complete stranger has come to this place.  What will they think is important here?  What is prominent?  What stands out?  (For example, if someone walked into my house, the first thing they are likely to notice is that I have an overflowing bookshelf of board games.)  What will they notice almost immediately?  Remember, they are a complete stranger, so they will take nothing for granted and may not even know what certain things are or what they do.

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