Reading & Writing

Writing Prompt: Laid Up

IMG_20180220_163252.jpgI had a classmate in grad school who became a bit obsessed with the idea that his protagonists should be somehow impaired: injured, disabled, ailing. He was interested in characters who were at war with their own bodies, taking the whole “man vs himself” dilemma to another level.

I didn’t think about it too much then, but since I got my wisdom tooth pulled yesterday, I’m thinking about it now.

Probably the most famous example I can come up with is Hitchcock’s Rear Window, where Jimmy Stewart’s broken leg is the impetus for the whole story. Of course, not all examples are so extreme. In Richard Russo’s novel, Straight Man, the protagonist is struggling with a prostate problem that always seems to act up at the most inconvenient (or for the writer, convenient) times.

So that’s my challenge for you this week: get your character laid up. Make him or her work against his own body.

I hope it’s not too painful.

 

Reading & Writing

Writing Prompt: Words, Words, Words

pexels-photo-590750.jpegMaybe this is more an exercise than a prompt, but this week, I want you to set a timer: five minutes, ten, fifteen–whatever seems right for you. I want you to sit down and start writing, and I want you to use as many of these words as you can before your buzzer goes off (if you need to look any of them up, do that before starting the clock). I think you’ll have a lot of fun with this.

The words: Continue reading “Writing Prompt: Words, Words, Words”

Reading & Writing

Writing Prompt: Someone You Don’t Like

funny uncle

Fiction is about empathy. Seeing the world through someone else’s eyes helps us to understand the world on a different level, and to relate to our fellow humans in a deeper, more complicated way.

A lot of writers strive to make their main characters likeable, especially if the POV is written from a close perspective. To that end, I think there’s a tendency to write characters we like personally, so we can make other people like them, too. (I’m all for unlikeable characters, BTW, but that’s another blog post.)

But what if we tried to write from the POV of someone we didn’t like?

That’s the challenge I’m setting today. Write from a close perspective (try to do first person) about someone you know and really don’t like–without making them a monster. Maybe you can even make them sympathetic. Continue reading “Writing Prompt: Someone You Don’t Like”

Reading & Writing

NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt: Something Sweet

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How’s it going, writer? Are the keys still clattering, the pens still scratching? I hope so. It’s pretty amazing to push through a challenge like this. There are low points, yes, but I think overall it gives you confidence. At the end, you get the runner’s high of knowing you finished a marathon. I know from experience: that feels amazing.

 

I want you to reward yourself today. If I could, I would give each and every one of you a piece of your favorite candy and a high five. (And if you don’t like candy, you weirdo, I guess I’d give you…um…bacon?) Obviously, I can’t do that (though if you know me personally, feel free to hold me to my word) but I can encourage you to get yourself a treat, sit down, and savor it. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt: Something Sweet”