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Archive January 2012

Write for twenty minutes, without stopping, a piece of pure description about something you see (a person, a scene, or an object in the room). No dialogue, no metaphor, no emotion; just pure description, as detailed as possible. Then write, nonstop, for another twenty minutes about the same subject, but this time use only speculation—imagine the subject's thoughts, perceptions, emotions, inner, or outward dialogue, etc.—and/or your own thoughts and observations about the subject. Combine the two pieces, and see what kind of story comes to life.

Pick up a dictionary and randomly choose ten words. Write a poem in five stanzas, with five lines in each stanza, using two of the ten words in each. Make the number of stressed syllables in each line consistent among the stanzas. (The first line of each stanza should have the same number of stressed syllables, etc.)

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.26.12

Deconstruct a short story that you find particularly powerful. First, identify the point-of-view and the characters. Then outline the plot. Finally, make a chart with two columns: In the first column, describe what happens in each paragraph of the story; in the second column, analyze why it happens, how it serves the larger story. Apply what you learn as you revise a story-in-the-works or begin a new one.

  • Write for twenty minutes about one of the following subjects. Combine two or three subjects to create something larger.
    An experience with an insect.
    An experience with a child.
    An experience with an animal.
    An experience with a stranger. 
    An experience in an automobile.
    An experience in a school. 
    An experience in a place of worship.
    An experience in a stranger's house.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.24.12

Compose a poem in the form and style of a postcard note. Keep the length brief, and give the recipient a sense of the place you’re visiting or the space you’re occupying. The location from which you write can be imagined or real. Alternatively, buy a postcard, and try to write a poem based on the image or photograph on the front of the postcard.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.19.12

Write a scene for a story, using third-person narration, that opens with your main character having just done something despicable. Despite what he or she has done, find a way in writing the rest of the scene to make your character sympathetic without letting him or her off the hook.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.18.12

Choose an incident from your past—it could be an ordinary occurrence, such as a family dinner—or a significant event, such as an achievement or a mishap. Write about it from your perspective, then write about it from the perspective of someone else who experienced it with you—a friend, sibling, or parent.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.17.12

Take a poem you feel is finished, and divide the poem in half. Write two new poems by filling in those two halves.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.12.12

Choose a story that you've finished or a story by another author and use the last line of it to begin a new story, using the same characters and/or introducing new ones. 

Take an episode from a piece you've already written—the more personal the better—and rewrite it as a third-person news story, faithfully following the inverted-pyramid and who-what-when-where-why structure of normative journalism.

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