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Archive January 2011

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.31.11

Set a timer for five minutes and freewrite—writing anything that comes to mind without stopping until the timer goes off. Then circle every third word or phrase of what you’ve written. Use these circled words as the starting point for a poem.

Three Percent, the international literature division at University of Rochester in New York, has announced its top twenty-five picks for the 2011 Best Translated Book Award in fiction, representing nineteen countries and twelve languages.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.27.11

Write a scene in which two very different characters—an old man and a young woman, for example—are having an argument. Then rewrite the scene so that each character makes the argument the other character was making in the previous draft. Pay close attention to what is revealed about the characters in each draft.

While the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Awards shortlists, announced last weekend, have echoes of last fall's National Book Awards, the nominees in fiction were a completely fresh batch.

Today the widow of T. S. Eliot awarded the annual prize given to honor a poetry book published in the previous year.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.23.11

Make a list of objects. One thing should be from your desk, one from your closet, one a body part, one a thing you covet that belongs to someone else, one enormous, one slippery, and at least one that makes an odd or evocative sound. Now, describe each using a simile. Do this twice for each one. Using as many of the similes as you can, write a poem with a title such as “Checklist to Survive a Nuclear Winter” or “Things That Have Nothing To Do With Grief.”

Small literary press New Issues Poetry and Prose, operating out of the Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, has announced the winner of its twelfth annual Green Rose Prize.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.20.11

Write a story about the worst moment of your life (such as a loss or a betrayal) as though it happened to someone else. Instead of focusing on the moment itself, set the story the day before it happened and create a character very different from you to stand in for yourself. Write the story using a third-person omniscient narrator to exploit the tension between the reader’s knowledge of what’s to come and the protagonist’s complete lack of awareness of what’s to come. Consider ending the story before the impending doom arrives.

The International Jerusalem Book Fair has announced the twenty-fifth winner of the ten-thousand-dollar Jerusalem Prize, given biennially since 1963.

Posted by Writing Prompter on 1.17.11

What is something you are afraid to write about in your own poems, either because it is too personal, or because you feel it is cliché? Create a character—a swarthy bum, a baker, a dog—and write a narrative poem in which your character addresses this topic. Let the fact that the poem isn’t really about you be freeing.

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