Genre Swap

June 28, 2014  Prompt #57

photoTo wrap up revisions week, here’s a playful prompt. See if you discover anything about your writing (or yourself!) with this one.


  1. Choose a section of a story or essay you’ve written that is about a page long. Or choose a single piece of flash fiction or a short to medium-length poem.
  2. Rewrite the piece in a different genre. If it is literary fiction, for instance, try writing it in the style of traditional criminal mystery novel. If it is an critical essay, say the same thing in verse. Change a poem into investigative journalism.
  3. Write for 15 minutes.


Further Writing

  • Read what you’ve written aloud. Circle a favorite phrase or sentence. Can it be reworked into the original piece before the genre swap?
  • What style of writing intimates you the most? Try writing in that style — on any topic — for 20 minutes.

Writing Group Variations

  1. Each members fills out three index cards.
    • On the first card, write the name of a genre, such as high romance, free verse poetry, or critical review.
    • On the second card, describe a person or object. (A swimming instructor. A 9-year-old boy. A razor blade. A wooden spoon)
    • On the third card, write the name of a geographic place (Times Square in NYC. Texas Hill Country. A marsh.)
  2. Put the cards into three separate piles — genres, person/object, and geographic place.
  3. Each member draws one card from each pile and, using the genre, person or object, and place, writes for 15 minutes.



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