Return of the Opening Line: Part II

Saturday, July 19, 2014  •  Prompt #76

br sprout

 Following yesterday’s Opening Lines post, here are two more prompts with which to experiment. Choose one of these lines for the exercise.

  • They say I’m not normal.
  • The one place I can be myself is…
  • The first person I told was…
  • Something you should know about my sister…
  • No one knows this, but…

 Further Writing

  • Invert your opening sentence to give it an opposite meaning.  For instance, change They say I’m not normal  to They say I am normal. Write for 15 minutes.
  • Change one word: The second person I told. No one believes this but…., etc.  Write for 15 minutes.

Group Writing Variations

  1. Discuss what makes a good opening line.
  2. Write a list of opening lines for each other.
  3. Write for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Return of the Opening Line: Part I

Friday, July 18, 2014  Prompt #75

 celtic-knot-deer-query

Two-Step Instructions

  1. Choose one of the opening lines below and write it on the top of a fresh page of paper.
  2. Write for 15 minutes.
  • They say I’m not normal.
  • The one place I can be myself is…
  • The first person I told was…
  • Something you should know about my sister…
  • No one knows this, but…

 

Tomorrow: Further Writing and Writing Group Variations

 

 

 

 

Thursday Thoughts: Out Loud

For Thursday, July 17  Prompt 74

IMG_0607Do you read your work out loud as you write and edit?

If so, how does it change what you write?

If not, try it. See if it affects your word choice, sentence length or dialogue.

 

 

One Wedding and A Funeral

Wednesday, July 9, 2014  Prompt #66

My beautiful pictureThis weekend I attended both an unexpected funeral and an impromptu wedding. (I officiated!) Most definitely a cycle-of-life few days. The next three prompts will draw off these experiencse.

Funeral

Write about the first funeral you remember attending. Include small details that have stayed with you and emotions you experienced, such as grief, fear, confusion, or curiosity.

 

Further  Writing

Write a 300-word elegy or obituary for yourself or a character.

 

For Writing Groups

Write instructions for your own funeral or memorial service or for that of a character. Write them as an extended poem or flash non-fiction piece.

 

Rant 2.0

For Monday, July 7, 2014  Prompt #64

we the peopleToday’s prompt follows up on last week’s rant prompt. Again, hints for good rant writing.

  • Choose a topic about which you feel passionate.
  • Let yourself go off on tangents.
  • Let yourself be angry. Let yourself be funny.
  • Let yourself be both.
  • Keep your pencil moving and don’t erase or edit.
  • Write for at least ten minutes.

And now a quote from Allen Ginsberg: Concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. You say what you want to say when you don’t care who’s listening.  

Further Rant Writing: For Individuals and Groups

Manifesto: This exercise originated with my writing pal Frankie Rollins.  (You can find out more about her work here:  http://elizabethfrankierollins.com ) A manifesto is a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives. It can be issued by a government, community, organization, or person.

  • Here’s the beginning of one well-known manifesto: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…. do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  • And here’s part of another one: We, the Representatives of the United States of America…solemnly declare That these United Colonies are Free and Independent States
  • And the end of another one: Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Proletarians of all countries, unite!

Creating a Personal Manifesto in 4 Easy Steps

  1. List five communities that you identify with. For instance, I might write: East Coast Transplants. Writers. Lesbians. Birdwatchers. Collage artists.
  2. In a manifesto, you need to state your demands, desires, needs and dreams. Write down three other verbs for demand, desire, or need.
  3. Write Your Manifesto, beginning with the words:  We, the _____________________________ (fill in the group you want to represent), __________________________ (fill in a verb from step 2, then keep going…)

For example:

  • We the skateboarders require smoother asphalt.
  • We the freaks demand to be seen and heard.
  • We, your sisters and brothers, refuse to be silent.

4. Repeat your phrase, We the ______________, at least 6 times within your manifest.

My Sample: We, the writers, demand sharp pencils and open minds. Silenced too long, we demand long wooden desks and long stretches of time in which to percolate ideas, scribble out words, break apart sentences and put them together again. We, the writers, demand time to read. We seek quiet and solitude for one hour each day every day, we the writers, beseech this of our friends, neighbors and colleagues. In fact, we demand a national holiday solely and fully dedicated to the reading of books. As a first step, we the writers, demand triple funding for libraries so they can remain open 24 hours a day. While we are at it, we, the writers, insist upon new IRS tax codes, soundproof rooms, and stacks of dictionaries and legal pads in every coffeehouse. We the writers call for the end of blaring televisions in airports, loudmouth pundits at the lunch counter, discordant drummers by the creek. We the writers have to go now. We the writers have to get back to work.

Fireworks (Inner and Outer)

prompt for July 4, 2014  Prompt #63

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It’s the 4th of July Weekend. Are you a fireworks YAY person or a firework NAY person? Either way, this post should prompt some sparks.

 

Instructions

  1. Write down 2o words or phrases that you associate with fireworks.
  2. Underline one word or phrase that troubles you or feels different in tone that most of the others words.
  3. Circle one word that particularly appeals to you or is the essence of fireworks.
  4. At the top of a new piece of paper, write down the underlined word as your first word.
  5. At the bottom of the paper, write down the circled word as your last word.
  6. Write 100 to 120 words in between — a poem, story or essay.

 

Follow Up Writing

  • If fireworks were an animal, what would they be?
  • If fireworks were music, what style would they be?
  • If fireworks were an emotion, what would it be?

Use the answers to the above three questions to fashion a poem or one-page story.

Writing Group Variation

  1. Did you see fireworks growing up as a child? Share your experiences with the rest of the group (about 3 minutes each) — Where did you see them? With whom did you watch them? Were you delighted, scared, both, something else?
  2. If you never watched fireworks, write about about another summer tradition that takes place at night.

Postponed Until Monday: Further Rant Writing and Variations for Writing Groups

 

Let It All Out

July 2, 2014  Prompt #61

IMG_0672

 

 

Today’s prompt is all about the rant. The “shout, shout, let it all out,” break-the-rules writing that demands you your speak your mind without apology.

 

 

Instructions

  1. Scribble down attitudes and actions that infuriate you. List big issues, like poverty, or smaller ones, like not using your turn signal. Write for 5 minutes.
  2. Include both general, such as human greed, and specific, such as leaving dirty dishes in a shared sink.
  3. Re-read what you’ve written and underline a phrase or sentence that resonates for you.
  4. Write that phrase on the top of a new sheet of paper.  Write for 20 minutes.

Hints for Good Rant Writing

  • Choose a topic about which you feel passionate.
  • Let yourself go off on tangents.
  • Let yourself be angry. Let yourself be funny. Let yourself be both.

Tomorrow: Further Rant Writing and Variations for Writing Groups