Roar!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014  Prompt #72

zoo

Yesterday afternoon, I wandered through Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, the inspiration for today’s writing prompt.

 

Write about zoos.

 

 

 

Writing Tips:

  • You can focus on a particular zoo, animal, visit, or a opinion about zoos.
  • Or you can write in a more abstract, mixed-up, or interwoven kind of way.
  • This prompt lends itself especially well to sensory descriptions: be sure to include the sounds, sights, textures, and smells all around you.
  • Explore your emotions and state of being. What was your motivation for being at the zoo? Were you eager or reluctant to be there?

Further Writing

  • Shift your perspective with that of one of the animals. Write for 20 minutes.
  • Write about being in a zoo at dawn or dusk.

Writing Group Variations

  • Visit a zoo and spend time writing there.
  • Or swap zoo stories and write from there.
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Caught!

For Sunday, July 13, 2014  Prompt #70IMG_2052

 

Today is another quick prompt:
Write about your experiences fishing or watching others fish.

 

 

 

 

Writing Tips

  • Include sensory details, including sense of smell, about place, time, weather conditions, or what you were wearing.
  • Include  specifics about the kind of fishing you were doing or watching. Ocean or river? On a bank, from a bridge, or in a boat? Talk about gear, flies, bait and other details.
  • Examine your emotions and state of being. What was your motivation for being there? Were you eager or reluctant to take part.
  • Include action — large or quiet.

 

 

Sunday Shape-Up: Spiral

July 6, 2014  Prompt #63

Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson

Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson

 

For this, the final Sunday Shape-Up prompt, I turn to the spiral.  As this long holiday weekend included for me both an unexpected funeral and an unexpected wedding, the spiral, with its nod toward the cyclical nature of life seems appropriate.

 

 

Instructions

  1. On a blank piece of paper, draw a spiral with generous white space between the lines.
  2. For 5 to 10 minutes, write along the spiral line. Turn the paper as needed. Write freely about whatever comes to mind without too much forethought.
  3. Re-read what you’ve written and circle a phrase or sentence that stands out.
  4. Write the phrase or word on the top of a new sheet of (lined) paper.  Write in response to it for 15 minutes.

Further Writing

Write in response to one of these spiraled phrases: Spiral-bound notebook. Spiral Staircase. Spiral galaxy. Spiraling in and out.

Variations for Writing Groups

Read about Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Look at photos on the internet or, even better, check out a library book about this land form art. Write in response to it.   Even, even better, take a field trip to the jetty! Walk and write. Walk and write. Sit and write. Write some more, then walk back. Bring water.

 

Super Star

June 30, 2014  Prompt #59

star night

Today’s prompt follows up on yesterday’s Sunday Shape-Up which starred stars.

Further Writing

  • Use one of these phrases as your prompt: Gold Stars. Hollywood Star. Star struck. Starburst. Star of David. Star of Bethlehem. Star-crossed.
  • Write in response to the painting Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. Imagine you are in the painting. Imagine you are painting the painting.

 

Variations for Writing Groups

  1. If you meet at night, find a safe but dark area from which to view the sky. Without writing, look at the stars for 5 full minutes. Then, using the minimal amount of light needed, write down impressions and sensations.
  2. Repeat.
  3. Inside, follow-up by circling a favorite phrase from your notes and using it as your first line. Write for 20 minutes.
  4. If it isn’t possible to see the night sky during your writing group, look at a photo of the night sky here. Choose one of the photos and write in response to it for 20 minutes.

 

By The Sea

June 17, 2014.  Prompt #47

DSCN0600

I’ve been steadily editing a novel of mine that takes place at a beach. Even while I am typing away here in landlocked Colorado, much of my brain has relocated to a Jersey Shore beach town circa 1993.

For today’s prompt, therefore, we’ll work with words associated with oceans, bays, beaches and shorelines. May a wave of creativity wash over you.

(For those of you who have been reading this blog closely, you’ll see this is a variation on the post “Plant.”)

 

Instructions

  1. Choose nine words from this list: bay, beach, boat, bob, breakers, bright, brisk, dive, dolphin, dunes, fish, foot prints, kite, life guard, nap, salt, sand, shell, shore, swim, tan, tide, umbrella, wave.
  2. Using the nine words and others of your own, write a nine line poem.
  3. Write for 9 minutes.

Further Writing

  • Use the same nine words and write a piece that has nothing to do with beaches. Write for 15 minutes.
  • Choose one of the verbs from the list and use it in a poem or piece of short prose nine times. Vary it at least three times, using different forms of the verb.  For instance, if you choose dive, try using also using dives, diving, dove, or diver. Write for 15 minutes.

Variation for Writing Groups

  1. Choose one or two words from the list which are both noun and verb. Play with those combinations in a short piece. This is a chance to use repetition in a deliberate way. Write for 15 minutes.
  2. Choose words from the lists that have more than one definition, such as wave, bob, shell, or tan. Write a piece that makes use of their multiple meanings.
  3. Read your writing out loud. What do you notice about its rhythm and pacing?

Next Week

Two of next week’s prompts will focus on editing and revision.  To prepare, find a story, poem, or essay to revisit.  You can use a rough draft or a polished piece with which you are willing to experiment.

 

Plant

June 11, 2014.  Prompt #42

garden bed

For the last six weeks I’ve been working on my flower bed, vegetable garden, and planters. Spring gardening is annual ritual that is sometimes hectic as I work to get soil turned and amended, seeds and seedlings planted, and everything watered in between bouts of rain and sometimes snow. Mostly, though, it is just plain joyous to get my hands in the soil and start the starts off on their new lives.

For today’s prompt, we’ll work with words associated with plants and planting. May your writing bud and blossom!

Instructions

  1. Choose nine words from this list: bed, beet, bloom, bury, dig, dry, fruit, iris, leaf, peas, pepper, pollen, rain, rock, root, seed, soil, sow, sprout, squash, stem, sun, trim, turn, water, weed, wilt.
  2. Using the nine words and others of your own, write a nine line poem.
  3. Write for 9 minutes.

Further Writing

  • Use the same nine words and write a piece that has nothing to do with gardening. Write for 15 minutes.
  • Choose one of the verbs from the list and use it in a poem or piece of short prose nine times. Vary it at least three times, using different forms of the verb.  For instance, if you choose dig, try using also using digs, digging, dug, or digger. Write for 15 minutes.

Variation for Writing Groups

  1. Choose one or two of the words from the list which are both noun and verb. Play with those combinations in a short piece. This is a chance to use repetition in a deliberate way. Write for 15 minutes.
  2. Choose words from the lists that have more than one definition, such as bed, pepper, or iris. Write a piece that makes use of their multiple meanings.
  3. Read your writing out loud. What do you notice about its rhythm and pacing?

 

Precipitation [Part Two]

May 24, 2014  Prompt #24

Photo

 

 

Twenty-four hours later and, again, it’s raining.

Good reason to expand on yesterday’s prompt.

If you haven’t read it already, do that first, then try these variations.

 

 

Further Writing

  • Apply personification (the assignment of human attributes to objects, abstract notions, or, in this case, weather) to a rain storm. Describe a storm, drizzle, or intermittent rain in terms of anger, generosity, fickleness or another human condition.  This option lends itself well to poetry and flash fiction. Write for 10 minutes.
  •  Write about someone waiting  rain. Describe the person’s actions without dialogue or conversation.

Variations for Writing Groups

  1. On separate index cards, each member writes down two emotions or feelings, such as frustration, joy, relief, trepidation, boredom, etc.,
  2. On a second set of cards, write down words associated with rain, such as thunder claps, puddles, windshield wipers, boots, rain jacket, flood, soaked, partly cloudy, etc.
  3. Keep the words in separate piles, face down so you can’t see the words written on them.
  4. Each member chooses one word from each pile and, from there, writes for 15 minutes. Unlikely pairings often make for the best writing, so resist the temptation to choose different words if yours seem unwieldy.

What did you think of this writing prompt? Share your thoughts.