Snakes in a Jar

For Tuesday, August 5

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Write a poem or flash fiction piece that revolves an unusual object, one that is particularly odd, chilling, or mildly gruesome.

Suggestions:

1. Make your opening line a clear, simple description of the object: Snakes in a jar. A rusty pile of nails. A broken marionette.

2. Are you afraid to touch it? Is your character shocked to see?

3. Does it raise concerns? Bring back memories?

Tick Tock

Wednesday, July 28, 2014  •  Prompt #87

photo

 

 

The element of time often adds suspense and welcome tension to writing. For this prompt, write about two people who agree to meet under this clock at 3 p.m.

 

 

 

Suggestions and Considerations

  • Describe the day’s weather. How does that influence the story?
  • Do the two people already know each other?
  • Is one person new to the City? Is one a long-time resident?
  • Why have they chosen the clock as a meeting place?
  • Write for 15 minutes.

More Writing Options

  • Write a piece where one person is wealthy and one is broke.
  • Write about an illegal or illicit transaction.
  • Write a piece in which the second person never arrives.
  • Write a piece in which the second person brings a third person.
  • Write a piece in which the first person is holding a box.

 

 

Animal Tendencies

Tuesday, July 27, 2014  •  Prompt #86

tapir

 

Write a poem or flash fiction piece inspired by a vintage illustration of an animal. Click here for illustrations or look for prints at a used book shop or library.

 

 

Suggestions

  • Use specific, concrete details.
  • Capture a moment in time.
  • As (almost) always, use sensory details.

More Writing Options

  • Try shifting perspective once or twice within the work.
  • Write the piece as a traditional ode.
  • Write as if you are someone who has never seen this animal before.

 

bear2

Here’s a piece I wrote influenced by both a bear safety pamphlet and this bear illustration.

 

Ursus

Honey,
bears eat
twigs bugs fruit insects fish carrion.
Small mammals.

Stay close.

Look for these signs:
turned stones
disruption
of decayed logs stumps and berry patches.
Tooth and claw high on trees.

She is not far off.

Honey,
bears do not go
into true hibernation.
Sleep is not deep
body
temperature only
a few degrees
below

Torpor
in caves, crevices,
fallen trees.

Den with me.

 

© Ellen Orleans 2012

 

 

 

 

Button Holed

Sunday, July 27, 2014  •  Prompt #84

black buttons

 

 

Today’s Prompt

Write about buttons.

 

 

 

 

Instructions

  1. Find two or three buttons.
  2. Hold them in your hand.
  3. Describe their weight, color, texture and material.
  4. What is your response seeing or touching these buttons?
  5. Write for 20 minutes.

Options and Springboards

  • Write about a button found on the sidewalk.
  • Write about an absent button, missing from a coat or sleeve.

Writing Group Options

  1. Each group member brings several buttons to writing group.
  2. Put them all in the middle of the table.
  3. Choose one to write about.
  4. Fashion a poem, story or creative non-fiction piece around it.

 

Roadside Attraction

Saturday, July 26, 2014  •  Prompt #83

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Today’s Prompt: 

  1. Write about a visit to a roadside attraction.
  2. If you’ve never visited one, write fiction.
  3. Write for 20 minutes.

 

Option and Springboards

  • Describe the land that surrounded you.
  • With whom were you traveling?
  • How old were you?
  • How were you traveling?
  • What did you see?
  • What were your expectations going in?
  • Were you confused, wowed, disappointed, delighted?

 

A Giant Leap

Sunday, July 20, 2014  •  Prompt #77

moon

 

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the moon landing.

 

 

 

Today’s Prompt:
If you are old enough to remember, write about where you were when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

  • Describe where you watched or listened to the landing.
  • Who was with you?
  • What emotions did you experience?

Write for 15 minutes.

Additional Writings

  • Choose one of the following words as your springboard. Write for 15 minutes. Man on the Moon. Half-Moon Bay. Blue Moon. Moonpie. Moonlighting. Honeymoon. Moonshine.
  • Write a 200-word fable that features two animals and the moon.

Writing Group Variations

  1. Gather in an area away from city lights with a good view of the moon.  (Consult a moonrise calendar.)
  2. Look at the moon through binoculars and a telescope. Look carefully.
  3. Take notes.
  4. Move to an indoor area and write your observations.
  5. Did anything surprise you? Do you feel an emotional connection to the moon?