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

 

 

 

 

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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

DSCN0779

 

 

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?

 

City Sidewalks

For Wednesday, July 16, 2014  Prompt #73

 

IMG_2338

 
Write about an encounter on a city street.

Writing Tips:

  • This can be an encounter between two people, a person and a sign,  an older person and a toddler, three dogs, or some other combination.
  • Balance observation, description, and dialogue.
  • Write for 15 minutes.

Book Suggestion: Alfred Kazin’s A Walker in the City.

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.

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.