Thursday, October 2
According to Jewish law and tradition, this year, 5775, is a Shmita or Sabbatical year, when Jewish farmers are supposed to let the land rest. The idea of fallow fields got me thinking about what grows when you don’t actively plant seeds, either physically or metaphorically.
Prompt #1 Write about toiling, perseverance, stepping back, being receptive. Write for 15 minutes.
Prompt #2 Follow these steps to see what emerges.
- Write for 10 minutes inspired by the word “fallow.”
- Write for 5 minutes inspired by the word “follow.” Encourage connections with the “fallow” writing.
- Write for 5 minutes inspired by the word “fellow.” Again, look for connections, either thematically or aurally, with your “fallow” and “follow” writing.
- Look at all three samples. Circle phrases and words that stand out for you. Choose one word or phrase from each sample and write them on top of a new page. Write for 10 more minutes.
Saturday, August 16
Write a about a childhood toy or game.
Writing suggestions and inspirations:
1. Describe the game. What did it look like? How did it work? Did you play it with others or by yourself?
2. Do you associate any particular sounds or smells with this game? Was it a new or old game?
3. Was it a shared game? Did you own it or did it belong to a sibling, friend, or cousin?
4. Was there a time that your played with it regularly or did it disappear then reappear?
5. Describe a typical conversation between two people playing this game.
6. Did any frustrating moments arise from this game? Any tears? Any triumphs?
For Wednesday, August 13
Write a poem or prose piece inspired by a sign.
Over the next few weeks, be on the lookout for unusual, playful, or cautionary signs. Then, incorporate one of them into a written work.
1. Write from the point-of-view of someone who passes the sign frequently. What goes through their head?
2. Write a short essay (first person) about your reaction to the sign. What stands out for you? Why?
3. If the sign is a warning, write from the point of view of someone who ignores its message. What happens next?
4. Try writing a poem that includes all the words in the sign, but reworks, remixes, or re-purposes them.
Write a poem, flash fiction piece or the beginning of a story inspired by this photo.
Incorporate at least four of these words: rough pie slant oboe smooth dirt bolt round home worn road deserted once must broom
Write for 15 minutes.
June 30, 2014 Prompt #59
Today’s prompt follows up on yesterday’s Sunday Shape-Up which starred stars.
- 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
- 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.
- Inside, follow-up by circling a favorite phrase from your notes and using it as your first line. Write for 20 minutes.
- 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.
June 29, 2014 Prompt #58
This week’s Sunday Shape-Up lets you shine like the star you are.
- For 10 minutes, jot down phrases, dialogue and images that come to mind when you hear the word star.
- Re-read what you’ve written and circle a phrase or sentence that stands out.
- Next, underline a phrase that feels awkwardly written, difficult, or otherwise problematic.
- Write both phrases on the top of a new sheet of paper. Write in response to them for 15 minutes.
Tomorrow: Further Writing and Variations for Writing Groups
(One Day Late for) June 23, 2014 Prompt #52
For most of this week, we’ll be looking at revisions. So dig up some old writing and get ready to rethink, revise, and re-do.
Today we’ll focus on adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives modify nouns. Adverbs modify verbs. They supply your readers with information about the noun or verb. Sounds good, right? And yet…
- Choose an essay, story, or poem that you’ve written.
- With a colored pen, circle all the adjectives and adverbs in the piece.
- Can you remove any of these adjectives and adverbs by beefing up the nouns they modify? For instance, instead of writing tall building, you could write tower or skyscraper. Instead of writing she ran quickly, you might write she sprinted or she raced.
- Read your piece aloud. Do any adjectives and adverbs jar its rhythm? Consider cutting them. Read it again. Does the work feel tighter? More agile?
- Instead of cutting back, double or triple up on every adjective. The slim, skinny, thin man took out his leather, hide, animal skin wallet. Try this for a page or two. Can you create a short piece that uses this technique?
Variation for Writing Groups
- On a fresh piece of paper, write down all the adjectives and adverbs from a short story, a poem, or an essay. (Or from the first two pages of any work.) Read them aloud. What tone or emotion do you pick up from them? What do others in your group think?
- Trade a short piece of your writing–with all its adjectives and adverbs circled–with a writing partner. Write new, stronger nouns for your writing partner then swap back. Do any of nouns they provided appeal to you?
Want to brush up on your parts of speech? Try this website.