sur-real-ly

Monday, July 28, 2014  •  Prompt #85

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Today’s Prompt

Write a poem or short fiction piece in a surreal or magic realism style. This genre introduces supernatural or unbelievable events or abilities into in an otherwise everyday realistic environment. (However you define that!)

Option #1: Write a new piece.

Option #2: Take an existing piece and add a supernatural element to it.

 

Need more inspiration?  Try one of these options.

  1. A child comes home from school to discover his twin brother in his bedroom. When he left for school that day, he didn’t have a twin brother.
  2. An urban community garden produces vegetables no one planted and no one recognizes. What happens when an 80-year-old woman takes some home and makes vegetable soup?
  3. A janitor spills a new cleaning solution on her hands and discovers she can read people’s thoughts. Or heal people’s illnesses. Or …?
  4. A character wakes up to find he’s turned into a cockroach. (Oh wait, that’s been done.)

Looking for surreal realism inspiration?  Read work by these two authors: Aimee Bender and Frankie Elizabeth Rollins.

 

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?

 

East 70th Avenue

for Wednesday, July 23, 2014  •  Prompt #70

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Today’s  Prompt: 

  1. Someone  just walked out of this door.
  2. Write about it.

 

 

 

Options:

  • Describe the person.
  • How are they dressed?
  • Are they rushing out, strolling, running, moving briskly in a wheelchair?
  • What are they thinking?
  • Do they live in this building?
  • Where are they going? Will they be coming back?

Additional Writing

  • Write about two people walking out together or one shortly after the other.
  • Write about someone walking in.

Writing Group Variations

  1. As a group, sit near a busy building. Create a background and story for someone walking in or out. (Don’t be stalker-ish. If people seem uncomfortable, move elsewhere.)
  2. Later, develop your observations and turn it into a piece of flash fiction (under 300 words.)

Summer Band

for Tuesday, July 22, 2014  •  Prompt #79

On Monday, I listened to the Boulder Concert Band play in our local Foothills Park.  My favorite moment was lying back on my blanket and looking up at the clouds as the band played Amazing Grace. It was a divine moment.

Today’s Prompt:

  1. Write about a time when you were able to put aside the horrors of the world and life’s daily problems and immerse yourself in a moment of bliss, contentment or joy.
  2. Use specific description and include sensory details.
  3. Write for 15 minutes.

Additional Writing

  • Write about attending an outdoor musical event when something — benign, odd, or slightly menancing — disrupts the concert.
  • Write about a piece of music that affects you strongly.

Writing Group Variations

  1. Together, attend a musical event, preferable something low-key and informal. Perhaps a street performer, middle-school concert, or free event in a local part.
  2. Take notes.
  3. Listen with your eyes closed for a few minutes.
  4. Later, write your observations.
  5. Did anything surprise you? Do you connect more (or differently) to music as compared to visual arts?

 

Be Confident. And other worldly advice.

Thursday,  July 24, 2014  •  Prompt #81

 

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As I walked across campus tonight, I saw a yellow banner above the bridge across Varsity Pond. “Be Confident,” it read.

Prompt

Write about a piece of advice, such as “Be Confident” that you heard growing up or as a young adult.

 

Instructions

  1. If no single phrase jumps out at you, write six pieces of advice that you can remember and see if anything resonates.
  2. Or, use one of these phrases.  Save for a rainy day. Turn the other cheek. Look before you leap. He who hesitates is lost. You snooze. You lose.  Cheaters never prosper. Don’t slouch. If first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. Fake it ’til you make it.
  3. Use that phrase as your first line.  Write in response to it.  Write for  10 minutes.

 

Variations

  • Have one of your characters offer another character advice. How does the second character respond?
  • Write a short fable for which the last line is a piece of advice.

Swim. Swam. Swum.

Monday, July 21, 2014  •  Prompt #78

pool

 

On Sunday, I went to a pool party in Longmont’s Sunset Park,
which inspires today quick prompt:

Write about swimming.

 

 

Aspects to consider:

  • The body of water.
  • Your body in the water. (Or that of your character.)
  • The repetition or rhythm of strokes or kicking.
  • The sound of splashing, waves and breathing. Perhaps the absence of sound under the water.
  • The temperature of the air or the water.
  • The smell and taste of the water. Briney? Chlorine? Salty?
  • The quality of light.

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?

 

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.