Wed. Writing Prompts XXVII

1. Consider a common problem that a lot or most people seem to have (like money troubles, being single, etc.) and then write an abnormal or non-standard solution to it. Don’t worry about social norms– be as irreverent as you like in your approach and your solution!

2. Write a story about a Bunburyist (someone who creates a totally fictional person which they use as an excuse for leaving an engagement or cancelling their attendance at an event suddenly.) Does this Bunburyist get caught eventually? How does this Bunburyist’s farce affect his or her relationship(s) with those around and/or close to them?

3. Write a story that tells about the entirety of your life in less than 100 words. Now, pick the most important parts and try to reduce it to as little as 50 words. Next, (and without using any of the material you’ve cut out) expand upon what’s left to make each individual point or “nugget” of information its own paragraph (or page, if you’re feeling ambitious.) The idea is to forcibly focus on what is most important within a story and truly make that the backbone of your piece.

4. Take a story with a strange, even oblique meaning (like Hemingway’s “hills like white elephants”) and give it to a child to read. Next, ask them what the story is about. Take notes, ask deep questions and follow up on the unusual things that the child says. Finally, take those notes and write your own story, one that an adult might describe in the same way that the child described the first.

5. Many supporters of Chomsky’s “Universal Grammar” idea are in agreement with Carl Sagan’s statement that “the brain has its own language.” Use this idea of an underlying universal brain language in a story. Be creative, brainstorm several ways of approaching this prompt before you settle on one (or more) to pursue. Now, write your story!

6. Write a story where a massive, unseeing public is maneuvered and controlled by some single, seemingly innocuous medium (like advertising.) The plot of the story could be anything from a rebellious uprising of the public to the gloating and scheming of the few on the “inside” as it were. Be creative, see where your ideas take you!

7. If Black Power and Black Pride movements are seen as socially good, then why are White Power and White Pride movements seen as socially bad? Why are Scottish Festivals, Irish Faires, Pan-Asian expositions and Latino Film Festivals not viewed as inherently racist? Consider your thoughts on the matter for a while, then put them into a story. Be creative, say what you mean, and make the story powerful in that it makes a point that people might not otherwise even consider or be exposed to.

8. Write a story that epitomizes what it means to be lost. Spend some time writing down ideas of how you might impart a true sense of being lost that surrounds and encompasses your reader in a way that he or she cannot shake. Focus wholly on the feeling as you write your story– don’t lose it and don’t let go of it. If you do, go back, cut out the extraneous bits, and try again.

9. Write a story where something small and innocuous is ignored and, as a result, becomes a very serious problem. What is this problem? Is the seriousness of it discovered too late to fix the problem, or is it still caught in time? What is the solution? Think about your possible avenues for creating a story like this, plan out a few on paper– it could be anything from a small cancerous bump that overnight turns into Cthulhu to a single bill that turns into a debt nightmare. Be creative, see where that creativity takes you, and write your story!

10. Consider the idea of difficulty. What do you think of difficulty? Do we need some things to be difficult? Is it better to have more or less difficulty? Does difficulty go hand in hand with value? What is the value of difficulty? Think about these questions, then apply them to a previous writing prompt and write a story that addresses the points of both prompts.

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