Prompts

PROMPT: ‘A SPOOL OF BLACK THREAD’ –OR– ‘I HATE TO TELL THE TRUTH WHEN I KNOW IT WILL CAUSE PAIN, BUT…’

May 6,2019.  Two prompt options for our Monday meeting:

  • A spool of black thread
  • I hate to tell the truth when I know it will cause pain, but ….

 

PROMPT: WELL KNOWN PROVERBS

April 15, 2019.  The prompt is to complete a well known proverb in your own voice.

A first grade teacher collected well known proverbs. She gave each child in her class the first half of a proverb and asked them to complete the remainder of the proverb as they thought it should go.

Here are some samples of their work:

Better to be safe than ……………  punch a 5th grader
It’s always darkest before ………….  Daylight Saving Timed
Never underestimate the power of ……………  termites
You can’t teach an old dog new …………… math
A penny saved is ………………  not much

Write your own ending to the first half of these or other well know proverbs.

 

PROMPT: A POEM BY PAULANN PETERSEN

March 25, 2019:  The prompt for Monday’s meeting was a poem titled, Yin, by Paulann Petersen. It was just published by the Carolina Quarterly on their website.

Yin
by Paulann Petersen

You’d think water’s female aspect
would be a pond, a lake — deep,
reflective, still, taking
the sun and moon and clouds
onto its slick-shimmered skin.
Wrong. You would be
dead wrong. Being a woman, I know
at least that much about water.

One high-summer day, I stood
behind a waterfall, in a shallow cave
scooped out of the cliff’s base.
Through the cascade, I looked out and down
at the rolling pool where the water’s
falling came to its end.

Din pummeled my ears. Mist weighted
my hair. The air — smelling of
skunk cabbage, willow and mullien —
tasted fecund and wet. Deafened, mute,
I gazed through that plummet joining
a world on high to the one below,
and I knew.

The man is rock —
still, ever still, afraid to give up
his hard-won place far above the rest.
The woman sweeps right over
his prominence. In sheer free-fall,
she heads down to earth,
hellbent to reach the sea.

 

There are strong images and ideas here. Use whatever direction it takes you as your prompt.

 

PROMPT: A TIP ON DIALOGUE

March 18, 2019. The prompt for Monday’s meeting was taken from the book titled, The Pocket Muse – ideas and inspirations for writing, by Monica Wood.

A Tip on Dialogue

When writing dialogue, every once in a while allow a character to jump to a conclusion. Conversational leaps add momentum to a scene and force you to get to the main conflict between the characters. The following dialogue is fine, but stuck in a holding pattern:

Donny opened the door to the landlord.
“What do you want?”
“I’ve got some items to go over with you,”
Mr. Leadbetter said. “It won’t take a minute.”
“It better not.”
Mr. Leadbetter edged into the kitchen. “To be honest,
I’ve had a few complaints about your habits.”
“My habits? Like what?”
“Like playing music after midnight, things like that.
Leaving trash in the hall. That sort of thing.”
“I don’t do that. That’s all Carter in 4B.”
Mr. Leadbetter glanced at his list. “I’ve also got some
complaints about the parrot you keep on the balcony. It
scares the neighbors.”
“So what? I signed an ironclad lease.”

If you open this same sequence by having Donny jump to a conclusion, in this case a correct one, the scene opens with a little moire spark:

Donny opened the door to the landlord.
“What do you want?”
“I’ve got some items to go over with you,” Mr.
Leadbetter said. “It won’t take a minute.”
“If this is about Junie-Bell’s screaming,
you can just forget it. There isn’t a word in my lease
about parrots scaring the neighbors.”

 

PROMPT: UH-OH…

March 4, 2019.  The prompt for Monday’s meeting was taken from the book titled, UH-OH Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door, by Robert Fulghum.

“UH-OH” is not in any dictionary or thesaurus, and is seldom seen in written form. Yet most of us utter that sound everyday. And have used it all our lives.

“UH-oh” is one of the first expressions a baby learns.

“UH-oh,” or something like it, has been used as long as people have existed. And it may be the first thing Adam said to Eve after he bit into the apple. She knew exactly what he meant, too.

 

Write about a “Uh-Oh” moment, real or imagined.