Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writing Prompts Gone Bad

What do you do when your writing prompt goes wrong? I mean, rebels, takes a gun, and robs a bank, bad.  Or Charles Manson bad.  Or passive-aggressive, why didn't my mother ever love me bad.

(Warning: Info Dump!)

As you know, I'm taking a writing class right now.  We have two pretty nice books: The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante and Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern.  They each have many good qualities, though I've read fewer than 100 pages total.

Okay, back to the point.

In Stern's book, there's an interlude entitled "Don't Do This: A Short Guide to What Not to Do" (65-76).  They're all obvious things (e.g., don't end you story with "And then the alarm woke me up."), but some of them stuck with me, and I want to force fun stories from them.  I have no intention of writing the typical story that the author is warning against, but twist it into something entertaining.

For example:

Hobos in Space.  This prompt has a lot of potential for a bad MST2K kind of story.  Stern wasn't literally suggesting take a hobo and put him/her in space, but instead discussed the abhorrent mimicking of Samuel Beckett.  That's not my plan.  (And I can't stop hearing the muppets yelling "Pigs In Spaaaaaaace" in my head.)

Bachelor party takes groom-to-be to brothel to find bride hard at work.  Yes, I intentionally used the word "hard".  The point Stern was making here was that many times this is the end of a story.  I really want to write this one from first-discovery on.  Do they still get married?  Does she get mad at him for invading her "office space"?

The Zero-to-Zero story. The MC who never learns anything. Yes, this is horrible and cliché and a disservice to the reader.  But what about the Zero-to-Two story, where the MC kind of gets it, but not really, and inevitably gets it wrong but sort of tried?

Try any good writing prompts lately?  Or any ideas on how to expand upon the prompts above?


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the brothel one, now that is a story I would like to see unfold.

RosieC said...

Yeah, that one's fun, isn't it? If I come up with something amazing, I'll post it :)

Summer Ross said...

Those sound like great ideas for story starters. good luck in class. :)

RaShelle said...

Hi Rosie - LOL - Muppets is Space. Loved the muppets. Good luck with your stories. And your class.

Lynda Young said...

I'm struggling to get past the pigs in spaaaaaaace reference ;) It made me giggle.

Anonymous said...

Those two books that you mentioned for your class seem like excellent sources so I'm adding them to my TBR list. Thanks!

As for the writing prompts, those seem interesting. The muppets in space thing made me laugh.

Write on!

Jo Schaffer said...

I love writing prompts! The possibilities! (= I totally laughed at the "Pigs in spaaace!" because I kid you not--I automatically heard that too!!

RosieC said...

Thanks, Summer. Seems to be going well so far.

RaShelle, thanks. And what's not to love about the muppets? :)

Lynda, me too. That's why I had to put it in there!

Vatche, I'm glad to help with your writing-reading list. I've found the books helpful so far--although it's only the first week. But I think they're going to be great.

Jo, writing prompts are fabulous. And, really, it's hard not to hear Pigs In Spaaaaaace.... In fact, if only the hobos WERE muppets.... :)

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