Posts Tagged ‘Writing Prompts’

Writing: Reputation Vs. Character

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

“A man’s reputation is what other people think
of him; his character is what he really is.”

~ Jack Miner

Reputation vs. character. How can they differ? Perhaps the story behind the reputation differs from who your character is.

In the television show Burn Notice, Michael, the protagonist, is a spy who discovers he’s been removed, “burned,” from the CIA. Cut off from financial resources, a web of support and contacts, he has unseen enemies within the organization and outside of it. As he works on private cases, attempting to untangle the mystery and get back into his old job, his goal is helping innocent people while earning a living.

Through it all, his encounters with government agents allude to his past: he’s a ruthless killer. Is Michael’s character, as we know him, different than his past? What’s the story behind the story? Was he set up to be the fall guy?

As the story behind the story is revealed, suspense with the audience, or with a book, the reader, grows.

Writing Prompts:

Create a character who acts one way while shields his true self.

  1. Take your protagonists and put her/him into a situation where reputation, beyond control, is cast in a negative light. What is the story behind the story which casts the character differently?
  2. Now write the opposite. An antagonist takes credit for everything good, while acts deviously behind the scenes.
  3. In the photo below, write what happens when this dog’s family arrives home. Next, write the story behind the story. How can the pooch’s reputation differ from his true character?liz photo

 

 

Write Out of the Box!

Monday, January 13th, 2014

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” Juan Ramon Jimenez

In kindergarten, my son’s teacher gave each student a construction paper Christmas stocking along with decorations. Their assignment? Cut them out and glue them too look like her example.

A couple other mother-volunteers and I entered the room while teacher and class were on the playground for recess.

“Look at all their stockings,” said one mom.

Each stocking was hung, identically in a row along the wall. They could have been mimeographed in their sameness.

“Wow,” said the other mom, observing one stocking decorated with magic marker Christmas figures on the tiny white edge of the stockings’ perimeter.
“Who did that one?” said the first mom.
They peered closely at the small signature.
It was Tofer.

I write this anecdote not to brag, but to show how one five-year-old figured a way to be creative even with a cut and paste assignment.

How will you show your individuality with your writing or art?

Writing Prompts:
1. Select one of your scenes you’ve already written. How can you make it yours and only yours?
2. Make one of your characters quirky. What distinguishes this character from every other one in your book? A particular secret, trait, or passion may allow her to be amusing or annoying or lovable!
3. Create a setting that shows its character. Being specific creates identifiable reactions and emotions within your readers. Can you show nostalgia? A comfort setting? A suspenseful place? Remember sounds, smells and even tastes will allow your readers to feel like they are there.

Six Word Memoirs

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6678973.html?nid=3792&source=title&rid=1819285174

Inspired by
Hemingway’s legendary six-word story “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” a new book has been released where teens have written their six word memoirs. Why don’t you try to write some of yours? Visit this School Library Journal article to see some writing tips. Doesn’t it sound like fun?

Create the World’s Yummiest Doughnut!

Friday, February 6th, 2009

In 1926, Trausch Bakery from Dubuque, Iowa, launched the first doughnut making machine.

What is the VERY FIRST thing you think of when you read that sentence? I thought of the scene from the children’s book, Homer Price, by Robert McCloskey. The second thing I thought of was the OTHER Homer, Homer Simpson, whose survival depends on this sugary confection.

Writing exercises to choose from: 1. Write your favorite doughnut memory. Describe it, the circumstances, the actions, your feelings, the characters surrounding it. 2. Write a short story or poem featuring a doughnut or a bakery as an important element. 3. Create a new doughnut recipe! Think of a fabulous new name. Describe it! Create an ad campaign! Give the recipe. What makes your doughnut special?