Friday, December 28th, 2012

Writing Prompt: At the Cinema

The Brothers Lumier: Louis and AugusteToday in 1895, the first commercial movie was viewed at the Grand Cafe in Paris, France. Admission was charged.

The film was made by two professional photographers, Louis and Auguste Lumier, who were goaded into creating a movie when their father saw Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope, and told them they could do better.

(Let’s hear it for a little parental guilt!)

The movie was a series of short scenes of everyday French life.

It enthralled the public, and the rest is history.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write a scene as if you might be writing a movie script, rather than a novel or short story. Don’t worry about making a perfect script. Simply set the scene with a few paragraphs at the top, then write the dialogue.
  • Part 2 from above: once you’ve written the movie treatment, turn around and write the scene as if for a novel or short story. Does the dialogue still work? If not, revise.
  • Write a journal entry or essay on your favorite movie you’ve seen on the big screen. What about it seeing it in the theater makes it your favorite?
  • In Cornhuskers, chapter, 28 Memoir of a Proud Boy, Carl Sandburg writes, “There is drama in that point: the boy and the pigs. Griffith would make a movie of it to fetch sobs…” Write about a movie bringing you to tears. What emotion stirred the tears? Why?

Good Luck!

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Writing Prompt – Playing with Fire

Photo of a single burning flame.We recently purchased a new wood stove at the House of Awesome™.

It’s a classy cast-iron affair with a glass window to look through while the fire burns and a fan on the back if we want to heat the place up like a sauna.

Needless to say, we’ve been playing with fire for the last week or so. Lots of fun.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Free write about the following, “My mother always told me to play with fire…” (Nope, not a typo there. We’re turning this old chestnut on its head.)
  • What would the world be like if Prometheus had never stolen fire from the Gods? What would your world be like?
  • “Out of the fire, Came a man sunken, To less than cinders, A tea-cup of ashes or so…” – Pool, by Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems.
  • As part of a character sketch for your latest short story or novel: Your protagonist’s house is on fire. What are the one or two items he grabs on the way out the door? What important item does he leave behind without a glance? Why? Same for your antagonist: what is she certain to take? What does she leave behind. What’s her rationale?
  • “Fire obtained by friction. It has been supposed to defeat sorcery, and cure diseases assigned to witchcraft.” – Needfire, by E. Cobham Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
  • The word fire turns up in several English-language idioms. Try one or more of these phrases fir a story or poetry starter:
    • trial by fire, or, baptism by fire
    • come under fire, draw fire, or on fire
    • add fuel to the fire, or, fueling the flames
    • fire in the belly, or, a fire in the loins
    • fire blanks, fire away, or fire a shot across the bow
    • fire is a good servant, but a bad master
    • fire up, hang fire, or light a fire under something
    • no smoke without fire

    (For more such idioms, check out the Free Online Dictionary.

Good luck!