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, September 21st, 2012

Writing Prompt – The Impending Equinox and Halfsies

Photo of a Maple Tree in the Fall with leaves changing colors.Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox: the first day of Fall.

Equinox is a sort of contraction, stemming from two Latin words: aequus, meaning “equal” and nox, meaning “night.” During the Autumnal Equinox (and again for the Vernal or Spring Equinox) day and night are approximately the same length of time: 12 hours.

Since the Autumnal Equinox signals the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall, you might be thinking that this prompt is going to devolve into discussing all things Autumn. Not at all.

The Equinox got me thinking about dividing things into halves, or even opposites: an equal portion of day and night, light and dark, yin and yang.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write about “your better half.” I’m not talking about your spouse or your partner. Write about the half of you who is the better person. If that doesn’t appeal, write about the half of you who is not the better person. Write about your alter ego or your super-villain. Write about the evil person you would be, if you didn’t have this better half.
  • Choose a pair from the list of opposites below and write a scene or poem about them:
    • admit – deny
    • clockwise – counterclockwise
    • student – teacher
    • blunt – sharp
    • freedom – captivity
    • clever – stupid
    • doctor patient
    • East – West or North – South
    • horizontal – vertical

  • Lips half-willing in a doorway.
    Lips half-singing at a window.
    Eyes half-dreaming in the walls.
    Feet half-dancing in a kitchen.
    Even the clocks half-yawn the hours
    And the farmers make half-answers.
    ~ From Cornhuskers, (Chapter 10), 1918 – Carl Sandburg
  • Choose an opposite Point of View (POV): If you tend to write characters who are predominantly male, try writing as a female.
  • As half in shade and half in sun
    This world along its path advances…
    ~ Thomas Moore
  • Write an essay from the standpoint opposite of your own beliefs. For example, if you hate cats, write an essay about how much you love cats. Support this essay with facts.
  • Write a story, poem, essay or journal entry about something that happened — or someone or something who acted – opposite of what it should. For instance, you could write about a flower that bloomed at night. Your idea could be fictional. Ask yourself, “What if ‘this’ happened?”

Good Luck!

Photo of the Maple Tree in Fall from