Friday, November 1st, 2013

Writing Prompt – National Sandwich Day

Reuben Sandwich. Photo by Ernesto Andrade.

Reuben Sandwich. Photo by Ernesto Andrade.

November 3 is National Sandwich Day!

Yay for sandwiches! I love a good ‘wet’ sandwich: soft, fresh bread, good cuts of meat–and for cold sandwiches–heavy on the pickles and hots. My favorite hot sandwich is a Reuben: corned beef and Swiss cheese on rye with lots of thousand island dressing and sauerkraut. Yum!

Novelist Lawrence Sanders in his book “The First Deadly Sin” describes his detective eating a ‘wet sandwich’ over the sink, accompanied by a bottle of beer. It’s the first time I’d heard the term.

Sanders goes into such loving detail describing the making and eating of this sandwich–taking nearly an entire page to do so, if I remember correctly–that my mouth watered the entire time I was reading.

That’s good writing. (Or maybe it’s my Pavlov response to sandwich descriptions!)

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write a scene in which one of your characters eats. He doesn’t have to eat a sandwich. If you’re writing fantasy, it could be stew, or bread and cheese. If you’re writing contemporary, maybe it’s wings or tapas. The point is: spend time crafting a few sentences which will make your reader’s mouth water. Don’t spend a page doing it: that was Sanders’ schtick. Write it your way.
     
  • Write a scene where “the big reveal” is made during a meal. Don’t let the dialogue carry the scene. Bring in the setting: the tablecloth and silver salt and pepper shakers, or, the scarred wooden table and broken crockery.
     
  • Write a “long” haiku of four of five stanzas describing the perfect sandwich and building it. When you’re done, see if you can whittle it down into one stanza, but still keep the ‘flavor’ of the long poem.
     
  • If you journal, write family history, or enjoy memoir, write about a memorable meal. Don’t forget to include descriptions of the food.
     

Good Luck!

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Writing Prompt: Random Words

Park bench with wrought -iron handles on a snowy day.Sometimes I find themed writing prompts to be less than inspiring. When that fails, I find a random word generator and offer myself the challenge of using all the words in a story or poem.

Three words seems just about right. I’ve tried more, but the resulting prose can feel contrived — unless you can find a relationship among the many. Sometimes you can. Most often, you can’t.

Today’s three random words come from the Creativity Games.net random word generator. I like this one because you can choose between 1 and 8 random words be generated.

(And I love the three words! My mind went right to the macabre! How about you?)

Here’s Your Prompt:

Use the following three randomly-generated words in some form of written creative expression:

coffin       bench        arch

Creative expression can include:

  • a short story
  • a poem
  • a vignette
  • an essay
  • a journal entry: derive your inspiration from real life experiences. You may need to focus on one word of the three.

Good Luck!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Writing Prompt – Unexpected Discoveries

So the Husband-of-Awesome™ and I set about to grill chicken for dinner the other night.

Mr. Awesome went out to the grill and opened it up to find this:

Five Little Birdies in the Grill

Here’s a close-up. Turns out there were five little birdies plus mama nesting in the grill.

Five Little Birdies in the Grill

The really fortunate thing about the matter is that Mr. Awesome broke with habit when he found the birds. Usually, he fires up the grill willy-nilly without peeking inside, so that it’s pleasantly pre-heated before we cook.

(Don’t blame him, I do it, too.)

Imagine if he hadn’t broken his normal habit. Those birds don’t know how lucky they had it.

And us, too.

And so this unexpected discovery put paid to the grilling endeavor, not just for Wednesday night, but until the little guys decide to vacate the grill.

Here’s Your Prompt

  • Write a scene in which either your protagonist or antagonist is unexpectedly surprised by something nice and cheerful which messes up their plans. Note: it’s got to cause your characters some consternation, because a story isn’t a good story without some drama!
     
  • It could be argued that Mr. Awesome’s break with habit was due to ‘divine intervention’ of some sort*. Write a scene in which a similar serendipitous event wreaks havoc with your characters’ plans.
     
  • Journal about a time when something strange happened (divine intervention?) — in the nick of time — to save you or a family member from peril.
     

Good Luck!

 
 
* Or maybe he just saw some straw sticking out of the bottom of the grill.

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!