Friday, March 15th, 2013

Writing Prompt – Beware the Ides of March

Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on March 15, 44 BC. He’d been warned by a soothsayer, but apparently failed to take precautions.

Worse, he was stabbed in the back by his good friend Marcus Brutus.

Shakespeare’s responsible for gifting us with memorable lines from his Tragedy of Julius Caesar, such as those for the soothsayer (Beware the Ides of March!) and Caesar’s famous last line, “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, Brutus?)

Brutus takes backstabbing your friend to a whole new level. He stepped up to the plate “for the good of Rome,” once it was agreed that Caesar was getting too big for his britches. He’d compared himself with Alexander the Great and grabbed as much power as he could.

These days, our friends and family would hold an intervention.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • This works for novelists, poets and memoir writers: write a scene where one character back-stabs another. Bonus points if you can work in Caesar’s famous line (“Et tu, Brute?”) without is sounding cheesy. If you’re a poet, write about betrayal. If you’re writing memoir, journaling or even family history, now’s the time to tell about the family fued: who stabbed whom in the back and why?
  • Write a scene with “Beware the…” as the jumping off point.
  • If Julius’ tragedy doesn’t float your boat, choose any one of Shakespeare’s hundreds of quotes and use them as a jump start. ENotes has them all listed by play. Pick one at random.
    If you’re feeling lazy, here are just a few:

    • Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow… (MacBeth)
    • Give me my robe, put on my crown… (Antony and Cleopatra)
    • And thus I clothe my naked villany (Richard III)
    • The world’s mine oyster (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
    • I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you (The Merchant of Venice)

Good Luck!

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Writing Prompt: Reverse Poetry

April is National Poetry month in the U.S. and Canada.

Do you like poetry? I admit that I don’t know much about it, although I do know what I like.

I favor bouncy, rhyming poems a la Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein (because they are so fun!), but I also like e.e. cummings (clever, clever).

Henley’s Invictus is my favorite (Thanks, Charlie!) because the strength of the narrator appeals to me. It’s also dark, and I really like that.

In honor of National Poetry month, let’s have a prompt about poems.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  1. Write a poem. It can be jouncy, bouncy, rhyming fun, or free verse, or even a patterned poem, such as a sonnet. (If you choose haiku, you must write at least 5!)

    Here are some resources on how to write poetry:

  2. For a twist on writing poetry, choose a favorite scene from a book or movie, and write it in poetry form. Again, it can be free verse, rhyming or patterned.
  3. Here’s where the reverse poetry idea comes in: find a poem, any poem, that you like. It can be one from childhood, or a new one you’ve never read before. Then, re-write the poem in prose, but the deal is, you have to use the exact words of the poem in your essay /story / scene.

    For example, if you were to choose Silverstein’s “Forgotten Language” which starts off:

    Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
    Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,

    You could write…

    Once I spoke the language of the flowers: silent and delicate, a trembling of fingers or tilting of head conveyed much. Lengthy speeches could not offer as much information as the casual lift of a hand.

    Once, I understood each word the caterpillar said, I knew the flowers for liars….

    Get the idea? Find some poetry here:

Brownie points if you post in the comments! Have fun!