Friday, January 27th, 2012

Writing Prompt: Tall Tales

Geese Postcard by W. H. Martin - 1909
“Taking Our Geese to Market”
W. H. Martin

Decades before the software program Photoshop was a gleam in anyone’s eye, photographer W.H. Martin was creating photo montages. Judging from the few postcards I’ve seen, his themes were mostly agricultural, with some based on “old wives tales.”

All the ones I’ve seen tell a tall tale.

According to Wikipedia:

“A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some such stories are exaggerations of actual events, for example fish stories (‘the fish that got away’) such as, “that fish was so big, why I tell ya’, it nearly sank the boat when I pulled it in!”

Other tall tales are completely fictional tales set in a familiar setting, such as the European countryside, the American Old West, the Canadian Northwest, or the beginning of the Industrial Age.

See Wikipedia for more information about tall tales.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write a tall tale about what happened to you today.
  • If today is too hum-drum :(, write a tall tale about another day in your life.
  • Re-write a tall tale you already know with yourself as the main character, and using modern day events.
  • Like Martin, create a visual pictorial of a tall tale: draw it, use photography software to create it, or tear pictures from a magazine to make a collage.
  • Write an exaggerated poem about something that happened to you yesterday.

2 comments to Writing Prompt: Tall Tales

  • I LOVE tall tales – my favorite episode of the Jim Henson Storyteller was “A Story Short” 🙂 What a great blog post – I wasn’t familiar with W.H. Martin’s work – thank you so much for sharing! The picture is hysterical!

    • Thanks, Terri! I don’t remember Jim Henson’s “A Story Short…” but I just popped out to YouTube and there are tons of episodes there. I know where I’ll be wasting my time this week. 🙂

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