Saturday, January 25, 2014

Prompts for short stories

Here are some generic prompts that sometimes get my students writing short stories...

1. Have a character returning home after an extended absence. The return brings back old conflicts plus the character is carrying the secrets and conflicts of his/her life away from home. What has brought him/her home? How is this tied to the conflict? Start the story so the greetings are already over, and the character is standing in his/her childhood bedroom.

2. Have a character waiting in line...any kind of line. She carries the troubles of her heart with her. A line slows us down to think. In the line, she might strike up a conversation with a stranger. Sometimes we are more honest with a stranger than we are with the people in our lives. What does she tell the stranger? What is she simultaneously telling herself?

3. Have a character on a trip...a business trip or a vacation. He looked forward to the trip as an escape from the troubles of his heart. Instead, the trip brings into stark relief his troubles. What are his troubles? How does the trip bring perspective?

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