As we celebrate the birthday of beatnik poet Allen Ginsberg this month, create a story based on a line or phrase from his famous poem, “Howl.” What story could you write about “moviehouses’ rickety rows,” a “catatonic piano” or “a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet”?
Write a story about a character who is paralyzed by bad luck. What has happened to this character in the past? Why does the character seem like a victim of fate? How does the character overcome the bad luck and take control of destiny?
On the day of graduation, a character has a clear path for the future. But what happens that day will completely change the character’s planned course of action. Who or what transforms the character’s future? Why?
A customer walks into a consignment shop and discovers a “treasure.” The sales clerk is puzzled by the customer’s excitement. What item does the customer find? What significance does the item have for the customer? How does the incident change the sales clerk?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born May 22, 1859, pioneered the mystery story with his hero Sherlock Holmes. Holmes was a master of deductive reasoning, using his keen observations to make logical conclusions about people and situations. Take a cue from the master sleuth and delve deeper into your descriptions. Use small, specific details that reveal …
A character leaves an umbrella behind on the bus. Although it at first seems like a small loss, how does it affect the character? What does the umbrella symbolize? Let this lost umbrella incite an unexpected turn of events.
Create a story or scene between a mother and child. The moments can seem insignificant, but will stay with the child for the rest of his or her life. What makes the scene important? How does it change the child for better or worse? Describe the mother. What is her tone of voice? What gestures …
Write a scene between a nurse and a patient. Why is the patient in the hospital? Is the nurse kind and nurturing, or hurried and no-nonsense? How does the patient feel before, during and after the exchange? How will this moment affect (or not affect) the nurse and patient?
Create a scene in which an actor faces conflict both on and off the stage. How does the play’s script reflect or contrast the actor’s situation? Show the actor’s internal and external conflict alongside the play’s action. What happens once the curtain falls?
William Shakespeare and Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, share birthdays (April 23) as well as subject matter: controversial love stories. Get inspired by these literary greats and create a love story that subverts social norms. Pair two people of different backgrounds or ideals and explore what develops between them. How do their differences complement one …