Lean against… and listen Writing Prompt

This is a writing prompt I have used a lot and it is fun to do it over and over again. Feel free to copy it and use it for writing inspiration!

I quote Kasey Mathews from the WANA group โ€œWrite to Healโ€ for this writing prompt:
โ€œWith paper and pen, or computer handy, lean back in your chair, or against the wall, or a sofa, etc., close your eyes and imagine you are sitting under a large tree with your back resting against the trunk. On the other side of the tree, a Storyteller has come to sit down and also rest against the tree trunk. With eyes still closed, just listen. Wait for the Storyteller to begin his or her story. When you hear it begin, simply write down all that you hear. โ€œ

 

FREE Writing Resources ~ Ginny Wiehardt on About.com

December 2018

About.com does not exist anymore but their resources have been moved to other places. So please, do not be confused that the links lead to “The Balance Career” instead of “About.com”

August 2014

Ever since I read my first short story (something really gruesome with a childโ€™s coffin is all I can remember) I liked the short form. But until today I am still not quite sure about the rules and the length of one. As far as I could figure out the reason for that is that there are no clear rules and the short story is quite a good form to experiment with and break the rules of, therefore, it is difficult to find common elements. According to Ginny Wiehardt on About.com Fiction Writing the basic elements for novels apply to short stories too, like plot, character, theme and point of view. But unlike the novel you have not a lot of space to develop them. In general, Ginny says, a short story fits within 10 to 25 pages. Therefore, her five rules for writing short stories look like this: 1. ~ few characters 2. ~ short time frame 3. ~ Every sentence counts 4. ~ Use conventional story structure 5. ~ Break the rules when necessary Letโ€™s have a closer look at those rules:

1. Use Few Characters

To stay with just a few characters, usually one or two, makes sense as you have to develop them within about 10 000 words which is the usual word count for a short story if you want to have it published in journals. If you ever have tried to develop a character into something realistic you know how difficult that is and how long it can take. Therefore, this rule makes good sense.

2. Use a Short Time Frame

The same applies to the time frame: You have few words you can work with so better keep the time frame short to be able to develop both characters and the story. Even though I am sure that is one rule one is very likely to experiment with, at the beginning it makes sense not to.

3. Every Sentence Counts

Ginny compares the short story with poetry where every line counts and has to bring the meaning forward. The same applies to the short story where every sentence needs to either develop the character or push the story ahead, otherwise you run out of space and time for what you want to say and it rather develops into a novel.

4 Conventional Story Structure

Ah, you remember it well from literature lessons at school: exposition, conflict, rising action, climax and denouement/resolution. From what I have been reading up about this structure seems to be hardwired into our subconsciousness and if a story follows those rules it is easy for the reader to understand it and enjoy it. It makes good sense to me too, as it gives you a great structure to work with and built your story in.

5. Break the Rules

With the short story the same counts like for all good literature: Know the

rules but break them when needed. Astonishing aspects may they be how you describe your characters, how you develop your story or which elements you use to tell the story make your reader more alert and thinking about what you want to say. There is nothing more boring like something a reader has heard a thousand times in the same form again and again. But if you do not know the rules in the first place you do not know how to effectively break them to bring your message over. Therefore allow yourself to follow the rules until you are confident and then let your creative flow loose and experiment as much as you want to. So what do you think about these five rules? Do they make a good short story and can they help you to develop your short story writing skill?

 

Resource: You can find all these 5 rules in Ginny Wiehardts blog post โ€œHow to write a short storyโ€ on About.com Fiction Writing and of course more that can help you to develop your writing craft.

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Aside

Carol Annes poetry prompt from Bee…

This week Bees poetry prompt for me was “The ravens gather over the moor”.

This one was very challenging to me. But I am giving it a go anyway.

In flocks they swoop
In a big group
Flying high
In the sky
Over the moor
Lovely to look at
Such calm it brings
To see them fly
Oh so high
I watch, mezmorized.

Aside

Carol annes poetry challenge from the Bee…

This week, Bee gave me this prompt to write on.

My thoughts wander to…

It took a little bit of thinking, on my part, but now, here it is, finally!
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sitting, thinking
my thoughts wander to
to what?
to so many things
its hard to put down
in a poem
just one thing
so on reflection
I am going to try
to empty my foggy brain
of wandering thoughts
so, here I go…
I think about today being thanksgiving
Thinking about all I am thankful for
I think about my therapy process
Where are we going?
What will we work through in our next session
I think about my weight loss
All I have accomplished in 8 months
And I cant believe it
I think about Christmas
The gifts I still need to buy
All the things we as a family will do to celebrate
Those are my wandering thoughts on this fine Thursday
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