Today’s prompt inspired by Susan Bono. I learned about ________from ___________. Go. Now. Write.
I want to tell you how ______________changed my life. Prompt inspired by Susan Bono. Fill in the blank. Write for 12-15 minutes about how something or someone changed your life.
Continuing with Guest Blogger, Susan Bono, here are building blocks for writing personal essay, or memoir. Character: you Problem: give yourself a problem Struggle: problem creates conflict Epiphany: after struggle, a flood of new understanding Resolution: what you do differently as a result Many essays begin with a clear, straightforward statement of intent. All essays have an implied thesis and should have a clear angle —a particular way of approaching and narrowing the subject matter. For example, notice how the following statements could shape your narrative from the start. I want to tell you how ______________changed my life. (Universal statement: this is the basic scaffolding for every personal essay) I learned about ________from ___________. I thought I would never learn to love ____________. We’ll continue this exploration of personal essay and memoir over the next few days with intriguing writing prompts suggested by Susan Bono.
When you’re writing personal essay or memoir, it’s helpful to keep these words by Vivian Gornick in mind: “Good writing has two characteristics. It’s alive on the page and the reader is persuaded that the writer is on a voyage of discovery.” (Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story) Remember, too, that readers want to feel as if they know WHY you are telling your story. It’s not enough for the incidents you’re describing to be exciting or scary or hilarious. Your readers want to know how those events changed you. At the heart of every personal essay is this basic purpose: “I want to tell you how ______ changed my life.” When you attempt to communicate that intention, you are helping your essay become a “quest for understanding and information.” (Lee Guttkind, founding editor of Creative Nonfiction) Once you understand that personal essay is what Tristine Rainer calls a…
“It was a Saturday morning and clouds were gathering . . .” Finish the sentence and then keep writing. See where this takes you.
“More often ‘writer’s block’ is a result of writers trying too hard to write a perfect novel in the first draft. Nobody — no-freaking-body — writes a perfect first draft.” says Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker awards winner, author of 18 novels, including Joe Ledger thriller series, 30 non-fiction books, 1200 feature articles, 3,000 columns and writes projects for Marvel Comics. — “Jonathan Mayberry: How I Write” by Larry Atkins, The Writer magazine, October 2013
Today’s prompt inspired by Leigh Anne Jasheway, “Improv/e your writing” in the Nov/Dec issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. Talking about writing and improv: “Write a short description of something physical a person would do — say Stanley tapped his foot while making occasional clicking sounds with his tongue.” Your turn: Conjure a character, an action and go from there. . . don’t worry about where your writing will take you, be open to where this can go. Prompt: Character and action
My Baby Blog is one month old today. Time to celebrate! I’m doing the Happy Dance! Prompt: Write about a birthday you loved or one you hated.
“I almost never start with inspiration. If you start to write a scene or an idea, if you can stick at that for 20 minutes, eventually you can get lost in the process and the creative function takes over. The imagination suddenly kicks in. You almost have to dive in and start to work, and eventually, if you get in the groove, you can flourish. — Amor Towles, author of Rules of Civility, interview by Hillary Casavant, November 2013 issue of The Writer magazine.
“Setting says something about character, says Rhodes,” in “Location Location” by Elfrieda Abbe, October 2013 issue of The Writer magazine. David Rhodes, author of Driftless and Jewelweed, goes on to say, “A person walking along an empty beach is thinking deeply. . . If a couple sits at a high place overlooking an open valley, they are in love and the future of that love extends before them. A character running through the forest is happy; one lying down is sick or sad. These associations are not hard-fixed symbols, but rather associative colorings that come to life in that split second between emergent images and first thoughts. In stories, such descriptive asides can be used to add depth to the passions and to suggest both strong and ambiguous states of mind.” Prompt: Put yourself, or your fictional character, in a emotional frame of mind. Write, using physical location and action…