Monday, February 23, 2015

Prompt

Today's prompt has to do with setting and location:

Characterize a city through an activity typical of its way of life and values. Las Vegas and casino gambling is a good example.

Does this define that locale and what does it say about its values and morality?

© C Harris Lynn DBA The Weirding, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Narcissistic Prompts

My guess is that the reason so many prompts are focused on the writer and/or his childhood is that it's an instance of "Know thyself" and wanting you to "Write what you know." I understand the need for such things but it does seem rather self-indulgent at times.

Jack Heffron's The Writer's Idea Book has an entire chapter devoted to these and I encountered many that I have shared with you from that book, as well as others. Heffron says, "All of these prompts should help you begin exploring yourself in a variety of ways. Be daring. The key is candor."

I feel as though I'm asking you all to reveal things about yourself to everyone, at-large. And I guess I am... but there is at least a semblance of anonymity here. Hopefully we have a well-behaved following (I've never experienced any nastiness in the comments here). Still, don't share anything you don't want to but feel free to share insignificant information - such as whether your character uses a brush or comb, for instance. Or you can simply do the exercises without sharing them. It would still be nice to hear from you if you do them.

© C Harris Lynn DBA The Weirding, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015

Prompt

Today's prompt is yet another one that calls for us to think back to our childhood:

Describe your feelings upon returning to a place you knew from childhood.

Was it as you remembered it and if not, how had it changed? Did you find your memories to be incorrect or overly romanticized? How did it live-up to those recollections?

© C Harris Lynn DBA The Weirding, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

Prompt

I realize that numbering these is going to be problematic in the future but without numbering them, it will become hard to find them so it's the lesser of two evils.

Today's prompt is rather short and sweet:

Discuss a regular event from childhood that you looked forward to. Some ideas include holiday gatherings, visits from friends and family, school fieldtrips, and more.

© C Harris Lynn DBA The Weirding, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Write What You Know

If you have never heard this bit of advice, it is one of the truest principles in writing. Sure, with enough research you can fake it, but writers with hands-on experience in a matter bring insight to which researchers have no access. This experience can establish and reinforce verisimilitude in your story which can be vital if your setting or characters' professions are important.

Those who research subjects for use in their work are to be lionized for their work but, without the hands-on experience or bearing witness to a matter firsthand, they lack the details that ring true to readers with firsthand knowledge of the subject, event, or location. It's hard to write about Los Angeles' nightlife if you've never even visited the city, just as it is difficult to write about a waitress' duties if you've never waited tables. Sometimes, just visiting or shadowing a person on the job can provide all the detail you need for verisimilitude.

If you have firsthand experience with a subject, be sure to note the special, small things only those in your field experience or understand. I worked as a neon lights processor for several years and can discuss aspects of that job no one outside the field would even have contemplated. The double-edge sword is getting too caught-up in such detail regarding something that a majority of your would-be audience is unaware of and will not understand. You will be the one who first introduces readers to such a world, so keep it simple, because a lot of people are going to breeze through lengthy exposition without fully registering what they are reading.

It's important your stories have some amount of verisimilitude so that readers can relate to your work and characters - their plights, flaws, successes and failures - but too much "inside knowledge" can have the opposite effect. Find a pleasant middle-ground and realize that the majority of your audience does not pursue that career, live in that area, follow that kind of lifestyle, or whatever the matter may be. This is obviously untrue if your work is aimed at a specific group or demographic.

© C Harris Lynn DBA The Weirding, 2015