Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Weekly Writing Prompt

Get a weekly writing prompt of three words every Wednesday at Three Word Wednesday.

This week's prompt is: Apartment, Began, Numb

See an example of how to play at Write from Karen: The Doctor is Human After All.


My eyes quickly skipped over the gloves and landed on the waste basket tucked into a hole under the counter top, the huge red triangle stating it was for hazardous materials only seemed to pulsate under the fluorescent lights.

Only can throw us overboard, because we will tend to parse it with the words that follow it, instead of the words that precede it.

Ever since I read Sol Stein remarking on the strange things writers claim their eyeballs do, sentences like this jump out at me. I am distracted from the story by the picture of eyeballs skipping over gloves and landing a waste basket. Your "gaze" might do that, but I'd be careful of naming body parts in sentences like this.

On the other hand, letting things act in the rest of the piece would improve it. For example "I felt a nervous bubble of laughter tickle the back of my throat..." would be sharper and stronger as "A nervous bubble of laughter tickled the back of my throat."

Doing so would also lend greater immediacy to the scene, because you aren't always filtering viewpoint through "I saw," "I heard," "I felt."

Nonetheless, that's the really good thing about this piece: with very little to go on, Karen keeps you in immediate scene. She does an excellent job of putting you in the narrator's skin.

In my experience, people either can write in immediate scene, or they just can't, no matter how much you explain or many examples you give. I think this is because you either "get" immediate scene or you don't. And I suspect that this, in turn, depends on whether you have the necessary imagination.

But you can strengthen your imagination the same way you strengthen a muscle - by working it. A weekly writing prompt like this is a good way to do that.



Blogger OneMoreBeliever said...

wow... interesting post... as a novice i appreciate your comments.. and will consider your thoughts as my pen carrys me away...

6:59 PM  

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