Mar 14, 2012

Your Heart in a Cup, Your Mind on a Platter

I bled all the way to the mall. Juicy Lucy had me locked in a bear hug as the car rattled down the road. She wouldn’t stop asking what the things were.
“Bill collectors,” I groaned. “From… from somewhere else.”
Shane’s knuckles whitened around the wheel. He always drove hysterically.


For the record, I almost called this prompt "70% of your mind, take it or leave it." It didn't sound all that engaging to me. 

Should I admit to a dirty little secret?
OK, here goes. Writing these prompts week after week is immensely liberating, in terms of sheer poetics.


These prompts are intended for you, my reader. You can take them and do whatever you want with them. This frees me to concentrate on the musicality of words. I find myself sculpting the sentences, working on the way they flow.

I've read many a piece of web fiction where the author clearly believes that focusing on the story is giving the reader lots of details that mean very little.

Why does that happen?

I have a theory. Every now and then, people advise you "not to be literary." This is good advice with potentially harmful side effects. I get the feeling some people -- hopefully not you -- take that piece of advice as "divest your prose of all beauty, either voluntary or not."

Fine. If that's the score you would play to, by all means be matter-of-fact and conservative in your prose. You won't hurt anybody but yourself. See, poetry is more or less inevitable. There's one thing that "genre" writers can learn from their "literary" peers, though -- and that is playing with words, twisting them to your own ends.

There's a less-than-subtle difference between writing a story and a set of assembly instructions for an IKEA shelf. Dare to be literary. If you're any good, readers will recognize it.

Be, like, yourself, and stuff.

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