In my final year at Portland State University, I took an advanced writing class with Mary Rechner. In the class we brainstormed some ideas for generating characters, or stories of poems. It’s been many year’s since my time at PSU, but luckily I have my ever growing student loan to remind me that I was there.
What I’ve written in this post are copies from the notes of that class. I put the name of the student who came up with the prompt.
Pretend that you are an inanimate object and write from that voice. -Naomi
I actually did that once! I wrote a story (very short story) from the voice of a pitchfork and a shovel. I wrote it so long ago it’s hard to know if I still have it somewhere in my papers. There are a few novels out there that have inanimate objects as the characters look at Tom Robbins book Skinny Legs and All.
Use a stranger with whom you have recently had a brief encounter as the main character in a scene.-Julia
Maybe that strange guy on the bus that always wears the yellow rain coat even if it isn’t raining, and he carries his little lunch box everyday as he pushes past people yelling- “I need to get off! I need to get off!” Once he is off the bus he does a little sideways run to his next stop. What’s his story? You can write it.
Imagine the least likely end to your day-Gretchen
Like, I’m sitting here on my bed writing this blog and all of a sudden my cat turns to me and starts talking- telling me about her day- how she really thinks I ought to try a new type of litter and why am I never around. I just look at her, like this is normal for my cat to talk- and I say I’m on it. I didn’t think you cared for the litter you made it kinda obvious-And then she tucks me in bed. Now that’s an unlikely ending to a day.
Write a scene where there is food but no one eats it, and there is both internal and external dialogue- Ashlee
This one is interesting. There are so many whys for you as the writer to answer.
Write a story where everything that’s better is bigger and vice versa for smaller. Lame I know. I really wanted to do something about the Lumberjack Song from Monty Python because I had that stuck in my head all morning.I figured that wouldn’t be fair though, since not everyone has seen the Monty Python shows.-Jeremiah
I just thought that was funny. I don’t remember the guy, but I somehow saved his quote.
Once you have an idea and you’ve maybe sketched it out and let your imagination run wild you might want to take it further really explore where this idea can take you-could it be a story?