I might be paradoxically ironical [ ;-) ], or vice versa, but I feel like “occupying” my own Occupy Daily Prompt blog prompt. Today I posted Sundry Sunday; a list of various prompts I found a couple of years ago. I thought my fellow Occupiers might enjoy them, but when I sat down to reply to them, with only one exception, I found I had some issues…
Write a title for a book (or books) you’d like to write. I haven’t thought of a book I’d write. Just stories. I like coming up with titles for my blog posts, but a book is entirely different. But, it should be easy, right? Think of an actual thing or place, or come up with a metaphor. Problem is, if you haven’t got an idea for the content, writing a title is an abstract exercise. But, here are a few ideas:
- North by East and West, but Heading South (The story of someone not only looking everywhere to find meaning in life, but the horrible fate of someone with absolutely no sense of direction during the dark days before GPS).
- Cracker Jack and Little Debbie (The Bonnie and Clyde of the processed food-stuff world. Nobody with a compulsion to eat the crap they shouldn’t will ever be safe again).
- A Very Short Story [In One Hundred Thousand Words. Or Less] (Some people can get to the point in a few words. Others apparently cannot. Anyway, it’s only one book, not a volume of five, so…)
- If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother (A tale of trial and error only to find out that no matter how hard you try, fail, and try again, your mother will always have that look of sad disappointment whenever you see her).
- The Sessantaquattro Carmel Macchiato Half-Caf Non-Fat Extra Hot No Whip Shot of Chai Tea Pumpkin Spice Mocha Killer (No, that’s not the killer. The killer is the irritated guy stuck behind the person who made that order. Starbucks made him do it).
Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for. This is exactly the kind of prompt that gets people in trouble on the home front. You’re in a no-win situation no matter which two people you choose. The personality traits you highlight will become an issue and the person you “don’t care for” obviously will take offense (even if it’s someone you don’t know, because these things find their way around, especially in our social media culture), and, more importantly, your loved one will most likely take issue with the not-so-loved one whom you chose to fuse them with. You’ll be back-peddling for months. Yeah….I’m gonna pass on this one.
Write a setting based on the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen. From the top of the hill, before you could see the ocean, you could hear the surf and smell the salt air. The sun broke through the tall trees creating scattered spotlights of radiant gold underneath the dusky canopy of the ancient evergreens. I made my way down the familiar path from the hilltop through the trees, and as I drew closer to the bluff, the forest gave way like a giant stage curtain drawing aside, revealing a brilliant blue sky and full noon-day sun. The endless horizon of deep blue water, a meandering coastline, and frothy white crashing waves stretched as far in front of me and to each side as the eye could see. As I stood there quietly taking it all in, a gentle on-shore breeze that felt like the tender lingering embrace of a long-lost lover enveloped me. God, it was good to be home.
Write a letter to a publishing agent telling them how wonderful you are. No. I write for fun, so I haven’t spent any time learning how the world of “being published” is all about. But from the context of this question, apparently you have to sell yourself to an agent in order to get an edge…? Makes absolutely no sense. Are agents looking for personalities or a publishable/sellable manuscript? And, let’s say I was an absolutely insufferable human being, how will a clever letter written to laud my positive personality attributes fool an experienced agent?
Write a poem about a memorable moment in your life. Wish I could, but I’m not a poet. I suppose I could come up with a silly rhyme or limerick if I really put my brain into it, but then I’d be breaking one of my blog rules, which is not to reveal too much personal information (which is an issue I have with most blog prompts).
Rewrite a fairy tale from the bad guy’s point of view. I get it. I do: This is an exercise in developing a character byline; a backstory that informs a character’s behavior. Any actor will tell you it’s impossible to play a role without knowing a character’s motivation, so I get it. OK, so…The Wolf in Red Riding Hood. Let’s take a moment to look away from the fable told to unwitting little girls about the perils of talking to strangers. Basically, The Wolf was hungry. Hadn’t eaten in days and prefers raw meat to baked goodies in a picnic basket (because this is The Wolf we’re talking about, not Yogi Bear). But for whatever reason he didn’t feel he could simply follow his natural, genetically hard-wired instinct to simply stalk and pounce on the little girl. No, he felt he had to chat her up, elaborately bait and switch, and trap. He wanted to play with his food, so to speak. That makes him more cat-like than a wolf. So, either he was raised by a (herd? flock? school? bevy?) of cats, like Mowgli in The Jungle Book was (ironically) raised by a pack of wolves, and therefore doesn’t know how to behave like a proper wolf, or The Wolf wasn’t actually hungry insomuch as he was an anti-social homicidal psychopath, which brings us right back to the original moral to be wary of strangers. Seems there’s no way to separate The Wolf’s point of view from the fairy tale’s POV in this case.