Your Prompts and Tips

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Prompts:

1. Write a few pages about a character who somehow comes up with an actual cure for boredom and bottles it. What are the ingredients?

2. Write a few pages inspired by this famous couplet by Ezra Pound (“In a Station of the Metro”): “The apparition of these faces in the crowd / Petals on a wet, black bough.” Does a character interact with one of the people in the crowd? What is the meaning behind the gloomy setting?

3. Write a few pages about someone who is walking down the street one day and notices a jack-o’-lantern on someone’s porch that is carved to look just like him or her.

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Tips:

1. Whenever there are fantastical elements, such as magic, present in the story, it is useful to consider their purpose. Why did the author choose those specific elements of magic? Ask yourself what they bring to the story and imagine how the story would differ without them. If it wouldn’t change significantly, then they are not essential to the story.

2. Don’t just say you like or dislike an aspect of a story. Dig deeper to support your view and get at the heart of your reaction. Did you find a particular metaphor effective? Or did a passage confuse you? In a workshop setting, it benefits the writer if you’re as specific as possible.

3. Whether they are about clowns, climbing a treacherous mountain, or a fear of rejection, scary stories get our hearts beating because they are able to achieve a level of suspense. While it may seem like you'd want to utilize fast pacing in such a story, mix it up with slower-paced moments too. These help create anticipation.

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