Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pumped from Using the Prompt

I came back from my "First Pages" Loft gig at Chanhassen Library today feeling really hyped.  I had a blast playing with some of the story idea generators with the participants.  We found a couple of really entertaining sites that I'm going to share with you...

The first is really best if used completely randomly (press 'fill in) and see what happens.  We got a completely zany storyline that included robots poking each other at a funeral. (Exactly, right?  I mean, that image is going to stick in my head... possibly until I figure out how to write it.)

The other one was slightly more useful.  This site offers a number of tailored options, including the one I ended up using with was 'how I got my superpowers.'

The prompt I got in response to 'how I got my super powers' was: FROM THE FAIRY.  I couldn't resist that one and ended up writing this little snippet...

They told me if I wanted to get superpowers, I had to buy them from the fairy.  The problem was you never knew what it’d cost you.  Fairies are fickle, you know.  Sometimes they just want something mundane.  I heard of a guy who got the power of invulnerability and all it cost him was a slice of Munster cheese.  Other times, they wanted too much, stuff no sane person would part with.  Sure, you’re immortal, but your body is gone, and you’re just stuffed teddy bear without even the ability to move or speak.
I don't know if I'll do anything more with it, but it's a fun start, don't you think?

Anyway, I have no idea if the participants (I hesitate to use the term students in this situation) got as much enjoyment out of the program as I did, but I hope so.  One of the challenges of the 'First Pages' program is that it's meant to be flexible.  That's a good thing, because it can mean that the "class" is tailored to individual needs, but it can also mean the instructor (me) does a lot of flailing around from subject to subject hoping to hit on something that works.  I felt very flail-ly, but I sincerely hope that since I had fun it means they did too.

We nominally have a subject to discuss, but this one was "Read to Write" and so the 'discussion' was meant to be structured around what books can teach us about writing.  Since, as far as I can tell, the answer is: everything, we talked about that for a while, but... well, that wasn't much of a sustaining sort of subject, you know?  Maybe if I'd had a blackboard we could have listed books that influenced our writing.  Perhaps, since I'll be doing this again in Roseville next month, I can start with that next time.

But, so after we'd exhausted that subject, I opened the floor up to questions.  What do you struggle with with your writing?  And, somehow from there, we got to plot generators, and silliness ensued.

Ultimately, as I said, I had a good time, if nothing else.  And, well, I guess, worst case scenario, they got what they paid for (it's free.)

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