Thursday, September 12, 2019

Week Four Story Laboratory

For this week's Story Lab, I decided to explore the website "Writers Write." Immediately, the post that jumped out at me was "20 Myths to Use as Writing Prompts" because, obviously, it fits really well with this class!

The article begins by defining what a writing prompt is (a word/phrase/idea/etc. designed to spark a writer's creativity and direct their writing, especially for writing exercises) and what a myth is (a traditional story including superbeings/ancestors/heroes, often to explain some kind of natural phenomenon). It goes on to list twenty myths that could serve as interesting writing prompts.

When I started reading this article, I expected it to list specific, pre-existing myths, such as the stories of the Greeks, or any of the things we've been reading this semester. Instead, it gives specific circumstances and prompts the writer to create a myth around them. For example, "Write a myth to explain why the sky is blue." Although this wasn't what I expected, it was still interesting to me, so I'll include a couple of my favorites here:
"Write a myth to explain why leaves change color."
"Write a myth to explain how bees got their stings."
"Write a myth to explain why birds fly and fish swim."

Despite not being what I thought the article would be, I still feel as though these could be interesting writing prompts for a story, and I may take them into account for a later story for this class!

Another article I explored was "5 Instances When You Need to Tell." This one caught my attention because, in every writing course I've taken -- and I'm an English Writing minor, so I've taken several -- the concept of showing versus telling in storytelling has been a permeating subject. Generally, of course, it is considered better to show and not tell, which means that you should let your reader see what's happening through action/dialogue/scene/etc., rather than just describing everything to them.

The five instances it lists are when you need to gloss over unnecessary conversations/connect scenes, when you need to report events/gloss over unnecessary characters, when you need to show time passing, when you want to focus on emotion but can't actually show it at that time, and when you want to add backstory. Of course, none of these are hard and fast rules, as, for example, sometimes you might want to show backstory by way of flashbacks, or something along those lines. But essentially the idea is that sometimes, if you try to show every tiny conversation and every passing character, the reader will get kind of bogged down with all that detail and it will distract from the actual story, so telling/summarizing can help you move past some of the extraneous stuff without it feeling disjointed or unclear.

Fountain Pen Writing Photo by Pixabay

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