Writing Prompt: Thinking Short


What to do:
For this assignment, reflect deeply on three images that each represent a memory or event from your past that has remained with you. Turn each of them into < 200-word prose piece (< 600 words total). Each prose piece must include as much concrete detail as possible using the five senses as well as using assonance and consonance to sharpen the language. These prose poems can range from a full paragraph to even a single sentence (assuming it is carefully thought through and effectively delivered—remember, every word counts!)

A powerful creative piece is often conceived starting with a single image. The writer then builds around the image to create a scene. In this assignment, you are to do this using a very short amount of space. When writing lengthy genres like novels, sometimes it’s easy for the technique of our craft to become lost or diluted while stretching plot points into 50,000 words of text. Writing shorter, more concise works allows the technique of our craft to become more concentrated.

For Later:
You will learn to capture the tone of a single scene using a shorter writing form. Writing short, stand-alone pieces using a minimal amount of words trains your brain to slow down and focus its “lens” on a single scene. Unlike when writing a novel, it allows your brain to think more in terms of a brief clip instead of an entire two-hour movie. Prose does not need to be long and verbose. Sometimes fewer words are much more effective. Using concrete imagery and language techniques in the process allows you to focus on every single word you write so that none fail to serve a purpose.