From Pat Schneider’s Writing Alone and with Others

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 in Writing Promps

I will never forget sitting in Pat Schneider’s Amherst home, among the circle of writers gathered in her living room, and hearing her say: Travel back in your own life to some time before this time and find yourself on a city street. What is the quality of light? Is anyone near you, or are you alone? Stay there as long as you want. If something begins to happen, let it happen. When you are ready, very quietly pick up your pen and paper, and write whatever comes to you to...

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Another Prompt from Writing Alone and with Others

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 in Writing Promps

Adapted from Pat Schneider’s Writing Alone and with Others –  p. 302-303 If you are writing alone, choose an object that has some meaning for you. Hold it in your hands (or, if it is too big, sit where you can see it) and begin your writing with a detail of that object. Describe your object in detail until something else occurs to you, then follow your thoughts, let them take you like stepping stones across a river. Don’t worry about where you are going…just follow your thoughts, what you see, what you remember. If you are writing with a large group you could offer a collection of objects and have them choose one object that speaks to them. Spread a plain cloth and one by one set out various objects that represent various kinds of experience: a spool of thread with a needle stuck in it; an old,...

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From Annie Dillard

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 in Writing Promps

What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? List five ideas, thoughts. Let one beckon you. Write for 20 minutes. Tomorrow – another from that list. Or write the first piece again – finish it, polish it, share...

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Lists can help!

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 in Writing Promps

Lists can often unlock us, break the writer’s block.  Short of time – write for only 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes. Number from one to ten on your page. List all the kitchens you remember. Now let one of them beckon you to tell a story. What happened there? (Include sight, sound, taste,...

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Clustering

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 in Writing Promps

I’m into “clustering” these days (see review on Writing the Natural Way under Good Books/Non-fiction). This is Gabriele Rico’s method of starting with one word or one phrase – circling it – and then spinning off whatever comes to mind, words, phrases, whatever. But each time you do, encircle the word and connect it to the word before it with a line or an arrow. And try to spin as many words off in one direction as you can. Then, if a new train of thought or a new image comes to mind, return to the main word/ circle and draw a line out from there and begin the process again, creating another series of words or phrases encircled. Why not start with the word “turn.” Rico says this is always a good one to start with. Try clustering for 5 minutes. Then write for 10 more on whatever...

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