Continuing our Guest Prompt week, today’s prompt comes from novelist and teacher Gregory Frost. Thanks, Greg!
Unusual Ways of Seeing
Imagine a person with a very idiosyncratic way of seeing the world (for example, a low-end drug dealer who’s perpetually paranoid because he’s sure everyone wants to steal his stuð; or an accountant for whom everything is numerical and anally precise)—anyone who, because of mental challenges, profession, or self-medicated state, negotiates the world in a distinctly peculiar, complicated, or unhinged way.
For this prompt, have your character witness a traumatic event that does not directly involve him or her (a traffic accident, a robbery, an explosion, etc.).
Narrate the event from this character’s first-person POV, incorporating the idiosyncrasies of this invented personality.
If you need examples from literature, look at George Saunders’ “Tenth of December” which includes both the portrait of a deteriorating mentality and the interiority of a child’s imaginings, or Jonathan Nolan’s “Memento Mori,” or Donald Barthelme’s “Game.”
- The narrative should be focused upon the observed event, whatever it is.
- The background/ biographical elements of this individual should be limited, which is to say implied rather than presented outright in the core of things. You know who they are. Get that across to us without resorting to our narrator saying something like “I’m a junkie.”
- The details presented about the event–especially how they’re presented–should suggest everything about our narrator.
Gregory Frost’s YA-crossover SHADOWBRIDGE
4 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Guest Prompt from Gregory Frost”
Here’s today’s story. I sort of followed the prompt.
I was ambivalent about this until I started to write and found that the character who came to life was a psychotic who reacted to tragedy the way a sane person would view comedy. He witnessed a traffic accident in which an old woman was run over by a truck, and reacted with increasing mirth as the event unfolded. I was surprised that a character as reprehensible as this could have been born of my own thoughts.
Did another combo on this one: http://starvingactivist.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/story-a-day-21-and-write-at-the-merge-week-21-the-smell-of-indifference/
Yesterday’s and today’s are now posted . . . that is all! Carry on! 🙂