[Write On Wednesday] A Prose Sonnet

Today’s prompt continues the month’s theme of looking at different short story forms you can try out.

This one’s a challenge, but really fun.

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The Prompt

Write a story in 14 sentences

Tips

  • You can simply write 14 sentences.
  • You could use the Petrarchan form of sonnet where the first 8 lines/sentences propose an argument or an idea and the second 8 answer or refute it.
  • You could use the Shakespearean form, with three groups of 4 linked sentences, followed by two lines/sentences that provide illumination, a revelation, a twist or an explanation.
  • You could write a sonnet series, with each group of 14 lines fulfilling a different function in your story.
  • Writing this way is hard but it frees you. Instead of worrying about writing well, you’re concentrating on the form. Sometimes that tricks your brain into writing really well; sometimes it’s just a triumph to have written at all.

Leave a comment telling us how it went!

Prose Sonnet – A writing prompt for May 25, 2017

Today’s prompt sticks with this week’s theme of pushing the form of the short story away from the idea of it as a ‘mini novel’.

Short stories are incredibly versatile and short story readers are willing to work for their thrills. Let’s get to it:

The Prompt

Write a prose sonnet: a story 14 sentences long

Tips

  • Of course, our prose sonnets aren’t going to rhyme or be in any particular rhythm (although you can shoot for that if you like).
  • You can draw inspiration from traditional sonnet forms. For example, it could follow the structure of a Petrarchan sonnet which presents an argument or observation in the first 8 lines (sentences, in this case), then a  turn in the next line. Then you can spend the rest of the story ‘answering’ the question/observation/argument of the start.
  • You could model your story on a Shakespearean sonnet: three groups of four related sentences, and a final two-sentence ending that perhaps turns the story upside down OR reinforces its message.
  • You could go from the specific to the general and end with a universal truth, or set the story up the other way around.
  • One powerful image might be all you need in a story this length: a grandparent with their grandchild, feeding the ducks, for example. Placed at either end of your story (or in the middle), this image might allow you to illustrate a theme on relatable, specific and still universal levels.
  • You could also write a sonnet ‘sequence’, if your story demands more room. That would mean you write groups of ‘scenes’ in 14 sentences each until your story is finished.
  • For more on the form, read this.