This week is the anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns. While I’m cooking up some haggis and pouring a whisky in his immortal memory, I have a writing prompt for you that celebrates not just Robert Burns, but all poets.
Write a story inspired by a poem
- There are many ways to approach this prompt. Here are a few.
- Read a poem that is already a ‘saga’ and retell the story in a more narrative form
- Take a character from a poem and imagine them in another situation. Write that story.
- Tell the story of the poem from another point of view.
- Take the title of the poem and write a story that shares the title but might be in all other ways unconnected.
- Think and write like a poet. Write a tiny story, one that fits on a single notebook page, with generous white margins. Concentrate on creating images in the reader’s mind, on layering in the meaning, on leaving gaps for the reader to puzzle over. Think about the sounds of the words and the rhythms they make when put together. Read your work out loud. Decide whether you’re going to be a traditionalist and use lots of metaphor or if you’re a modernist and would rather describe things as they really are (in minute detail, which can illuminate the ordinary in new ways).
- If you’re not in the habit of reading poetry regularly, I highly recommend adding it to your roster of things you read. You can find a traditional collection, or a collection of poems that are great for memorizing. You can look at this year’s National Book Award Winner, or dig through the free collection at Poetry.org
- Use the StoryADay Short Story Framework to map out what might happen in your story. Don’t have a copy of the Short Story Framework? Request it here.)
If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.
Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!