Sticking with this month’s theme of Getting You Writing and Breaking Blocks, today’s prompt shares another technique for quieting your inner perfectionist: stealing a story from someone else.
Rewriting a classic story, reworking a story of your own, or just stealing the plot of a folk tale, means there’s one less thing to worry about: plot. Writing this way lets you concentrate on other aspects of your writing:
- Playing with character
- Concentrating on your voice
- Messing with Point of View
- Trying out unconventional/non-narrative forms of storytelling
Rewrite a story (yours or someone else’s)
- Remember that if you’re rewriting a story for publication, you’ll need to be careful you’re not infringing anyone’s rights. Best to stick with classic folk tales, for this. Or, if you’re just writing for your own amusement, infringe away 😉
- Think about rewriting a story from a secondary character’s point of view. Why do the events of the story matter to them? How do they interfere with this character’s life?
- Remember that stories don’t need to be told in the right order. In a short story, you don’t even need the beginning, middle and end to all happen within the story. One of them can be implied.
- In short fiction every word counts. Don’t worry about this too much on a first draft, by try to keep it in mind as you choose how you describe events and scenes. For example, instead of ‘he ate two cheeseburgers, hungrily’ try ‘he inhaled the first cheeseburger, put the second away with workmanlike efficiency’. Notice how ‘making every word count’ doesn’t mean writing fewer words. Don’t you feel you know more about how the scene looked, from the second example?
- If you need a resource for folk tales to steal, try the University of Pittsburgh’s archive.