Writing prompts

Back in MFA school one of my advisors was really big on prompts. When I started, I thought I was going to write short stories. Then I spent the entire second year working on a novel; short stories abandoned. There’s an idealism to short story writing I wish I still had. It’s not a commercial idealism, at least not once you find out what you might get paid if you get paid for publication, but it’s an idealism for the craft. A short story is crafted so differently than a novel–it’s less about the process of the narrative (even if you’re writing a non-sequential experimental novel, there’s the narrative as it occurs to the reader reading)–and more about the finished piece. It’s the more writerly product. I loved the prompts because I had to get the material out in addition to other class work. I’d be reading this novel or that book about writing and then I’d have something completely different to do. All of it written in… some Mac app I can barely remember. In rich text. Ew. They weren’t complicated prompts either, just a list of words to incorporate into stories. I’m not sure how far along any of the stories got in terms of revisions. One of them may have been finished enough I showed it as my semester project. Maybe. I sort of assumed, again, I’d be able to find something similar with Summing-Up but I haven’t yet. I really do want to do some quick story sketches. I just don’t have any.

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