Saturday, August 13, 2016


A few months back, I subscribed to Poets&Writers, which runs "The Time is Now," a series on writing prompts for poetry, fiction, and [creative] non-fiction works.

Here are two interesting prompts from the series:

Fiction Prompt:

In 2012, New Zealand courts granted legal standing to the country's third largest river, the Whanganui River. The agreement, signed by the government and the local Māori people, allows for the river to be recognized as a person in the eyes of the law--similar to the granting of corporate personhood to businesses--and for its rights and interests to be protected by appointed guardians. Write a short story in which your main character's primary opponent is a body of water, forest, or other natural entity, which may manifest in a plot that involves environmental and cultural concerns, or perhaps more mystical and fantastic elements. What emotions, voices, and relationships will you explore in your depiction of this man versus nature story?

Creative Non-fiction Prompt:

In the "First Fiction" feature in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, Yaa Gyasi, author of the debut novel Homegoing (Knopf, 2016) says, "I was interested in the idea that people can inherit something invisible. These invisible inheritances could be personal, small, familial, like someone's tendency toward rage or compassion in difficult circumstances, but they could also be large and political, a historical inheritance that is not tied to family per se, but to an entire generation of people who lived before you." Write an essay about something invisible that you've inherited--it can be a personality trait or habit, or a larger cultural inheritance from ancestors. Conclude your essay with a conjecture about what invisible inheritance--however big or small--you and your generation may be passing on to the future world.

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