by Laura Michelle Thomas
You can get a good idea with every blink, every breath, every thought, whether you are indoors or outdoors, laughing or crying, or just having an ordinary day. And as a wordsmith, it’s your job to write into them and show the reader something they have never seen before. You have an unique perspective. Use it. Even a holiday as mundane and artistically overdone as Thanksgiving, can be carved and reassembled in an original take on life and the world we live in.
So use these prompts to do a little first draft writing this Thanksgiving weekend. Tell your inner, literary dragon (that means you, Scrum) to chill out and be quiet. Have fun. Play. Say yes to all your crazy ideas. There is no wrong way to write a first draft, and there are no bad ideas.
#1 – Script. Go outside. Look at the environment around you. Walk over and touch whatever thing attracts you most. What does it feel like? What does it make you feel? Now imagine that object is the reason why your protagonist has a problem. Set your story at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Write a scene with at least three characters who have at least 10 lines of dialogue each. Include tons of conflict and tension.
#2 – Short Story. Go to the grocery store or butcher shop. Look at all the fresh and frozen turkeys. Write the story of one of the birds from the third person point of view and do not use it’s death as your ending. Write a happy ending.
#3 – Poem. Take out an assortment of fall-coloured crayons or markers (reds, browns, oranges, black, gold, yellow). Take a blank piece of computer paper and start drawing and colouring. Now imagine you have a protagonist who is six years old and it’s almost time for Thanksgiving dinner but there is a lot of family conflict going on. Write a poem. The speaker is the child who is now grown up and is preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving with his or her family.
It’s weird. In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in early October, while our cousins to the south celebrate it late in November. I’m sure there is a good story there, but I’ll let you do some research on that weird fact. Maybe you will come up with another good idea for a poem, short story, or script. Good ideas for creative writing are everywhere, even in the same-old-same-old stuff we live through every year, like Thanksgiving.