Welcome to the Prompt Buffet! Use any one you like, or as many as you like, and get to writing. Got questions? Hit the contact form below and send me a note 🙂
- IMPROVE ON SHAKESPEARE! Oh yes, you heard me right. First, go watch this Rowan Atkinson/Hugh Laurie sketch here, to get a sense of what Our Will went through.
Then read the text of Hamlet’s soliloquy here. Feel free to look up any Cliff’s Notes or No-Fear Shakespeare you like to get your feet wet! Remember context, too. This speech was not delivered in a vacuum. If you’ve never seen Hamlet (do!), visit the wiki and familiarize yourself with what’s going on in the play to lead to this speech.
When you have a bead on the speech, edit it. Put it in modern terms, keep it in Elizabethan language – it doesn’t matter. What I want to see are vastly different ways of putting the same ideas out there.
Remember that Will was a man of his time – “Shakespeare” the institution is a modern invention. He was a businessman, a working writer, selling seats – so think like he did. Add flavor and color – this is not a sacred proclamation from on high!
- BODY LANGUAGE! Write everything you physically feel at this moment. Spare no sense, sensation, tract, organ, anything. What is absolutely every perceivable part of your body doing and feeling right now?
- SPACE COWBOY! You are on an interstellar voyage for 9 months. Alone. You have computers, toys, activities, replicators, etc. to keep your needs fulfilled. You have a mission to accomplish once you get “there” (wherever you decide “there” is). What happens to your mind in these 9 months? Show me your journal entries!
- TIME TRAVEL! You wake up 100 years in the past, or 100 years in the future. Where are you? What do you have for breakfast? How do you survive? Can you get back to your own time? Do you want to?
- MEMENTO MORI! What happens after you die?
- HAPPY MEAL! Describe – in exquisite detail – what you last ate, and its journey through your body and back into the earth. Even down to its chemical components. But make it creative – we all know you will poo. Surprise me.
- NO COMMON GROUND! Who do you find it impossible to empathize with? Write their turning point from child/young person to now insufferable adult. NO HITLER. Unless you can make it really, really interesting. Seriously, don’t Godwin this.
- I DIDN’T MEAN TO TURN YOU ON! What is sexy? Tell me in at least 3 paragraphs, stanzas, or pages of dialog. (Nota Bene: This is a very inclusive workshop – LGBTQIA-friendly! And we’re kink/sex positive – just bear in mind this is a currently 18+ mixed audience, so class it up. If we ever have anyone under the legal age, we’ll pull this and make a private folder for old farts)
- GENDER TROUBLE! Explain your gender to a Martian. I dare you. (may also have to define “martian”)
- OH GOD WHAT ON EARTH IS MY HEAD ABOUT? Write a prayer/invocation to a deity you consider “dead”/outmoded/nonexistent.
- HOW DID YOU DIE IN A PAST LIFE? Write your former demise – spare no detail and be as baroque as you like! BUT – you have to include the human element. What were you feeling? Who mourned you? Were you the victim of a great injustice, were you “rightfully” executed, was this just the mindless violence of the universe? Remember that violence takes many forms. This is not always a gore fest. Violence can be slow, deliberate, a product of carelessness, accidental, quick, purposeful – don’t immediately jump to “hollywood violence” unless you can make it really interesting.