Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writing Prompt: the historic moment

Not everyone wants to look to history for a writing push. (Speaking of writing pushes, I seriously need one. I'm swearing that I'm going to improve. Though, I'm not going to cut back on the sailing, the kayaking, the fiction-writing, and the other things that distract me from my vows to keep this blog going.) 

I definitely find history fruitful--look hard enough, and you'll glean plenty of images and odd situations to inspire, or at least give you pause. Don't forget, Santayana's reminder:
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
Grabbing a choice moment from the past as a writer though isn't about numbly pacing through what already happened. It's about searching for an interesting framework or lens, something to give you pause and let you have an opening into new territory. 

For example, I just finished a short story about the real-life case of Armin Meiwes, a man looking for someone else to eat. I didn't write about the man Meiwes eventually did kill and consume, however--I found it more intriguing to wonder about a man who supposedly made contact with Meiwes, but was rejected.

Here's a place to think about starting: 

Boston, Located on the south side of the Old North Church stands a small area set aside to commemorate the soldiers lost in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Hundreds of dog tags representing the fallen soldiers from these conflicts hang closely together. When the wind blows one can hear the distinctive metal chimes as they clang together to make their eery music.
Boston, Located on the south side of the Old North Church stands a small area set aside to commemorate the soldiers lost in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Hundreds of dog tags representing the fallen soldiers from these conflicts hang closely together. When the wind blows one can hear the distinctive metal chimes as they clang together to make their eery music. (from http://awinsomejourney.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/boston-names.jpg)

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