Why is it important for writers to read? We hear it time and time again that it’s important, and that reading different styles and genres will help with our own writing. I also felt like those arguments were always a little vague, and I started wondering why I had to read and why couldn’t I just watch a t.v. show? I mean, those are focused on story telling as well. Isn’t that the same thing?
Here’s a bit of an unconventional writing prompt, for those of you with writer’s block or who are looking for something a little bit different.
The prompt: Take your character grocery shopping.
How to write that: You can write it like a scene. You could write down a conversation between you and your character while they are shopping for groceries. You could also write down a grocery list as if you were the character. You could approach this prompt in many different ways, and I encourage you to brainstorm a couple and pick your favorite.
Why it can help: This prompt can help you hone in on a couple different elements of your character. Depending on how you write this, it could help you discover your character’s voice. If they speack fluidly, impatiently, or if they get distracted midsentence. Also you can see different aspects of your character through the food they pick. Does your character pick food that all fits into a vegan diet? They may have strong opinions on animal cruelty, and they may have strong opinions on other social issues. Or, maybe, they just like to eat healthy. This could show that they’re very consious of their body, and they want to take care of it. They may also be into exercising and/ or meditation as well. Does your character buy a lot of sweets? Maybe they’re a kid at heart. Or maybe they just went through a break-up and this is how they deal with it. Do they buy fresh-squeezed kale juice or some other “trendy” food item? Maybe they like to be “trendy” and that affects many aspects of their personality. Do they buy food from the “interational asile?” Maybe they’re adventurus or like to try new things.
I think that this prompt can be a really fun and different way to get to know your characters without the pressue of having to include it in whatever you’re writing (be it a novel or something short story). The main this is, don’t force your character to buy anything. Let them wander around the grocery store however they want to, and try to just record it. Don’t interfere too much.