Thursday, August 4, 2016

August Writing Challenges: Day 4 - Getting Dramatic

August. The summer is nearly over. Kids are going back to school. You now have some time on your hands.  Okay, you still have a list of chores a mile long, but let's put writing at the top of the priority list, okay?

I am going to challenge you with a writing prompt every day this month. Are you up for it? I hope so.

The writing challenges will be about a variety of topics and hopefully cause you to dig into your writing toolbox to complete with emotional skill.

Watch out, I just might throw in a fun one, well, just for fun!

For the second challenge we're going to get dramatic:

Here is your challenge:

Ask three (3) people: "What's the most dramatic thing that has ever happened to you?"

Pick one answer and write a scene about that event.

TIPS: Everyone has a different degree of drama. Technically, a drama is a serious (non-comic) play; the need to act out feelings on the stage has probably let to its secondary meaning, which is high emotion. 

In fiction, the writer's job is to make sure events are fully dramatized, that enough happens so that we feel what the writers wants us to. (And writers overdramatize events - there can be too much action and not enough meaning.)

The "what's-at-stake" question, so common in workshops, is closely connected to the question of "what's-the-drama?" Getting someone else's report on an experience of the "dramatic" can raise the stakes from the get-go. Answers involve trauma, risk, pride, shame, heartbreak.

Aristotle, always thinking about drama, said a tragedy was an imitation of an action of high importance, complete in itself and rendered so that the viewer, through pity and fear, experienced catharsis.

Modern short stories do this in their own ways. This challenge, though it's only an exercise, is meant to remind writers of that purpose. It also gets them out of their own experience, which can be a good thing.

Have Fun!

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