Saturday Starter: Creative Writing Prompt for June 1

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Our Creative Writing Group meets the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. We are working through the exercises in Brian Kiteley's The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction. The assignment for June 1st is "Life or Death - 157".

Write about an ordinary sporting event of some kind, the outcome of which is literally a matter of life or death. You could dwell on the possibilities of losing as some kind of desperate blow to one character. Or you could make the rules of the game be that the losers actually die ( a modern version of gladiatorial combat). Despite the title, be subtle, or as matter-of-fact about life-or-death struggle as you can be. 700 words

A relief pitcher for the California Angels baseball team blew a crucial playoff game against the Boston Red Sox in 1986. He committed suicide a few years later, maybe because of that one game. The Romans, in the first century A.D., were killing so many people each week in public executions that some bright fellow had the idea of putting the condemned men on stage in plays that had death scenes. The condemned man was exchanged for the actor just before the murderous knife or sword blow. Talk about a reality show. Boxing is, I think, a brutal and wasteful sport, but it once had an even more devastating effect on most of its participants, when bare hands were used. This exercise should train you to look for such intensities in ordinary situations. Eventually, you should be able to write about domestic events as if they were life-or-death situations, without the trappings of the gothic but with the emotional power.

Come with six copies of your completed assignment to share. We'll discuss and provide feedback. First time? Feel free to come and observe before jumping in.