Daily Theme from Nathan Englander!

photo by Juliana Sohn

Today’s Daily Theme comes from Nathan Englander, who has been raking-in raves  for his newest book of short stories, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank. The acclaim is no surprise, given that his last collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, (besides having one of the best titles ever) was an international bestseller. He’s also a PEN/Malamud award-winner, a playwright (his first play premiers at New York’s Public Theater this fall), a translator, and–lucky for us–a teacher of emerging writers. His tricky-clever-fun writing prompt below is adapted from one he’s used with his writing students. 

This is a prompt I love to use when I first meet a new class. I tell them to take out their pens and write me a piece–the theme is up to them. It need not be long. But it needs to be a real scene. And the sole rule that frames what they write is this: You may not use a word with more than one syllable. It sounds hard, but “syllable” is the lone word used here that has more than one.

Writing a little bit every day makes us all better writers; sign up here for Figment Daily Themes to receive a hand-crafted writing prompt every weekday morning. And be sure to tag your responses DailyThemes to earn your Daily Themes badge and for the chance to be featured in the Figment newsletter or homepage.

One thought on “Daily Theme from Nathan Englander!

  1. I want to do this scene but find it hard to think of what to write using just words that are not long. I thought through this a few ticks then found that I was just done in. Oh, God, help me be one who can write what I need to write and not what some one else thinks I should write. Sorry, Sir, but I just could not get it done.

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