Daily Theme from Ashley Hope Pérez!

As Pablo Picasso once said: “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” While we’re definitely not endorsing plagiarism, the quote does hint at some truth. Often, the work of other artists and creative types can be very influential to our own projects, and can do a lot to inspire us while in the throes of writers’ block.

With that idea in mind, Ashley Hope Pérez, author of edgy YA novels The Knife and the Butterfly and What Can’t Wait encourages you to take a little from the masters. Her Daily Theme doesn’t ask that you lift their words, but rather that you find influence in their sentences. Read on for the prompt, which itself is a handy tip for getting out of any stuck-in-the-mud scenario.

Figment Daily Theme – April 5, 2012
Today, flex your muscles as a stylist. Find a paragraph of prose you admire. Write it out longhand just to get the feel of those amazing words coming out of your own pen (on loan). Notice the joints within and between sentences, how they fit together and flow.

Now write your own paragraph (on whatever subject you choose), modeling each sentence exactly on the paragraph you admire. Try to stick to your model; the idea is to pay attention to how writing moves at the sentence level—and to get infected by gorgeous prose. Here’s an example:

Gil Adamson’s opening sentence in her novel The Outlander: “It was night, and dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling.”

Ashley’s sentence: It was noon, and salmon arced up out of the stream, rainbowed and gleaming.

What’s awesome about this prompt? You can use it over and over, so it’s a perfect building block for a writing ritual. Best of all, you can surprise yourself into a twist in your narrative.

Don’t wait if you haven’t yet signed up for our Daily Themes emails– simply click here! And if you’re eager to share your prompt response, tag your work with dailythemes and you just might get featured on the Figment.

4 thoughts on “Daily Theme from Ashley Hope Pérez!

  1. This seems really helpful, I can’t say how many times I’ve been hit with writer’s block. But I have noticed that after reading some of my favorite pieces I get ideas and the piece I read tends to weave its influences into my writing. Now I have a solid way to help cure my block :)

  2. Just curious, but has Figment decided to continue doing Daily Themes? Well, obviously you guys have. xD But – for how long? I know they were originally supposed to go ’til March 30th, but that’s already passed. So I was just wondering if this is now an… everyday thing, and for how long. (not complaining! I love the Daily Themes!)

    • Hey Bre-

      They were such a hit, that we’ve extended them! Not sure when/if there is a new end-date; we’ll keep you posted! Glad you like them :)

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