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.