Short Story Prompt – 3: Attractive Ugliness

Timothy Dalton as Edward Rochester and Zelah Clarke as Jane Eyre

For today’s short story, write about a person who is “ugly” by conventional societal standards and make this ugliness resonate with the main character. The person may be ugly in their actions, in their soul, or physically unattractive, but make something about their ugliness unique, tragic, pleasurable, sinful, appalling, or simply human. Regardless, have the ugliness of the character connect somewhere deep inside your MC, and reveal something about them both.

There are numerous examples of this theme in literature and movies (more than you might think), but the first relationship that comes to mind for me is Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester.

For an excellent short story on attractive ugliness, try reading “Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story” by Russell Banks.

Short Story Prompt – 2: Childhood Memory

Photo by Jef Safi

For your short story, write about a childhood memory (either a real one, or one of your own invention) with an unreliable narrator/main character. Use the distortions and superstitions and insecurities of a child’s perspective to guide your plot choices, and take it somewhere that’s awkward, mysterious, terrifying, or overly romanticized. Your narrator/MC can either be a child, or an adult looking back on childhood who is still somehow incapable of knowing or telling the whole truth of a situation.  Continue reading “Short Story Prompt – 2: Childhood Memory”

Short Story Prompt – 1: Fairy Tale

"The Five Sisters" by Annie Stegg
“The Five Sisters” by Annie Stegg

For a change of pace, today is a short story prompt. However, if short story writing isn’t your thing, this prompt can easily be tailored to poetry.

For today’s story, re-tell or modernize (or horror-ize) a fairy tale. It could be one of the classics, like “Snow White” or the “Princess and the Pea,” or a holiday-themed tale, like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, or Krampus, or even an original story of your own invention that has fairy tale qualities and characters. Some good sources are, of course, Grimm’s Fairy Tales and stories by Hans Christian Andersen. Use the story itself, or a specific character, or the overall moral lesson from the fairy tale to influence your writing. Whatever the case, make it your own original creation.