bad parties

Writing Prompt: Invitation to a bad, bad party.

I wrote a little piece on my blog, and a friend emailed me to say that he found it a bit disturbing because it felt hostile and tribal to him. Much of this feeling seemed to come from the fact that the narrator is first person plural (talks about “we”) and he felt himself identifying with (“Hey, we! I’m a part of we.”) and then being disturbed by the tone of the piece.

Here’s a writing prompt: write in first person plural. Invite the reader in. Invite the reader to be a part of the story’s “we.” And then force the reader out. Repel the reader. Hard.

Open the door and let them into the party, and then make them regret having enjoyed the punch and cake.

But compel them first.

(And don’t go with the easy push back. It’s not hard to punch a person in the kidney or press on someone’s gag reflex. Find a subtler solution.)

Craft Notes / 12 Comments
January 20th, 2010 / 7:11 pm