Writing Prompt

**I wrote the following blog in August 2016 after getting home from the ATHE Conference. Feast on some old content while I try to figure out how to fit blog-writing into my writing routine!

I just got home from an amazing experience at the ATHE (Association for Theatre and Higher Education) Conference, where I had a ten-minute play developed as part of their New Play Development Workshop. It was an overwhelming experience; I'm still processing most of it. 

But I wanted to share a writing exercise that I learned about during one of the sessions I attended at the conference. A group of us actually kind of dreamed this up together -- a kind of conglomeration of several different exercises we'd each done before. I'm excited to try this out myself one of these days.

So here goes:

Step One

To start, pick 2 or 3 songs, ideally songs that differ from one another in style, tempo, content, etc. (We talked about, for instance, Beethoven, A Tribe Called Quest, and Beyonce -- I think that the more the songs differ, the more fun this would be.)

In a quiet (and ideally dark) room with no distractions, lie on the ground or in some comfortable position with your eyes closed while the first song plays. It probably works best if you've listened to the song once or twice but aren't super familiar with/attached to it. 

As you come toward the end of the song, start to imagine and create a character. You could write a monologue or a character description, or something else. Here are some potential questions to consider:

  1. Does the character relate to or enjoy the music? Why or why not?
  2. Is there something about the character's energy that matches or contrasts with the tone?
  3. Where might the character be listening to this song? What might she be doing while she's listening to it?

 

Step Two

Repeat the process with the other song(s). I'm not sure if it's better to take a break in between songs or just plow through... again, this is all kind of untested and experimental! (i.e. completely made up.) Just see what works for you.

 

Step Three

After you've created your two or three characters, throw them into a situation together. Are they all at some kind of weird concert? A grocery? A department store? A hotel lobby that plays an unsettling variety of music? 

Are they strangers? Married? Sisters? On a blind date discussing their favorite music? 

If you try this exercise, I'd really love to hear about your experience with it! I want to try it asap, and I'll let you know if it ends up being cool.