Here’s a writing prompt just for fun.

This one is a great tool for creating narrative details. It comes from The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante

I am a Camera

Time: Give yourself about 10 minutes to come up with a piece of free writing that will allow you to go further with the work later. 

Goal: To notice what you notice and render it without explaining or interpreting.

What to do:

In the manner of Christopher Isherwood’s famous passage (See below), turn on your “camera” and notice things. 

Take a walk or go someplace where you can have a rich sensory experience. Or, if you can’t go outside, use a window to view the world like Isherwood did in his narrative. 

Record everything you see precisely on the page, using as many senses as possible (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste). 

Don’t try to interpret it, or tell us what it means; everything will get “developed” and “fixed” later. For now, just record. 

Christopher Isherwood talks about his neighborhood in prewar Berlin: From my window, the deep solemn massive street. Cellar-shops where the lamps burn all day, under the shadow of top-heavy balconied façades, dirty plaster frontages embossed with scroll-work and heraldic devices. The whole district is like this: street leading into street of houses like shabby monumental safes crammed with the tarnished valuables and second-hand furniture of a bankrupt middle class.

I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.

So, that’s it. Now turn your inner camera on. What do you see? Notice everything but don’t judge anything. Don’t try to create too much. Your job is to see what you see and write that down. This is how you will set a scene. You can develop it later. Right now all that matters is that the camera is on.

I’d love to see what you come up with in responding to this prompt. If you’d like to send me what you wrote, please go to the contact page at https.// and enter your work in the comments section.