Hampton Roads Writers
Writing Prompt for October 19, 2008
The following exercise serves the purpose of encouraging you to think in less conventional and stereotypical ways about how fictional characters’ actions and motivations are linked – or not – to their appearance and cultural backgrounds, with the overall aim of discouraging the reliance on archetype and stereotype in character development.
Our preconceptions of our own characters are heavily informed by conventions of the cultural context, era, time and place, etc. that the story takes place in. Rewrite a part of a short story you have written (usually one scene), resetting the narrative in a different place and/or culture or a different time in the place where it originally takes place (of course, this will not always be feasible if the original story is heavily dependent on its own historical/geographical context), using what you know about that place or time.
1. How did your perceptions of your characters change?
2. What did you learn about them?
3. To what extent did the original narrative survive the transposition?
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