Tuesday, March 25, 2014

If You Give a Writer a Prompt (Guest Post by Elizabeth Bernhardt)

My Darling Daughter Elizabeth is currently finishing up her Master's in English at ACU, where she had to complete a "comprehensive exam" this weekend. Her professors gave her a topic (a writing prompt) and she had 36 short hours to write a ten-page, comprehensive paper.

She succeeded, of course, and celebrated by writing a short story, similar to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff (Author) and Felicia Bond (Illustrator).

Of course, in this case it's really a true story.

Well done, Lass. Well done.

If You Give a Writer a Prompt
by Elizabeth Bernhardt

When you give Elizabeth a writing prompt...
She'll want some books to go with it.

When you give her the books, she'll want to mark some quotes.
So then she'll want some Post-its to mark the quotes.

After she uses the Post-its, she'll ask you for a computer to retype the quotes.

After she retypes the quotes, she'll probably be hungry. She might ask for some lunch.
You'll make her Goldfish mac and cheese with peas in it, and she'll eat the whole thing even though it tastes awful.

After she eats, she may try to write, but it'll be hard. 
So maybe she'll want a study buddy to help her write.

You'll find her Greg in Mezzamiz, but she'll be so happy to have a study buddy that she'll spend a few minutes talking. 

She'll talk so long that her throat will be dry. 
You'll have to get her a glass of lemonade.

After she drinks the lemonade, she'll ask for chips and salsa to go with it.

Now full of food, she'll copy more quotes from her computer until her study buddy leaves. 
Then she'll ask for a new place to study.

You'll help her drive to the GA office, where she'll free-write on the nice soft couch. 
The couch will be so comfortable that she'll want to go to bed. It's late, so you'll let her.

After she wakes up, Elizabeth will be a little confused. She'll probably want a way to organize her free-writing.
You'll give her Scrivener, and she'll copy all of the free-writing into bullet points in the document.

After all of this work, Elizabeth will be hungry again, so you'll get her fried rice.
Last time after she ate, she went to see a study buddy, so she'll want to do that again.
You'll find her Sarah at Sarah's house, and she'll be so happy to have a study buddy again that she'll spend a few more minutes talking.

After she talks, though, Elizabeth will be a little nervous about the time.
You'll have to get her a timer to help her work more efficiently.

After she works for a few hours, Elizabeth will almost have the paper organized.
She'll be hungry again, so she'll want some pizza.

You'll order her pizza, but it will be deep-dish, which she doesn't like.
She'll eat it all anyway and keep working with her study buddy.

After the paper seems organized, Elizabeth will want a way to make sure everything flows together.
You'll open a Word document so that she can copy everything over and edit for flow.

After she edits for flow and finishes making the paper look nice, Elizabeth will turn it in.
She'll be so happy that she'll dance in the car all the way home.

After she dances in the car, Elizabeth will have too much adrenaline and be unable to sleep.
She'll stay up late and walk the Lunsford trail in sandals.

Unfortunately, it's cold, so Elizabeth will start shivering in her sandals.
She'll want to come home and climb in bed with lots of blankets.

After she warms up and gets some sleep, Elizabeth will feel victorious.
She won't want to do anything else, but she knows she has to do her thesis.

To help her do her thesis, you'll bring her useful books.
And once she has the book she needs --

She'll ask for a writing prompt to go with it.

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