Prompt #4

March 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Titles: With one of your art pieces in mind


  1. Write ten titles of books or films. (1min)
  2. Ten names of people or places. (1min)
  3. Ten short descriptive fragments. (5min)
  4. Write a title that:
    1. Hints at the work. (1min)
    2. Simply describes the work: (woman with dog). (1min)
    3. Holds a secret about the work. (1min)
    4. Is a punch line of the work. (1min)
    5. Anchors the meaning of the work. (1min)
    6. Put’s the work into a new context: (a winter scene – titled summer breeze). (1min)
    7. Write a title that can replace the work itself. (2min)
  1. Using your lists choose or create ten possible titles for your piece. (10min.)
  2. Cross out eight.

On Exhausting the Edit

February 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Take a writing and see how many ways you can edit it:

  • Cut it up.
  • Black it out.
  • Re-frame it.
  • Delete every other word or every other line.
  • Fold into another persons work.
  • Think of it as a visual exercise as much as a textual one.

Excerpt from: Exhausting the Edit by Anna Riley

Prompt #3

February 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Prompts for an artist statement

Ask yourself, what is an Artist Statement? What does it mean?

What should it do, if anything?

  • Should it describe your art?
  • Should it make you look smart?
  • Should it place you in your time and place?
  • Does it represent your art?
  • Or is it the work itself?

Think about how you would paint, sculpt, photograph, blow or stitch words? How would you build a building out of words?  Which letters or words would you use for the beams? Which for the cement, windows, floors? How would you furnish you building with words?  

Influences & Intersections:  

  1. Make a list the artists that you are most intrigued by.
  2. Make a list of artists whose work you admire.
  3. And a final list of artist whose work you hate.
  4. Find writings about them and make a list by pulling out key words from each.
  5. Take one word from each list and link them to one of your pieces.



  1. Write a list of all of the materials you use in your work. (2min)
  2. Write a list of things you think about when you are working? (3min)
  3. Describe where you make your work: (5min)
    • Your studio, the view, what you see or hear there?
    • Turn that description into a list of key words.
  4. Take ten (10) minutes to describe in narrative form the making of the same piece, try to explain it in detail in the simplest possible terms?
  5. Rewrite it, inserting one word from your lists every fifth word.

Example: Slap something anything on stone on a piece of paper charcoal continues to throw things handwritten on this ugly build up of material voice until you realize it might voice look good to draw glue a huge rock form oil paint at the top exposed board exposed outline of charcoal, paint glass around it.Go through and edit out words that don’t work, and read aloud.

1. Take your lists and create a rhythm: 1  2 3, 4 – 1 2 3, 4 – 1 2

Example: stone sand paint glass marble clay film text frame light

2. Use one of those rhythmic sequences in a statement.


Finally, take all of this compiled information and create a draft for an artist statement.


Prompt #2

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Fiction – Extended Caption

1. Write down ten names of people or animals (2min)

2. Write ten names of places (2min)

3. Describe an interior space in short fragments such as: (5min)

  • sun streamed through the blinds,
  • a purple stain on the carpet
  • a white lace shawl draped over a velvet couch
  • the blue hue of daylight

Try to notice small details: what is on the coffee table? How is it lit? etc.

4. Now take one item from each of those lists and write a sentence.  (5min)

5. Make as many individual sentences as you can, only using the information from your lists. (5min)

6. Look over those sentences and choose two that you think belong to the same story. Link the two sentences, don’t feel you need to be literal, or write away the gap. Perhaps the way you link them is through repetition or a name or by widening the space between. (10min)

7.  Now, if those sentences that you’ve just written were a film, what would the plot summery be? What genre: Thriller, Comedy, Romantic, Epic, Noir or some combination of genre? What is the back-story: Boy meets girl; femme fatal comes to a bad end; investigation; deception; resolution? (10min)

8. Choose either 6 (sentences) or 7 (plot summary), expand and edit.

A Prompt to Consider #1

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Take a book off the shelf and write down the opening line. Then substitute as many words as possible with your own words, keeping the syntax and parts of speech intact. Then keep writing. Performing this kind of literary “Mad Lib” often creates a useful starting place for a story, especially when the sentence contains an intersection of character, setting, and situation. Or try using these opening lines, from Faulkner, García Márquez, and Plath, respectively:

Through the [concrete noun], between the [adjective] [concrete noun], I could see them [verb ending in “ing”].

It was inevitable: the scent of [adjective] [plural noun] always reminded him of the [noun] of [adjective] [noun].

It was a [adjective], [adjective] [season], the [same season] they [transitive verb, past tense] the [family name, plural], and I didn’t know what I was doing in [city]

From Poets&Writers Magazine

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