Friday Links: Writing Outside the Norm

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope you all had a good, productive week, despite the ugliness that’s been taking place in the wake of the attacks in Paris. Wishing you a warm, safe corner with people you love, whatever part of the world you happen to hail from.

That said, I’m going to get right to this Friday’s links. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely weekend or plowing through your #NaNo novel or working industriously on some other project, I hope you have time to check a few of these out. It felt like a particularly good week for interesting, writerly posts, particularly when it comes to writing something different and outside the box. Enjoy, and happy writing!

David Mitchell: Advice to a Young Writer – Some really excellent thoughts from the novelist.

English Is Not Normal – A fun article on some of the stand-out facets of the English language.

Finding Alice’s “Wonderland” in Oxford – A look at the areas of Oxford University frequented by author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and young Alice Liddell — the inspiration for his heroine.

Reading Lives #35: Angela Flournoy – The latest Reading Lives podcast at Book Riot featuring the author of The Turner House, which was a National Book Award finalist. Great interview.

From Murakami to Oates, Why Does Running Appeal to Writers? – Interesting look at the relationship between running and writing.

The Art of the Strange Writing Exercise – On breaking out of the norm and experimenting with your writing.

How Could You Like that Book? – Why we read what we read, even when others don’t understand.

December Writing Challenge: Prompt #1

I’ve set you the challenge to write every day throughout the month of December (with two flexible days off if you need them), so I thought I’d help you along by throwing out the occasional prompt or exercise. I realize not everyone is in the middle of a major writing project, or even if you are, sometimes you need to take a break to work through some difficult scene or plot point. So these little prompts will be here to give you a change of pace.

My goal is to offer up prompts and exercises that you can work on as a stand-alone scene to hone some aspect of your writing skills, that might prompt an idea for a short story, or that could even be worked into an existing WIP. Use them however you like. But if you do happen to write a one-off scene or something similar that you plan to share online, please feel free to link back here in comments. I’d love to see what people come up with. Happy writing!

Prompt 1: Write a scene in which two characters are arguing, but stay in only one of their points of view, using either first or third person. Include the POV character’s thoughts during the argument. Then rewrite the exact same scene from the other character’s POV. See what aspects of the scene remain the same (dialogue, for instance) and what changes. Focus on how each character’s perception of the argument alters the thrust of the scene as a whole. What message does each version send the reader?