An Apple a Day

red apples sWe’re getting fruity for this week’s creative writing prompt: Imagine you are a piece of fruit.

Which one would you be? Apple, strawberry, mango, grape, banana? Other? Why?

Is it to do with size, shape, colour, sweetness, sharpness, a tough skin, easily bruised, soft centred? You see how this works?

You may have done this exercise before if you’ve ever been to a creative writing workshop, but bear with me (revisiting past exercises can often bring up new material).

You’ve chosen a fruit to describe yourself, but what about your fictional characters? You’re writing a story and need to get to know the people you’ve introduced in it. Here’s a way to get to know them better.

Try imagining your characters as pieces of fruit using the same criteria as for your own personal analysis. What does this reveal about them?

When you are writing a short story, as the author you have to know all about the background, likes and dislikes, history, relationships, strengths and weaknesses of your creations. The chances are, most of that information will not be revealed in the space of a 2,000-word story, but by knowing all that stuff, a writer can create believable characters.

Remember to shape the story with your reader in mind, and in order to do that, I recommend reading lots of contemporary short fiction. If you want to be published, you need to know the market. It is very easy to find information, but the competitive nature of getting published can be daunting.

When you are looking for a home for your short story, think about entering one of the literary writing competitions (check out writing.ie for links), but if you’re a reader of women’s magazines, consider writing for them. There’s a whole different style to think of, and it is a very competitive market. But there’s some common ground across the genres –  you need to be a reader in order to become a writer…

New  here? Welcome! For the past year I have been posting a prompt to trigger new creative writing every Wednesday at 5pm, Dublin time. Sometimes I suggest stories, flash fiction, memoir, poetry, sometimes creative non-fiction, whatever. There’s some more info here.