Another end of the weekend and another chance to have some fun. And have I got a great prompt for you today.
The lesson is about correlation. By definition, correlation is the apparent relationship or connection between two things.
How does this pertain to writing? Well, besides the obvious fact of me talking to you about it, there are several aspects of writing that deal with correlation.
One of the biggest correlations is the connection between your story and/or characters and your readers. You want your readers to identify and relate to your book, for a multitude of reasons.
However, as the author there is an even bigger correlation that takes place. That is, of course, the relationship between the story in your head and the story that ends up on paper.
As artists, writers have a duty to put exactly what they see in their heads into the heads of their readers. Unlike any other art medium, this is quite difficult. A painter can paint a picture and show it to you, a film producer can create a movie and show it to you.
Writers, though, have to take their vision and implant it into your head using nothing but letters on a page.
This is Both Easy and Hard
Some parts of this are extremely easy. If I wanted you to think about a pink elephant wearing a top hat, you can see that in your mind quiet easily. You may add other features I don’t mention to make your version of the pink elephant your own. Perhaps you gave the elephant long eye lashes or a bow in its tail.
As long as you see a pink elephant wearing a top hat, though, my job is done. However, when telling you an entire story, there are aspects that are much more difficult. If I write that Sharron is angry, you can probably image a woman with a scowl on her face.
But how angry should she be? If I don’t portray the right amount of anger for your mind, you may see her as overreacting, or not reacting enough. A furrowed brow isn’t angry enough for a woman watching a man beat up her child. However, throwing heavy objects at the head of man for over-inflating her car tire may be too angry.
So how can we practice this correlation? Why, by using today’s writing prompt, of course. Let’s look at it.
Pick the best line from your favorite song. Create a short story surrounding that single song lyric.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How can song lyrics help with reader/writer correlation?”
The trick is in how you approach this prompt. For example, I may take the line “Gray is my favorite color” from the song “Mr. Jones” by the Counting Crows.
In the song, he is talking about how he is depressed. The vibrant colors are very meaningful and he is going to paint himself in blues, red, blacks and grays. He pulls out a gray guitar to play. He is sad that Mr. Jones is getting all the attention and he is a basic nobody.
Now, I could choose to continue this line of thinking, and write a story about a guy finding out he has true friends and that he does get attention, like in the song. Or, I can make a drastic change and give the reader an entirely new outlook of what is happening.
Taking something already done and making it new again is a great exercise and it helps you develop that correlation between your words and your readers.
You have to remove the images in their minds that are already related to the song and that lyrical line, replacing them with something new.
When you can completely remove the old images with something new, well now, that is a true and honorable talent.
So let’s see what you come up with. Post your story (along with the song lyric and song title) in the comment section below. Let’s see if you can correlate a new image between your words and our minds.