Now is the time to get creative. Aesthetica presents five key pieces of advice for writing poetry and short fiction – offering sources of inspiration and collaboration.
Use an Image Prompt
Our culture is becoming increasingly visual. There are over 95 million posts uploaded to Instagram per day. As such, our modes of communication are changing. Take an image – whether fine art, documentary or data from your camera roll – and use the composition as a prompt. What’s happening in the frame? What might happen beyond the frame? If the image had a voice, what would it be?
Cut the First & Last Line
Kill your darlings. Often. At Aesthetica, we believe in an economy of language, only using words that add rather than dilute. Try cutting the first and last line, or even the first / last stanza of a poem. How does the meaning change? Did you ‘over’ introduce the ideas or create too clean of an ending?
Steal Your Own Work
Found poems are a great use of material. They add layers of complexity to archive materials, mundane lists or other literary works. We can cut, re-compose and respond. What about that work you discarded a long time ago? Dig it out and take a smattering of words and create something entirely new. Cut. Paste. Reinvent. Try to stray as far from what you originally intended for the piece.
Change the Perspective
You may be set on writing in first or third person, but can you flip the point of view? Try second person. If you have an omniscient narrator, close their view with a first person perspective. Try looking from something in the background: a periphery character, an object resting behind the action. Anthropomorphise and shift the performance.
Collaborate in Lockdown
Now’s the time to innovate and create. Never has community been so important. Reach out to one of your fellow writers (join a group, or DM those that you admire) and ask if they’d like to collaborate with you. You could each write alternating stanzas, or a paragraph / line each. Can they give you further prompts? Can you give them an image to work from?
Feeling inspired? Submit your finished poem or short story to the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. Find out more here.
Lead image: Ben Thomas, Crown, 2016. New York.