We read some great stories as a result of this prompt in 2009, and with recent bouts of news overload (from Charlie Sheen on up the ladder of substance/relevance to the world), it's time once again to—
Steal From the Real
Feel free to take the following prompt home or post a response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below. By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our occasional around-the-office swag drawings. If you’re having trouble with the captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at email@example.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll make sure it gets up.
Take a newspaper or log on to a news website and comb through the articles (see Ralph Waldo Emerson, above). Jot down two sourced quotes verbatim from different sections—say, one from a news story, and one from an entertainment piece—and incorporate them into a story of your own. Make one quote the first line, and the other the final line.
Does toying with the real and connecting the dots between the passages force your fiction into unexpected corridors?