Friday, April 8, 2011

Supersize Your Stories: A Writing Exercise

With the weather getting warmer, I've been thinking about an old pet of mine, Lu the Praying Mantis. Lu was an adult female native to Albuquerque, NM. She literally hitched a ride home on me from the walking trail one warm afternoon.

I enjoyed caring for her and later that same year Lu laid an egg sack. We actually hatched the babies the following spring after we moved to Dallas, Texas. That was quite the experience. Most of them we released, but we kept a few and managed to raise one to adulthood, who became Lu #2.

I've always been a bug girl; yes, I was that weird tomboy who used to feed pill bugs to the spiders on my porch, catch grasshoppers in peanut butter jars, and make obstacle courses out of paper cups, toilet paper tubes and toothpicks for the caterpillars I caught to run through. My mother was constantly worried I would bring home something that could hurt me, but I never did, though I did suffer a nasty carpenter ant bite one day that surprised me. When I saw submissions for a giant creature anthology scheduled for 2009 from Permuted Press, I was all in. I instantly started thinking about one of my favorite schlocky B-movies, Them! Them! is a 1954 black and white film about giant killer ants that threaten humanity. I proceeded to write my first giant creature story featuring a praying mantis inspired by 1950s science fiction. It didn't get accepted, but I had a great time writing it. Permuted Press published Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror in 2009.

So today, if you're looking for a new story idea and feeling playful, why not supersize one of your favorite things? It doesn't have to be an insect or even an animal. It could be a teacup or your favorite car. Make your art larger than life. Be creative and have fun! You can make a human character larger than life by exaggerating their looks or their personality strengths and weaknesses, or aim for the stars and create a larger than life setting for a new story. Open your story with your characters trapped inside a giant drainpipe or baking the world's largest pizza. Do something unique! I've love to hear your ideas.

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!


Laura McGowan said...

Love your blog. I am also fascinated by the praying mantis in my yard!

Nora B. Peevy said...

Mantids are great natural pest control. They are fascinating. Thanks for your compliment.

deepteshpoetry said...

Beautiful! Drop by my check out my new post when you have time.

Nora B. Peevy said...

Deepteshpoetry, thank you. I'm heading over to check out your post right now.