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Writing Prompts for Stay-At-Home Writers: Laura Lampton Scott

Welcome to Tuesday’s edition of  Writing Prompts for Stay-at-Home Writers. Today’s prompt is from Laura Lampton Scott.

Laura Lampton Scott Laura Lampton Scott’s work has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Tin House and The Guardian online, Electric Literature, Monkeybicycle, Okey-Panky, and No Tokens Journal. Laura has taught fiction at the University of Montana, Literary Arts, and Hugo House in Seattle. She’s teaching a 4 week online fiction class for Literary Arts that begins at the end of April, Strange Stories: Putting The Uncanny In Your Fiction.

Laura shared the following prompt:

To write your own uncanny story, get outlandish. March a bear into a scene (Tolstoy does this very early on in War and Peace). Turn children into birds who leave guano all over the dining room table (nod to Heather Monley). But first, start with real life, something you’ve experienced and been wrestling with expressing through storytelling. 

  • Write for 5-10 minutes about a real-life event that you would like to turn into a story
  • Go back through that idea, look for the emotional peaks, the cultural concerns 
  • Now make something uncanny happen. (Maybe someone who is dead is called back; push it forty years into the future; make the worst fears of a character come true; introduce a creature that stands in for the character’s anxieties.)

Laura has a recent example of uncanny fiction, this story in published Hobart last month.


Tune in Friday for a prompt from Alicia Jo Rabins. Let us know how you’re doing, and how your writing is going. Email Susan Moore, Director of Programs for Writers, at susan@literary-arts.org.

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