Playwriting

Picture Prompt: The Unexplainable

Written by Lindsay Price

Ideas can come from anything and everything. But it’s always a good idea to give students a jumping off point. Pictures are a great jumping off point for creative writing.

You just have no idea what’s going on in some pictures. They are unexplainable. Any explanation you come up with is the right one.

Using the picture at the top of the post, take these steps:

  1. Automatic write on the picture. Set a timer for two minutes and tell students to write down everything and anything that comes to mind when they look at the picture. Don’t self-censor or judge any thought, just get it down on the page. Explain to students they’re creating source material to draw from for future writing.
  2. Have students answer the following questions:
    1. What is going on in this picture?
    2. Who put the mannequins there and why?
    3. What do the mannequins represent?
    4. Who took the picture?
    5. Is the person taking the picture for or against the mannequins?
    6. What is happening outside the frame?
    7. What happened five minutes ago?
    8. What’s going to happen five minutes from now?
  3. Based on the automatic writing and the answers to the questions, students will write a monologue. Here are some suggestions:
    1. Write a monologue from the perspective of the photographer. Decide if they are for or against the mannequins and why. What does the photographer want?
    2. Write a monologue from the perspective of a mannequin. What do they want? What do they think of the situation they’re in?
    3. Write the inner monologue from the perspective of someone outside the frame watching everything take place. What do they think? What do they want?
Click for a printable version of this exercise!

PicturePromptTheUnexplainable-page-001

About the author

Lindsay Price