Writing Prompt 06: Can a Story Change the World? Writing Stories for Peace


Flickr photo by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi


Flickr photo by Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

Conflicts are raging in the world as I write this post.

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright appeared on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ yesterday and summed up the state of the world right now by saying, “there are an awful lot of things that are going on that need understanding [and] an explanation.” According to the Kansas City Star she also said, “To put it mildly, the world is a mess.”

My Huffington Post news feed certainly reads like the end of civilization:

What small thing can we do to bring peace to those who hate and rage? How can we comfort those who are facing horrors as an everyday fact of life? Is it possible to make a difference with just one small voice?

Stories are the Wildest Things because they can change the world. Sometimes stories can make change that lasts for generations and sometimes our stories are here for the briefest of moments and then gone. But even if it’s just for a few moments of solace in the midst of chaos, stories can help us see the world from a different point of view. Can we tell powerful enough stories to stop the escalating chaos in the world?

I don’t know if that is possible, but I do know that as we write and share our writing with the world, those who read our stories are opened up to new possibilities, new ways of thinking, new ideas about how the world works and what our place is in this world.

I challenge you today to write a story for peace.

It doesn’t have to be about how to achieve peace or about peace and what it means. It doesn’t even have to be a peaceful story.

Create something beautiful out of this chaos. Write a story that will live on as a reminder to those who come after us that hate and rage does not have to define us. Be creative. Move us. Make us feel something. Do it in 1500 words or less. Then share it with others. Invite others to take part. Starting a dialogue through story can be a powerful thing. Let’s change the world by writing stories for peace.

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. How many anniversaries like this will we have on our calendars by the time my four-year-old grows up? Will he grow up and know a time when we have not been at war?

Have a peaceful day.

10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

Demian Farnworth has some pretty smart ideas on this poster from Copyblogger about how to get that first draft done.

I suppose if you follow number 5, however, you don’t really have to follow any of the others.

With the series of MG paranormal adventures I’m working on right now, my biggest problem is going back and editing nitpicky details before I’ve gotten a big enough chunk of writing done.

I struggle sometimes with letting a mess happen and trying to clean it up after that first draft is complete. I worry that I’ll forget which direction I was heading in with the ideas if I leave it and come back to it later. I’m trying to put more trust in that part of the process right now and the ideas on this poster are helping me with that.

How about you? Which of these rules speaks loudest to you?