Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rewriting prompt: A Moody Rewrite

Find a scene or story that has a strong mood to it and rewrite it to give it an opposite mood. Make a somber scene light-hearted, or a scary scene funny. Or at least fun.

The trick is that you can't change the facts of the scene — of someone is brutally murdered, they must be brutally murdered in the rewrite.

Some specific possibilities:
    A cockroach wearing a party hat.
  • Rewrite The Fall of the House of Usher so that it has a sense of eagerness and joy.
  • Rewrite The Metamorphosis so that Gregor Samsa's transformation feels like a wonderful surprise.
  • Make Petruchio's treatment of Katherine (or Katherine's of Petruchio) in The Taming of the Shrew feel like the worst type of domestic abuse.
  • Rewrite parts of 50 Shades of Grey as a happy children's book.

Ulterior motive

This is an experiment in connotation. It's easy enough to make a character feel a particular emotion. What's hard is making the reader feel that emotion, too.

There's no denotative difference between, say, work, labor, and toil, but because of their connotations, choosing one word over the other can make a world of difference to the mood. Take a close look at word choice and how that word choice affects the tone of the story.