Happy Friday, readers and writers. It’s been quite a busy time for me. I’m scrambling to buy the books I need for my Master’s program, I’m getting more orders on Fiverr, and, of course, I’m trying to make time for my own writing. That’s the way I like it. When I have nothing to do for too long, the little demons of my mind set in. The circumstances have, however, made me think about decisions and untraveled paths a lot recently. That’s why today’s writing prompt is based on Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”.
I’m sure that most of you know “The Road Not Taken”. For those who don’t, here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry on the poem. Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets. While I prefer “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, “The Road Not Taken” is also wonderful.
As usual, the prompt is simple. Imagine the main character of your current work in progress walking home. On the way home, they always come to a fork in the road. One path leads directly to their home and is well-worn by your character’s continued use of the road. The other remains foreign to your character. They have never been down this other road before, don’t even know what lies beyond it, but today they decide to take the road less traveled.
Spend five minutes in a free-write about their experience taking the road not taken. How do they feel about the change? What awaits them on the path? What do they think they will encounter on the new path home?
After this free-write, walk away for a few minutes. Make a pot of tea, walk the dog, whatever. Just walk away from it and don’t think about your notes for a little while. Then return to your notes and write a scene, short story, poem, whatever you like based on the free-write.
Deciding to travel on “The Road Not Taken” can be a hard task in real life. The journey can reveal people’s strengths, weaknesses, insecurities, and desires. Forcing your character to do something outside of their normal routine can do the same thing. You may even learn something about the character that you didn’t know before. After all, Robert Frost once said that if there’s no surprise in the writer, there will be no surprise in the reader.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
What do you think of this exercise? Have you written anything you would like to share? Ideas for future writing prompts? Feel free to drop a line in the comments or e-mail me at email@example.com.