“The 3 A.M. Epiphany” Is a Productive Use of Your Writerly Insomnia

“The 3 A.M. Epiphany” Is a Productive Use of Your Writerly Insomnia

Different writers have different rituals and methods of writing, from last year’s Pulitzer Prize winner Donna Tartt to classic writers like Hemingway and contemporary pop writers like Dan Brown. However, nearly every writer agrees on one piece of advice, “Write every day.” You have to write to be a writer and not just proclaim you’ve got the next Harry Potter or Game of Thrones in your head.

Some people don’t respond to prompt writing, but The 3 A.M. Epiphany is less about prompts and more about expanding your repertoire. Brian Kiteley, a director of the creative writing program at DU, crafted the kind of writing prompts that nudge you into considering how conversations flow, the differences in male and female perspective, and how a story can be framed by time or history. Each prompt is followed by either an explanation of why it’s an effective narrative tool or an example of how other authors successfully employed the technique.

63: Write a fairly long, complicated phone conversation overheard by someone in the room. This exercise makes you pay attention to what’s going on behind your back, in a sense, in your own fiction.

123: Take a favorite music piece without lyrics and play it over and over again until you find the narrative rhythm of a story proper to the music. The idea of the piece is that the writer—not necessarily the reader—will be influenced by the music.

So, give it a try. After all, it’s never too early to start.

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