December 7 Journal Prompt: What is Revolting?

What in life revolts you?

This exercise can be fun, or it can be dark. I’ll let you decide where you want to put it.

While getting to know yourself and your writing, you’ll come across practices that might pertain to your goal that just make you feel gross. For example, many writers detest the idea of marketing (I’m one of them!). There’s good ways of marketing which don’t feel slimy, and then there’s disgusting methods of marketing that make my skin crawl. Everyone’s different, so I won’t list anything here.

Why You Should Know This

So far we’ve looked at what inspires you, what scares you, and what brings you joy. All of these have been aimed at personal development as well as potential prompts or things to consider while you’re developing your character.

Today’s journal prompt is purely for inspiration.

Often when we develop a character, we might think about what the character likes and dislikes, but going so far as knowing what revolts them is the opportunity to give that character just a little bit more depth.

Furthermore, in knowing what revolts you, you gain some insight as to what might revolt a reader. Depending on the genre you’re writing in, this has the potential to create a more gripping effect in your writing.

For example, a client of mine who wrote a beautiful short piece for a competition (and was successful!) had a character lift a lock of hair to his noseless face, where a nose used to be, and sniff it. That image made my skin crawl and I loved it. I was invested in the story completely with that detail.

However, there is definitely a fine line here.

While it can be affective in creating a capturing piece, it can also have the opposite effect. If it’s too revolting, it might make your reader close the book and be done with it.

Chuck Palahniuk certainly walks this line, and for many readers, crosses it. His short stories can be absolutely horrific to read, though are of outstanding quality. I won’t go too into it, but let’s just say that Fight Club is easily the tamest thing he’s ever written.

The Journal Prompt

Your prompt is to look at what revolts you. Make a list of things that just creep you out, that you can’t stand the idea of, or that will make you close a book instantly and never look back.

Once you’ve made your list, ask  yourself what about it gives you this reaction. Some will be obvious, while some will really make you think. Try to avoid answers like “It’s just too much,” or “It just creeps me out,” or anything that fails to give an actual reason for why it revolts you.

Ask yourself why and interrogate this list as much as you can within comfort. If you feel up for it, push past your comfort level, though I do acknowledge there are somethings on the list that might be triggering. If you feel that it’s going to be problematic to your mental or emotional health, please don’t push yourself.

After you’ve completed this list and asked each item “why?” a few times, spend sometime freewriting about what you discovered. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about writing? What can you use from this exercise to your advantage in your writing?

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.

Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Published by

Nicola Thompson

Born and raised in the Pacific North West (Washington State to be specific), I'm currently living on a farm, raising chickens, and writing in North Yorkshire. A former editor of Durham University's online magazine, The Bubble, I also write for the magazine Carpe Nocturne, and have several short stories published in a variety of anthologies.

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