Magna Carta 1

So, On Monday’s I draw a prompt out of a jar… actually it’s less of a jar and more of a water goblet, it occurs to me now, that it’d maybe make more sense to put them in some sort of order (like I could do a section on poetry prompts, discover prompts, freewriting prompt, ect) but it’s a bit late in the game for that… so maybe after I’ve worked my way through this set… I’ll do something with more structure… structure is nice, I hear.

Anyhow… My prompt this week was to do Magna Cartas. The Magna Carta I and II exercise were created by Chris Baty of Nanowrimo fame and are suggested in his book No Plot? No Problem!. The Basic concept is that you make two lists. The Magna Carta I, which is a list of all of the things you enjoy writing or reading about, and the Magna Carta II, which is everything you don’t like. Supposedly, this will help guide you in your writing process somehow… Honestly, the only time I’ve ever done Magna Cartas is during Nanowrimo… and since Nanowrimo is more about writing lots and less about  writing good I’ve not found it that helpful in the past… I’ll write all sorts of nonsense during Nano to get my words and don’t all that much care if I’d enjoy reading it. But, perhaps if I use it as a guideline on writing I’m actually attempting to make readable, it’ll be more useful.

Anyhow, technically this is a two-part prompt, sorta… so I’m going to do a Magna Carta I today and my second post this week will be a Magna Carta II (That’s only sorta cheating…)

Magna Carta I (Things I Like)

  • Unreliable, Rambling, and/or Multiple Narrators: i.e. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Welcome to Night Vale
  • Diverse Characters: There should be some truth in fiction, and truthfully I don’t know all that many straight white folks…
  • Relatable Villains: Even if the relating is just I know/hate someone just like that. An effective villain should have motivations besides because evil.
  • multiple plot lines that ultimately converge: I like the idea of other stories happening congruently with the main story, everyone has a story to tell after all…
  • a touch of magic, mythology or fantasy (magical realism?)
  • characters that are unlikable, but not antagonistic: i.e. the creepy guy who hits on bartenders 10 years younger than him, but knows all the town gossip
  • characters that are antagonistic, but not necessarily unlikeable: i.e. Tricksters
  • Fractured Fairytales/fractured public domain
  • Strong female protagonists that display a full array of emotions and weaknesses besides clumsiness
  • background romance: romance isn’t interesting enough to me, to be the focal point of anything I write, but a little bit never hurts.
  • Stories that happen over a short period of time: Mostly for pacing reasons, if the story takes place over a weekend it’s easier to keep on track.


So… that’s that, I guess. I’ll post my Magna Carta II on Friday (I’m apparently announcing my posts now as some sort exercise in accountability).

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