The credited prompt

Okay, I’ve remembered why writing/blog prompts leave me feeling like my writing has become more artificial. It’s the bit where you quote the prompt, indicating that it is, indeed, a prompt.

My last few posts (on the other blogs) were inspired by quotes from books I’d been reading. In those posts, I included the quote and credited it. Without the credit, it would have been plagiarism. But without the quote, the quality of the posts would have suffered. See, the strength of a quoted passage is both in its meaning and the exact words used to convey that meaning. With a prompt, though, I suspect I could write an entire post without directly quoting it, and the post would be just fine. (If I wrote 300+ words on “what the color ocher means to me,” and didn’t include that sentence, I’d like to think you’d figure out what I was saying. Although you might reasonably wonder why I was bothering to say it.) So, quote the prompt, and feel like I’m posting an exercise from a composition class instead of “real” writing; don’t quote it, and wonder if I’m taking undue credit for something that isn’t quite mine.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo, NaBloPoMo, or anything else of that sort. Imagine what kind of inessential problems I could find to fret about if I was under real pressure to write something.

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