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Fiction Prompt from Poets & Writers September 7, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

I received this Fiction Prompt from Poets & Writers today and found it intriguing:

What kind of story would you write for someone reading it one hundred years from now?

For Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s Future Library project, which started in 2014, she has commissioned Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Elif Shafak, Sjón, and Han Kang to write manuscripts that will remain unread in storage in an Oslo library until 2114. The texts will then be printed on paper made from one thousand trees planted in a Norwegian forest when the project began.

Write a short story with the notion that it won’t be read for one hundred years. While imagining a future generation of readers, explore themes involving time, eternity, and mortality.

Do you think that the participating writers will all abide by the “rules” . . . allowing their words to remain unread for 100 years?

Or will most/all of them keep a copy available to share with chosen readers before the designated date?

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. Tippy Gnu - September 7, 2018

I think there’s someone working for the president, in the White House, who might be willing to write a story that no one could read until 2114. But only if he/she is required to give their name as the author.

nrhatch - September 7, 2018

Mr./Ms. Anonymous has angered/annoyed the Donald. 😯

Tippy Gnu - September 7, 2018

One should never anger or annoy the Donald. His combover might get in disarray.

nrhatch - September 7, 2018

Or he might declare, “Them thar’s Tweeting Words!”

2. joyroses13 - September 7, 2018

That is intriguing! Hmmm… I wonder! 🙂

nrhatch - September 7, 2018

I often read prompts and promptly forget them, but this one has staying power . . . tying in with “why” we write and for “whom.”

3. Jill Weatherholt - September 7, 2018

Definitely something to ponder, Nancy! I love writing prompts! 🙂

nrhatch - September 7, 2018

This prompt prompted me to ponder the Who What When Where & Why of writing.

It also prompted my recall of several “young writers” on WEbook who wanted readers reading their words before the ink had dried ~ I’m pretty sure they couldn’t fathom writing without feedback for 100 years. :mrgreen:

4. L. Marie - September 8, 2018

What an interesting notion. I have a ton of stories in my drawer, some of which I wrote when I was a kid. No one but my best friend has read them. I have others I’ve written that no one but me has read.

nrhatch - September 8, 2018

I found this prompt fascinating . . . Both thinking about what I might write in a story that wouldn’t be read for 100 years . . . And also thinking about whether I might want to share it before then.

5. Debra - September 8, 2018

I can’t imagine taking the challenge in the first place. For writer’s with such strong literary position right now, perhaps it’s a way to think about resurrecting their name to a whole new century of readers, but to specifically answer your question, NO, not for me! LOL! I guess I have more of a need for immediate feedback than I previously thought. 🙂

nrhatch - September 8, 2018

Writers read.
Writers write.
Writers want to be read! 😀

6. Joanne Sisco - September 10, 2018

hmmm – intriguing indeed. It seems to me that writers NEED to be read just like performers need to be on stage. To take away their audience in their lifetime with no feedback would be excruciating … or maybe that’s just my ego talking.

nrhatch - September 10, 2018

I don’t think it’s just YOUR ego talking. :mrgreen:

Most of us write (at least some of the time) to entertain, communicate, educate, etc. With no “audience” to read our words, why bother?

That said, I still write in a journal from time to time because it helps me “think.”

Joanne Sisco - September 10, 2018

Good point. I think of journaling as a conversation I have with myself. I’m quite sure I would be unhappy about someone else reading it.

nrhatch - September 10, 2018

I shredded all my old journals to prevent unauthorized access. 😯

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