August 24th, 2008

Caddy

On the Streets with the Caddy, or Thoughts on Prompts

Several weeks past, I told butterflykiki that I would make this post, with her permission.  I'm just now catching up.

When you think "internal combustion engine" and "FK," the first thing that comes to mind is Nick's Cadillac, right?  And then perhaps one thinks of Nick's motorcycle.  But the list goes on!  Cars and related vehicles are quietly integral to the culture in which present-day FK functions.  Collapse )

In the first oldschoolfic ficathon, the three prompts I submitted were for FK, HL and Young Blades, all of which I love.  butterflykiki chose the HL prompt and cleverly made an outstanding story of it starring Methos and Tessa (noted here).  "But why didn't she choose the FK prompt?" wailed the FK-first part of my brain.  Well, all other reasons aside, it was a lousy prompt, I've concluded.  "Internal combustion engine," as a prompt, is less intriguing, less inspiring, than any one of the more specific items in the list above, not to mention a number of other things from history and circumstance under that heading alone.

For future prompt construction, I'm taking the lesson that more specificity is better.  Not so much that the recipient feels dictated to, of course, but enough to gather up the tinder before whipping out the lighter.  And also that curious conjunctions -- for example "Urs and Schanke" (nod to wiliqueen) may be inherently more interesting than common ones -- for example "Urs and Screed" -- because they present a problem to be solved.

What do you think of "What if?" questions as prompts?