Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Venice Masks

Carnivale masks in a Venice shop window.

Of course, throughout Venice, you'll find windows and stores full of masks.  Most of these are quite traditional, but I was taken by this shop window with these non-traditional masks (notice how the bird could easily stand in for the Plague Doctor).

You'll never find me at Carnivale (too many people), but two of my favorite children's books show Venice at historic Carnivale--The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke and Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill.

So, take a look at the writing prompts below and use them to inspire your own Venice story, even if you've only been there on the net or in your imagination.

1.  Write a poem or story about putting on a mask and becoming a different creature.  Or about taking off the mask you normally wear and becoming your true self.

2.  Your best friend will put on a mask for Carnivale (learn more about Carnivale here) and so will you.  You've promised to meet in St. Mark's Square at 6 pm. You don't know what mask your friend is wearing.  How will you find him/her?  What happens i you are mistaken?

3.  Look up the history of Venetian masks (Wikipedia has a good entry as do many other sites).  What traditional mask would you have worn if you were a Venetian in the 19th century?  Why?  Write a story or poem from your 19th century masked-self's perspective.

4.  You walk into the house of a person you know (but not very well) and when you're looking for the bathroom, you find a room full of masks.  What happens next?

5.  Put a character you know well in a mask that doesn't seem to fit him/her very well.  Then write a story that shows how the mask that seemed so strange at first was the very best choice.

6.  Have a character don an animal mask above and then find that they are slowly becoming the mask they've chosen (sort of a Metamorphosis meets Jim Carey's The Mask).

7.  Put a masked gathering into a non-traditional setting:  a middle school dance, a party at work, your family Thanksgiving.  What happens when these characters put on masks?  Do some of them change?  Why? How? Do the changes disappear when they take off the masks?

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