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Wednesday Writing Prompt: The Fruit Bowl Project

A few years ago, a bookseller at Boswell Book Company told me about The Fruit Bowl Project: 50 ways to tell a story by Sarah Durkee. In this novel, rock superstar Nick Thompson visits an eighth-grade writing class to talk about writing. Here’s what Nick tells the class about writing:

My theory is that for a writer, every song, or every story, that they sit down to write is just like a bowl of fruit that a painter sets out to paint. And every bowl of fruit is different. Then comes the good part. How many ways do you think there are to paint a simple bowl of fruit? (p. 11)

The class creates their own “fruit bowl” — a scene that the students will all write about. Each student tells the story in a unique way. Brilliant! When I get stuck, writing a scene in a different format or from a different point of view can help me find the core of the scene or idea. Before I know it, I am unstuck and moving forward in my own voice.

Here’s your assignment. Take a scene from your work in progress, an idea you need to communicate, or a story from your life, and write it in three different formats or from three different points of view. Here are some formats to work with (some of these come from my imagination, others are from the book The Fruit Bowl Project):



The optimist

The pessimist

The reporter




Protest song

Your turn. What formats do you like to use when you are playing with words?

5 Responses

    1. writenowcoach

      Great to meet you, Sarah! I’m a huge fan of your book. I have bought MANY copies and use it with my writing group for tween and teen readers. They LOVE it, by the way. Thanks for stopping by the blog. All the best, Rochelle

      1. Thrilled to hear it! The book’s Facebook fan page is pretty active, feel free to pass it along to your writing groups. It would also be a great place for them to share any of their own short pieces that might’ve been inspired by a “Fruitbowl”-type assignment, if they’d like. Thanks again for the kind words, Rochelle!

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