Writing Prompt: Cartoon Characters

By Marilyn Friedman and Alana Saltz

Do you remember how wonderfully lazy Saturday mornings were when you were a kid? As a child, Marilyn would wander downstairs in her PJ’s at around 9 or 10 a.m. on Saturdays, grab a bowl of Rice Krispies, and spend hours watching cartoons like “The Smurfs.” As an adult, she has to spring out of bed by 7 a.m. on Saturdays and get Writing Pad East and West ready for morning classes. Gone are the days of carefree weekend mornings without long to-do lists! Sigh. This week’s writing prompt (at the bottom of this post) is inspired by Marilyn and Alana reminiscing about the simpler days of childhood.

Speaking of fun times, we have many cool events and classes at the Pad this week. If you’re looking for something fab to do Friday night, join us for Crime Scene Confidential with award-winning mystery author David Corbett (“Done for A Dime”, NY Times Notable, Several Best Novel Awards), bestselling author James Scott Bell (Plot & Structure”, “Deceived”) and screenwriter and novelist Bill Rabkin (“Monk,””Psych”). Meet these fantastic writers and learn how to write crime stories so real that you can see the yellow crime-scene tape. Admission is only $10 (includes Marilyn’s famous sangria).

Also, on the Eastside on Sunday, award-winning performer Ann Randolph (Best Solo Show LA Weekly, Best Solo Performer LA Times & SF Examiner) will turn your life’s trials and tribulations into a hit one-person show in The You Show: A Solo Performance Intensive! Her fun exercises will help you generate powerful material quickly and figure out what your show is really about. She’ll even give you customized improv exercises to craft a compelling, emotionally honest performance. Ann’s class will blow you mind.

And on on the Westside on Sunday afternoon, if you have an idea for a crime story or thriller waiting to be transformed into a bestselling novel or a blockbuster, you’ll want to take The Spine of Crime: Structure and the Crime Story with award-winning author David Corbett who is known to many students as “the story whisperer.” David will teach you how to use character and theme to drive your story and help you create a mini-outline! 

Below are a ton of class options as well as a free writing prompt! See you soon.

Note: classes with an asterix (*) will be held at our new, posh Westside location in Westwood!

Fiction, Memoir, and Romance
Storytelling At Light Speed: The Art Of Flash Fiction

Journalism, Personal Essay and Web Writing

Personal Essay Clinic*

What Do You Think? Writing the Op-Ed or Cultural Essay*
Getting to “Like”: Crafting A Compelling Blog
Query Letter Clinic: Writing The Pitch That Sells Your Story

Playwriting and Writing for Actors
Storytelling Bootcamp: A Spoken Workout

Dr. Ed’s Development Bootcamp: Crafting Your Webisode Calling Card (1 DAY)*

Writing Prompt:
Growing up, most of us had a favorite cartoon character that we dreamed of becoming. Marilyn wanted to be Wonder Woman so much that she showed up to costume day at camp in her Wonder Woman underoos and long, red winter boots (she wasn’t the only one!). She spent the rest of the year walking around in a bathing suit inspired by Wonder Woman’s outfit and those same red winter boots. She would spin in her living room until she was dizzy and had dreams that she actually was Wonder Woman but was missing one of her power accessories (like the bullet proof bracelets or truth producing lasso). Maybe you idolized Superman or perhaps you had a thing for one of the Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Make a list of three cartoon characters that you (or your fictional character) adored as a kid. Pick one. Now, add a sensory detail that you associate with this character (e.g. smell, sound, touch, taste). Then write for 10 minutes about the character and the images and memories you associate with him or her. What made this cartoon character so cool? Also, make sure to include the sensory detail in your piece. When you are finished, post your story in the comments of this blog!

What cartoon character did you want to be as a kid? Don’t forget to share the results of your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog to be entered in the contest for a free class!