Writing Prompt: Stupid Things You Did As A Teen

By Marilyn Friedman

It was so busy at Writing Pad last week! On Thursday night, we had a full house at our Short Story Panel with Ben Loory, Mary Otis, and Amelia Gray. It was such an inspiring event! One of my favorite moments was when Ben Loory said that when he submits a story for publication, he tries to remind himself that a rejection letter only means that he’s one step closer to getting published. I really admire his positive attitude and will try to remember that when sending out my own work. I’m not going to lie. It’s going to be tough!

On Friday, Brian Finkelstein, Courtney Kocak, Juanita Mantz, Kris Crenwledge, and Molly Fite rocked the house at our Storytelling Essay Showcase. Their essays were so funny and moving! What is that I hear? My dear, there’s no need to be jealous that you weren’t the one dazzling the audience last Friday! You too can learn how to craft a gripping story and perform it flawlessly without notes next Thurs., May 2nd with Brian at Storytelling Bootcamp. He’ll teach you how to improv like a pro, have spot-on timing, and seamlessly weave in callbacks while unearthing a new story that you didn’t even know was there. Soon, you’ll impress even the crankiest judges at The Moth. The last section of this class sold out–so hurry!

Then on Saturday, I got a really bad cold so I missed the LA Times Book Fair and most of the luxurious weekend of writing I’d planned for myself. Boo! But I’m finally recovered after a lot of soup, tea and rest.

Now that I’ve returned to the land of the fully functioning, I want to invite you to join me this Friday night at Growing Up, Finding Love, Letting Go: Exploring The YA Novel. This event features successful YA novelists Francesca Lia Block (30+ published YA novels incl. “Dangerous Angels” series), Lauren Strasnick (“Nothing Like You”, ALA Quick Pick), Robin Benway (“The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June”, Publisher Weekly’s Starred Reviews), and will be moderated by award-winning children’s book writer Antonio Sacre (“My Name Is Cool”, CA Readers Book Collections for School Libraries).

Award-winning novelist Francesca Lia Block

Learn how to create believable tales of teenage angst loved by readers of all ages! YA is the hot new genre so it’s worth revisiting those painful teenage memories. Besides, the event is only $5 and includes snacks and sangria. The writing prompt at the bottom of this post is inspired by this event.

Below are the latest class offerings, followed by a free writing prompt! It’s the last prompt of the month so share a story to be entered into the March/April contest for a free class.

April/May Events:

 Classes Starting May 1 -6:

Emmy-nominated writer and Moth host Brian Finkelstein

Other Classes:

Creative Writing/Multi-Genre


Journalism/Web Writing

Writing For Actors
Writing Prompt:
In honor of our young adult fiction literary panel coming up this week, I wanted to help you to start channeling your inner teenager. Make a list of three stupid things you did as a teenager or kid (or that your fictional character did). Pick one. Now include a sensory detail (e.g. smell, taste, sound, touch). Now write about the stupid thing you did for 10 minutes, making sure to include the sensory detail.
I grew up in a really strict household so I was pretty much a goody two shoes, but I did once take my mother’s precious Chrysler Le Baron without her permission to have lunch with a friend. I landed myself in huge trouble because I got caught. How? I overheated the car and was about an hour late picking my Mom up at work. I couldn’t call her because this was before the age of cell phones. She was livid. What did you do that you wish you hadn’t?

Tell us about a time you did something stupid as a teen or 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! It’s the last prompt for the March/April comment contest!
  1. Renate Smith