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2021: Celebrating The Writers' Greenhouse
10 YEAR anniversary!

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Weekly writing prompt: comedy job interview

Comedy job interview

Your weekend writing prompt is a chance to play with comedy - time to brighten up after a wet week and give yourself a good giggle.

You're going to write a job interview, where it gradually emerges that the applicant is deeply unsuitable for the job. It might start to emerge through the things they say and answers they give, or perhaps their answers are perfect but their behaviour is... not. Alternately, they might be deeply unsuitable because they're a perfectly excellent candidate and the place they're applying to is a terrifying trainwreck / horror / farce, etc. If you want a possible job they could be applying for, then pick one of these four: * bartender * spy * teacher * accountant. One tip: to keep your comedy from slipping into heartbreaking bathos – the two are just a hairsbreadth apart! – you might want to make sure that the character doesn't urgently need the job. Of course you can always play across that fine line if you want, as some comedy does.

I suggest you don't plan it in advance: give yourself ten minutes, settle yourself with notebook and sippables, then write to discover and let more of the situation, the job, and the characters emerge through the writing. Enjoy it!

This is the 8th of 12 weekly writing prompts in the run-up to the Summer of Writing workshops in Oxford this August. Each of the prompts loosely connects with one of the Summer of Writing workshops: this one links with Writing in Scenes, as focusing in on a job interview like this helps you stay in the scene in "real time" and the comedy element helps you intermingle dialogue with description and action.

You can see all the previous prompts here and there's also a new prompt each week, so you can subscribe to the blog here:

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You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to get reminders. The full list of Summer of Writing workshops is...

  • Saturday 3 August: Page-Turners: how to keep the reader reading – whether you’re writing literary fiction or a pot-boiler thriller
  • Saturday 10 August: Writing In Scenes: explore how to balance the different ingredients of a scene and ways of approaching the “big scenes” in your story
  • Saturday 17 August: Characters Unlike You: explore a range of ways to write characters unlike yourself and vary a story's cast, while you develop new characters
  • Saturday 24 August: Hone Your Style: explore what makes quality prose, from angela carter’s richness to margaret atwood’s restraint, and hone your own style
  • Saturday 31 August: Publishing: how to submit your writing for publication: find where to send it, sort your layout, and write synopses and cover letters
Read more details about the Summer of Writing workshops and book your places here. NB: Workshops are limited to 12 places and fill up quickly, so do book in advance if you can.

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