Discussion questions: Has your work life ever colored your fiction? If so, in what way(s)? Have you ever written nonfiction about your work? I’d also like to learn about your first job and what it taught you.
The other day I was searching for some writing prompts and came across this one:
“Write about your first job and what it taught you.”
It didn’t say, “Write a novel about your first job and what it taught you,” but that’s what I’m doing.
I’ll resist writing anything obvious about how large a role our jobs, our careers, play in our lives. Because duh. But what about those early jobs, the kid stuff we did to earn a few extra bucks for baseball cards and milkshakes during such a formative period of our lives?
When I was sixteen I worked a summer job in a factory and then in the fall began working at a Hardee’s, where I lasted nearly an entire year, whereupon I returned to the factory. Both of these jobs had a heavy influence on the adult I would become, and I think about them both all the time.
In fact, they’ve both stuck with me to the point where the two main characters in my novel work similar jobs (they both work in the factory, and one of them also flips burgers) in a town where the plant is its backbone.
I’m curious about you and your early work, so I’m going to throw out the same prompt:
Write about your first job and what it taught you.
You don’t necessarily have to write a novel, but if it happens, hey, you’re welcome.
But what I also want to know is this: Has your work life ever colored your fiction? And if so, in what way(s)? Have you ever written nonfiction about your work?
WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.
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