de-rerum-natura-latin-text-lucretius-stanley-barney-smith-paperback-cover-artSo, lately I’ve been reading Lucretius’ On The Nature of Things which is a bit of Roman metaphysics. Lucretius was a late Epicurean who presented one of the earlier ideas of development through progressive change (i.e. evolution, but very different from Darwinian evolution). On top of this, Lucretius was a poet by trade, so he writes his metaphysics in a highly florid poetic style, which makes him a very interesting mix. He’s writing a philosophical essay, but writing it in a style reminiscent of some of the better Roman poets (Virgil comes to mind) such that On The Nature of Things becomes something fairly different than either. It’s worth a read if you have the time and interest, and its not particularly long. Further, it makes for a interesting twist on this week’s scene challenge. Instead of using a novel, as normal, I want you to see if you can find something that is somewhere between a novel and a work of history or philosophy (Voltaire’s Candide or Nietzche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra come to mind for me, as does More’s Utopia). Anyway, I have a scene challenge for you and you all should know the rules, but just in case: I provide you with specific rules for how to write a particular scene.  Try to keep your scene under five hundred words, and try to keep it in the same tone as the introduction.  If I give a line that is very dark and depressing, then I don’t want to see a scene about a drunken monkey in a tutu…it just doesn’t fit. If I do give you a line about a drunken monkey in a tutu, then you should probably try for a funny scene.

Your challenge: Choose one of your favorite scenes from a novel. After reading the scene a couple of times, rewrite it in your own style and voice. The characters and basic elements of the scene should remain the same, but the way it is written should reflect your voice and style of writing, rather than the original author’s. This can be very challenging, so don’t be too disappointed if you need a few tries to go it well.

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