Write a new piece using Nighthawks by Edward Hopper as your inspiration.
In today’s writing challenge, you’ll choose a scenario (or invent your own) and write a poem, a short story, a vignette, a scene, or flash fiction based on Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.
Perhaps the Hopper painting is not your style? Check out The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Louvre, the Art Institute of Chicago, or The Web Gallery of Art for some visual inspriation. If you use a painting, be sure to credit the source and copyright in your piece.
The painting’s four inhabitants: the soda jerk seemingly caught mid-task while talking to the man on the right. The woman in red. The mysterious man with his back to the viewer. Dressy, 40s clothing, replete with fedoras. The evocative darkness and light in the painting — all this screams mystery to me. They could just be grabbing a milkshake. But nah….there’s got to be a lot more to it than that. That’s where you come in. Pick a scenario below or invent your own to create a new piece for this challenge:
- Blank slate: choose one of the painting’s four subjects and write a new piece from their point of view. Give us their backstory: where have they come from? What brought them to the restaurant so late at night, on this particular day?
- The love triangle: The woman in red is dating the man she’s seated next to, but she’s secretly in love with the man with his back to us. Tell us a story from her perspective.
- The sting: The soda jerk is a cover for a criminal mastermind. The man with his back to us is a G-Man about to make his arrest. Create a character sketch of the soda jerk, complete with the defining moment in his life that lead him to his secret life of crime.
- Gender switch: All the men in this painting have just been magically transformed into women. The woman is now a man. What sort of story can you tell now?
- Dialogue: Imagine a conversation between the four subjects of this painting. What are they talking about on this night in 1942? What sort of language do they use: formal? Slang?
Above all else — have fun with the challenge. Looking forward to reading what you write.