Prompt # 9: Write a short scene in which your protagonist is engaged in a competition. The competition can be anything you want it to be (a spelling bee, the soccer field, the court room, family game night). The only rule is it must stretch your character.
Think about your character’s attitude, body language and voice. Consider how your character would react to winning, losing or being prevented from competing. Depending on the age of your character it may be appropriate to write this scene as a flashback or a dream. The main goal is to get to know your character in a way that stretches you as a writer and them on the page.
They said that I can't enter, To run the race today. My humans had something to say about that. In the lineup is where I'll stay. All they see is tiny, But I'm a mighty boy, I am. Let them try to pass me by, Ahead is where I'll scram. They'll wheeze as I whiz by them. In the dust they'll drop, as I fly. They all only see short legs, It's my strength that they can't spy. I can run with the big dogs. Let them think that I'm no threat. Start the gun, raise the flag, I'll be the fastest pet! The flag is flashed, I dash. I'm out in front of the pack. I peek behind to notice, One mutt is at my back. For a second there he passes. Then I give it the juice and jump. I'm out ahead by dog lengths. You can't beat me you big chump. I did it, I just won! I crossed finish line first. Now would someone get me a drink? This champion's dying of thirst.
Do yourself a favor and drop over to Lana Voynich’s blog. One can usually bet on having a good laugh. :0)
Prompt #4: Think about the elements of setting that are important to you. Write them down and then define them (without the help of Google). PLEASE DO THIS PROMPT WITHOUT RESEARCHING THE ELEMENTS OF SETTING. It’s important your base understanding is your point of reference. You can Google after.
P.S. This prompt is going part of a 3-day series.
Believe me, I’m working on today’s deadline for a children’s magazine story, and don’t have the luxury of time to research. If I’m off, which I probably am, I guess I will learn something new over the next three days. :0)
Off the cuff, I’d say any elements of setting that help put your reader in your story are important. I think of the five senses, though not all would come into play all of the time, or some would play out in combinations.
I’m not sure what challenge host Shannon Abercrombie means by ‘define’ the elements of setting, so I’m going to use examples.
Sight- Where are the characters?
She is singing a top a magnificent, vast Austrian mountain, as the helicopter flies overhead blowing her hair this way and that. *wink*
He awoke with the new morning sun cascading across the cool supima, mocha chocolate bed sheets.
They owned the secret swimming hole, whose color blue belongs in the sky, and its coolness remained on the boys’ skin long after they climbed back up on the rocks in the sweltering sun of summer.
Sound- What’s going on around the characters?
Children are laughing and talking, balls are bouncing, and swings squeak on the playground at recess.
The squawks and clucks, and moos and whinnies, rise above the soothing din of the sprinklers in the farm’s fields.
At the chef’s table, in the midst of the hubbub of activity going on in the kitchen, with sizzling steaks on the grill, clinking of pots and pans, whisks in sauces, shouts to the line cooks, they whispered sweet nothings in each others ears.
Smell- What’s in the air of the scene?
Her stomach immediately started to grumble at the first whiff of opening the bakery’s door.
As he got deeper into the pine forest, the floor became a smooth bed of crunchy needles, and, when the branches waved in the wind, he was soothed by the rich aromatics of his surroundings.
He procrastinated putting on his gym clothes in the stinky, damp school locker room because they always pick him last for the teams anyway.
The fresh air mixed with scent of hay and manure, and she knew she was home.
Taste- Is the character eating?
She crinkled her nose and pouted as she slurped the last spoonful of disgusting split pea soup right before the big hand got to the 12, avoiding being sent to her room by seconds.
With her last sip, the champagne-soaked strawberry plopped on her face, and he couldn’t help but laugh at her adorable giddiness.
Touch- Are there any tactile feelings that could put the reader in touch with the scene?
Her hand swept over the baby rabbit’s silky fur, but what she couldn’t resist was holding its delicate, paper-thin ears between her fingers.
She tried to take the fish off the hook, but it’s slimy slipperiness surprised her and she dropped the fishing pole in the water.
Whoa boy, I hope I don’t come across like a dope here, but I’m only beginning my path to hone my writing craft again, and though I studied it in school, this old brain needs a refresher course for sure. Thanks for bearing with me.
I don’t think this challenge is going to be easy. Please let me hear it if the posts become too boring, or if you have any tips of your own regarding the prompts.
I didn’t post yesterday because it regarded a work in progress, but I wanted to include it here for continuity…Nah, I just didn’t want y’all to think that I blew it off. :0)
[Prompt #2: Think about a character (not the protagonist) central to the plot of your story. Write a scene from his/her perspective. How does the scene change? How does the tone change? Does this perspective shift allow you to explore the conflict from a surprising or more powerful perspective?]
Okay, off to Prompt #3…
Prompt #3: Write about a moment in your past that lives in infamy for you.
This isn’t terribly embarrassing now, but it was the day it happened that will make the experience live in infamy– My wedding day!
When my just-about-to-be-husband and I were up at the altar, and our pastor got to the exchanging of rings, I insisted on putting the wedding ring on my husband’s right hand.
At my first attempt, my husband smiled and subtlety extended his left hand, but I grabbed for his right. Then he tried it again, but I was so fixated that it should go on the other hand that I shook my head, pushed his left hand away and again, reached for his right.
Finally, he grabbed my ring-holding hand, literally pointed the ring to his left-hand ring finger and slid it on himself. Needless, to say, this faux pas had the guests rolling in the isles. Later at the reception, they all joked that we had our first argument of married life at the altar!
That darn experience not only lives in infamy in my mind, they got it on video!
Take the challenge yourself over at Shannon Abercrombie’s blog.
It’s Memorial Day, and the kick-off to writing challenge 100 Days of Summer. I’m not sure yet as to whether this challenge will make for daily blog posts, but when a prompt is suitable, I’ll post it.
Feel free to write along, and if you’re really ballsy, post it in the comments section. :0) Here goes….
Prompt 1: Start a scene where your protagonist celebrates a moment of glory or suffers through a public embarrassment. Try showing this moment rather than telling what happened.
“Mrs. Ullo, Mrs. Ullo!” cried Donna, waving her hand frantically at the back of the class line.
“Class, you will have to all line up, and stop talking if you want to be dismissed,” said the teacher.
“But Mrs. Ullo, I’ve got to go!” cried Donna once again.
“Quiet down, Donna,” snapped Mrs. Ullo.
Minutes ticked by, and seconds dragged on as Donna obeyed her teacher, remaining in line bouncing up and down with her legs crossed.
“Okay class, you can all go home,” said the teacher.
Suddenly, like a string of dominoes, each child in line turned to see Donna standing in a puddle.
“Donna wet her pants,” laughed one kid.
“Donna’s a baby,” giggled another. They all laughed and pointed at her as they filed out of the room, leaving her crying alone.
“Oh my, what happened?” asked a surprised Mrs. Ullo.
“I asked to go, but I just couldn’t hold it any more.”
Sorry to start off with a bit of a disgusting response to the prompt, but when I think of a public embarrassment, my mind instantly lands on an actual experience I had in the third grade, when my teacher wouldn’t let me leave the room to go to the lavatory.
It was the most embarrassing moment of my life, but it also was a turning point. I vowed never to be obedient to a fault again.