Promptly Creative: POV Challenge

Character A is informed that Character B has been taken to the hospital after being shot in an armed robbery. B is out of surgery when A arrives but is not yet seemingly awake.

Describe the room, first from Character A’s perspective then from B’s as if he/she is aware of what’s happening though unable to respond. What does each character notice?

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Promptly Creative: Living the Dream

Best to never end a story by having your character wake up to find it was all a dream, but what happens when waking up in your dream is just the beginning?

Everyone has bizarre dreams, right?

A year ago, I dreamed that I had been dropped from an airplane into shark-infested waters. The second I hit the water was when I woke up. In the ocean.

Last month, I dreamed I had been buried alive. I rolled out of bed choking on a mouthful of dirt.

Those were nothing compared to what I opened my eyes to this morning.

Will it be horror? Fantasy? Mystery? Have fun and sweet dreams!

Promptly Creative: Meet You Later

The young man collapsed into a waiting cab after a hectic day of work. The echoing cacophony of colleagues demanding more and better from him threatened to pound through his skull from the inside, but the pressure was momentarily forgotten at the realization that the cab wasn’t vacant after all.

“Oh! Excuse me, I assumed-”

All apology died in the air as the other passenger turned from the opposite window. Thick white hair topped a grizzled face. Piercing gray eyes leveled with the front seat before a voice that must have gargled sand for thirty years spoke.

“Drive.”

The idea of protesting crept by meekly at the back of the young man’s brain, but nothing would have marched out of his mouth if someone had lit the cab on fire.

“Your effects, Commander, as requested,” the  grating words were offered with a glimpse of cracked front teeth, and the young man’s hand was about to close around the extended plump envelope before a touch of reality broke lose somewhere behind his eyes.

“What? I think there’s been a mistake,” he was rather proud of how even his own voice sounded at the moment given his rising panic and the headache that had returned and doubled in the space of a second. “Sorry, I don’t know you, so I’ll just hop out over here in a mo-”

The driver gunned the engine past the idling cars and through oncoming traffic, while the back seat companion restrained the young man with a simple but firm grip on his shoulder.

“Oh, we’ve met, sir. Just not yet.”

. . .

Y’all can take it from here.

Drawing a Blank, Literally

In June, I threw some writing warm-ups into the blogosphere, including some of my favorite ways to deal with a blank page. But maybe you’re not the writing exercise type. Or maybe the ideas are even more stuck than those suggestions will dislodge. Sounds like it’s time to approach the situation from an alternate angle.

When everything seems buried deep or evading me altogether, whether it’s writing or editing, I know I need to switch it up big time. I close my laptop and grab a sketchbook. Sometimes it’s easier to get my thoughts flowing if I take the words out for a while. In that spirit, here are a few ideas for directing your creative writing energies when the writing won’t come. The experience of each form might be enough on it’s own – a break that let’s your brain balance itself out by using a different area for a while. However, in case that doesn’t cut it, I’ve included a suggestion to tie each experience back to writing.

MUSIC

Whether it’s making your own or listening to someone else’s, spending time engaging intentionally with music can set the right tone for your story. Start with some music that speaks to where you are mentally at present and sit with it for a while. This might be enough to open up and start work, but it might also just be a springboard.

Apply it:
Pretend you were making a movie, what music would represent each character for the soundtrack? Keep that sound with you as you work on a story to maintain continuity in your characters. How would the sound change and grow while still being recognizable as the same theme? That’s what we’re looking for in our characters, too: an identity that develops and breathes but is still the same individual at his/her core.

MOVEMENT

If you enjoy moving, mix this with the music you’re exploring and groove. If you’re not a mover and shaker, close your eyes for a minute or two and picture the style of motion in your head. Does the movement match the music or intentionally grate against it? By connecting the brain to the body, more information can be taken in from the outside world as well as from within ourselves. Expression takes on another dimension in motion.

Apply it:
Move like your characters. Develop a dance, a walk, a tick. Once you’ve got the look, experiment with a few words to describe it. What about the setting? How does the story world around these living beings move? Does it skitter through the lives in it, weigh everything down, or impose on its surroundings? Is movement in such a place free and flowing or cramped and confined? Start with sweeping generalizations and work down to details.

VISUAL

Put pencil, pen, or paintbrush into action. Start a line and see where it leads you. Let ink bleed through a sheet of paper and examine the results on the other side. Make splotches of pigment until you see something in it. Or pick up a camera and investigate the world around you. Find texture and shadow. Consider perspective and space. Are the images you’re drawn to connected somehow? If nothing is coming out, draw what the inside of your brain looks like as it searches for an idea. Is it brilliant white, empty, mysteriously dark, crowded?

Apply it:
Step into the world of your plot. What visual art exists there? If your characters were to find a paintbrush or a stylus in their hands, what would they create? Alternately, if you’re searching for a brand new story, find or make what represents where you are right now and tinker with the words you would choose to describe it. Would this painting, photo, or etching be an epic, thriller, or fairy tale? What if the 3D version of an abstract image were the physical world of your story?

Promptly Creative: Weird Rewrite

Roll a die three times and jot down the three results. (If you don’t have a die to hand, pick three numbers between 1 and 6 without looking at the choices below.) Rewrite a short version of the story in the genre and with the requirement that match your numbers.

STORY

  1. Oliver Twist
  2. Romeo & Juliet
  3. The Wind in the Willows
  4. Jane Eyre
  5. Charlotte’s Web
  6. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

GENRE

  1. Horror
  2. Romantic Comedy
  3. Science Fiction
  4. Mystery/Suspense
  5. Young Adult
  6. Western

REQUIREMENT

  1. Original protagonist is now the villain
  2. A pineapple is the key to resolving the conflict
  3. One of the main characters is a ghost
  4. At some point a chicken must be involved
  5. A minor character is a mind reader
  6. The main character is deathly afraid of spiders

So if I rolled a 5, 2, and 6, I would be rewriting Charlotte’s Web as a romantic comedy in which the main character is deathly afraid of spiders. Yup, that should get my brain working…