Clothing Selections

What we wear says a lot about us. Work clothes might be three-piece suits with ties and well-polished shoes. Or maybe jeans and a faded t-shirt. Or a uniform with mandated styles of shoes, hats and even jackets.

At home we might prefer to lounge in PJs, slippers, and robes. Or maybe shorts and light sweatshirts. Or perhaps nothing at all.

Church clothes range from casual  to dressy, depending upon the congregation’s understood rules. Swimwear could be sexy Speedos and bikinis or one-piece suits that provide protection for arms, chest and torso.

Your character has preferred styles of clothes. What he’s wearing when we meet him tells us quite a bit about him, therefore it’s important that you provide details without giving us a complete list. A few hints here and there will suffice.

Your task is to write a few opening scenes in which your character is wearing different outfits depending upon the activity. Remember to give details without boring the readers. Give them just enough that your character’s choices establish personality, but no more than that.

Have fun with this one.

Forgiving Oneself

Because we are human, we are fallible. Not many days go by in which we do not commit a mistake of some kind. Perhaps it’s a misinterpretation of someone’s words. Maybe we cook something too long in the oven, making it practically inedible. It could be entering data incorrectly into a program that skews results of the project.

Our mistakes are large and small, of minimal importance and of huge import. Some are so egregious that it’s near impossible to find redemption. Often we dig holes so deep that the sky does not shine for weeks.

Your character also makes mistakes. It is through her response to those errors that the reader learns something about her inner strength. An individual who apologizes and moves on has different skills than one who blames others and takes no responsibility for his actions.

Your task is to write a scene in which your character does something that creates a stir. It’s important that it be large enough to create tension, that it upsets the normal routine of life.

You might want to use dialogue as a tool to show what has transpired. Readers want to walk with our character through the entire process. Show us the event, the reactions of others, the feelings of your character and the end result. Details are important.

Have fun with this one.

Great Decisions

Recall a time when you had to choose between a variety of things, ranging from great to small. Some gave immediate short-term rewards while the most desired required patience and determination to accomplish.

Perhaps you wanted a forbidden soda and a candy bar of your own. What went through your mind as you stood before the range of possibilities? What did you choose and why? As you ate and drank, what sensations did you experience? And when you were finished, were you satisfied? If so, why?

Now think of something you wanted as an adult. A new car? Hybrid or electric? Automatic or manual? Sedan or SUV? What research did you do before making a decision? What factors influenced the vehicle that you chose? Once you drove it off the lot, what emotions arose? Were you satisfied with your decision?

Your characters make great decisions as well. The things they want depend upon personality, socioeconomic status and need.

Your task is to write a scene in which the readers will see the entire story from beginning to end. Because this could easily become narrative, the challenge is to bring the process alive through dialogue and action. Tension must also come to play in order to prevent the story from being flat.

Have fun with this one.

Fierce Desire

Can you recall a time when you wanted something so badly that thinking about consumed your thoughts? It was something so special, so dear, so precious that you couldn’t imagine life without it. It might not have been expensive, but it would be worth millions to you.

Who did you tell about it? How did you describe it? What was the waiting like?

When you asked for it, what was the reaction? Did you hear snickers or laughter? Did you receive promises that were never kept? Or did you get the item?

How long did you have to wait? Was it months? For a special day?

Your task is to write a scene in which your character desperately wants something. It can be something small or something large. It can be relatively inexpensive or something that costs quite a bit.

Begin with the discovery of the item. Where did he see it? Why does he want it? How does he see his life changing with it?

This might be a difficult story to write because most of it will take place inside the character’s head. Dialogue will help, however. In fact, it might be good to have your character express desire to a number of different individuals so as to see how each reacts.

Have fun with this one.

Remembering the First Day

Do you recall your first day of school? Were you nervous? Excited? A little of both? What did you think would happen? What were our worst fears?

Apply this to your first day at a new job. Try to remember how you felt as the day approached. What preparations did you make? Did you go through your wardrobe looking for the right outfit? Did you fill your backpack with pens, pencils, notebooks and a new calendar? What software did you put on your laptop?

When the day arrived and you entered the office, what happened? Were you greeted by your coworkers? Did the boss walk you around and introduce you? Who  explained the job duties?

Your task is to write a scene in which your character begins something new. It could be work or school, but she must exhibit a range of emotions as the day nears. One way to show this is through dialogue. Have her explain to a friend what she’s thinking about. Maybe the friend is in her class or works for the same company. Make it fun and interesting so that your readers will want to be engaged.

Have fun with this one.

Shopping Spree

Some of us are avid shoppers. We’ll travel distances for a good bargain. We sort through racks of clothes and other items in search of the perfect thing. We’ll try on a dozen garments to buy just one. For us, shopping is an outing.

There are those who detest shopping. They only enter a department store for special gifts. They know what they want, head straight to it, buy it and leave. Even when grocery shopping they go with a list that they strictly follow.

What about your character? What kind of shopper is she? Does she love the adventure or rush in and out happy to get it done?

Your task is to write a scene in which your character enters a store. It might be fun to have someone accompany him so that there is reflection through dialogue. Readers want to experience the store and the outing with the emotions of the character.

Make sure there are plenty of details. Perhaps there is canned music piped in. How does this make the character feel? Maybe items aren’t where they should be or the proper size and color are missing. Maybe cost is too high.

If he’s a bargain shopper, what items attract his attention? What goes in his cart and stays? What motivates him in his decision-making?

Enjoy writing this one. Reread to edit for details.

Have fun  with this one.

Handling Controversy

Many issues arise that require us to take a stand either for or against. For example, when younger perhaps a bully intimidated a peer. You might walk away and leave the victim to suffer alone. Or maybe you stepped in between the two and demanded that the teasing stop. Your actions depend upon how you normally handle adversity and those actions say a lot about you.

Your character’s reactions depend upon her personality. If she’s easygoing, she might laugh it off and make light of the issue. If she’s temperamental, she might explode and lash out, loudly stating her opinions. If she’s meek, she might duck her head and sit silently while the controversy swirls about her.

Your task is to write a scene in which a conflict arises and your character reacts. Begin by establishing scene peopled by a few individuals that are known. Dialogue is critical for without it, the controversy would not come to light. Details enrich the scene. We want to feel the tension, smell the sweat, taste the fear, see the reactions.

This will not be a happy scene but it will reveal quite a bit about your character.

Have fun with this one.