The Inventor

Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin are well-known inventors. Considering the available resources of their times, they took the world to new places. Henry Ford did likewise. Not only is he credited for the first car, he also came up with the idea for assembly-line work.

Smaller inventions have impact as well. Think of the shoelace, the whisk, the cast iron pot. Roller skates led to roller blades. Did snowboards precede skateboards? Imagine how the chair lift changed skiing and the outboard motor impacted fishing.

Your task is to write a story in which your protagonist is either struggling to invent something, or has done so and is trying to convince the market that her product is worthwhile.

Make it interesting by showing the issues that are impacting the character. Let readers see the setting, but also hear words shared.

Tension will pop-up as your character interacts with the device and with others.

Have fun with this one.

Another Look at the Past

Storytellers and memoir writers have to keep in mind that telling what happened in the past can affect how a person looks at the present.

One effective way of detailing the past is through the form of letter writing.

Address the letter to the main character or to yourself. Begin:

Dear Mattie,

And then write notes that encourage the character to overcome past occurrences, emotional distress or offenses committed against self or others.

For example:

“When you were a little girl, you were stuck between a brother who was worshiped by your mother and a sister who could do no wrong. This put you in a precarious position that was none of your doing. No matter how hard you tried, you could never be as perfect as your brother nor as needy as your sister. You tried to garner your mother’s attention by being shy and retiring.”

And so on.

Do not hold back. Speak about the things that the character/you did that got you in trouble or lead you down the wrong path. About those things that you could not control but that shaped who you later became. About those things that you did well for which you earned promotions, degrees, letters of accomplishment.

Do not try to cover the entire life in one letter, but rather construct a series of letters as information pops into your head.

After you have written a letter, think about how you can turn the details into a story. Construct likely dialogue and interpersonal interactions that might have happened. Do not worry about being exact as that will hold you back.

Your task is to write at least one letter either to yourself or to a main character. Make it at least 4 paragraphs long. Touch on emotional issues that motivated you/your character to react. When you are finished, do not put the letter in your story. Turn it into a series of scenes, including dialogue, that are interesting to read.

Have fun with this one!

Good luck.