One Day to Live Again

If given an opportunity, which day in your life would you choose to relive?

Is there a time that you said or did something that you regret? If so, what would you do differently? How would this change the outcome?

We all do things that later cause us grief. It might have been a snide comment in response to being treated poorly by a friend or family member. It might have been an act as simple as not dividing the cake into equal portions and giving someone you were angry with the smallest piece. Granted, this is not a huge event, but it speaks to an underlying tension.

Your task is to write from the heart. Recall a situation that, if given a chance, you would do differently. Begin with the scene. Put us in the moment, whether it is a situation at work or an encounter in a coffee shop.

Choose your character. It can be first person or third. If third, keep the character’s actions as close to what really happened as possible.

Put things in motion. Try to recall the things that were said, the emotions, and the reactions.

Think about how you felt after it was over. For how long were you in remorse? Write about that feeling, wishing that it had never happened.

This will not be a fun activity, but one from which you can learn. Your characters say and do things that they should regret.

Good luck with this one!

Heartbreak

All does not go well in every relationship. People date, determine that they like each other, maybe even think it’s love, and then the other person pulls away.

We have all experienced heartbreak at some point in our lives, and so should our characters.

Consider one of your favorite characters, regardless of age. Now put that individual in a romantic relationship.

If the character is young, it could be the devastating loss of a parent due to indifferent. If a teen, the loss of that first love.

How would you write that scene?

Your task is to choose a character that is either one you are currently working with or create a new one. Consider the possible romantic relationships that could ensue.

Narrow the possibilities down to one and write. You must take into account all the emotional turmoil that tears the person apart for it to be considered true heartbreak.

Once you have written the scene, reread and see if the emotions come through. If not, then edit making sure that the scene has emotional viability.

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.