Focus on Space

            Look about the room in which you are currently in. What’s on the walls? What kind of furniture? Does everything match or is it a hobnob collection? Is it comfortable or functional?

Think about another space, such as workplace or favorite coffee shop. Picture them in your mind. How would you describe them?

Imagine that you are in a space that holds memories, either good or bad. How did the room smell? What triggered your emotional reactions? Did the quality of light affect your feelings?

Your task is to write a story, either real or imagined, that takes place in the space which most resonates with you. People it with folks that interact with you or your protagonist.

Include not just descriptions, although they are important to setting the tone, but also dialogue that evokes the emotions that you want to resonate.

Reread looking for places where you can add additional details and conversation.

Have fun with this one.

“First” Weather Event

This is a good activity whether you are writing about yourself or about your character.

Working from your memory can often become fodder for a greater story, or a chapter in a novel. It’s been written that we should write what we know, so what better place to begin than from things we experienced?

Your task is to make a list of “firsts” in terms of weather. For example, the first snowfall, first tornado warning, first flood. Do you see any themes running through them all? Think about your feelings as you were in the midst of each. Think about your reactions, whether they be fear, joy, or even the no-reaction.

Which makes the best story? Choose that one and write.

Remember that it can be memoir or fiction.

Reread looking for emotional reactions and details.

Have fun with this one.

What did the Villain do?

If you’re a fan of thriller books and movies, you’ve seen a lot of evil. There’s always at least one villain who plans and executes a crime against an individual or a group of people. Sometimes people die. Sometimes they are horribly maimed. Sometimes they suffer life-changing mutilations. In all cases the victims suffer.

Your task is to choose a modus operandi for your villain to put into operation. Makes sure it is something that your villain has the capability and knowledge to execute. For example, if your villain is strong, then a murder by strangling, stabbing or beating is plausible. If electronics are involved, then the villain must have technological knowledge. If firearms are involved, the reader might need to know how the villain learned to shoot.

Here is a list of possible crimes. Choose on that you feel most comfortable putting in a story.

___ smoke inhalation              ___ beaten to death                ___burying alive

___ drowning (intentionally)  ___ hanging                            ___killing by machine gun fire

___poisoning                           ___ pushing in front of train  ___ running down with car/truck

___ shot with pistol/rifle         ___ slit throat/slashing            ___smothering

___ single stab/multiple stabbing                                            ___strangling

As you write, remember to include not just details, but emotions. We need to feel the villain’s and victim’s emotions.

Have fun with this one.

The Saddest Time

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day was happy? Year after year nothing but good things cross your path. However, that isn’t realistic.

Because sadness hurts, we often push those memories so deep in our brains that they lie hidden. Until something or someone an event brings them forward.

There are endless possibilities. A betrayal. Broken heart. An abusive parent, sibling or spouse. Death. Destruction from fire, flood or earthquake.

Your task is to write a scene in which your character reveals her saddest event. Perhaps this is done through dialogue, for that would allow a give-and-take. Regardless of how you choose to write this, the important thing is that the reader feel the heartache, the despair.

This will not be a fun story to write as it might touch on events in your life.

Have fun with this one.

Clutter

Have you ever been in a home in which every flat surface is covered with piles of stuff? How do you feel when there? A bit claustrophobic? Does the dust that hasn’t been removed cause breathing problems? Do you not want to touch anything, eat anything, walk down the halls for fear of things toppling over?

Maybe it’s your house that’s congested with stuff. Maybe it gives you comfort to be surrounded with so many things. Maybe you grew up poor and little of your own. Maybe you have good intentions to clear things up, but never get around to it. Or maybe the thought of getting rid of even one item causes panic to set in!

Your task is to create a character who is in one of the situations.  She is either the uncomfortable one or the keeper of stuff. Your reader will want to walk in her shoes, see with her eyes, feel with her fingers, be touched by her heart.

Write the story, remembering to build tension, to create conflict, to allow the emotions of your character come through.

Include enough details that the reader understands how bad things really are, but not so many details that there is no story. Strike a balance between narrative and action. Include an antagonist who tries to inspire the character to clear the mess up. Use dialogue, not narriative!

Have fun with this one.

The Issue with Changing our Minds

Picture a person who has opinions, but then, after listening to someone with different ones, changes her mind. What feelings does that incite in you? Do you think she’s awesome for taking into consideration what others say?

Or do negative connotations come to mind? For example, what does it mean to be wishy-washy or a flip-flopper?

Your task is to place a character in a situation where his opinion on a given subject is revealed, then challenged. Perhaps one of the best ways to establish this is through dialogue rather than narrative.

In what types of social situations do people discuss issues that might create tension between opposing beliefs? That’s where your character needs to be.

Make sure that the discussion gets heated. Readers would get bored if your character isn’t passionate or doesn’t get agitated when challenged. Perhaps think about how you react. That might be a good starting point for your story.

Have fun with this one.

Time to Quit

Are quitters really losers or is there a good reason to walk away? Is it more important to stick with something than to admit that it doesn’t appeal to you? This is something that people grapple with daily.

No one wants to been seen as a loser, someone who drifts from one activity to another, mastering none. When applying for a job, future employers might not consider a talented hire someone who has spent a few months working at one job and then another.

Your task is to create a character who either is a serious quitter, someone who has tried a variety of things and given up, or someone who hates what he’s doing but won’t quit for fear of being seen a loser.

Write from your heart, taking into consideration your beliefs about quitting. Put your character in a situation that is familiar to you, perhaps something that you have experienced.

Remember to include emotional details, for it is with the heart that these types of difficult decisions are made.

Have fun with this one.