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.

The Comfort Zone

I am terrified of heights, so you’d never find me zip lining over the rainforest canopy, standing on the precipice of a canyon or climbing the side of a mountain.

But what if my life was threatened by rapidly rising waters? Would I climb a tree to save my life? Most likely I would, but not without first trying to come up with other less risky options.

What are the parameters of your character’s comfort zone? Is she so terrified of spiders that she freezes when one lands on her? If a snake slithers across the trail, will he turn around and go back to the car?

You need to think about this. Begin by making a list of possible scares that fit within the parameters of your character’s personality. For example, someone who loves flying might be willing to bungee jump off a bridge, but would never swim in the ocean.

Try to come up with at least five things that fit within the comfort zone and at least five that do not.

Now, write a scene in which your character must face her fears. Make the stakes high enough that the story is intriguing. No if I do this I win a candy bar stuff, but rather if I don’t do this my friends will tell everyone that I’m a wuss, further damaging my already fragile relationships.

Or even make it life threatening. If I don’t jump out this window, I’m likely to die in the fire or be shot by the robbers or be bitten by the frothing-at-the-mouth dog.

When you are finished, reread, adding tension whenever it is appropriate.

Have fun with this one.