Opening Doors

Think of all the times that doors have opened in your favor. I’m not just referring to physical doors, but the literal ones as well. For women it was breaking through the glass ceiling and being hired to do a job traditionally seen as a man’s. A good example is our Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was admitted to a law school that had never before had a female student. Imagine how hard she fought to get there and to remain there.

Our characters also pass through many doors in their lives. It could be making it through the first job interview to get hired at a fast food joint. Or maybe it was when they were chosen as a soloist in the church choir.

Your task is to think of several doors that opened in one of your character’s lives. Begin by making a short list of at least five things. Next to each record why that door was important and also how it changed that person’s life.

Choose the one that you feel most comfortable writing about. Tell the story, remembering to include sensory details. We want to feel the anxiety before, during and after waiting for the door to open. We need to walk in her shoes as she goes through the process.

In order to make it more interesting, put obstacles in the way. Perhaps the door is far from home or the door opens at an inconvenient time. Maybe there is rejection at first, followed by disappointment, which then turns to joy.

Have fun with this one.

The Happy Zone

It isn’t natural to be happy all the time. We prefer being happy, but there are people and issues that bring us down. Hurt or embarrass.

How we react to the hurtful depends upon how we feel about being happy. For example, an ex-boyfriend spreads embarrassing information about your character. What does she do? Does she counter with hurtful information about the ex or does she allow it to pass, put on her happy face and go out into the world?

Some of us are happier than others. We love a good joke, we laugh at ourselves, we smile when we hear an interesting story. We prefer feeling pleasant and will work hard to maintain that equilibrium.

What about your character? Where is her happy zone and how hard does she work to maintain it? What makes him feel good inside and how often does he shrug off miserable thoughts just to return to the zone?

Your task is to write a scene in which your character’s happy zone is threatened. It could be due to a piece of bad news, something happening in the world, or a sad movie. Whatever the cause, in your scene it brings your character down.

Then something happens to return your character to the zone. It could be a phone call, a letter, a promotion, a chat with a neighbor.

So, the pattern is this: happy character is saddened for a bit, then gains equilibrium and ends up happy once again. Easy, right?

Have fun with this one.