A Thoughtful Gift

What goes through your mind when you choose a gift for someone?

Do you think of what kinds of things the person likes and already owns? Do you try to come up with something she’s never had before to the best of your knowledge?

What items do you look for? Food? Clothes? Doodads? Tickets to the theater, concerts or sports events?

Or do you rush into a store and pick up the first thing that you see, especially if it’s on sale, telling yourself that she’ll probably return it anyway?

Your task is to delve into this situation with a character. First establish the givee. Who is this person? What is he like? Is he picky or accepting? Grateful or greedy? Does he have varied tastes or only likes certain items? When you’ve given him gifts before, has he been gracious or rude?

Once you’ve established background, create the situation in which gifts are to be given. Wedding? Birthday? Anniversary? Promotion? Open house?

Next come up with at least one gift giver. Establish their relationship and put the story in motion. It’s important that we see the emotions as they happen. Think about word choices, facial expressions and what happens to the gift during the occasion.

When you reread, look for places where details don’t come clear enough. Edit.

Have fun with this one.

Groups/Clubs

What groups are you part of? Do you belong to a book club? Writer’s group? Professional organization? Sports team? Church choir?

Membership in groups expands our friendship circle to include diverse people with common interests. Everyone belongs to some type of group, even if it is an informal one, such as drinking buddies or camping partners.

Your task is to write a story in which your character participates in some type of group activity. Choose something that makes sense based upon your character’s personality. You might begin by listing five groups or clubs as possibilities. Narrow it down to the one that you feel most comfortable writing about.

Write the story that tells of that membership. Remember that a good story must have tension, so all cannot go smoothly. Conflict is critical. Dialogue is an excellent way to show the conflict.

Reread. Add details where needed.

Have fun with this one.

Positive Comments

Imagine that you have three good friends. You’ve known each other for many years. You’ve traveled together, eaten together, shopped together. You’ve shared many wonderful moments and overcome difficulties that might have separated others. Through thick and thin you have remained friends.

What would they say are your most positive characteristics? Think beyond the obvious. For example, not just comments about your physical appearance or how clothes fit your body. What would they say?

Your task is to think about a character in one of your stories and the people that she considers friends. Make a list of those individuals.

Next to each name write at least one positive thing that the person would say about the character. Each person must say something different based upon experiences they have shared.

Choose a place in the story where you can insert at least one positive comment from the character’s friend. How does that play out? What does the character say or do in reaction?

Make sure it feels realistic and not forced.

Have fun with this one.

 

Cheapskate Travelers

Imagine that your character goes out to eat with friends.  He orders a number of drinks, appetizers, an entree and a desert. The food is delicious. The service excellent.

The bill comes. Each person has to contribute their fare share, with tax and tip.

What does he do? You have to decide whether or not he contributes his fair share.

What happens if he tips amply but the others don’t? Does he say something?

What happens when all but one friend pays with cash but the remaining one pulls out a charge card? Does he say something to make sure his ample tip is paid?

On the other hand, what if your character doesn’t pay for all he ordered? How do the others feel? What do they say and do?

Your task is to write the story.

Have fun with this one.

 

Friendship

Friends are important. Let’s face it, without friends, our lives would be pretty boring.

Think of all the things we do with friends. It’s not just about talking, but helping in times of joy and sadness, being there in times of need, offering support to clean out the garage, take rubbish to the dump, or even washing the car.

We rely on our friends to give us rides when our car is in the shop or when we are going to the airport. We offer our thoughts and prayers when they are hurting and they do the same for us.

There are fun things we do together that span from luxurious vacations to a simple lunch out at a fast food restaurant.

Because we need friends, so do our characters.

Your task is to create a few profiles of potential friends for your protagonist. Make a list of five different character types. Make another list of things the two have in common. Match up one character type with one commonality.

Take something you’ve been working on and write a scene in which the friends interact. Be sure to include dialogue, because one thing that friends do is talk.

Have them walk about, see things, do things, eat things. Have them share ideas or secrets or concerns.

Most importantly is that they spend quality time together.

Have fun with this one.