Being Helpfu

Happy people are more likely to help others. It doesn’t take a researcher to verify that statement for we’ve all seen it in action.

Imagine walking down the street at the same time as a mother pushing a stroller while holding the hand of a young child. As she goes down the curb, the stroller tips, threatening to dislodge the toddler.

On one side of the street is a young man walking to the beat of music only he hears. On the other side is another young man stomping forward, bent over, lost in some negative event.

Which of these two will rush to help the woman?

Your task is to write a story in which someone needs help. You can make the need as large as you wish. For example, perhaps an older gentleman needs a new roof or maybe an item is too high for a young girl to reach. Your character reacts. Or perhaps she doesn’t.

Readers will need to meet your character before the event occurs in order to understand the motivations between action or inaction. Set the scene by including sensory details that establish the when, where and why. Make sure readers also meet the person in need of help. Establishing personalities is crucial. Once the story gets going, allow readers to see and feel what happens next.

Have fun with this one.

Giving Back

It’s easy to accept favors and gifts. We love opening packages or having a special meal prepared in our honor. On our birthday we enjoy the cake and the singing of family and friends, all done in our honor.

However, how often do we give to others? Perhaps we hand over a house-warming bottle of good wine or a carefully wrapped gift for a baby shower. Maybe we mow the neighbor’s lawn when she’s broken her hip and can’t do it herself.

Considering how many worthy causes there are and how many financially-strapped families, what have we done to improve the lives of others?

Your task is to write a story in which a gift of some kind is freely given, not expectations of reward expected. Your character sees a need then organizes a fund raiser to fulfill it. Such generosity doesn’t come easy. Friends might scoff. Neighbors might complain. Helpers might fail to appear. Government entities might not give permission.

Remember the tension makes the story interesting, so give your character obstacles to overcome. Or not. People your story with helpers and detractors.

At the end the question must be answered: is she successful or not? Why? What makes things go right? What devilish things make it go wrong?

Have fun with this one.