Great Decisions

Recall a time when you had to choose between a variety of things, ranging from great to small. Some gave immediate short-term rewards while the most desired required patience and determination to accomplish.

Perhaps you wanted a forbidden soda and a candy bar of your own. What went through your mind as you stood before the range of possibilities? What did you choose and why? As you ate and drank, what sensations did you experience? And when you were finished, were you satisfied? If so, why?

Now think of something you wanted as an adult. A new car? Hybrid or electric? Automatic or manual? Sedan or SUV? What research did you do before making a decision? What factors influenced the vehicle that you chose? Once you drove it off the lot, what emotions arose? Were you satisfied with your decision?

Your characters make great decisions as well. The things they want depend upon personality, socioeconomic status and need.

Your task is to write a scene in which the readers will see the entire story from beginning to end. Because this could easily become narrative, the challenge is to bring the process alive through dialogue and action. Tension must also come to play in order to prevent the story from being flat.

Have fun with this one.

A Personal Dilemma

Generally a dilemma is presented as someone having to make a choice. One choice might be seen as the lesser in terms of risk and possible negative outcomes, but it might also not give the results that the individual desires.

The second type of choice may be clear, but it might result in things unforeseen, things that could be harmful or dangerous. In fact, the character might find the end life changing in an unbearable way.

When writing a scene in which your character must make a choice, present options that are demanding, clear-cut, but terrible. Create tension by making the reader question the character’s judgement. The reader should second-guess possible outcomes and want to warn the character away from taking the wrong step.

Your task is to write a scene in which your protagonist is faced with two equal choices. The decision must be made quickly as there is no time to research or deliberate. This will amplify tension. That hurry will lead to devastating consequences for himself or for those he loves. When the scene ends, perhaps an alternative presents itself that he didn’t see beforehand.

At the end the reader wants to know if the protagonist has changed in away way. Is he humbled? Chagrined? Remorseful? Ashamed? And if he is, how has the experience altered his thinking.

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.

Sacrificing out of Love

Remember an occasion when you needed a gift for someone special. How hard did you look? Where did you find it? Did you give them something store-bought or something from your home?

Recall the thought process that went into the choosing. How long did you think about it? How hard did you research? What was your final decision? How did this make you feel?

At some time your character will need to buy a gift for someone. Does your character have the money to buy the gift he wants? If not, how much is he willing to sacrifice in order to get it?

Write the story that tells of the emotions that run through his head as he goes through the process.  Make sure that the reader feels the turmoil, the confusion, the decision-making process that takes place.

Reread. Edit.

Have fun with this one.