One Day to Live Again

If given an opportunity, which day in your life would you choose to relive?

Is there a time that you said or did something that you regret? If so, what would you do differently? How would this change the outcome?

We all do things that later cause us grief. It might have been a snide comment in response to being treated poorly by a friend or family member. It might have been an act as simple as not dividing the cake into equal portions and giving someone you were angry with the smallest piece. Granted, this is not a huge event, but it speaks to an underlying tension.

Your task is to write from the heart. Recall a situation that, if given a chance, you would do differently. Begin with the scene. Put us in the moment, whether it is a situation at work or an encounter in a coffee shop.

Choose your character. It can be first person or third. If third, keep the character’s actions as close to what really happened as possible.

Put things in motion. Try to recall the things that were said, the emotions, and the reactions.

Think about how you felt after it was over. For how long were you in remorse? Write about that feeling, wishing that it had never happened.

This will not be a fun activity, but one from which you can learn. Your characters say and do things that they should regret.

Good luck with this one!

A Responsible Person

Many people take care of others. I know of grandparents who watch their grandchildren five days a week while the parents work. I also know of people who have their elderly parents living with them.  In both cases, there is a degree of responsibility that transcends what we consider our responsibility as parents.

For whom is your character responsible? This is an important consideration. Even if your character lives alone, there must be someone in his life that demands attention. Is it a close friend who needs rescue? Is it a parent who cannot manage his finances without supervision? Is it a grown child who is still under the parent’s insurance?

Your task is to create a dependent for a character, then establish the degree of responsibility that the protagonist has for this dependent. Make it substantial in order to bring tension to the story.

Write a scene in which something occurs that tests the relationship. Perhaps someone falls ill, either the caretaker or the dependent. Perhaps someone falls and can no longer live alone. Perhaps someone loses financial independence and cannot afford to stay in her apartment any longer. Perhaps a natural disaster occurs that destroys the person’s home…and both caretaker and dependent have to make other arrangements.

There are many things that can occur that create tension. Your job is to choose one and write about it.

Have fun with this one.

Children in Our Lives

We cannot live without children. Sure, some choose a life without them in their homes, which is perfectly okay. However, for the future of our world, children must be born, grow up and become contributing adults.

This is true even in our stories. Many times we ignore children in our writing. We don’t mention them, even in passing, and certainly don’t have them impact the way our protagonist behaves.

But what if we did? How would the presence of children impact our main characters? Alter the pace of the story? Change the plot?

This is for you to discover.

Your task is to write a scene in which there is at least one child. Said child can be a newborn, toddler, elementary school age, high school student, or young twenty-something. The child must not be a shadow figure, someone who floats in and out of the scene without interacting with the adults present.

Rather the child must participate in the action. The child might play with something, break something, throw something. Run in and out of the house/apartment/dwelling. Speak to people, if capable of speech. Be touched in some way. Do things, like spill milk, draw, play an instrument.

Interaction with this child will have meaningful impact on the story. For example, it might give added insight into the protagonist’s personality, or cause the adults to choose going to the park where a body is found, or alter vacations plans from lying on the beach in the Caribbean to going to Disneyland for a family adventure.

Have fun with this one.