Archive | Prompts RSS feed for this section

Writers Retreat: Prompts prompts prompts prompts prompts!

14 Mar

Hello and happy Monday! Last weekend, my book club met to give a warm send-off to one of our long-time members who is moving to New York with his wife later this month. We’ll miss him tons and it seemed fitting to give him a send-off in the form of a writing weekend.

This was a very prompt-heavy session for us. I brought a copy of the lit mag that published me to give my friend Marybeth and she had the idea of using first lines from the stories in there to start our stories. It was fun for me because I’d already read the stories and I remembered some of them. I liked seeing where the original author took the story and how that differed from what my friends did. We did this twice and the second time, my first line was an option, but no one chose it. Darn!

The second set of prompts we did in teams of 2-3. Everyone would have four categories and in our teams, we’d come up with objects for those categories that had to make it into our story (unless you’re me and completely forget about this). The first one we did was a time period (1920-1935), object of importance (bike), a name (Dory) and a color (red). I really liked the story I started for this one and it would be great to continue it some day when I have the time. The second time we did an age (70s), social trend or political view (skinny jeans), a genre (thriller), and a quirk (dressing out of character). That one was hard for me and I don’t like my story much. It’s more of a cozy mystery than anything else, a genre I’ve never tried before. The last one was food (banana cream pie), weather (tornado warning), a topic of conversation (ailing relatives), and a murder weapon (crossbow). I liked this story a bit better, but with the time we had, I didn’t have time to get far enough into it for anyone there to know what was going on. I had someone say, “I’m intrigued but what the heck are they doing?” I guess I need to learn to type even faster. Prompts like this are a good practice for NaNo!

We’re going to focus our next meeting on author platforms. Do any of my Readers have any suggestions around this? I use my blog to talk about my writing some, but without anything published yet, I don’t have too much here. I like to talk about when I am writing or my writing community but that’s about it. What’s the best piece of writer advice you can give me?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Advertisements

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction: Round 2

8 Oct

Round two is over! Okay, by the time you read this it will have been over for a while, but my relief is the same. I found out my Round 1 score on Wednesday before the competition and was SUPER EXCITED to see I’d come in 3rd! The top 15 people are awarded points with first place receiving 15, 2nd 14, and 3rd (me) 13! The highest combined scores after the first two rounds move on to the third round so I’m well positioned to move on. Woo!

To combine with my excitement, I was nervous about round two. It had the unfortunate timing of starting while I was at a wedding. So at 11, I stopped dancing to look at my phone and saw the wonderful, glorious prompt.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Location: A secret lab
Object: A mouse

Hallelujah! This could not be better. If you’ve been a fan of the blog for a while, you’ll know I adore historical fiction. And because the era is not specified, I could write about the 20s! I went back to dancing at the wedding, confident I could deal with the writing on the way home on Saturday.

While my wonderful husband and I got ready to leave in the morning, he helped me craft some ideas. We came up with a plan for a secret lab and throwing a mouse in was no problem. So on the way home, I pulled out my laptop and in about a half hour, typed up the story. I put it away for a few hours (while we listened to a football game on the radio), pulled it out for some quick editing, and sent it to Beta readers. By the time I got home, I had some feedback and did some small tweaks. A little more response trickled in on Sunday but to be honest, the story I submitted was 80% written in the car.

It was a surprisingly calm weekend as far as writing goes. I know I lucked out with that prompt. I hope I do well and can move on to round three. Though I’m not counting on ever getting a prompt that I like that much again. I’ve got to be ready for romance or political satire. Those would be a lot harder.

I get the results of round two on October 21st at midnight. Round three starts at midnight on the 23rd. This is bad timing for me again because I’m obligated to be at a football event with my in-laws on the 24th. (As a side note, I hate football. All football references in this post are to demonstrate the only bad thing about fall to me and how it ruins my life.) This will be a challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Allergic to the Letter E Challenge

7 Jul

Most of us know that E is the most common letter in the English language. In that first sentence, I used it 5 times. When I read he book Ella Minnow Pea, author Mark Dunn wasn’t brave enough to take E out of the language. But now I must face this daunting task.

I was challenged by Kyrosmagica to write a whole paragraph without using the letter E. I was supposed to do this in 24 hours, but as I was in my car on the way to a wedding seven hours away, I’ve failed that part. Still! I want to participate. Here are the rules:

  1. Write a whole paragraph (A WHOLE PARAGRAPH??) without any words containing the letter “e” (still easy?)
  2. By reading this, you are already signed up.
  3. Challenge at least five bloggers to do the challenge. They must do it within 24 hours or it is considered as failure.
  4. If you fail or pass, suffer in the Page of Lame.
  5. If you win, wallow in the Page of Fame.

I’m going to pass on challenging anyone else so I’m really earning my place on the Page of Lame in this one. But here goes! I’ve got to pick some names with no Es in them. Hm.

 

John and Matt go for a walk.

“Hi John,” says Matt with a grin

“Hi, Matt. Glad you can join in this walk.” John is happy to visit his pal.

“I’m glad, too. Want to walk past a park?”

Walking down a road, both pass a patch of grass. “Want to play catch?” Both boys brought mitts and can play. John throws hard but Matt has a good catch. Matt throws too hard and can’t find his ball in a patch of shrubs. John is guilty and wants to cry but Matt finds a gray ball.

“This will work for us,” says Matt. “I’m sorry about your ball.”

“It’s okay,” John says. “Gray is a good color for a ball.”

Matt and John play until shadows grow long and walk back hand in hand.

 

Yay! It’s not a paragraph, but a short story is good, too.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge: I’m IN!

6 Jul

This will be a short post, I apologize. As you read this, I hope to be hiking in the Smokey Mountains with my husband but I didn’t want to ignore my blog while I’m on vacation.

Fellow writing blogger Jen at Jen’s Pen Den has posted previously about her participation in the NYC Midnight writing challenges. I first saw her posts on this about a year ago and thought “I don’t have the time to do that.” Truly, I don’t have the time to do anything. I don’t have the time to knit all my friends baby blankets, train for triathlons, go back to school, or run a book blog. OH WAIT. When you decide something is important, you make time for it. So I decided to make time for writing. I’m signed up!

I’ll be taking part in the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. The first round is July 31 – August 2 and I already know I’ll be sleeping in late on August 1 because I have plans with my mom. But I’ll make the time! I’m going to make writing a priority. The challenge is to write a story under 1000 words with the given genre, location, and object in the challenge. I think I’m up for it. Everyone participates in the first two rounds and will receive feedback from the judges. That’s the part I’m nervous about! But, to be honest, they’re not seeing my best-best work. They’re seeing 48 hours of blood, sweat, and finger cramps. My best is yet to come.

So what do you say: ARE YOU WITH ME?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Writing Prompts: Character Development

10 Feb

It’s been a while since I’ve been to my prompt group. It was good to see everyone again and good to do some writing. I thought I’d share my prompts here for you to try for yourselves and give you a short look at what I wrote. The first two are a warm-up and the second two focused on developing a character through another character’s eyes. Happy writing!

The Prompts:
1. A soft ran (3 minutes)
2. A welcome interruption (4 minutes)
3. Two people meeting again for the first time after a long separation (7 minutes)
4. A person alone for the first time in ages (7 minutes)

My Answers

Prompt 1
The pitter patter of water on glass is almost deafening. There’s no such thing as a soft rain when the entire wall and ceiling above your bed is glass. I stare up into the grey sky, unfocusing in all ways a human can unfocus. This was romantic once when we’d lie here together, staring into the clouds and talking about little nothings. Keeping warm from the snowy ceiling above us in the winter. Letting the sun wake us up on lazy Saturday mornings.

Once before I’d liked the sound of rain on the glass. It was a reminder that I was dry but only because of a thin sheet of glass. A thin sheet that can shatter in a second. In a second called life when the car crashes into your leg but not before crushing through bone and tissue and life to your right.

The rain makes my leg ache as I swing it over the side of the bed and remember that it’s one rainstorm at a time; one day at a time; one breath at a time.

Prompt 2
Data entry could not be more mindless, tedious, boring, and awful. And I’m looking at a stack of it. The 100 most recent customer service surveys filled out by angry customers in the hope of winning at $50 gift card (side note, you’ll never win) and filled out in a hurry against the wall by the door with a pen running out of ink. Please withhold your jealousy. I’ve gone and gotten my morning coffee. I’ve done the recommended ergonomic stretches. I’ve even tried striking up a conversation with Tim, the quiet engineer that sits next to me, but there’s nothing else to do; it’s got to be done.

I pick up the first sheet and glance at the purple pen writing and frantic scribbles that are in the corner, willing the life of the pen to go on. I’m waiting for the universe to interrupt, waiting for something to distract me for another five minutes, but nothing does. I finally open up the tracking document and begin to enter data.

But suddently… yeah, there’s nothing. Back to purple pen misery.

Prompt 3
“Hey cousin!” Mary is waving from the driver’s window of her silver SUV. I’m staring blankly at this woman who I used to know so well and having trouble reconciling her with the grungy older cousin I knew in my youth. I walk over to the car slowly but she makes no move to get out.

“Grace will start wailing if I get out of the car. Hop in! We’re on our way to grab lunch.”

I walk to the driver’s side and hop in. My duffel bag is a little too big to fit on the floor so I hug my knees to my chest. I thought the smell of bus would permeate off of me like an old woman’s perfume but the even stronger scent of diapers and spilled milk masks me.

Mary reaches over the center console and wraps her arms around me as well as she can’t with a seat belt on. “I’m so glad you came to visit. I promise this will be a great little vacation for you. It will be so great to catch up. Gosh, I haven’t seen you since you were in middle school! And now you’re half-way through high school, this is crazy.” Mary gives my shoulder a squeeze and puts the SUV into drive.

I’m about to smile and admit to myself that this really could be fun. I’m optimistically thinking that two weeks with my cousin and her family in Georgia is the break I need to give myself space from my mother and her most recent obsessions (yoga and natural hair treatments) and see what’s been going on with the rest of the family. I’m about to be happy.

There’s a whining behind me and I turn around to see the source of the diapers and spoiled milk. Grace is 18 months old and huge. You’d think she’s three if she didn’t have a baby face and she takes up more of her booster seat than any child should. I smile and reach a hand back to greet her.

“Hi, Grace. I guess I’m your cousin once removed.” I’m thinking that somehow in her 18 months she learned how to shake hands or at least will reach out and touch mine. Instead, her face screws up in a mix of confusion and horror. She opens her mouth and instead of cute little toddler words, a white film comes out. Not a lot, but enough to get on my hand. Grace immediately starts bawling.

Mary turns around and sees my hand, held in the abyss, unable to do anything about it. “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry about that! She does that a lot. I’m sure there are some napkins somewhere around here.” She starts fumbling in the console but comes up with only an old magazine on parenting. “Here, this might help.”

I’m helpless, holding a parenting magazine and baby barf and aware I’m about to get a rude lesson in babysitting and about now I think I’d rather treat my roots with almond oil and wood shavings while doing a down dog pose.

Prompt 4
She closed the door behind her and the giggles, the friends, the late night crying over some social event, the make-up and the frat boys all went with her and for the first time in four weeks, I have the room to myself. Now, two weeks might not seem long to you but to someone who grew up in a quiet house with conservative parents and no pets, four weeks with a newly liberated newly Greek roommate was a long, long time. So long that it forces you to remember what quiet sounds like. The library, unfortunately, has been closed due to water damage and a spider infestation. The quietest place I can find is a coffee shop but it’s a twenty-minute walk and there’s been a deluge of rain the past week.

But this weekend is the pledge retreat in Ohio. Which means Kristen is gone for over 48 hours. All of her friends are going so they won’t be barging in here dying to tell her something and all of the boys know it’s pledge retreat weekend so they won’t knock at three am to see if she’s ‘still up.’

I’m so overwhelmed with possibilities that I’m not sure where to start. I’ll vacuum on Sunday and this will be my first opportunity to remove my things from Kristen’s desk (still not sure how she got my ruler and 3-hole punch). But these things only take me a few minutes. I have 47 hours and 50 minutes left to go.

I can take a nap. But I’m not tired; I really want to turn on some music and for once, I get to pick the music. None of that top 40 stuff that Kristen’s friend Mary insists on; I’m able to put on some nice mellow soft rock. It’s nice to have some noise around. I pull up my Facebook page, trolling for something to distract me.

Hi.

It’s my lab partner, Kaitlyn. We’ve become decently good friends over the past month. As good of friends as you can become in 30 days.

Hi

Is your roommate gone?

Yes! Finally.

Awesome. What are you doing to celebrate this weekend?

I’m not sure.

Want to watch a movie?

Sure

I’ve got Catching Fire. I can be there in 10 minutes.

Make it 15.

Cool, see ya.

 

It was nice while it lasted, but silence could only be sustained for so long.

 

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Prompt Group: Frenimies and Thunderstorms

17 Jul

I actually went to my prompt group! Yep, that’s right. I haven’t been going a lot lately because life has been super crazy but I went on July 1 (and took forever to post this).

Our fearless leader was absent so our friend John bravely took over. We did four prompts, which I’ll share here along with my response for two of them. I’ll list the prompts first and if you want to do them yourself, please pingback here so I can read them.

Prompts:

  1. Think of your favorite antagonist and the trait that makes him/her/it an interesting character. Write a scene with a character who has that trait (7 minutes)
  2. Last minute disappointment (3 minutes)
  3. An interrupting thunderstorm (5 minutes)
  4. How did it/he/she get that name? (3 minutes)

My Responses:

Prompt 1

“Caitlin, you can’t play with her at recess.”

I looked around, confused. The only person I was playing with was Ashley and as far as I knew, Hannah and Ashley were friends.

“With Ashley?” I asked, understanding that I wasn’t going to figure this out in my own.

Hannah glared at Ashley who shrunk under the glare. “Yes, with Ashley and her perfect baby-cut top.”

I looked at Ashley again; I hadn’t noticed her new shirt. It was a blue-green that matched her eyes and had a really nice cut.

“I don’t get it,” I said, really not understanding.

“She went out and bought the same shirt as me!” Hannah was mad, pointing her finger at the offending article. “She’s trying to copy me, to be just like me. How sad.” Hannah crossed her arms, continuing to glare at Ashley who was kicking the ground with her toes and tugging at the hem of her shirt as if she could change it.

“That’s not true, Hannah, you don’t know that.”

“My mom bought it for me,” Ashley pipped up in a weak voice.

“Shut up, Ashley. Don’t lie to me.” Hannah was glaring at us both; at Ashley for stealing her style and me for not choosing her side. What’s a girl to do?

“Hannah, it’s just a shirt; we can still play together.”

“I’m not going to be seen with someone who’s copying me. And I won’t be seen with someone who’s obviously not my friend!”

I knew the last bit was directed at me and I took a step toward Hannah. Hannah started to smirk and Ashley looked on the verge of tears.

“Is there a problem girls?” The tall shadow of the recess monitor, Miss Molly, loomed over us all.

“No, Miss Molly,” we all said in unison as if it was rehearsed.

“Just deciding what to do on this beautiful day,” Hannah said with a smile.

“Well, no need for the yelling. Run along.” She turned and walked away to take care of some boys pushing each other really high on the swings.

Hannah’s eyes turned dark again. “Let me know when you decide who your real friends are,” she said to me and turned away from us. I looked at Ashley, still not knowing what to do. I took a step toward Hannah and paused again. I wanted to be her friend, but I didn’t want to follow her.

Prompt 3

“What was that? Was that a gunshot?”

“No, baby, come back to bed.”

“But what if someone’s dead out there? Bleeding?”

“It was a thunderstorm; come back to bed. This was just about to get good.”

“How can you be thinking of anything besides the fact that there might be a dead dog out there?”

“Because of what you were just doing to me. Can we get back to that?”

“Not until you go look for the blood trail the poor animal is probably leaving through the parking lot.”

“There’s no dead dog, Jill.”

“You don’t know that!”

“I think you’re trying to get out of doing something.”

“How can you think of yourself right now?”

“You’re working yourself into a panic.”

“You’re working yourself into apathy!”

“Coma back to bed, Jill. What are you doing?”

“Looking for my shoes. I’ve got to get out there.”

“It’s pouring.”

“Then I’ll need to find my shirt, too.”

“If you didn’t want to, you could have said something.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yes you do.”

“Well, maybe I do and maybe I didn’t know how to tell you but now I’m worried about this dog. So, I’ll be seeing you later because I’m about to storm out of here looking for that dog and I’ll probably jump in my car and go home after. Good night.”

 

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Library Writers Group: Good Critique and Ice Cream

16 Jun

The writers’ group at my library met a few weeks back and I wanted to put together a short summary of what we talked about. We didn’t have anything to discuss this week so we talked about good critique. First, how to give critique.

Even if a piece is not for you and you would not read another world if your life depended on it, there’s a way to say that without being a jerk. “Your main character sucks” sounds better as “I didn’t believe your main character.” “Your writing is so choppy I couldn’t read it” could be “I found your sentence structures distracting.” Boom; done. It’s that easy. This kind of comes from some feelings I expressed in my Negativity #2 post a few weeks back. I don’t want to repeat that again. When something in the book really upsets you, recognize that it’s the circumstances and characters that have upset you, not the writer. Maybe the writer wanted to upset you and make you think and they’ve accomplished their goal. Direct critique at the story and characters, not the writer. As writers, we’re voluntarily putting ourselves into an industry that will perpetually tell us we’re not good enough and we’ll never make a living off of it. Why would we do that to each other when there are agents to do it? We should be a support system for each other and build each other up.

Taking critique is much harder. There’s no doubt you’ll get critique you don’t like or don’t agree with. Think about it for a few days before you disregard it. Maybe some thought will tell you it’s not such a bad idea to kill off the protagonist’s dad. However, not everything you get is useful and you can choose not to make some changes if it’s best for your story.

We read the article Shitty First Drafts by Anne Lamott taken from her book Bird by Bird. This book is sitting on my shelf and I will read it soon…. I hope. The article talks about how Anne goes about getting her first draft on paper because you can’t edit what’s not there. We all found this really relieving to hear. If you haven’t read the essay yet, please try to find a copy.

To end, we did a prompt. Mine was, “Takes place in an ice cream shop, one character is a doctor, involves new shoes.” Enjoy.

 

An ice cream to celebrate another test done. Sprinkles to celebrate the end of the semester. Hot fudge to prepare myself for a residency I’m not sure I’m ready for.

I’m sitting at the high bar stool because it makes me feel ready to run out of the door. I allow myself to half-slip off the seat as a test and only succeed in dropping my napkin. I need a new one to fight the fudge monster who’s trying in vain to drown the sprinkle villagers as they escape down Vanilla Mountain. I rescue a few perishing souls with my spook and look down again at my proximity to the floor. My toes almost graze the mound of books and notebooks in my backpack and I notice an almost hole on the left toe of my blue Keds. My mouth crews up in the same way I imagine the sprinkle-men did while evaluating their escape from hot fudge. Med school budgets don’t account for new shoes before a residency. They don’t consider Vanilla Mountain either. I sigh, knowing I’m facing another month of American cheese sandwiches for lunch and bananas for breakfast. Doctors really are the least healthy people.

 

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Prompt Group: It could have been deported parachute pants.

20 May

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted prompts. I guess that’s because it’s been a while since I visited my prompt group! Nicole and I grabbed dinner before heading to a very crowded group. I haven’t been in a while and there were some new people I was excited to meet.

We did three prompts. I’ll list them below and if you want to try them, please do and post the results! Link here so I can read them. I’ll put my responses below that. (NOTE: There is some cursing in these prompts and responses. Please be warned and do not read if it offends you.)

  1. But it could have been worse. (3 minutes)
  2. Imagine you are part of a different ethnic group. Write something from that POV. (8 minutes)
  3. Parachute Pants. Fuck Yeah. (2 minutes)

 

And my responses:

  1. It was raining and my car broke down.
    But it could have been worse.
    My jack wouldn’t fit under the body
    And I had to break down and call AAA
    Even though I made fun of my brother for calling them last week
    But it could have been worse.
    AAA gave me a wait time of two hours
    And showed up with the same car jack I already tried
    So they had to send another guy who took another hour.
    But it could have been worse.
    Because while I was waiting for a jack
    And then the right jack,
    I escaped.
    A world where fathers are shot by their own daughters
    A world where a thought can span an entire generation
    And memories can slowly be restored.
    It was a world with mysterious messages
    And prison mines underground.
    So yes, I lost four hours of my life because AAA is incompetent
    And I’ll never get it back.
    But I had a book, so it could have been worse.
  2. Mamá pulls the empanadas off the stove and puts them in front of me. I stare at them but I’m not even able to pick one up.

    Se regresarán,” she says, trying to comfort me. “No te preocupes.”

    I nod, but I don’t feel like being cheered up. So I reach out and grab an empanada and don’t flinch much when it burns my fingers.

    My mother does this. She tries to comfort me with food all the time. When I was younger, I let her but now I’m trying to take care of myself; to forge my own path. I’m doing well in school and I thought I’d be more than a kid from the barrio. I’d been so sure of it.

    José and Manuel always gave me people to look up to. They were set to graduate first in their class and had dreams of going to college. They wanted to go to TCU and Manuel was going to be an engineer. Not that it mattered any more.

    I can’t eat the empanadas. I only picture Jose eating empanadas off the stove in Mexico. His mamá, crying as hard as ever and her tears dripping onto the hot surface of them. His papá, sitting quietly at the table like I was, trying to keep his head up. But he can’t. And José can’t meet his own father’s eye. There’s no good way to tell your son that his college dreams have been dashed because you were speeding and gotten pulled over. When you failed to produce a driver’s license and blew numbers, even .09, citizenship and residency started to be called into question. And when those questions started being asked, there was no way to take it back. There was no way to slow down the car or find your license in your wallet when you’d left it at work or to have filed for residency properly. There was no way to stay after that.

    And if José and Manuel couldn’t stay, couldn’t earn their diplomas and move their tassel from the right to the left, why would I ever think that I can? Why would I ever think that I’m better than that?

    Mamá lays her hand on my elbow and I realize that the empanada had not yet made its way into my mouth.  “Come.” I put it in my mouth but don’t chew. “No eres lo mismo que ellos.”

    I shake my head.

    Estudia su matemáticas. Será bien.”

    I go to my room and open my computer but I don’t do math homework. Instead I Google how an illegal immigrant can avoid being deported if his parents are. I Google if I could be different or if I am the same as them.

  3. Of course they have different pants for skydiving. They have different versions of everything to skydive. There are skydiving glasses, skydiving hair ties, and skydiving shoes. So yes, of course, they have skydiving pants. And yes, thank you for asking, they make my ass look A-Mazing. So don’t go asking me where I got my ‘awesome running pants’ because I’ll slap your ignorant little face out of a jet flying over a bad drop zone. These are my skydiving, parachute-safe, no drag, no snag pants. Fuck yeah.

Thanks for reading, all! Take care and until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Prompt Group: Personality Traits

7 Apr

Yes, I finally went to my prompt writing group again. Crazy, I know! Nicole and I even went to a book store before and I only bought two books are you proud of me yet? Well you should be. At group this week we all introduced ourselves along with a favorite personality trait to pass on to our characters. Mine was re-telling the same story over and over to the same person, something that unfortunately runs in my maternal family (I feel bad for anyone having dinner at my parents house when my grandma is there; that’s three generations of the same stories!). The traits were then paired together in sets and we had to write a character that had all of the personality traits listed.

As per usual, I’ll give you the prompts and time we took to do them and then you can give them a whirl as well! My responses will be below. If you do post yours, please link back here so I can see your awesome writing.

  1. Anger Issues and Indecision (5 minutes)
  2. Bad Memory and Impulsive Liar (5 minutes)
  3. Bad-ass, Indomitable Spirit, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (5 minutes, but 7 would be better)

 

My Answers

Number 1
It would take me, how long, twenty minutes to get back to work? I had twenty five, so that meant I only had another five minutes to pick out my sandwich. Easier said than done for me. If you don’t know, Jimmy Johns has 17 sandwich options and they each sound delicious and have a funny and quirky name, like “Turkey Tom.” There are a handful of nu-numbered options, each with its own fun name. So I’ll have to read each one.
Standing off to the side, I’m glaring at the menu, often interrupted by what those at the register are ordering.
“Number 7!”
“Slim 4, add mayo.”
What? There are slims? That adds another six options, oh God.
I think I’ve finally got it narrowed down to the Vito or the California Club when I hear someone order their sandwich “on Wheat.”
“What’s wheat?” I ask to cashier whose elbow I’ve been standing at for almost ten minutes already.
“You can order any of our sandwiches on wheat bread.”
I furrow my brow, not ready to make another decision.
“Are you ready to order, sir?” he asks me.
“No!” I snap, frustrated at my own indecisiveness.
“Would you mind stepping to the side?” He’s treading lightly around me like I’m going to explode. How does he know?
“Oh, sure, I’ll step to the side.” I’m glaring at him as I take one precise step to the left. He checks over his shoulder at a chubby woman I assume is his manager. Like she can stop me from doing anything.
“I’ll be ready to serve you whenever you’re ready sir,” he says with a forced smile.
“I’ll have the JJ Gargantuian on Wheat.” I smirk, knowing I’ve ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, which must be the best choice.
“Would you like to chips, cookie, pickle, or a drink?”
“WHAT?!”

Number 2
I was out with the guys.
Oh, fun. Where did you go?
To the bar.
With who again?
With Mike and Chelsea.
You said with the guys.
I’m using ‘guys’ in the loosest form possible. Chelsea really wanted to grab McDonalds.
Was this before or after the bar?
Um, before.
So what time did you get to the bar?
What’s with the third degree?
You tend to lie.
I’m not lying about Applebees.
You went to Applebees?
I just told you this, Jesus Christ. The bar, we went to the bar.
So Applebees is the bar?
Yes.
And you went to McDonalds first?
I told you, Amanda really wanted McDonalds fries.
You said Chelsea.
Well, she did too. They both wanted McDonald’s.
So it was you, Amanda, Chelsea, and Mike?
No, the guys were there too.
All of the guys?
Some of them. Do I pass your test yet?
What did you order?
A stripper and a lap dance.
Aha! I knew it.
Are you serious? You think I’d give in that quickly? I ordered the onion rings.

Number 3
His cape was ‘super pressed’ without a wrinkle in sight. His powers were precision and practiced to the point of obsession. But he was a lethal weapon and lint free to boot. Would you mess with him? Would you really? Don’t lie; I know you’re just saying that.
Well, there was someone who did mess with him once. We thought the guy was crazy because there was no way someone as big as him, as overweight and unkempt as him (really, he looked like a drunk homeless man) would stand a chance against the killing machine that was Mr. Wonderful. No way.
But this homeless bum had found his Achilles’ heel. It wasn’t a gun the bum pulled out of his pocket, but a bottle of cheese wiz with a range of about four feet. Mr. Wonderful reached into his back pocket, pulling out some wet wipes and stain removing pens and explained the proper way to remove cheese stains under his breath.
The bum ran up while Mr. Wonderful was distracted and kicked him in the thigh. Of course, it didn’t hurt him at all, but Mr. Wonderful now had a muddy footprint to deal with on his nicely pressed blue slacks. Again, the wipes and stain pen.
It went on like this for forty minutes, the longest anyone has lasted against Mr. Wonderful. But in the end, the bum ran out of ways to ruin his clothes and hair and Mr. Wonderful put him down with one quick punch. He’s still wonderful.

Nicole’s Prompts

How are your prompts? I can’t wait to read them!

Until next time, write on.

Prompt Group: Sobriety, a Way of Life, Celebrities, and Water

11 Mar

My prompt group met last Tuesday and I wanted to share with you what we did. As always, I’ll give you the prompts first and if you want to do them as well, please link back so I can see what your responses were. I really liked all of them this week and I hope you enjoy as well!

  1. Use this quote for inspiration: “You can’t tell me not to come to work because roads are bad and then ask me an hour later to come in and expect me to be sober.” (5 minutes)
  2. Include these three elements: A way of life comes to an end, a snake, and a character going clothes shopping. (8 minutes)
  3. Describe your experience meeting a celebrity. Then, write the scene from the celebrity’s point of view. (5 minutes for each)
  4. Include the quote “I only asked for water,” and a white elephant.

My Responses:

Prompt #1

My wife is standing there, dressed in only the lingerie I gave her for Valentine’s Day and my boss is on the phone, telling me I have to come in. My computer’s on, I did some work this morning, what else did he want? I’m only taking a short break. I was being more productive today than I had been in weeks at the office. And yes, the vodka helped, thank you. So it wasn’t just that I didn’t want to come in, it was that I couldn’t come in.

“I can’t, man.” I glance up at my wife, her chest heaving as she stood over me. “My wife took my car; I don’t have a way to get in.”

“Mike, you better call a cab and get in here right now. That client of yours, the big one? Yeah, he got the wrong week for the meeting and he’s standing in your office right now and he won’t talk to anyone except you. You understand my dilemma right now?”

I understand it alright, but I don’t think he understands mine. My wife is staring down at my dick which is hanging out from where she just finished a little something, if you get my meaning. So yeah, I’m in a bind in more ways than one.

“She’ll be back in a half hour and I can get the car then. I can see you in an hour, but no sooner.”

“You better call that bitch and tell her to get her ass home as soon as she can.” His voice is so loud Sharon can hear his every word and she frowns.

“Hey man, that’s my wife. Watch your tongue.”

You better watch your tongue, you idiot. How could you tell the client the wrong week? Something as basic as a week and you can’t even get it right. Jesus Christ, are you stupid, man?”

I throw the phone on the couch next to me and look at Sharon. “Fuck him, he doesn’t matter. Come here and let’s do this. Then you can drive my drunk ass into work so I can fix his shit. Jesus Christ I need a new job. These assholes.”

She smirks and walks over to me, starting just where we’d left off.

Prompt #2

I look at dresses and bras in a completely different way now. I’m not looking at the prices or the cut or the style, I’m looking at which will hide a boyish frame with no curves, which has the best coverage for stuffed, fake boobs, and which will still look good on a fourteen-year-old boy. Girl; I have to say girl now. I have to say Jessica instead of Jason and I have to say ‘she’ instead of ‘he.’ I was the proud mother of a son and now I’m the mother of a daughter. I’m not sure I can say proud yet, because I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

I walk through the aisles, touching fabrics, the way I shop for myself, by touch. But now… it all seems so different but he, sorry, she keeps telling me nothing has changed. I’m trying to believe him. Her.

I see a shirt across the aisle, there’s a cobra printed along the bottom seam which will distract from Jessica’s flat chest. It comes up high on the neck and is red, a color that always looked good on Jason and I have to assume will look good on Jessica. I finger the fabric and feel the soft cotton slip through my fingers. I shop with my hands for myself, why wouldn’t I for my daughter?

I find her size, holding it up to make sure the cut is straight. There’s a rack of sun dresses next to it, gingham print in a soft blue that will go great with black flats. I sigh, knowing I’ll never fit in it and grab one in Jessica’s size, walking back to the dressing rooms.

She’s standing there in front of the mirror, looking at her reflection in a pair of jeans, girl’s jeans. Jason had a pair before, but they were cheap, bought at the second-hand store behind our backs. These were nice jeans, the quality I bought for Jason, I mean for Jessica, before Jessica was Jessica.

“They look good,” I tell her. She doesn’t look at me and spins in front of the mirror, seeing how they look from behind. “Maybe a little tight in the… well…” I gesture toward the front of his jeans. Woman’s jeans don’t hide a male anatomy well.

“I know,” she says in a soft voice. “I’m thinking a size bigger might help. The stitching’s cute.” She sticks her hands in the back pockets and looks at me.

I smile. The stitching does look cute. I wish Jason had talked to me about these things instead of hiding them in the back of his closet. I’m glad that I can talk to Jessica about them. These are things I enjoy; feminine hemlines and make-up, doing my hair just to go to the grocery. These are things that were mine in a house with two men. Now, I realize, they can be ours in a house with two women; my daughter and me. I can’t stop smiling.

Prompt #3

“Excuse me, where’s the bar?”

I shrug my shoulder in the direction of the club house. “Up the stairs and to the left.”

“Thanks, mate.” He sidles away and I finally look up, watching his broad back saunter away toward the club house. It was the accent that made me look up. You don’t get a lot of Australians in Ohio and I studied him critically. It was like he felt my eyes on his back and turned around, grinning at me. My jaw dropped as Chris Hemsworth winked at me, the sun shining off his blonde hair. I gulped and swallowed, not wanting to be caught gaping and returned to the boat I was cleaning, finishing off the knot to connect it to the dock. Then I stood, eyes trained on the club house and waiting for him to come back. His friend’s boat was docked farther down in a slip I couldn’t see. When he reemerged, I moved behind a big sailboat so he couldn’t see me and started scrubbing the deck. I didn’t want to be caught staring again. He walked to his friends with a beer in each hand, giving one to a blonde girl in a bikini. Typical.

She was short with dark hair and, boy, was she cleaning out that boat. I’d never seen someone care so much about another person’s things and I instantly respected her for it. The T-shirt with an anchor on it identified her as a marina employee so I cleared my throat, trying to get her attention. She only brushed the carpet harder.

“Uh, excuse me, I’m looking for the bar?” Everything I said sounded like a question. I didn’t know what to say when I didn’t have lines.

She pointed to a big white building with her elbow. “Club house, up the stairs and on your left.” She didn’t look up, still concentrating on the grey carpet and a stain next to the driver’s seat. I shuddered to think what it was.

“Thanks, mate.”

That was when people would always stare at me. I think if I didn’t have the damn accent I’d have half a shot of staying anonymous in the United States, but these American’s can’t deal with the friendly ways of the Aussies. I walked away and knew that she’d looked up, knew that she was watching me walk away and wondering why an Australian was in Ohio. I would only come to this hell hole to film a movie. There is no other reason: ever.

I couldn’t help looking back. I hated and loved the lost look on people’s faces when they recognize me. If I was incapable of remaining anonymous, why not flaunt it? She was staring of course, and not subtly. I turned back to the club house, sent to get my wife the beer she wanted so badly that we had to dock.

Prompt #4

It was the worst Christmas Party ever. No one understood the fun of a white elephant exchange, no one. I got a candle and a year subscription to People. Who gives these things? I was starting to sweat, my gift still sitting in the pile. It was supposed to be funny, it was supposed to make people laugh, but I think they were all going to be uncomfortable. And damn it if I would tell them it was my gift.

My boss of all people reached for the box and I flinched. He unwrapped it carefully and pulled out the peppermint schnapps and chocolate syrup. The card fell into his lap. I knew what it said: For fun, mix in mouth and swallow. He read it slowly and looked up with a surprising smile on his face.

“Anyone want a try?” He held the bottles up and my heart started beating at a normal rate again. “Michelle? Adam?”

Michelle, the admin put her hands up in protest. “I only asked for water. I have to drive home.” I rolled my eyes. Admins were always the party poopers of a group.

I hope you have fun with these prompts! Until next time, write on.