[Writing Prompt] Make It Even Worse

Yesterday we took your character’s dreams and dashed them in the middle of the story.

Today I want you to take your character, and their desire and cripple them not once, but twice. Of course you get to reward them with a little win in the middle.

The Prompt

Give your character a goal, frustrate them, let them make some progress but let it come at a  cost.

Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan Kenobi

Tips

  • Think about Star Wars, the great story-outliner’s tool: Luke wants to get off this boring little planet but his aim is frustrated by obligations and lack of opportunity. When his family is murdered he finally acts. His next aim is to find and rescue the sexy princess (spoiler alert: Ew!). Problem: she’s on the most heavily defended, most technologically advanced ship in the fleet of the all-powerful empire. Somehow he succeeds. Yay! BUT, oh no, they sacrifice Obi-Wan, his mentor, at the same time. Now Luke has a new mission: overthrow the empire. Fail, Strive, Succeed but at a cost, pursue next part of his ‘want’. [Check out this Narrative Map of the Hero’s Journey]
  • Put your character in an impossible situation. Let him dig his way out only to fall into a new pit. Only this time he knows a bit more about himself and what it’ll take to climb out. (Friends? A rope? Strong hands?) Let the character use what they learned in the first part of the middle, to achieve what they need to do next.
  • It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom or drama. If you’re writing humor you can still do this. Frustration is funny. Even throwing in a moment of tragedy is acceptable in comic writing. In fact, if you’re making your reader laugh until 2/3 of the way through the story, they won’t even notice the knife in your hand until you’re sliding it between their ribs. Bam! Will that pack an emotional punch?! (Sitcoms do this from time to time. Aren’t you surprised to find yourself suddenly sobbing during your favorite 30 minute comedy?)

Go!

[Writing Prompt] Belonging

This week our themes are focused on characters’ needs. Today, something above a survival need, but something that is nevertheless deeply important:

The Prompt

Write a story about a character who desperately wants to belong

Cafe BeLong at the Brickworks

Tips

  • This can be any kind of relationship story: love, friends, family, career.
  • The character must NEED to belong so badly that they’re willing to go through hell to pursue their need.
  • Your story should take your character somewhere: will they change to fit in, or will they realise that’s too big a step for them. Will they be OK with that (in either case)?
  • Show us why your character needs to belong and how that need drives her every action.
  • Put obstacles in her way as often as possible and show us about your protagonist’s character by showing us how he/she reacts to the obstacles.

 

Go!