Day 23 – Pick A Detail

The Prompt

Choose a detail that only your character would notice in this story

(This exercise is borrowed from Donald Maass’s The Emotional Craft of Fiction, a book I highly recommend.)

Think about your character’s past, so that you know what matters to your character, what background they came from.

As an example, I noticed a vase in my in-laws’ house because my parents had the same one. It was really the only notable thing about the vase! It tells you something about our relative backgrounds that our parents chose the same decor…

You might pick something with more emotional resonance: a smell, a song, a flower.

Tell a story about your character that includes a detail that tells us something more about your character.

5 thoughts on “Day 23 – Pick A Detail”

  1. Today’s prompt inspired a story about a waitress who notices a tattoo on the shoulder of one of the bar’s patrons–the tattoo is a symbol the waitress remembers drawing all the time when she was a kid. The story is about how she learned to draw it, and the mystery of how this complete stranger knows it at all.

  2. Story complete for today – really short but I like it. Didn’t follow the prompt today but this is a concept I use a lot in stories anyway. It didn’t fit my idea for today though. I will use it another day.

  3. Complete. It’s Christmas time, and a guy in a mall walks by a perfume kiosk, and smells something that reminds him of a girl he was in love with years ago in high school. He keeps checking the various scents to see if he can find the one that caused this memory to surface… then he looks up and there she is. They hug, and there’s a moment of deep connection that they both seem to share, followed by an awkward pause.

    Then she asks him how his family is doing, and suddenly he feels like he’s talking to someone at a networking event, not the former love of his life. The conversation is smooth but structured and without any real meaning. They both say goodbye and that they should meet up, which he knows isn’t going to happen. He’s a little sad at the end.

    Thank you for the prompt!

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