Day 7 – Their First Action

At the start of your story, your character has a desire. That’s what we’re going to work on, today.

Remember, in yesterday’s stories, the characters’ first actions were things like, doing what they were told to do as part of their orientation process, writing a resume, or making a list to try to deal with everything they’re seeing.

The decision to take this first action doesn’t have to be part of the story. IN fact, it’s often best if, when you start writing, you show us your character in the middle of whatever it is they do (which is probably very much what they’ve always done) to deal with or ignore their need.

But don’t worry about starting writing yet. We’ll get to that soon.

What did you choose as your character’s starting point? Tell us in the comments!

22 thoughts on “Day 7 – Their First Action”

  1. I was overthinking this task and then read through the comments and feel so much better about my character’s action:
    Old gnome, Agabus, tells her traveling companions that they can go on without her as she needs to go back to town to find her brother.

  2. My character asks/suggests to her sister that they can reschedule the appointment. (This would meet her desires of avoiding the appointment and, more importantly to her, would get her home alone where she could sneak a ciggy.)

  3. My character simply notices that the figure following her home is beginning to take a more solid form, instead of the half-phased image she’s seen for the past two days.

  4. Oh and apparently this is where I get stuck! Interesting. I have a whole list of characters and things that they need. And some of them sound like they could actually survive a whole story and my brain is like, “nah… that isn’t good enough.” All of them have a little failure to launch. I suppose some brainstorming is in order. Or maybe just some terrible writing to get one of these characters off the ground!

    1. I vote for Option 2, if I have a say. Brainstorming for too long keeps everything in the realm of possibility (and perfection). It’s only when we start writing that we really learn how to write. Doing some terrible writing in the muddy trenches may teach you more than staying up in the clouds.

  5. My character is standing on the stone steps of the kitchen door of the castle. She needs to get to the lake shore to gather the rare blue lettuce for the Chef. She has to get there, get the leaves and get back to the castle before the portal closes.

  6. Upon her husband’s advice, Mme Gabrielle Melrose, seeks the advice of the Governor of Quebec, Lord Dorchester (newly ennobled Sir Guy Carleton). He’s newly returned to Quebec from Britain. He writes her a letter of introduction to Richard, Earl of Amington, who is personally known to Dorchester as a just and honorable man who will be able to help her.

  7. At first I had an existing story idea that I was going to use but then another compelling story idea popped into my head today so my plan is to try juggling both. We’ll see…

  8. My ghost character (who died when he was 11) is in the dining room of the house he “lives” in trying to make physical impacts on objects, to no avail. He’s disgusted that he can’t even manage to haunt properly. In the course of this activity he overhears a conversation between one of the living people who resides in his own house (for now I’ll call her Ms. X) and one of the new neighbors (“Ms. Y”), who lives in the house where he (the ghost) has seen a young girl in an upstairs window. He learns that Ms. X has also seen the girl in the window and is curious about her. Ms. Y doesn’t know who Ms. X is talking about. The two women suddenly look his way and gasp. He realizes they’re staring at the rose petals lying on the table cloth– the petals he was absentmindedly pulling from one of the flowers in the vase. He, too, stares at the petals.

  9. My character is following a puppy and doesn’t realize there is a problem, until he looks up.

    And pinkie swear I have all my Bingo pieces, but I don’t do social media, and today’s piece isn’t on the post.

  10. My character is leaning over the kitchen sink while washing last night’s beer steins to get a glimpse of the nest-building going on in the tree that partially obscures the window.

  11. My character is mindlessly brushing his teeth, ready to go to bed, when he perceives this overpowering, terrible smell. Horrified, his first action is to walk around the house, toothbrush still in his mouth, sniffing like a dog in an attempt to identify the source. His sense of smell is extraordinary but, unfortunately, the stench is everywhere. There is no way he will sleep tonight. He has to get rid of it.

  12. Well, I finally came up with a character and a start.
    Setting: a small seaside city
    Character: a 1st and 2nd year English teacher at the local college (late twenties)
    Her desire: she wants to be loved by her husband, but this is in vain because their marriage has pretty much been over since after the honeymoon period, or three month’s after their wedding. Now nearly 3 years have gone by, and it’s getting unbearable.
    The story begins with her having lunch with a colleague, and her revealing to that person that there is a glossy photo of her husband and a pretty newswoman participating in the San Fransisco regatta last month. (The photo is in this month’s “Sailing” magazine.)
    This was her “forever” marriage. She thought she’d have kids and grandkids and grow old with this man. She will divorce her husband, and she will learn to see her cup as half full, not half empty. She will value the love and respect of her colleagues and students, and she will get closer to her sister who she now rarely sees.
    Her husband is quite cruel with her and she has lost much of her confidence and sense of self-worth, so we’ll see her battling his words emotionally. I’m still mapping it out, but I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself.

  13. My character’s first action is… to freeze and be frustrated/annoyed. Because who knows what to do when there’s a ghost on your school bus and you’re just trying to go about your day?

  14. I think my character is going to be in the middle of writing something, while anxiously mulling over something she’s been avoiding doing.

    I didn’t see today’s bingo piece. Did I miss it?

  15. Briefly, this will be the outline of the start of my story:
    My character begins the usual routine she’s fallen into when she’s left in the house alone. Tidying up then taking her coffee into the garden to sit under her favourite tree. Here she can escape her unfulfilling life by disappearing between the pages of a good book. Today, however, that isn’t going to happen.

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