[Write On Wednesday] Expect The Unexpected

Sir RaleighThis morning my sister (visiting me in the US from Scotland) took my son out in the pouring rain to continue their ‘learn to ride your bike’ sessions. She’s leaving today, so it was their last chance. They weren’t going to let a little warm rain stop them. I do wonder, however, what the neighbors thought.

Which leads me to today’s prompt.

The Prompt

Think of a character who needs to do a task. Put that task in an unusual location/setting/timing/condition.


  • If your character needs to bake a cake because her mother is coming over (and your character, of course, has long-standing, complicated issues with her mother), that’s a story. If she’s trying to bake the cake on a spaceship and it has to be ready before her mother spacewalks over from her passing spaceship, that adds a layer of interesting complexity to the story!
  • Perhaps your story opens with two characters, like my sister and son, cycling in the driving rain. What could induce them to cycle in these conditions? Where are they going? What is driving them to do this? How do they feel about the journey? Each other? What is the journey a metaphor for? (Grammatically incorrect, but fun to say out loud. Try it!)
  • What other mundane tasks can you think of? Taking a test. Cleaning a bathroom. Meeting a friend. Now, where can you set these to make them intriguing? Taking a test on the side of a mountain. Cleaning a bathroom in a World War I trench. Meeting a friend in Death Valley.
  • Dig deeply into the circumstances. Ask why these things are happening where/when they are happening. Why would your character be there, trying to do this thing? Will they persevere? Will they give up? Will they whine? Will they fail? What has driven them to this point? Where would they rather be? Why is this interesting to a reader?