Today’s prompt is from best-selling novelist and popular writing teacher James Scott Bell. Thanks, Jim
The Prompt from JSB
Write about your antagonist’s life at the age of sixteen. What were the events that shaped this character back then, and still haunt today?
James Scott Bell is a best-selling author of books for writers and thrillers like Deceived, Try Dying, Watch Your Back, and One More Lie (International Thriller Writers Award finalist). He writes frequently for Writer’s Digest magazine and blogs every Sunday at The Kill Zone. You can find some of his books for authors here.
Tips from Julie
- Choose the antagonist/villain of a previous story.
- Or choose the antagonist of a work-in-progress or the novel you’ve been planning to write but can’t get a handle on.
- Remember that an antagonist isn’t necessarily the villain — just the character that gets in the way of your hero’s dream
To engage your readers and hook them in from the first line, it’s a great idea to start in medias res, which means into the middle of things. So…
Kicking off the next few days’ Guest Prompters is StoryADay past participant Simon Kewin, who provided this great prompt. Thanks, Simon!
To engage your readers and hook them in from the first line, it’s a great idea to start in medias res, which means into the middle of things. So, instead of opening with long descriptions of background and prior events, jump straight into the action. This is immediately more engaging for the reader. The trick for the writer is then to drip-feed into the narrative information about prior situations the reader needs without it becoming too intrusive and, well, boring.
The following prompts are opening lines of stories that start in medias res. See where they – or something like them – lead you…
- Nate plummetted to the ground, screaming Kate’s name as he fell.
- Amanda Frobisher stood in front of the entire school, only to find no words would come out of her mouth.
- Jamie stood in the wreckage of his ransacked house, trying to take it all in.
- Max had one bullet left. He had to make it count.
- “So, will you marry me or not?”
Simon is a UK writer and a previous StoryADayMay participant. He has two novels appearing this years: Engn, to be published by December House in July and Hedge Witch, to be published by Morrigan Books on Hallowe’en. He can be found at http://simonkewin.co.uk