In honor of Groundhog Day, and one of the best films ever made about an obscure holiday, today’s prompt encourages you to milk one simple plot for all it’s worth.
Write A Very Short Story About An Incident In Your Character’s Day, Then Make Them Relive That Incident
- Make the central incident really short. The fun of this story is not in having a clever plot, but in letting your character cycle through it a few times.
- You don’t need to explain why the character is starting over again (Groundhog Day doesn’t), but if you want, you could use a rift in time (as in Stephen King’s 11/22/63) or a time machine (y’all know I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, but you could also stray into the kind of territory used by Ray Bradbury in A Sound Of Thunder.)
- Start by thinking of a character and put them in a situation they would absolutely hate. Then, rewind and make it worse. Think of every way in which you can make this situation worse for them. Throw it all at them.
- You don’t have to redeem your character at the end.
- Your story doesn’t have to make sense. It can be bizarre, absurd, frustrating. But writing it will help you think deeply about character and worry less about the need to construct a ‘clever’ plot.
- Choose an incident from your own life (awful, or hilarious, or terrifying, or ridiculous) and give it to a character either very like you, or not at all like you.
- Consider giving your character a sidekick, so they have someone to talk to. This person only exists to show off your character’s best and worst traits (think: poor old Doctor Watson in the original Sherlock Holmes stories).
- You could also try having the character blog their experience, or livestream it, or Tweet about it, if you don’t want to include another character.
- Don’t worry about making this story great. Experiment. Have fun. FINISH IT.
Watch me talk about this prompt on Periscope:
Care to share your story (or a link to it) in the comments? Go for it!