Daydreaming on your way to work, you get into a car accident. Frustrated because you will be late for an important meeting, you curse and yell as you get out of the car. When you go to confront the other driver, you find out it is your boss. Write this scene.
Effective listening is imperative to effective writing. Listening carefully while sitting on a crowded subway, drinking coffee in a lonely diner, or asking a stranger for directions can lead to new characters, settings, and story lines. It is also important to listen to your own characters. Make a list of ten questions to ask a character you are developing. Listen to your character’s answers, diction, and inflection, and write down what you hear and see in your imagination. Most people, including fictional characters, will tell you who they are. You just have to ask.
You call an old flame from high school whom you still have feelings for and ask to meet up. The flame says, “Sure, how about noon at the pub by your house.” While waiting at the pub, your flame walks in—wearing a wedding dress (or tuxedo). The flame looks at you and says, “I’m supposed to be getting married today, but …” What happens? Write this scene.
Dieting is the most common New Year’s resolution, and the most difficult to stick to. Sure, we essentially know what’s healthy and what to avoid overindulging in, but when a doctor or nurse tells you to change your eating habits it weighs much heavier on your conscience. Does one of your characters have a diet that is putting his health in jeopardy? Try writing a scene in which that character is told by a healthcare professional to overhaul his eating habits. How does this character react? If this character can no longer have some of his favorite foods, how does this affect his mood and his day-to-day routine?
When you return to school for a conference, you bump into one of your old professors, who is rambling on excitedly about a new discovery. He asks you to follow him to his office—he has something he wants to show you. What is the new discovery? Why is your professor so excited? Write this scene.
Spring can at times seem like one long daydream. Does one of your characters have the habit of drifting off into a fantasy world? This week, write out one of these daydreams. Use plenty of surreal elements that make it clear this is a fantasy sequence and not just the character re-imagining a scenario working out a different way. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber is a perfect example.
You are a world-renowned mystery writer living a life of seclusion. A random email informs you of a great story, the next bestseller. Unfortunately, you find the details to be a little too close to home. Write a scene where you confront this mysterious informant, who seems to know a little too much about your personal life.
Motels are frequently depicted in novels, TV, and film. This week, write a scene that takes place in a motel. Perhaps it's a seedy, roadside fleabag; a clean, well-maintained establishment with a dark history; or simply a familiar setting for a dramatic turning point in your narrative. You can weave it into a short story or use it as a starting point for a new piece. It can be inspired by your own experience or entirely imagined.
go ahead and survive in there for 7 days and you can walk away a free man. All
It was a large building past its glory
days. It could have been an apartment or a hostel once. But it had long since served
its purpose and its ghost defaced the landscape like an unsightly landmark. All
the inlets and outlets had been boarded up not with wood but welded with metal.
The main entrance provided the only access into the building. My captors pushed
me inside, slammed the doors shut and reinforced it with chains. Even if there
really was another way out, I knew death alone awaited him on the other side of
the steel doors.
men who dropped me off had given me this odd challenge as the only alternative
besides immediate death. All I had left was a prayer—which is the direct
English interpretation of my name, Akam (/arkham/), anyway.
7 days in there and you walk,” they told me and drove off, heading south of my
location. I had spotted one or two security cameras mounted within the
perimeter. A single path led to the house and the weeds prowled it. I stepped
into the wide corridor of the structure.
of cake,” I said. “There’s bound to be a master bedroom in this place with a giant-sized
double bed somewhere in here. All I gatto do is find it.”
Find it, I would but I, Akam was about to
learn a vital lesson about beds; they weren’t always vacant and especially, not
always inviting even in an abandoned house. I walked along the corridors,
feeling the walls, working at my first tour of the place—my new residence.
I’m gonna be hanging around for 7 whole days, I better acquaint myself with the
settings. Wouldn’t want to get lost in the dark,” I said. Read More Here: IntShoWriMo 2014
Prompt: You receive a mysterious email and the subject line reads “Everything
you know is a lie.” You open the email and read further: “Act calm as not to
alert anyone, but everyone around you is not who they say they are. You need to
quietly get out of there and meet me at the spot where you had your first kiss.
You know the place. My name is Mark.”
I want to tell you about my friend, Mark.
But let’s get something straight from the onset. ‘First Kiss’ isn’t exactly what it sounds like and Mark who is the reason I’m telling this
story to begin with, is not the guy’s real name. And I am not in the secret
service or anything so lay aside every sentiment you may have for folks in that
department. Let’s get back to Mark cause this story is about him. Him not me, forget everything you ever
heard those wannabe shrinks say. Those folks couldn’t wriggle free of a wet
toilet tissue trammel to begin with.
You wanna know how I ended up eating roaches for dinner? That’s what I’m
getting at. Haven’t you been listening to a word I’ve said these past minutes?
‘First Kiss’ was what we called our rite
of induction. We belonged to this cult, you see?
it aint the kind of cult where you had to off people just to make an appearance.
It was totally legit stuff.
come I’m stuck here if it was totally legit? Are you for real? Who’s telling
this story, anyway? Are you an undercover shrink or something? You even stink
not? Let’s get something straight, I’ll tell my story my way or it’s no way.
I said, it was totally legit. We committed no crimes. Check your records see if you’ll find a crime
by The MarkGang. The only clause is we were all boys. Four boys, five, if you
get to the highpoints of the story. There were school folks who believed Mark
was an alien.
Not an illegal immigrant kind of thing. We never knew who his parents were,
talking about an extraterrestrial, the Stephen Spielberg kind. He probably flew
in from one of the Kepler cluster of planets all these young charismatic set of
astronauts keep probing. He looked the type, too?
we find any evidence to buttress the fact? Plenty.
one of the kids in our cult Etok (/hey toke/), I believe it was had this issue
with Mark about his gender and he called him out, too.
come I never seen you go on a date?” Etok said. It was the truth Mark rarely
ever chatted up a girl and he forbade us to bring girls to meetings even a
simple group gathering.
did we discuss in the meetings? Why would I tell you? Those were group secrets
and we swore to never tell. Would you tell me if I asked what you guys
discussed in your locker rooms or what you and your wife do… Read More Here: IntShoWriMo 2014
Prompt: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude,” said
Martin Luther King Jr. imagine a character who needs to forgive someone. Who
does he or she need to forgive? What was the nature of the injury? What were
its implications? Does forgiveness come easily to your character or is
retaliation a more natural impulse? Does your character try and fail to forgive
initially? See how your character’s desire to forgive creates obstacles and
ultimately, fuels your plot.
ought to have known better. It’s supposed to be his job.”
I should have killed him on the spot. I should, too.”
would have increased the fatality by one. That’s bad arithmetic.”
good equation, though. It is too, considering who’s involved. Leaving him alive
creates a chemical imbalance.”
He rolled off the bed and walked around
the room in an arc heaving heavy sighs. He turned around abruptly, retraced his
steps and sat on the edge of the bed.
can’t resolve this issue with a mathematical formula.”
point,” he said. “Is I didn’t fulfill my obligations to him.” He stabbed the pendant
lying in a tangle beside the bedside lamp.
it rest now.” She reached out and touched his hand. “Come to bed.”
He took her hand in his but kept his back
turned to her.
know what, everyday I remember that cussed day, every night the memory of it
weighs down on me, and I feel like I played the role of the actor who forgot
his lines at the defining moment of the play. The jerk who ended the play
before it truly ended.”
She remained quiet. She’d heard those
lines rehashed over and over again these past months she might as well live in
an echo chamber. Read More Here: IntShoWriMo 2014
Koko stared at the screen of her inbuilt
computer, the sense of urgency charged the air. The street was alive with
people but Koko knew better to be wary cause this was 2057 where people had
ceased to be just people. Computers
ruled the age and people had become Files.
Night had covered the world with deceptive ease while she buried herself in
‘CHECKING HARD DRIVE…’
this is going to be a long night,” she said aloud to no one in particular.
“Can’t you just figure out who is real and which ones are ghosts of their former
selves?” she asked the artificial intelligence installed in her Jeep. Just when
she decided to spin her wheels, she probably had nothing to fear, her computer shattered
her hasty conclusion with a ‘BONG!’
In 2057, that sound had become the next
thing to the Final Trumpet Sound. Sitting
in her Jeep, alone in the dark of night, the computerized female voice inserted
terror in Koko.
‘CHECKING HARD DRIVE’ traded places with ‘virus detected’ and got traded for ‘file corrupt.’
Blue dots filled the computer screen.
That signified one thing: she was in danger. She was stuck for alternative
routes. Plus, beating the deadline seemed somewhere in the realm of impossible.
The blue dots converged cued by an invisible, diabolic director. Then they began
to move in on her in slow measured tempo acting out their cemetery choreography. Read More Here: IntShoWriMo 2014 Eneh Akpan June 7th, 2014
Phillip and Marge Udra were puzzled by
the single content of the picnic basket.
gotta be some sort of explanation for this,” Phillip said.
think it’s the kids upstream playing dirty pranks,” Marge said.
they know better than to mess with a child’s mindset?”
say we ought to call the cops.”
And that’s what they did. The cops came, sirens
blaring. When they arrived they combed the entire area for the pranksters but
found none. The police car driver recalled seeing some kids running off into
the distance as they turned into the park area.
must have been our boys said the detective. Well, Ma’am, sir, you got nothing
to worry about. I’m sure those troublemakers won’t make anymore trouble today,
officer. I feel this was all for nothing. Sorry I brought you all the way down
here for nothing.”
time. It’s my job, too.”
The officers left and the family was on
their own again.
would anybody place such a grotesque object inside a picnic basket?” Marge
I’ve lost my appetite, was all the reply
The content of the basket had been handed
over to the cops who recorded it as evidence. They took it away with them to
Marge’s relief. She couldn’t shake the feeling there was more to the whole ordeal
than kids playing pranks. Read more here: IntShoWriMo 2014
Prompt: “My business is to create,” wrote William Blake. This week, write a
story whose protagonist is also in a creative enterprise. Your character can be
an artist, or he or she can be involved in a field your typical reader may not
initially think of as creative. Try to find and describe this creative impulse.
It was five in the evening and the feasting
was done. Me and Reuben had grabbed a rattan chair each and walked off to the
bank of the river a few meters behind his house. We took glass cups, a bottle filled
with water and a little table for entertainment. The evening air was fresh and
cool; a perfect culture for a serious conversation.
do you guys do down where you said you worked?”
took a deep breath and said, “The Enterprise?”
that. What are you up to?”
I cleared my throat. “I am the Creative
that down into chunks I can gobble in one swallow.”
create stuff and I have all authority in decision making.”
lost me for the second or third time in as many minutes.”
I looked at him and spoke one word I knew
he’d understand. “Art.”
have come to ruin towing that line,” he said. “I tried it often even with you
standing close by doing your own thing. Remember the times we came by these same
waters as kids to paint the scenery?”
you were always the gifted hands in the family. Always.” His face congealed in
a scowl. “How did you drift so far apart from the promising kid we all believed
I swallowed and even though my mouth was
empty, a lump slid down my throat like XL bitter-leaf-flavored pills.
and said you got a fine job and we was happy for you. Said you ‘created’ stuff and we believed you were
a genius of some sort and beamed with pride everywhere we went…”
Reuben sniffed on his inhaler. He always
had one on him whether he caught a cold or not. God knows why.
I give up. I can’t narrate your own story to you it’s like preaching to the
darn choir. So help me out. I want to know what you did. Don’t spit it like some
god darn official report. Spin the yarn as simple as simple does without making
it sound like a ball of confusion.” He sniffed some more on his inhaler. He sank
in his rattan chair. ‘Your turn’ that
gesture seemed to say. Read more here: IntShoWriMo 2014
Prompt: The department store elevator shuts down on the way to the fourth
floor, with you and ten other people in it. You remain calm but other people begin
to panic. Write this scene and the dialogue between characters.
time I was in an elevator and this kind of shit happened things took a bad turn
and one of the guys croaked,” A woman standing close to the doors said.
when precisely was that, madam?” A man gone in years said.
three, four, five years ago,” Said the lady.
what floor was the elevator when it got stuck?”
And the answer came flying right back. “About
the third or fourth floor.”
All eyes in the elevator shot up to the
display panel. The electric potential in the atmosphere went up a few notches.
gotta be kidding me. I don’t believe that hype you cooked up. A ball of crap
and old women’s fables, is what it is.” The old man eyed the lady. Well, I
can’t say he stared hard or was only looking in her direction cause the place
we were in was dark with the lights out.
swear on my mama’s grave.” The lady’s voice had increased in pitch. “Why would
I lie when I’m also stuck in this circuit just like everybody else?”
some people major in giving other people a heart attack,” The old guy said.
“Besides being under a lot of stress can lead to running off at the mouth.”
am not under stress, sir.”
stuck in this mess with us, lady. Ain’t you?”
“Excuse me,” a masculine executive voice said. Probably, the guy
I’d spotted donning a three piece suit earlier when all the lights were on.
“Shouldn’t we concentrate our energies on finding a way out of this jam?”
An alarm went off someplace overhead.
on God’s earth is that?” Some guy topping a face cap said. That moment of
urgency made his voice come out in a squeal.
if there ever was a way out of this situation, it is not racketing and panic,”
Some dude, standing in the center of the elevator, said. “Let’s get ourselves
to…” Read more here IntShoWriMo 2014
Prompt: It’s your 18th birthday and, upon it, your parents deliver some pretty
shocking news: You’re not really human. They admit that they’ve been covering
up the fact that you are actually a (fill in the blank). After hearing the news
you still decide to go to school, but this school day is different than all
your school days past, especially when it’s revealed to others what you truly
can’t make things pop out of thin air if that’s what you’re thinking.”
I could feel their eyes crawling all over
me like a million needles and pins.
what exactly do you do, then?” Alicia asked.
he can spin a web like Spiderman.”
There were a few giggles after that last
he can dance standing on his head.” That was Dick.
This announcement was followed by an
not really attempted that one but yeah, I think, maybe, I could if I gave it a
try,” I said.
think. Just do it,” Dick said.
don’t think before breathing, do you?” Rebecca.
before falling in love,” said a kid with a low punk haircut whom we called
That got everybody in the classroom
roaring with laughter. Even Amen, my best buddy, was slamming his fist into his
desk again and again bellowing a belly laugh.
And the silence held sway for a moment.
Just then some kid in the front seat
flung a ball made from crumpled paper at me. I caught if off the air and made a
paper aircraft out of it in the space of 5 seconds and tossed it. It glided in
an arc round the room and returned to me. I snatched it out of the air.
The silence weighed down on my eardrums
like a dead weight. I felt the eyes of the entire class trained on me. As far
as I was concerned, I knew I had done something awesome but if you asked me to
create a chemical formula to explain the process, you’d be barking up the wrong
how on earth did you do that?” Dick whose eyes bulged with surprise asked.
didn’t think. I just did it,” said I.
it again,” Shorty said.
“I can’t.” I lied. “I don’t know how it happened.” Which
was true. “Reflexes, I guess.” Which was both the truth and a lie. Read more here IntShoWriMo 2014 Eneh Akpan June 3rd, 2014
Prompt: Kristin Pedersen and Russell Ebert meet before he inherits money. One of
them is killed.
Word Count: 1,234
My memory of that day is as clear as day.
The waiter’s name was Pedersen and I could tell from the way he looked at me, through me my face didn’t juggle his
memory. Not that I expected it to. I was only, how do they say it, playing my position. He had the same low
haircut. There were a few grays in there but the similarity was good enough for
rock and roll. Same chiseled chin, deep-set eyes just like the high school
picture I acquired. Don’t ask me how.
He walked briskly past me. I reached out
and tugged at the tail of his cheap waiter’s jacket and held on.
you recognize an old friend when you see one?” I said, flashing my winning
He stopped and turned to face me. “Not like
I can remember everybody and I’ve met hundreds since I started working here.” He
raised his hands, palms facing up, curved his lips and shrugged. “The job.”
I shook my head slowly from side to side.
“It’s that. But I’m not talking yesterday not even last week. I’m talking
many years are you willing to wager?”
He was taking the bait. Nibbling at it at
the edges, eventually he was going to swallow the line and get stuck.
like to think your face got lost in the sea of faces I meet everyday in this room.
Hell, I can’t even recollect faces I came across yesterday besides the regulars,
that is. And here you are taking down memory lane several years from now.”
I said. “We were part of a team.”
in high school. Strikes a chord?”
Pedersen ran his fingers through his hair.
There wasn’t much left to explore. The dude was going bald.
be darned,” he said.
still can’t place your face or name. Wait… I think it’s coming back. Ernest,
right it is.” I lied. God help whoever the real Ernest is.