Archive for the ‘writing from a prompt’ Category

Just A Minute

“Just a minute. What do you mean I don’t know you? I’ve not forgotten you or who you are or who you were. Obviously, you can’t say the same. Am I not the one that was there with you in the E.R.? Am I not the one that held your head as you vomited into the toilet? Am I not the one that you called out for in the middle of the night? Am I not the one that held you as you cried? I suppose it is I that should be saying that you don’t know me but I would never say that just because you’ve chosen to forget what is not convenient for you to remember. No, you can’t make me feel bad anymore. I no longer give you permission to do that. You no longer have that power over me. Not again. Not ever.”

Note:  This was based on a prompt from WriteAroundPortland (“just a minute”)  I liked it so I put it here.

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Note:  This is an exercise from the oneword.com site.  The word was silk.  After the one minute, I had written 52 words.  I liked where it was going so I kept working on it and am sharing it here.

Silk.  The feel of it against her skin.  So smooth.  So cool.  So elegant.  That’s what she felt as she pulled her pale pink silk slip over her head.  It was so pretty.  The palest of pink with tiny roses embroidered around the neckline.  Too bad no one would ever see it.  It was made to be seen but she knew no one ever would.  She knew now, at the age of 39 that she was destined to be alone, single, lonely.

As she sat at her vanity table and brushed her long dark hair, she wiped at a tear in the corner of her right eye.  She checked her lipstick, pinched her cheeks and put on a happy face.  Just because she was not all that happy didn’t mean she had to make others miserable.  She would walk into that wedding reception with her head held high and a smile to brighten the darkest of rooms.  She would greet her friends.  Yes, that’s what they called themselves, her friends.  There were three of them and each was now married to a man that she had been interested in, a man that had shown interest in her.  But of course, that had been before her friends had lured them away.  She was too shy.  That’s who she had always been.  She couldn’t change.   That’s who she was.  She didn’t want to change.  She didn’t want someone that made her change.  And so she remained alone.

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Note: This is a short piece I wrote at a recent writing workshop.  The prompt was to write either about “Saturday mornings” or “On my way here”.  It was a seven minute write.  Here’s what happened:

On my way here I thought about Saturdays and Saturday mornings and how the day has changed or what I do on this day has changed from year to year.

Growing up I remember not liking Saturdays because there was no school on Saturday and I loved school.  Later on I looked forward to Saturday evenings because I would get to do things—fun things—with my sisters.  We might go to a school sponsored event or we might go to the drive-in, or to a dance.

As a mom, I looked forward to Saturday morning because it was a day to sleep in and spend lots of time with my kids.  I remember waking up and hearing the slight sound of Saturday morning cartoons playing on the TV in the den, next to the master bedroom.  The kids would get up and turn on the cartoons for themselves, turning the volume down low and letting Mom and Dad sleep in—at least sleep in until they could not agree on which cartoon to watch.  That’s when they would come running in to Mom and Dad to settle the dispute.

When the kids were older, in high school, there were always places they had to go to meet with school mates for homework or to see some specific place for background info for school.  Sometimes it meant taking a carload of their friends some place for some school activity for extra credit.  I also remember taking them to cultural events like a cinco de mayo carnival or a dies y seis de septiembre festival.  Saturday nights were for drive-in movies if they had nothing to do for school.

Then they were gone and all there is left is quiet as I wake up to an empty house with only me on Saturday mornings.

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One Minute Writer posted this prompt last week and I decided to give it a try so here goes:

Imagine you have a pair of magic eyeglasses. What can you see through them that you normally wouldn’t be able to see?

I think I would like to have Magic Glasses that would allow me to see people that I correspond with and interact with online.  I’ve developed friendships with a lot of people through blogs and I would really love to be able to see their expression and mannerisms when they write comments to and about me.  The same goes through for FaceBook friends and even Twitter Tweeps.  I think these Magic Glasses would really add to my online experience.

Just imagine being able to see if someone is pulling your leg or if they are scowling at you while they try to word their comments to you so that you won’t know their real feelings.  I would most love to see the smiles that online interaction brings me.  You know, the words we read and know that the writer is sincerely smiling at us or giggling as we interact. I’d even want to see the sorrow or tears as others post about their lives or comment on my sorrows.  It’d be the next best thing to actually being there.

Yup, if I had magic glasses, that’s it!  That’s my vote for the magical properties of my Magic Glasses!

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The other night I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  Her mother just passed away and she has been having some problems processing her death and grieving.  Before I met up with her, I made a journal jar for her.  I am one who has always thought that journaling is a way to work through grief and difficult times in our lives and I felt she might benefit from the journal jar.  When I gave it to her, she thought it was such a thoughtful gift that it made me think of how easy it is to make one and how others might want to make their own journal jar or one for a friend.

A journal jar is a jar that contains strips of paper which each have a writing/journaling prompt.  The jar should have a wide mouth and a lid.  The wide mouth to accommodate ease in getting a prompt out of the jar and the lid to keep the slips of paper in there.  The container doesn’t have to be a jar.  It can be a box or a basket or other container.

For the jars I fill, I like to choose something like a Ball jar, preferably with a wire clamp lid.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or new.  The one I used for my friend’s jar was from a thrift shop.  It was probably meant to be used for storing coffee with the tight seal.  I think I paid 99 cents for it so nothing fancy, just functional.  Then I used swagbucks (my preferred search engine) to search for “journal jar prompts” and found tons of them.  I copied and pasted them to a new document then went through and deleted anything that was a duplicate or just kind of dumb.  I reworded a lot of them so they didn’t say anything like: “Write about something you learned from your mother.”  Instead mine said things like: “Once my mom and I…”, “My favorite thing about my mother is…”, “I will never forget…”, etc.  I wrote a lot of my own prompts so that they were aimed at working through her grief.  Then I formatted them so that each one took just one line of typing straight across the 9×11 page of typing paper (you might have to play with the font size and the margins).  I triple spaced mine so they would have lots of room on top and beneath.  After printing them (I used different colors of computer paper for each page of prompts) I cut them into individual strips and folded them twice.  Then you simply fill the jar with the strips of paper and close the jar.

I stuck my journal jar in a little shopping bag along with a Mead Composition Book (which I got on clearance after back to school last year for about a quarter.  So the entire project cost me $1.24 plus five sheets of typing paper and about two hours of my time.

When I give a journal jar, I let the person know that it’s best to grab a prompt at random and write about that one prompt.  They shouldn’t put it back and grab another if they don’t like the first one.  They should try to stick with the first one and write about that.  Also, in this type of journal jar where someone is working through grief, it’s not a bad idea to ask them to save the prompts they’ve already written about and put them back in the jar periodically because they will most likely feel differently when they pull that same prompt a few months later.  It’s important that they be pulled out at random which is another reason to have them inside of a jar where it’s less convenient for them to go through them to “choose” the one they want to write about.

You can gear the prompts at any age, any topic, or any purpose.  If you save them on your computer, the next time you want to give a jar to a friend, you’ll already have the prompts.  Also, you can add to the prompts at a later date if you know what you already gave them as prompts.

Below is a partial list of some prompts you might want to use.  Keep in mind that these were written for the purpose of my friend working through her grief.

In words, draw a picture of your mother.

In words, draw a picture of your father.

Tell about a special moment in your life that you shared with your mother.

The most important lesson I have learned is …

My father and I used to…

My mother and I used to…

Tell a courtship story about your parents. How did they meet?

Shopping with your mother?   Any particular stories?   What was your favorite store?

On the day that I was born…

When I was a child, my favorite toy was …

When I was growing up, my family used to go to …

Describe a sound from your childhood.  What does it bring to mind?

Write a want ad that describes your mother.

Write a want ad that describes your father.

Right now I feel …

My mother always …

My mother never …

My mother loved …

My mother hated …

I remember when my mom and I …

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[This is a 50 word story I made up in answer to my own prompt/challenge.  Originally I came up with about 2,000 words that seemed more like the beginning of a much larger piece so I decided to use that character as the launching point for my 2009 Nanowrimo novel.  In fulfillment of my own challenge, I give you this little piece instead.]

This was the hardest thing to let go of.  Once it had felt like it had been a part of her very being but it wasn’t.  It was all over.  Samantha knew it. She had to let it go, beautiful wedding dress and all.  Closing her eyes she hit “SEND”.

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The other day I posted a prompt/challenge.  I have been working on the story but somehow it has become a much longer project than I had meant for it to be.  I think this is what I will be working on for Nanowrimo this year…or at least something with the character I’ve created for the Wedding Dress prompt.

I don’t usually pick out a story this far in advance.  I usually wait until a month or so before November first then I sort of decide what I will write about.  This time though, I think I’ve got my main character.  I’m not sure where she’ll take me but I see some possibilities.  As for my challenge, I think I may end up writing something new to complete the challenge and keep the character I created this week for November.

And speaking of Nanowrimo, if anyone knows any “Young Writers” that are participating in Nanowrimo this year, there is a download page where you (or they) can download, for free, a Nanowrimo novel writing workbook with some neat exercises to help create character, plot, and other elements.  In fact, some of you adults may find it helpful, too.  The workbook is available for elementary, middle, and high school levels.  There are also a lot of fun and helpful things on the Young Writers site (accessible through the main nanowrimo.org page).

Happy Writing!

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A few months back, while going through my freecycle email, I saw an offer that caught my attention, not because it was anything I needed but because I smelled a story behind it.  I copied and pasted the listing into a document and saved it in my “Things to write about” folder.  I pulled it out last night and I’ve decided to work on it.

Below you will find the “offer” listing.  Now here’s the challenge: Take the listing and write whatever strikes your fancy after reading it.  Any form, any genre, any length.  Then post a link to your piece of writing in the comments below.

In the meantime, I will be working on mine.

Here’s the listing:

“I am giving away my wedding dress.  It is a size 3 or 5.  I couldn’t find a size tag on it.  It has beading and pearls on it and is long sleeved.  It has a long train.  It is white and is a very beautiful dress.  I has some dirty aras on the bottom of the train but will probably come out at the dry cleaners.  I’ve had it in a Rubbermaid box for near 10 years.  It was hanging up for a couple of years before that.  It was hanging on foam hangers and the foam started to fall apart and so there are pieces on the dress.  Everyting should be fine with a trip to the dry cleaners.  I would like this gone today, please.

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Searching through the web this morning, I came across a site that gives you one word at the top and then a text box with a 60 second timer.  You write for 60 seconds then you can choose to submit it to the site for publication or not.  The site is called One Word.  The url is here.

I thought it was a neat idea so I tried it out.  I ended up with a quick 50 word fiction that I liked.  I’ve included it below.  Don’t worry you guys, I’m okay.  This just sort of came out when I saw the word, which was “DIMMER”.

She hit the dimmer switch, thinking it was set to the lowest setting. Turning it in both directions, she realized she was wrong. It was at its brightest but it was still so dark. That’s when she figured out that the dimness was actually coming from inside of her soul.

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a re-post!  I’ve been watching the USGS site to get word on a series of earthquakes in Baja California where I have in-laws, or more correctly former in-laws.  I still care.  So I am too distracted to write so he’s a little post I wrote a while back.  It’s from a prompt (Headlights In the Rain) and it’s from the POV of a child.  Enjoy (or not).

Headlights In the Rain

I was so tired.  I wanted to be home, warm, safe, in my bed, but I wasn’t.  My mother and my brothers and sisters and I were walking home from the movies.  It was dark and late.  We had stayed all afternoon.  We watched both movies and the cartoons over and over again.  My mother gave us money to get food at the snack bar when we complained we were hungry.

We wanted to go home but my mother said it wasn’t time yet.  So we stayed longer.  Finally all the movies were over and everyone had left.  We were the only ones there and the man came and said we had to leave.  So we did.

When we walked outside, it was dark and cold and raining.  My little sister complained that she didn’t want to walk.  She cried and told my mother to call our father to come get us.  My mother said no.  She said our father should be asleep now and we couldn’t wake him up.  So we started to walk.

This wasn’t the first time.  It happened all the time.  When my father didn’t have to work on the weekends, he would drink beer.  A lot of beer.  Then he would fight with us and with our mother. My mother always let him say things to her and even hit her but when he started to hit us, she would get mad at him.  She would find a way to send us outside or in the other room where he couldn’t hit us.  Then she would come and tell us to get our shoes on and our clothes ready because we were going for a walk.  We had to be quiet.

And that is what happened today.  He drank his beers.  He yelled at my mother.  He hit her.  Then he started yelling at us.  When he got up to hit David, my mother distracted my father and motioned for David to leave the room.  Then we got our jackets and quietly waited for her.  It didn’t take long.  We went to the movies, walking quickly and looking back to make sure he wasn’t following us.  Then we watched the movies and waited.

Now we are walking home, in the rain and I know we are all hoping he will be asleep when we get there, or the fighting will start again and we can’t leave at night time, in the rain, because all there is out there are headlights in the rain.

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