BB’s (possibly stolen) PROMPT for 04/02/15
Interview several strangers. Have questions to ask them. Things like, “If you could change one thing about an event in your life, what would it be?” Not just, “What’s your favorite color?” Watch how they react as they talk. As you talk. What are their expressions? Nervous habits? Tics? What’s charming about them? Frightening?
YES! I DID IT! I needed to tweak this a bit, as I promised I would orient this toward my new project, which I am now calling TWISTED OAKS HOLLOW ‑ a fairy tale which I’m working on for the April NaNo, AND need to complete enough of for WIFYR in June. So I “interviewed” a small group of writers all with whom I’ve worked:
I gave them a list of my 21 characters. Since this is a fairy tale AND will have magic, I told them it would be all right if one or more of them show up in different guises. Which ones could do that? How can I decide which one will be my Antagonist?
A: The Imp sounds a little like Gollum. He could be the bad guy.
B: But the Imp would make a more interesting traveling companion for the MC than the 3rd Princess ‑ more possibilities with an Imp and the girl, than with 2 girls.
C: I think it should be the Dragon at the end ‑‑‑ a surprise, as we wouldn’t know that the first time we see it.
D: I’d like to have someone who’s supposed to be “good” have a turn around and be the bad guy. Maybe the Prince on the raft.
E: I’d expect it to be the Ferryman ‑‑‑ they’re usually “bad” characters.
A: But that’s why it would be such a flip to have it be the Prince, etc., etc., etc.
A & B were both really into the fairy tale aspect, so their faces were animated and they pressed for their own take on what to do.
C writes romances and generally doesn’t “get” fantasy. She kept her eyes down on her papers while she made suggestions and spoke up less frequently.
D: who REALLY doesn’t get fantasy remained silent, but smiling, through the discussion. Her most frequent comment will be “. . . but I liked it.”
E: Defended, though pleasantly, turning the tables so that those characters usually assumed to be “good” would flip places with others who were normally “bad.”
This is only a synopsis (we were at it for a while) of what went on ‑‑‑ but there were MANY good ideas. AND, even with disagreements, we all get along, and also laugh a lot.
BB’s (possibly stolen) PROMPT for 04/03/15
If you’re not used to it, ride the bus for a few hours preferably when you’re not alone. Write a quick 50 words (or less) description about each person who comes on the bus. Or sit in a restaurant, right in the middle, so you can see who’s there. Think outside the box for each person. No stereotypes. Find the odd and the pleasant about each individual.
YES! I DID IT! TWEAKING things again to fit my situation. We went out to dinner last night with some of my former high school debaters from the late 1990’s at a nice restaurant but at the end of the big shopping day RIGHT before Easter, the place was JAMMED.
My husband and I were the first to arrive. We didn’t know whether the group had made reservations or not, so I took a guess at which ones were responsible enough to have left his or her name. Couldn’t match up with any of the reservations. When they were told we’d be a party of 8 to 10, they said it would be about a 35 minute wait. By then the group of 9 of us had gathered. The first to arrive were two of the girls I’d known best.
A: My former debate captain: responsible girl, but giddy in the right circumstances. Dyed black hair, long, with overtones of dark, electric blue. I introduced the 2 to my husband, they both gave the pair of us hugs.
B. I hadn’t been quite as close to back in the day. Her blond, kinky strands were helter skelter all over head and shoulders. Her voice was loud, and in the crowded foyer, the crowd was no match for her voice. I DID teach them to PROJECT.
C was the next to arrive: the only male other than my husband. Kinky, VERY red hair, but cut so that most was close to his head. He showed us a pix of just before he’d had it cut some years ago, and it hung in waves most of the way down his long back. He was quiet, surrounded by all these women, and sat at the opposite end of the table from my husband who sat at the head of the table with me on his right.
D, one of the last to arrive, had her dark brown locks straight but fairly short. Got a big hug there too, and BIG smiles. She had met Herb once, briefly, not too long ago, so she seemed comfortable with him, but apologized more than was necessary, for arriving late. We still hadn’t been seated nor, as it turned out, were we close to being seated.
E, the younger sister of my former debate captain arrived look SLIM (the only one of us who did) and civilized. She, being the youngest there, had managed to stay in better shape than the rest of us, except perhaps for the other male, who is now a Parole Officer. She was also somewhat more reserved. Often looked to her sister for assurance or to make comments about others of their large family, or other family occasions.
F and G, the last to arrive: One woman with quite short, clipped, dark hair didn’t look like anyone I knew — and they sometimes invite kids who were at the school, but not necessary one of my students. She seemed fairly quiet, but was the ONE who stepped up to help people in and out of the crowded foyer by holding the door.
The other one, I didn’t recognize at first, as her brown hair had been lightened to an almost blond. I was shocked to realize who it was when someone finally mentioned her name.
F sat across the table from me, and as I asked what she was “doing” now most of them have quite responsible jobs and/or are working on various degrees. All have children of their own, but most have been, or are going through divorces. F turned out to have done a stint in the Army so Herb’s stories of life in the Navy were great for her sitting near us: SHE really understood his background and what he’d been through AND knew that he understood her as well.
The longer the restaurant was at seating us, the more vociferous the group became, filling the entire outer entryway. It was closer to 1.5 hours than to 35 min. when we got seated. At the end we had to struggle with getting all the checks out to the right parties. Herb and I were the only couple, so it should have been easy with one ticket per person, excepting us. At one point about 5 of the girls got up and trooped off to the restroom together. At least our table was quieter — until they got back and had to help untangling the checks. At long last, a pretty, thin, well coifed but tired looking woman, the manager, came to our table to apologize for all the troubles, over and over again. I can ONLY assume that was followed up by a lengthy diatribe at her servers some time today. She scratched the price of desserts off EVERYONE’s tickets . . . and they’d already comped 2 appetizers to our tables for the slow job in getting us seated.
An interesting, ACTIVE and NOISY evening . . . but fun, all the same. There were promises tossed around about doing it again next year . . . BUT at a different restaurant!
OK. That wasn’t much like my story EXCEPT that it was interesting to see how each individual reacted to slow service, crowded conditions and all the rest. No one was rude, almost ALL were TERRIBLY noisy, but all of it was in a sense of comradery and friendship. About the MOST I could expect from this group of wonderful, rowdy, FORMER students!
(Feel free to re use my prompts, modified to YOUR specifications I “stole” them too from Carol Lynch Williams, AnnDeeCanDee, Cheryl, The ABC Writers Guild and others . . .)