Writing Prompt: The Daisy Chain

I’ve always been fascinated by how seemingly unrelated things can link together and form a chain of events that change people’s lives. Heavy for a writing prompt, huh?

Here’s a “for instance”…

I moved to a new town two years ago. I knew no one and so, I thought I’d start a book club to try to make some new friends. I announced the club on Meetup and put out a book to read and a date to meet. On the first day, no one showed up. I was disappointed, but no surprised. I sat comfortably with my book and a glass of red wine for an hour, then went home.

I tried again. I gave myself a month, pick a book I knew well and was comfortable talking about and by the time the date of the meetup came around, there were enough people signed up to the group to warrant hope that one or two might attend. I was rewarded for my persistence with the arrival of three attendees. We talked about the book, had a drink and a laugh and I went home, pleased with the evening.

Months went by and the attendee figures rose. A year later, and I now have 98 members and a consistent set of 12-14 attendees each month and a waiting list usually 6-10 people deep. Was my mission accomplished? You could say that. As a result of over a year of meetings and countless glasses of wine and a shared love of books, friendships have been forged not only within the book club, but outside of it. I’ve met wonderful people I’m proud to call friends.  Why did all this happen? Because I didn’t want to be the isolated new girl in the neighbourhood.

Another example of a chain of events leading to things is how I got into my career. Many many many years ago, when I first moved to London from the US, I was working as an administrator in a recruitment company. To say that is was a soul destroying glimpse of humanity is an understatement, but that’s a story for another time. So, there I sat, depressed, playing countless hours of Tekken on my Playstation and solo-drinking gin and tonics into the night.

What happens when you’ve been drinking gin and tonics alone at night and the only people you know who are awake are in a different time zone? You drunk-dial your brother, of course!

So, there I sat, sobbing into the receiver about my career options or lack thereof. My brother, who remains my career saviour to this day, said, “You love people and you can sell anything. You should be in PR or Marketing.” Hmmm…Marketing, I thought. I liked the sound of it.

A few weeks later, I found a job in a TV buying house in London, quit the recruitment agency, worked for one of the most terrifying bosses ever (good person, bad manager) and I was on my way.  Over a decade later and I’m still in Media and still loving it. I work with beautiful, talented people, so that helps.

From the examples above, it’s funny how big events can spring from small things. In my case it was a nearly-abandoned attempt at a book club and and gin, tonic and Tekken binge.

For this writing prompt, think of something significant in your life and work your way backwards. What are the links of the daisy chain that led you to that key event?

Have fun.

 

Writing Prompt:The Hardest Word

Apparently, the word most people find hardest to say to someone is “NO”. I’m not sure I agree with this, but it’s an interesting idea. Personally, there are about a dozen words I find harder. I find telling someone they’re wrong harder than refusing them something.

If you had to pick one word that you find hard to say to someone, what would it be? Not the whole sentence, just the action word within it.

Try this:

  1. Pick your word
  2. Construct a narrative around what that word means or represents

or

  1. Pick your word
  2. Write a scene between two characters where this word comes up and add a bit of conflict.

Good luck.

Writing Prompt: In what order?

It’s interesting to see how people make decisions. I just had a conversation with someone and they asked me the following question…

“Imagine a scenario where you are in the house alone. The following things occur at the same time:

  1. Someone starts pounding at the door.
  2. The phone rings
  3. You realise the tap is running with the plug in
  4. It starts to rain and there’s a week’s worth of washing outside
  5. A baby starts crying upstairs

What is the third thing to sort out?”

Apparently, based on your answer, someone can make a judgement on your decision making process and priorities.

For this writing prompt, I’d like you to write a scene where these things happen to your character. What do they attend to and in what order? What happens as a result of their actions? There are multiple variations and threads possible with this one. Let’s see where it takes you.

Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself based on what you have your character do.

Have fun!

 

 

Writing Promopt: “All change here, all change…”

That is what the train conductor says when the train terminates and it’s time to get off.

There are times when I hear those words and I think they’re a metaphor for something else. For instance, is the universe trying to tell me that it’s time to change, to jump off this train and catch another?

This is not a small question and one that I’m sure will not be answered here, but it did get me thinking.  For a writing prompt, try something like this:

  1. Write a narrative about someone actually being asked to get off a train a few stops before his or her destination. The cause can be one of the following:
    1. Mechanical failure
    2. Someone is ill on the train
    3. A security alert
    4. someone brandishing a weapon
  2. Whichever cause you choose, have the main character make a life-altering decision.

Option 2

If you’re feeling brave, list several things in your life that you would like to change. Next, pick one and write out a list of possible options to make that change happen. Finally, write out everything that could happen to prevent it from happening.  Finally, write a statement of intent for making that change.

Have fun, safe journey…

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