Writing Prompt:Teen Fiction and Magical Things

I’ve started reading a lot of teen fiction lately. It’s not only easy to read and entertaining, it give me and my lovely niece something to talk about.

I have notice that there are certain trends in these books. They (at least the one’s I’m enjoying) tend to be written in the first person. They also seem to have outsiders as their main protagonists. Finally, there is usually some sort of fantasy or supernatural element about them.

I’m currently reading the “Shiver” series by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s about a young girl and her relationship with a boy who turns out to be part of a pack of werewolves. I’ve managed to get through most of the first book of the trilogy in about a day in a half. Not bad going.

What I would like to do is challenge you to write an outline or the premise for a teen fiction book.

Describe your protagonist (they should be 13-17 years old). Describe what they look like, where they come from and what challenge they’re going through. Try to flesh it out as much as possible. Try to include things like their family life, whether or not they have friends or siblings (who is going to be there in support when things get weird), do they have odd habits or flaws? What obstacle are they going to have to overcome? In the case of my current heroine, she’s in love with a werewolf and I suspect she might be one herself.

Have some fun with it and when you’re done, break your summary down into a few key bullet points:

  1. Who is your character
  2. What is their challenge
  3. What are their flaws
  4. who is in the sporting cast
  5. how will they triumph after a few obstacles to overcome?

Have fun, happy writing!

 

Writing Prompt: Your Story

Everyone has a story. Several, in fact. We, some of us, think that our stories are not unique or interesting enough to write about, but you’d be surprised at how much each of us has to say. Start listing key events in your life, large and small. From there, start filling in the detail. Try to remember the colours, what people said, scenery, weather, sensations, etc. Here are some of mine:

  1. The first time I had a substitute teacher.
  2. The day my parents got me my first car
  3. The moment I got a call telling me a friend was dead
  4. My last fight with my first boyfriend
  5. The last time I saw my grandfather alive
  6. Walking to the Mt Everest Base camp
  7. Skydiving attempts
  8. Witnessing the hit and run of a dog crossing the road
  9. Deciding my career path over a bottle of gin and a drunk-dialling call with my wise brother
  10. Understanding the concept of racism in the 4th grade.
  11. Meeting my first crush at the age of 14, he was 21….
  12. My first experience at being burgled
  13. Being sexually assaulted by a stranger on the street
  14. Flying a plane for the first time (over Icelandic glaciers)
  15. Glissading over Mt. St Helens
  16. Being robbed at gunpoint
  17. Finding out my half-German husband, living in England has family in my home town in California.┬áSerendipity….
  18. Publishing my first creative essay
  19. My first fight
  20. My first dance.

Any one of these would keep me busy for a couple thousand words. I’m sure you’ve got a story to tell too. Make you list, and get cracking.

Have fun!

 

 

 

Writing Prompt: Sunrise

When I awoke this morning, I instinctively reached for me phone and checked the time. 6:02 greeted me in large numbers at the top of the screen. I had slept nearly 8 hours, a minor miracle given the change of timezones and my proneness towards jet lag. I had a sudden thought that I had an opportunity to see the sunrise over Los Angeles if I hurried. I checked the internet for the day’s sunrise time. 06:58 is said.

With sleepy eyes, I pulled away the snug covers and padded my way down the stairs and to the balcony. It was still dark and the house quiet. I held my phone up to capture the sunrise. Alas, the morning proved to be overcast, but it did not disguise the expansive city spread out before me and I could still see the neon signs of Hollywood below. In the distance, the hills began to take shape like a dark silhouettes fighting through the mist that became more clear as the sun began to rise.

The forecasts promises clear skies in the afternoon, but for now, the city is still draped in cloud. I can see the buildings and hills, I can make out trees and houses along the hills, but the coast is still obscured. I wait patiently for bright light to penetrate so that I can feel more at home. “The Sunshine State” is California’s motto. I’m confident that soon, it will I’ve up to the name.

For this prompt, try to describe a sunrise. Either from memory or try getting up early tomorrow to capture what you see.

 

 

 

Writing Prompt:David Bowie and other miracles

The whole world is united in mourning for the death of a great and talented individual. David Bowie made it ok to be unusual. His art inspired people for decades and we’re all feeling the loss. I’ve been listening to his music and remembering where I was in different stages in my life when I heard his various songs of saw him in films. I thought of Labyrinth, The Hunger and The Prestige. All fun and all mainly because of him.

This prompt is not designed to specifically honour only David Bowie, but it is there for you to think about the various artists, actors and musicians that have inspired you throughout your life. For this prompt, think about someone who had provided inspiration and think about why. Did they make you change the way you think or write? Write everything you can remember about this person and write about what they have meant to you. Try to make it as personal as possible. Draw from specific memories about how they have made a difference.

I’m going to go write some more and listen to “Life on Mars”, which was not only a great song, but a cracking TV series as well.

RIP David.

Writing Prompt: Your Town

We quite often don’t appreciate what we have right on our doorstep. I’ve walked around town with my head down or with my mind wandering and seeing nothing around me. I know there are some shops on the High street I’ve never walked into and I’m sure there are some gems I’m missing. Have you ever had a good look around the town where you live? There are parks, shops, churches, pretty houses and gardens we take for granted and could be potential sources of inspiration. You might find a bench to sit on or a cafe window to look through and watch the people of your town walk by or you might notice a building or view you never appreciated before.

Try this: Have a walk around the place where you live. Note down what and who you see. Describe your surroundings or draft a narrative using your town as a setting. Watch people go by and use who you see as inspiration for your stories. Enjoy.

Writing Prompt: One Day

This is the last day of 2015, so it seems appropriate that I set up a prompt relating to that. This has been a tough year, filled with challenges, disappointments, revelations (not all good) and hurdles to jump. That being said, I’m still here and I’ve had just as many good days as bad, it’s just harder to remember the good times than the bad ones. That’s human nature, we’re programmed to recall the negative as a survival instinct. However, if I try and concentrate, I ┬ácan remember a lot of good times. I had an amazing family holiday in Italy a few months ago and that involved bringing together members of the family from England and both sides of the US to a neutral location in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. I’m referring to Tuscany, about 30 minutes from Florence. I could live there, but I digress. The point is that although the tail end of the year was a bit shit, (Yes, I’m swearing here, not something I do often, if ever.) I still have some great memories and discovered a few new things. I went to the theatre, concerts, travelled with friends, saw my family, learned how to make homemade pasta and pickles (though not together), spoke to a crowd of over 100 people and nailed it, made a load of new friends, ran a 1/2 marathon and shaved 20 minutes off my PB, discovered new music, grew my book club to 100 people, read 17 books, discovered adult colouring books, saw the new Star Wars film, found my favourite leather jacket which had been lost for over 5 years.

So, my challenge to you is to make a list of event of 2015, both negative and positive, and write about that event/experience.

Thank you for benign part of my 2015 and I wish you all the best for 2016. See you tomorrow.

x

 

 

 

 

Writing Prompt: Family History

Everybody has a story. When we’re growing up, many of us hear stories about where our families came from, anecdotes about our parents and grandparents, our aunts and uncles and cousins. We hear tales about how people met and got married, about the black sheep in the family and about incidents that help either forge or ruin family relationships.

For this exercise, write down a family story you’ve heard. Try to remember all of the details and try to give an opinion about what happened. How did this story affect the rest of the family?

Enjoy.

Writing Prompt:Disaster

I used to love disaster movies when I was a kid. To be honest, I still do. Some of them were a bit cheesy, but I still enjoyed watching the heroes and heroines trying to work out who is going to make it to the end. To give you a few examples, I watch the “Poseidon Adventure” every Christmas. Other favourites include “The Towering Inferno”. “Earthquake” and “The Day After Tomorrow” (don’t judge me).

For this writing exercise, try writing an outline for a disaster movie. It can be anything, flood, war, fire, earthquake, etc. For added complexity, try throwing another genre. What happens as a result of the disaster? Do we have a plague or is a civilisation nearly wiped out as a result?

Good luck!

Writing Prompt: Screenplay

Have you ever had an idea for a film? I’ve had a few, but never knew how to write a scene for the screen.

I started thinking about this as I sat in the cinema last night. I’m a huge film fan. I love being carried off into another world by a great story, compelling dialogue and stunning visuals. (Queue “Star Wars” plug).

What is it that makes a good film shot? I think one of the key components is a compelling story and investment in characters. If we don’t care about what is happening to the people we’re watching, it’s just another two hours of our lives we’ll never get back.

So, I would recommend you pick up the following books: “Screenplay” by Syd Field and “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder.

For this exercise, try writing a scene for the screen. Then, look at some examples out there and compare. Have you captured what you are trying to visualise? I’ve added one here to get you started:

Screenplay-script-.jpg

I’m going to have a go at my first short screenplay. Wish me luck.

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