Writing Prompt: Day 90

90.jpgDay 90 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Let chasing pavements inspire you.

Shannon: I’m fighting for something that I’m not even sure I want anymore, and I’m starting to think my real motivation is that I want to see the conclusion. If I end this now then I’ve worked this hard and come all this way just to turn back, and never see where the trail ends and what can be found there. The only problem is what if the trail doesn’t end. What if that is the conclusion? What if I have to keep walking this path until I get too tired to carry on? At this point I could never be satisfied with that ending. I can’t see how I could come to terms with no ending, so until I can I’ll carry on.

Erin: Eventually I was forced to face the fact. He was never going to be mine. I could spend my life waiting for him and being there for him and he wouldn’t budge. If he was frozen in stone I had to make the move, which needed to be to let him go. So I did, and in doing that I made progress, my life was in motion, and I could chase people who just might chase me back some day.

What do these lyrics mean to you and your character?

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Writing Prompt: Day 89

89.jpgDay 89 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Only describe the setting. Nothing else.

Erin: There wasn’t much to see. The fog had overtaken the entire beach. There were so many water droplets in the air that the water in the lake had disappeared. There was a little of the walkway that peeked out and formed a gradient into gray. Without my eyes getting anywhere my ears started looking for my body of water. The waves crashing music made the fog seem to disappear. The ghost waves projected into the fog, in that I saw beauty.

Shannon: The shop looked flimsy from the outside, as if one poke could topple the whole place over. Every side of the building was trailed with bright green moss intertwined with dark vines. It looked as if the small structure was in the process of being swallowed by the Earth.

The windows had a film of fog, making it impossible to see anything but a yellow glow of light hiding inside. The paint was chipping off the door and the handle had an aged shine that was overpowered by rust.

Inside the first thing you see is the randomly pattered fabric-draped-ceiling. The atmosphere was so alive with color on the inside for its misleading exterior. Each shelf was covered in antiques that begged to be admired for their intricacies, and the lighting was just dull enough to need a closer look.

Start with where we are and continue with that place and end with that place?

Writing Prompt: Day 88

88.jpgDay 88 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: A character takes a photo that changes their life.

Shannon: “Hey,” a large bodyguard shouted from across the street. “Did you just take a picture,” he pointed at me and I stopped breathing. “I need to see your camera. Don’t make this hard,” he advised.

I booked it, running for the large crowd, going against natural instinct. I figured I probably couldn’t outrun him, but I might be able to confuse him. If I present this photo to my boss I could finally stop taking paparazzi photos, and finally get promoted to the travel position I’d been working for since I started as intern. The bodyguard would have to pry this golden ticket from my bloody hands. Even if that meant I was the evil one, I wasn’t going down without a fight.

Erin: For 73 years of my life I was taking pictures. The medium may have changed, but ultimately the product didn’t. I wasn’t capturing photos, I was capturing moments, emotions, and people who only existed in that instant of the flash of my camera.

That’s what was so appealing to me, how people didn’t really exist in my opinion. The person who walked into their boss’s office, was not the same one who walked out to pack up their desk and leave. The girl at the counter of the fast-food restaurant, hardened more into a stranger as she was being yelled at by a man who would not recognize himself once the death of his wife fully sank in. Hell, someone walking in for a photo was always one notch more self-assured or discouraged once I showed them the print.

Only children go to their graves as they were at 2 years old. I know the notion is morbid, but life is morbid. We die and are born every day, as new people and new experiences hurt and enthrall us. Pictures are the definition of survival. They may fade, but the people and the emotion they evoke from within them have a life and have a chance to be alive because I was there to deem the moment worthy. In that way, sometimes I feel like a hero. Without cameras and those of us behind them, immortality would have no meaning.

Only once have I questioned this philosophy. When I looked back at the photo of my future wife feeding the ducks at the park. As I was transported back to that day I remembered her being so loving. Both to the animals and then to me as I explained why I was taking photos of a complete stranger. That photo changed my life. Because my Kaley was the only subject I ever knew of that didn’t need my saving. The photograph was nearly as beautiful as her, but she stayed that woman.

Every photograph her mother showed me prior was also that woman. She had managed to keep the little girl finger-painting in her, and the tough athlete playing through an injured ankle, she even managed to keep a little of the sister laughing so hard soda came out of her nose and made her cry. She brought those people to her daily life, they worked together and the sum of their influence was the most wonderful woman to ever exist.

So even though I didn’t need to, I took pictures. Lots of them. And boy am I glad I did, because even though she projected the moments that made her till her dying breath, the day did come where I needed those pictures. When I took out the photo album for the first time it was almost like my brush with a miracle wasn’t quite finished.

Explain a sight that could change a life?

Writing Prompt: Day 87

87.jpgDay 87 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: A Character is Completely Alone in a Huge Place.

Erin: I’ve always had thing about crowds making me feel smothered. When I have over ten people surrounding me I just feel like the world is caving in. One of the worst places for me to go is my hometown supermarket. There is only one place to get groceries in our town, so it is the most hopping place to be after work lets out. That’s why I never go at that time I go when the store is about to close.

This method worked well for me for the longest time. That was until I stayed in the chip isle for too long one night and the only worker left didn’t realize I was there. In her defense, I did walk to the store, so an empty parking lot was probably normally a sign of quitting time.

As I traipsed up and down the aisle, realizing I had unlimited supper options, a feeling suddenly hit me: this supermarket I had come to think of as crushingly small, was actually terrifyingly big.

Shannon: The baseball stadium was my second home. My dad owned the minor league team, so I got used to hanging out here when I was little whether I wanted to or not. However, most of the time I was the one who could never get my fill of time in my favorite place in the world. I mean how many kids can say they took batting practice on a professional field? Everything was grander in the stadium. Not to mention there was a different adventure with each new activity and feature they tested out.

Now that I’m little older, my new favorite way to past time involves hanging out in the stadium on off days when all the work is done and everyone goes home. I find a new place to explore everyday. Today I went up to announcers stand, and narrated an imaginary play-by-play as I messed with the sound effects. Then I started announcing the batting order after playing each of their walk-up songs. I didn’t have the typical commanding voice, but since I was alone, it was good enough for me. “It’s a home run, the Wombats win, the Wombats win,” I jumped out of my seat to over react. I always wanted to know it felt to be in the box during an unexpected win, this was as close as I’d ever get.

How does your character react when left alone?

Writing Prompt: Day 86

86.jpgDay 86 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write the story of these pictures.

Shannon: They put me in this delicate white dress. The top was shaped together with an overlay of lace to add intricate detail to a simple bodice that was already built to flatter my figure.  The skirt was a waterfall of fabric, each piece draping gracefully over another. To top it off my makeup was a flawless clearing of every imperfection.

I looked in the mirror as they worked on my hair. “You could win. You made it this far, and it’s a great scholarship prize. You must be excited,” my hairstylist commented. “I never thought I’d see a newbie get this far.”

“Yeah, this is kind of a crazy competition, but I could use the money,” I tried to believe what I was saying, but I didn’t actually want to win. I was not the kind of person who got all dolled up like this for anything, especially not to win money, or gain approval from other people. Would winning mean my motivations were no different from any of the girls here, or would I just be smart for giving in to what the world wanted from me?

As I was walking to get in line to go on stage I caught sight of some movement outside. Maybe because that was where I really wanted to be. Either way, I was surprised as I focused my vision on a baby deer peaking inside. My parents owned some woods behind our house, and I was fascinated by nature. Even more fascinated when the nature took interest in humans. Then I did something stupid. I went after it, not forgetting about the competition, but instead I was just blowing it off.

I wanted to care. I wanted to turn myself around, but the deer still wasn’t running, and I felt no guilt. I opened the door slowly enough for it to back away, but it didn’t bolt immediately. I tried to reach out for it, but it flinched and started slowly walking back into the wooded area it came from. I followed, as if the silent creature was guiding me like a dog.

The bottom of my skirt was turning brown from the dirt path, so I started carrying it. I felt like Cinderella running from the ball. Finally the deer stopped by a large rock and just stared. “Creepy,” I whispered, but figured it wanted me to find something so I looked around, a little afraid of what I might find.

Suddenly I saw a patch of white underneath some tall grass and leaves. As I reached down to pick it up I discovered it was journal, and that the handwriting was still legible. When I looked up the deer was gone.

Erin: “What is this,” my fiancée asked stealing away my manuscript.

“A story,” I said vaguely.

“About what,” he continued to prod.

“A wedding in the woods,” I offered.

“What’s the conflict,” he refused to take my simple answer.

“The deer are trying to convince the princess she deserves better than the man she is marrying,” I ripped the pages back and looked down to my desk.

“Does she still marry him,” he asked.

“They leave the woods, because the support from the community is nonexistent. Once she gets far enough away though she realizes her feelings are not dictated by the community, but she genuinely feels she can do better as well,” I cleared my throat before looking at him. His expression had sank.

How will these pictures fit together for you?

Writing Prompt: Day 85

85.jpgDay 85 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about an animal family.

Erin: “I want to be alpha,” Luna declared and the group burst into laughter.

“Females have never been an alpha in our pack,” Kenite spat.

“Yeah, girls aren’t strong enough,” Freebie echoed in his preposterous tone.

“This exercise is about dreams not plans,” our professor barked. “Her answer is valid even if Women are not alphas of our pack.”

“I don’t care if Women are alphas of our pack,” Luna’s scream overtook the group and silenced them. “What I care about is if I Luna Camay Dinger will be alpha. That’s the answer that matters.” She ran off to who knows where and left the rest of the wolves curious for the answer as well.

Shannon: “Piper still can’t fly,” Dax teased, “Maybe she’s not actually a bird.”

“Shut up,” Piper broke herself free from under her brother’s mocking wing.

“It’s okay if you never learn. You can always stay in the nest with mom for the rest of your life,” he laughed.

“Don’t listen to him. You’re fine,” Willow argued, following after her. “You’ll get it eventually. Don’t worry if it takes you a little longer. Just keeping working on it.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know Dax is a jerk,” Piper grumbled.

“Dax is a winner,” Dax spoke in a manly tone, and his sisters gave him a disgusted look. “Whatever. You two are lame. I’m going to go out and be independent and do whatever the heck I want, because I can. See you losers later, or not.” He puffed his feathers proudly before hoping out of the tree and sloppily flopping his wing until caught a stride.

“He’s not the most gracefully flyer,” Willow observed.

“But he’s right. At least he’s flying. I can’t even let myself jump,” she hung her head. “I hate being last. It makes me feel like there is something wrong with me.”

“Who cares about first? Be better. Learn to enjoy it, because it’s a lot of fun when it’s effortless. I sense that you’ll be effortless,” she lovingly bumped heads with her sister.

“I hope your right,” Piper took in a deep breath.

“I know I am,” Willow stated with confidence, as she stood up a little taller.

Try incorporating less people and more animals into your writing.

Writing Prompt: Day 84

84.jpgDay 84 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write a story starting with the end and working towards the beginning.

Shannon: Have you ever gotten to a point in your life where you had to ask yourself what dumb decision lead me here? Well, I’m going through one of these moments at the time as I’m stuck dangling from a tree branch.

Okay so running up the tree to get away from a bull wasn’t one of my most well thought out ideas. Neither was participating in this bull race in the first place, but sometimes I do these things to remind myself that I’m still alive and that I still have some fight in me to survive.

I have these moments where I question things and let all that doubt pile so I have to carry it with me. Maybe deep down I like the added weight. The last straw was when my girlfriend of two years decided we needed to break up. A few months before that, my best friend revealed he was taking a job in another country. It’s his dream career, but all I heard was that he was leaving me behind.

Still, the first tragedy in the trifecta was the hardest to bear. My dad died and my world went dull, nothing could make me stop missing him. I keep thinking about how the day before I had no clue what life had in store for me.

Erin: There was a bright light and I was brought to life.

A truck drove away from our car.

We sang our hearts out to the radio that was playing our song.

We turned off the radio.

We got out of the car.

Ben insisted, “I’m alright to drive.”

We entered the bar.

I paid the tab, rounding up significantly to avoid being cheap on the tip due to my impaired math abilities.

I watched as he started with his 15th drink.

As he got closer and closer to his first drink we discussed how he lost his job.

We left the bar hoping to make life a little more bearable.

Try to turn one of your stories on it’s head.

Writing Prompt: Day 83

83.jpgDay 83 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about a team.

Erin: Our work team was a well-oiled machine. We had the jokester who kept things funny. The serious one made sure we didn’t have too much fun. There was the one who made sure we all go things done. The nice one calmed us all if people got too demanding. There were the creatives and the realistics. There were the productives and the perfectionists. We had good times and bad. However we continued to initiate growth and innovation.

Shannon: “You going to get this. One of you is going to make contact with this damn ball if kills me,” I yelled from the pitchers mound as Sandy tried to walk away from the plate.

“It’s pointless. We can’t learn this before the season starts. We were trained to use our bodies for movement, not to chase around balls, and throw them, and catch them, and hit them with tiny metal sticks,” Sandy threw the bat down in frustration.

“I’m with her,” Jessica added. “This is dangerous. They’re called softballs but they’re not soft. They really hurt. I’m covered in bruises and I feel really attacked every time we practice. I thought this was going to be fun.”

“You promised that if I helped your dance team, you’d all save the softball team. Don’t worry about getting hurt. I’ve gotten you all masks, even for fielding. Also if you actually tried, and stop being so afraid of the ball maybe you wouldn’t get hit so many times. You’re your own first defense,” I argued back.

“Agh,” they all moaned dramatically.

I rolled my eyes. “Come on Lucy. You’re up.” Being a coach was harder than I thought, I really should have given my dad more credit when I was younger. Once she was in position I decided to take a different approach. “How about this time you just do whatever feels natural to you. Don’t think about any of the advice I told you before. You can do this.”

I pitched the ball and I saw her make contact, but then I also saw her bat go flying to third base.”

“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry,” she put up both hands to cover her mouth and nose. I had flashbacks to t-ball all over again.

“You’re going to tell me that’s not dangerous.” Jessica pointed to where the bat ended up and the rest of the team started cracking up.

Decide what type of team will get your story where it needs to go.

Writing Prompt: Day 82

82.jpgDay 82 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about the effects of a spreading gas.

Shannon: They released the gas into the air and we were advised to remain calm by the voice coming through the speakers. The voice promised the gas could not hurt us, and then explained they were only testing the effect the chemicals had on everyone in the room.

I heard stories from my older sibling that this test was the ultimate determining factor in where students were placed. They claimed that all the other tasks we had to do were just for show, and to keep us distracted from the chamber test. They’d come to the conclusion that this test was purely based on nature, and nothing you could do could change the outcome for yourself.

I was nervous about what effect the gas would have on me, but finally I’d know what I was made of. I would see what makes me unique, so I let the gas envelope ever inch of me without a fight.

Once I had a heavy dose in my lungs and there was so much smoke surrounding me I couldn’t see the person next to me, I waited for something strange to happen. Yet I didn’t feel different, and when I looked down nothing had changed. “James,” I called out to my friend who was originally standing next to me.

I didn’t know if he was still there, but he spoke up quickly, “Yeah, I’m right here,” he was close and eventually appeared in front of me. However, he was a different color now. There was a faded glow inside his chest, almost looking as if heart had turned into a light. The glow was illuminating his green skin, clothes, and hair. As the gas started to clear up everyone was revealed. They were all a color. Some were different, some had strange mixtures, and some were repeated.”

“Do you see people as different colors? Are they glowing? What color am I,” I bombarded James with questions.

“You see auras,” James concluded with a smile. He’d always been a bit of bookworm, so he’d done a lot of research beforehand. Of course he would already know what I was. “I don’t see colors,” he sounded a little disappointed. “I think I’m seeing weaknesses.”

Erin: Ever since these rainbow gasses have overtaken our city no one can seem to stop smiling. Because that seems like a good thing no one is questioning the phenomenon. I am though. I know that where there is people pretending everything is happy, there is people avoiding a harder truth. As I traced the start of the smoke to the capital I was determined to find out what that truth was.

Write about something your characters can’t escape.