Writing Prompt || September

Back seat jumper

At Decant, we talk a lot about the connections between a character (how and why a protagonist is doing what she's doing) interacting with plot (what's actually being done in the scene.)  This relationship can lead to some wonderful and necessary discoveries for our audience. 

Usually, though, we discuss these things in regards to adult narrators.  What about a kid?

The Setup

Write as though you're a child, in the 1st person, and he is about to do something "unbelievable," but to him, it makes perfect sense.  Your task is to make it make perfect sense to the reader.

The Prompt

Ricky is in the backseat of his parents' car.  They are in the front.  They are arguing.  Again.  It never stops.  And Ricky can't take it anymore.  The car is only going 20 miles per hour and he throws himself out his door, to get away from the screaming voices.

Have fun and happy writing! 

PS If you're up for it, share your prompt in the comments! We'd love to see what you came up with. 

Writing Prompt || March

Moments of Emergency

We learn a ton about our players during moments of emergency, which is very fertile soil for characters characterizing themselves. Take one of your protagonists (or start from scratch if that feels right) and put them in line at a bank that's being robbed. What happens? What do they do? How involved in the action are they? What/ who do they think about? 

Share your work by posting in the comments section!

Writing Prompt || January


We want to make sure we have plenty of external conflict(s) in our scenes, but without the requisite emotional intimacy, our scenes won’t have that compelling complicity, in which our reader has the opportunity to FEEL something, as well.

In that spirit, this month's prompt is a 500-word monologue.  It can be about anything, so long as the woman/man is expressing visceral regret and/or shame.  What is she confessing?  What is he trying to purge?  And for what aim?

One of the hardest things we do as fiction writers is to construct a consciousness that’s not our own.  Have fun exploring the idiosyncratic complexities of your character’s emotional tumult.

Share your work by posting below in the comments section! 

Writing Prompt || December

Tiny Fires

It's two days after Christmas and you're walking home after work.  A bunch of dried, discarded Christmas trees line the block.  Suddenly, you see someone who appears to be crying, carrying some of these dried trees into the middle of the street and lighting them on fire, saying, "Why, Jim, why did you do it?"  They don't seem dangerous; they seem brokenhearted, and as they stand back and admire the blaze, you approach the crying person. 

What happens?

Share your work by posting below in the comments section! 

Writing Prompt || November

Often, we get self-conscious or worry about writer's block and whatnot when we have too much time.  So today, we'll do a timed exercise.

Set a timer and for 10 mins straight, JUST WRITE. Don't worry about grammar or spelling or anything. Simply let your imagination loose!

Baptism At The Carwash

The Setup: You are helping your boyfriend transport their paintings from one art studio to another.  There are several oil paintings in the backseat of your car.  You are alone.  And you can't stop thinking about his disclosure that morning: he had an affair.  And here you are like a huge sucker helping him move his paintings anyway?  You sort of snap, dislocate from reason.  You see a gas station and decide to go through the car wash with your windows rolled down to ruin the bastard's paintings.

The Prompt: Write the crazy moment when the car is actually going through the car wash.  Keep "you" in the car with the paintings during the wash.  Let your reader in on the wild thought process.  How does the character feel as the "baptism" goes on?

Have fun with this -- and if you're up for it, share your work as a "comment" below. I'd love to see where this prompt takes you!