Tag Archives: writing exercises

Writing Prompt: Hesitant Fate

20 Sep

Writing Prompt : Pick up the book closest to you. Turn to page 55. Use the second sentence on the page as your prompt for today

” The lower middle classes, and a substantial swath of the more prosperous, did not have the servants to permit them to lie in bed for weeks (or even days).” –This was my first quote option, from the book Inside the Victorian Home, but since I couldn’t come up with anything I grabbed another book for a different quote.

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Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

“She was curled up, drooping and asleep on a cushioned shelf built out from a curved window; and for a moment pity struck him and he hesitated.”

Who was he to change the fate of her life? What right did he have to do this thing to her? But what choice did he have? The fate of those he loved hung in the balance – and was there really any wondering who he would choose in this moment? This stranger or those whom his heart beat for? He hovered over her, taking in everything about her. He wanted to remember this last innocent moment, for they were few and far between these days. He knew that soon her dreams would be haunted, just as his were. He took a deep breath and pulled on his beard, decidedly putting away his doubts. He reached out and woke her. His heart ached at the sudden fear in her eyes.  “Don’t make a sound. Come with me.” Her breath caught in her throat as she took in his threatening appearance. Two sword hilts showing above his right shoulder. The dagger on his belt. The gauntlets covering his forearms. She nodded shakily and he silently thanked her for it. He had no stomach for forcefully threatening such an innocent. They stealthily made their way from room to room, his large hand clamped around her wrist.  Eventually they made it to the relative freedom of the courtyard and he paused in the shadows. Patrols were making their quarter-hour trek around the ground and he pulled the girl close, clamping his hand over her mouth. They stood in the shadows and waited while the oblivious men walked their way. After they had passed, he turned the girl and looked at her. Her eyes were big as she stared back at him, but she remained still. He raised an eyebrow, impressed despite himself. Somehow, he suddenly knew she wouldn’t risk the lives of the men simply to chance an escape. He moved his hand away, feeling oddly ashamed, and continued leading her out of the courtyard. Out of any hope of someone seeing them and rescuing her. Out of any chance of his plan failing. 

~Laura

 

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Writing Prompts: Character Development (Harrison)

23 May

It’s been ages since I did one of these but I’m having to partially re-work one of my side characters. The time period is late 1890’s, set in the East Coast where Society is still rigid (more lax than it would have been in Europe but stricter than out West).

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Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

Harrison James – American – Name means ‘Power’ – 19 years old at the beginning of the book – single child – brown hair, brown eyes, 5 foot 9 inches (taller than Amelia, shorter than Ian), trim

Standing in Society – In one of the Prominent families

Type of Childhood- pampered – High Society (raised by nannies?)

First Memory – a nanny getting fired for refusing him something?

Religion – in name/title only

Finances – wealthy and set to inherit the estate

Bad Habits – gambler, drinks, smokes

Hobbies – card playing/gambling, betting on horse races (does he start racing horses too?)

How does he spend a rainy/sunny day? –  at parties, club or the races

PERSONALITY:

Greatest Source of Strength – ????

Greatest Source of Weakness – gambling

Soft Spot – Amelia

Is this soft spot obvious to others? Maybe before he realizes it himself

If not, how does he try to hide it? – Tries to treat her the same as everyone else (but how does it ACTUALLY come off? is he harsher with her or is he simply not able to?)

Biggest Vulnerability – ??

ATTITUDE

Most at Ease when – he’s the center of attention/when he’s working hard at the paper

Ill at Ease when – he’s idle – in Society and after

Priorities – MONEY

Philosophy – ?

If Granted one wish, what would it be? – ?

INTERRELATION WITH OTHERS

How does he relate to others? – on his terms – there are a few that he doesn’t act as arrogant around but not many

How is he perceived by the Heroine? –  Originally she is infatuated with him. She sees only the good. Time goes on and their relationship changes and she starts to see him in a professional light – someone to give her a chance.

How does he view heroine? – Until 1/2 way through the book (?) he sees her as a young girl with impossible dreams. But realizes she’s grown up – wants to help her gain independence/backbone – and snub Society. Is drawn to her.

First Impression and Why? – Depends on his mood – could be very good/charming or could be terrible. he decides in an instant if he likes you or not and bases it off that

What do family/friends like most about him? – He’s entertaining – when in the right mood. He can charm an entire crowd when he wants to

What do family/friends like least about him?- he’s cocky. Arrogant.

GOALS

Immediate Goals – none. Are you kidding? Life’s about having FUN

Long range goals – once tragedy strikes (in whatever form that happens..) to create his own fortune by growing a newspaper empire

How does he plan to accomplish this? – growing a struggling paper and then buy out others as he can

How will other characters be affected? – Amelia will be helped. Georgia will be helped/hurt in the 2nd book. What about his parents?

 

There are 2 more pages of questions but that’s it for now! You’ll notice there are several question marks still – and I didn’t even write all of the blank questions down, just the ones that I feel really need answered.

I recently heard advice for developing a character – take who you want them to be at the end of the story and flip it – that’s who the character is in the beginning. I am trying to follow that with Harrison. But let me tell you, it’s going to be a long road to get him where he should be.

~Laura

~Also, these are the ladies that I’m loving following for all things writing related lately – lara ferrari and Amara Luciano .

 

 

 

Character Creation : Aunt Angie

27 Sep

Hello again! Today I’m going to share some more information on another one of my characters from my book – I’m using this Character development sheet  although I will point out that it has changed and several of the new questions/areas aren’t what I want to focus on. So I’m a little bummed. But I pulled off aspects from the original sheet I printed last year (ish) and pulled the two together.

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So here we go!

Today’s character is Angela Barrington – nickname is Angie – American – widow – mid/late 50s – oldest of two girls – sister is Diana Hughes (Amelia’s mother)

~Loves the theatre and opera houses. Loves traveling.

Standing in Society – near the TOP

Eye Color – green

Height – 5 ft 7in

Type of body/build – slim/trim

skin tone – medium/pale

Is she healthy? – no. she has a debilitating disease that is as of yet unnamed (will it ever be?)

Favorite Literature – poets (named in story…)

Mode of Transportation – Carriages (she has several)

Daredevil or cautious – a bit of both – she had to be to end up where she is in Society

Is she the same when she’s alone? – yes. although she worries more when she’s alone

Good Characteristics – good listener, encourager, lighthearted (fun to be around)

Drives and Motivations – live life to the fullest while she can, give her niece a better life/chance to chase her dreams

Introvert or Extrovert – Extrovert

Optimist or Pessimist – optimist

Character Flaws – worries, has a hard time forgiving her sister

Biggest regret – that she didn’t have any children

Minor regrets –  won’t see Amelia wed (?)

Biggest Accomplishments- giving Amelia a new life

Character’s Darkest Secret/ does anyone know? – I can’t come up with a dark secret for her.

 

~Also, picmonkey has recently made it impossible to export photos without signing up and as I don’t want to pay/need that money for other things, does anyone have a suggestion for another free photo editor that I can start using? ~

~Laura

 

 

Character Creation – Ian

22 Aug

Once again I’m using this character development sheet , she has many other free printables to help you get your story idea off the ground.

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Today I’m filling in more characteristics of Ian Greenwahl, a minor character in my first novel. I have fallen in love with Ian as I’ve written him so I’m excited to add some depth to him.

Ian Greenwahl – American – mid 20’s  – oldest of two children, one sister – inherited the estate from his late father

Optimist or Pessimist – Why?  – A quiet/hesitant optimist. 

Introvert or extrovert. Why?  – Introvert. Prefers to be at home reading or volunteering at the orphanage.

Drives and motivations : wants to take proper care of the estate his father passed to him; wants to improve the lives of orphans.

Talents:

Extremely skilled at : putting people at ease – including children, 

Extremely unskilled at : flirting , shameless flattery

Good characteristics : steady, good listener, honourable, always ready to help, honest

Character flaws : a bit of a perfectionist, finds it hard to forgive certain flaws in others (list!), takes him a while to trust, can be too honest at times

Mannerisms : upright stance, uses facial expressions to get his point across

Peculiarities: doesn’t enjoy large gatherings (bad for a man of his social standing),

Biggest regret: something to do with his father? both his parents? an orphan?

Minor regrets:

Biggest accomplishments:  the building of a new orphanage? 

Minor accomplishments: didn’t he row in college? or how about mastered fencing?

Character’s darkest secret: does he feel responsible for parents’ deaths?

Does anyone else know? no

If  yes, did character tell them?

If no, how did they find out?

 

Have you been working on a project lately? 

~Laura

Writing Prompts: Character Creation (Edward)

11 May

I found this great little character development sheet that I’m going to use to help round out some of my characters in my novel.  (fun fact: I tried to print out 4… I ended up with 12 copies of it. Have no idea what happened. OY)

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Today’s will be the second-main character in my new novel.

Edward Kempthorne – English – Youngest of 4? kids – 32 years old – lived in the U.S. since he was a teen

Optimist or Pessimist: Why? – Pessimist. Learned it from his father and losing someone he loved only increased it.

Introvert or Extrovert: Why? – He learned to keep his thoughts/feelings to himself when he was growing up (was he ridiculed when he did share, reinforcing this trait?)

Drives and Motivations: He wants to make a difference in the world – not sell (WHAT?) like his father does/expected him to. He wants to make his family proud. Doing what’s right.

Talents: Reading people, (add to this!)

Extremely skilled at: writing speeches?

Extremely unskilled at:

Good Characteristics: honest, hard-worker, direct

Character Flaws: stubborn, lacks confidence in himself(?), resistant to change

Mannerisms: subtle

Peculiarities:

Biggest Regret: that he put his job above his family one fateful day

Minor Regrets: that he hasn’t married yet, he’s never _____, bitter words that never should have been spoken

Biggest Accomplishments: getting into the “Academy” to become a cop

Minor Accomplishments:

Character’s darkest secret: Hmmmmm

Does anyone else know? :  not yet

If yes, did character tell them? either straight out he does, or in a round-about way…

If no, how did they find out?

 

So obviously I’ve got more figuring out to do for Edward but I have fallen in love with him already.  I love that he’s English and is a searching, broken soul. His search through the darkness for truth and light will be interesting to write.

~Laura

Writing prompt – Character Fidgets

20 Apr

I got today’s writing prompt from What is a Plot. Think about your main character’s fidget. What do they do as a tell? Write a scene.

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As she waited for her mother, Amelia opened her book, eager to know what happened next to Esmeralda. She got so wrapped up in the world of old-time Paris that she didn’t hear the front door open, admitting her mother. The heavy footfall coming closer pulled her out of it just in time to slam the book shut and sit properly, the book getting shoved on a side table.

“I’m glad to see that you managed to be presentable today. And where you ought to be.” The sarcasm dripped from her mother as the tall woman eyed her daughter with criticism. “Although why you can’t be like Mrs. Smark’s daughter, I’ve no idea. You could learn a lot from that girl if you’d only take the time. What a relief it would be to have a daughter that I could take out in society.”

“Yes, Mother.” Amelia clenched her hands between her knees, hoping this interview with her mother would end soon. It was always a trial to sit still and silent during these. Her mother paused just long enough for her response and then set off again about her ideas of proper etiquette. Many minutes went by as she expounded on this pet subject of hers, during which Amelia flexed and relaxed her hands in response to particularly cutting remarks, until a knock at the door indicated the arrival of Amelia’s piano teacher.

“For goodness sake, Amelia, stop ruining your skirt like that – you’ve wrinkled it dreadfully.” Her mother’s comment brought Amelia’s gaze to her skirt and she tried to smooth out the wrinkles she’d created, but they refused to budge. Much like the knot in her stomach.

“I don’t know why you do such a thing. You really should get over it, a lady putting her hands between her knees is unheard of.” With that, her mother rose to greet the piano teacher coming into the room.

Amelia sighed and flexed her fingers to get the blood moving in them again. She’d make sure and do some extra scales this morning to help limber them up.

~I do very little editing on these writing prompts. I prefer to use them more to practice and get the creative juices flowing. 

~Laura

 

Writing Prompt – Character Development

24 Feb

While I was feeling very uninspired to write a blog post (the couch and netflix sounding much more interesting), I remembered I’d downloaded a sweet little ebook filled with writing prompts that help in moving my novel along. So here’s to completing two tasks in one swoop : blog post and working on my book.

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The prompt I’m going to do is all about finding out what is missing in my hero. And how has it changed them, pushing them out of their comfort zone and into the special world of the story?  How has that missing thing left them broken? “Your hero’s flaw lies in that broken place”

Georgia is my MC (main character).  What I’m thinking so far is that it’s a broken heart/lacking purpose in her life. It’s kind of a combo problem because the person she fell in love with – years ago – was the one to make her look past her ‘perfect’ life and start searching for a purpose, a passion. She became more settled, less frivolous of a person as she sought to better herself and her life. For years though, she’s pushed the restlessness, the emptiness, aside and buried it deep. But it’s about to intrude on her life in a way that she won’t be able to ignore it anymore.

Having that emptiness, that pain, has spoiled  all her childish dreams for her future. She must let them go in order to seek the remedy for her broken heart. She’s going to have to disappoint those she holds most dear if she wants to find her purpose. She comes to realize that she can’t stay in the same routine she’s been in if she wants to be fulfilled.

I think she’s always been broken. The way she was raised was very…hmm, one could say, lacking in the most important things in life. She was taught that what’s on the outside is what matters. And that maintaining ones social standing is the most important thing, no matter really what you have to do to get there.

Does this mean she has a hard time looking past others’ appearance, and seeing into who they truly are?  Or that, even when she’s broken out of that world, and into the special world, that she still sees people based on their social standing?

I think I’m going to have to mull over how her flaw ties into that broken place….and how to work it into my plot board.

~Laura

writing prompt – Promises

17 Feb

Hi friends, today’s writing prompt is “I’ve lost count of the promises I’ve broken for you” – it is a bit darker than what I normally write. I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone a little with some of these. Because happy stories are easier to write. But, growth is necessary! So, here we go.

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“I’ve lost count of the promises I’ve broken for you.”

“What? I would never ask you to break you word!” He sounded disgusted that I would even suggest it.

“No. You wouldn’t ask me to. You just know I will. Because you come first – no matter what, right? I don’t even have a life outside of you anymore.” My words were bitter but I couldn’t stop them – I didn’t want to stop them. This had been coming for a long time. Years, in fact. But this latest scene was one I couldn’t put up with. It was the last straw. He looked at me with a broken expression.

“I love you, Merry. You love me. We’re supposed to be there for each other. You want a life away from me?”

I steeled myself against the pain in his voice. It wasn’t real. I knew it wasn’t real. He was the best manipulator I’d ever seen. I mean, he’d kept me tied to him for the past ten years, hadn’t he?

“I don’t know what love is. I don’t think you do either. When was the last time you were there for me, anyway?” I wrapped my arms around myself as he came closer, putting his hand on my arm.

“I was there that time you broke your collarbone, remember babe? I took you to the hospital and stayed with you the whole time.” I nodded in remembrance. He’d broken it in one of his rages. I didn’t say anything about that though, just took a step back out of his reach.

“You’re possessive and I’m your lapdog. I come every time you call. I can’t take it anymore Frank. I just can’t.” My  voice broke and I rubbed my forehead, wishing this was already over.

If I had been watching, I would have seen the look in his eyes. I knew better than to close my eyes when he was in the same room – I’d learned that in the first six months.  The back of his hand caught my cheekbone, snapping my head to the side. I caught myself on the side table, waiting for the next blow. When it didn’t come, I turned.  Frank had sat on the sofa, his head in his hands. I slowly reached for my phone, keeping an eye on him. I hit speed dial 6, and wrapped my hand around the other item in my jacket pocket. As I waited, the shakes started. His forced sobs filled the room and I knew I was supposed to go comfort him. Apologize. But I couldn’t do it – wasn’t I supposed to be breaking free from him? Instead, I spoke the words I’d practiced hundreds of times, through chattering teeth.

“It’s over, Frank. Your lying and manipulating days are over. I’m leaving.” 

He stood up in a rage but stopped when he saw the gun in my hand. I held it straight at his heart, calmly, as if my own heart wasn’t pounding so hard I was sure he’d hear it. “Put that thing down, babe. You’re gonna hurt somebody.” His wheedling tone belied his stress. And I exulted in it.

“The only one who’ll get hurt is you, if you get any closer to me.” I willed the doorbell to ring, the gun was already starting to get heavy. 

Frank side-stepped toward me with his hands outstretched, “Give it to me. Now.” His tone was hard.

Before I even thought about it, I shot him in the knee. He fell instantly, yelling in pain.  Just as he lunged for me, the front door burst open and salvation arrived in the form of a new friend of mine – a police officer and her partner. 

“Babe, tell them it’s just a misunderstanding.” He ordered me to lie, still not considering that I wouldn’t do it. His control over me had been complete. But no longer. 

I smiled. “I told you, I won’t break any more promises for you. And I promised myself I’d see you dead, or in jail. Take your pick.”

 

 

Come back  next week for a review on Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott.

~Laura

 

Writing Prompt – Deamon the Villain

24 Jan

“What are you doing here?” Daemon spewed the question out of the side of his mouth, the anger and disgust evident. If circumstances were different, he’d sideline the Hero, so that maybe he’d finally learn to stop interfering. But as it was, Daemon had to satisfy himself with a distracted question and turning his back on him. Far worse things were in the dark parking garage with him right now. He could deal with the Hero later.  He cast about, looking for the fiend who had lured him here. The cover of night made it easy for one such as him to hide. But he quickly remembered that it was to his advantage as well and took cover next to a pillar, pulling his long black coat around himself.  To his dismay, the Hero followed him. The insufferable guy slid next to him, his gray clothes melting into the darkness. 

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“Get out of here. I don’t have time to deal with you.” The side of his mouth twitched in irritation.

“I’m here to help.” The Hero’s voice was quiet and solid, not a waver of fear in it. Despite himself, Daemon felt a flicker of admiration for his long-time nemesis. Disgusted at the emotion, he jerked his collar high around his neck and checked that the safety was off on his gun. Once again, his eyes searched the darkness, sure that at any moment…

“Daemon. Come out, come out wherever you are.” The voice was alluring and dangerous yet deep inside, Daemon wished he could do as the dark voice asked.  He felt the Hero move from his side, but kept his eyes in front of him  – the Shadow would have to move eventually. “Daemon – I don’t like waiting. Come out here where I can see you. There’s no use hiding, I’ll find you eventually. Let’s get this over with, shall we?” 

The voice slithered inside him, planting doubt that he’d make it out of this alive. Daemon silently made his way to the next pillar, hiding behind parked cars as he moved. From the corner of his eye, he caught a flash of the Hero on the other side of the parking garage. Desperate to get a better fix on where the Shadow was hiding, he screwed up his courage and hollered into the night ,

“What do you want with me?”

A low cackle filled the cavernous space, “You know exactly why I’m here. Don’t toy with me, pathetic worm. You haven’t dealt with that Hero like you were supposed to. So.” The voice dropped to a low pitch, so full of malevolence that even Daemon shivered. “You will die. And then he will die.” 

He brought the gun up, ready to shoot the first movement he saw, even knowing the bullet wouldn’t harm his opponent. Instead, a loud crashing noise followed by a startled grunt rent the air. Daemon ran towards it, dodging cars and concrete dividers as he went. The noise of the fight ended in a sharp, angry scream and Daemon slid to a halt as the Shadow fell to his knees. The Hero stood nearby, doubled over.  The hilt of a knife protruded from the Shadow’s stomach, all black with a red stone set in the pommel. Before Daemon could react, the Shadow fell in a dead heap, stabbed by the only weapon that could kill one such as him. 

The Hero turned. And instead of the obnoxious joke that Daemon was certain he would make, the Hero’s face was contorted, and he too fell to his knees. Daemon laid the Hero on his back, his hand beneath his head. The Hero’s blood covered him now but there was no victory in it for him.

“You pulled the Shadow’s knife from your gut? That was suicide!” Daemon’s heavy voice registered shock as he realized what had happened. 

“He was…going to kill…you.” The Hero gasped and coughed. 

“But…that would’ve done it for you. No more villain to your hero.”

“There’s more to.. you than…you know.”

Daemon snorted in derision, sure that the Hero had lost any sense he’d had. He looked over at the Shadow, laying in folds of black fabric, a ghastly look on his face. “That was the only way to kill him, you know. That knife. To kill such a creature…” Daemon shook his head, relieved and confused all at the same time. 

“You are…reborn, Daemon.The darkness will not… haunt you anymore.” With his last breath, the Hero blessed his enemy. And Daemon stayed on his knees, cradling the one whom he’d hated for all his life.

 

Today’s writing prompt was ‘The Hero dies for the Villain’. But I thought it would kind of spoil things if I told you that beforehand.

I hope you enjoyed this sad little short story! I’m plotting away on my book and I can’t wait to start writing it! By the  way, have I mentioned how much I’m loving The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler? Definite recommend, there.

Anyhow, come back on Thursday for this month’s book review! Thanks for stopping by, let me know if you’ve got any writing prompt ideas, or even places to find cool ones online!

~Laura

Short Story Sharing – Tea for Two

6 Jan

It’s time for a short story again! I decided to try and write something a little different than I normally do  (it’s so much easier to write happy things, isn’t it?) , but it still isn’t what I was originally thinking it would be. It’s interesting how the writer isn’t really the one in charge of the story. I hope you enjoy anyway.

Prompt: write about a conversation that’s had over a cup of tea. Is it sinister? Devastating news? Meeting someone they’ve longed to?

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The small table had been set to the nines. The tiered serving plates were filled with tea sandwiches, cookies and truffles. A small bouquet lent its color and fragrance while the china boasted its fine craftsmanship. Golden spoons rested on white napkins. Teacups sat atop their saucers, and the small teapot sat full of golden liquid, steam rising from the spout. Nothing had been overlooked for this tete a tete. The old man stepped back to survey his handiwork and a crooked smile covered his face. Pleased with his results, he took off the flowered apron and hung it gently on its hook. Noticing that his visitor was due to arrive any minute, he shuffled down the hall to the bedroom to change his shirt.

At the chiming of the bell, he made his way to the front door to welcome the young woman who stood impatiently on the other side. She paused when she saw the table, set so elaborately, that he had to encourage her to sit down while he served.  He could tell she was nervous, but he didn’t comment, he simply poured the tea and motioned toward the tower of treats within easy reach. Her long fingers plucked a truffle off the plate and nibbled it.

“These are delicious.” Her comment came without thought, the taste so surprised her that she momentarily forgot her vow of stubborn silence.

The old man bobbed his head, “I’m glad you like them. There’s a little chocolate shop around the corner. We’ll have to go, next time.”

At that, the young woman’s smile disappeared. “I don’t think so.”

“We don’t have to. I’m happy to get some more. It’s one of my favorite places to -”

“No. I mean. I mean, there won’t be a next time, George.”

The words, so softly spoken, still pierced his heart so sharp that he hunched over and all his spirit seemed to leave him.

“He doesn’t like you coming, does he.”

Despite her decision to be brave, a tear slid down her cheek as she shook her head. “He only let me come to tell you I won’t be back.”

George nodded and sighed heavily, his shoulders rising and falling slowly. “I can’t very well blame him. Well, let’s enjoy this time we have then.” With a visible show of effort, he raised himself up again and picked up his teacup, holding it out in a toast, “To times to be remembered, to people to be embraced and to love, that knows nothing of jealousy or hate.”

In that moment, the young woman realized how much she hadn’t seen before, in her past visits to this small house, the visits where she’d sat quietly, letting him tell her about his life and long-dead wife. He’d ask her questions and she’d give him the tiniest details in return, not really sure she wanted him in her life. But now, as it was all coming to an end she realized that the man who lived in it, the man that she’d never get to know fully as her father – was the richest man in town.

Have you had a fancy tea laid out for you? I’d love to hear about it! Have a happy weekend!

~Laura

 

 

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