For the past few weeks, I’ve been trading writing prompts with a friend (who shall remain nameless until such a time as she lets me know she’d like to be revealed). Every other week, we exchange a prompt as a challenge and write a short story. We then trade the stories for critique. I have to say that I really think the whole thing has been working out quite well overall.
There have been a couple of weeks, though, where I’ve kind of just stared at the page until a day or two before the deadline and then banged something out quickly, with little thought to craft or plot. I’m not too lofty to admit it. But there have also been two prompts that stand out in my mind like a torch readied to spark the bonfire.
That’s what they were, too. The first prompt lead to what I call my “Amazonian wild west murder mystery”. I haven’t even opened the critique on this yet, because it would hurt my heart if my writing partner hated it. One day soon, when I’m ready to revisit Deadtown (as the story is called), I’ll open the critique and take a look at it. Until then, I’m a little bit too in love with the idea to take constructive criticism. Yet. Every writer needs to take it eventually, but I see no harm in realizing when you’re not ready for it yet.
The second prompt I received this week, and while the story isn’t written yet, I have the beginning, middle, and end all laid out in my mind. I’m a little bit in love with this idea, too. You see, Sunday evening I had only the vaguest idea of what story this prompt had, well, prompted in my mind.
Then I went to sleep and dreamed the whole thing. I love it when my subconscious reaches out and gives me a helping hand. I watched from a little floaty corner of the room as a teenage girl, a thin coward of a man, and a voluptuous priestess drank cold bottles of ale in a dirty stone tavern and discussed their history together. I then observed what happened next, and had my ending.
And in the morning, I woke up and scribbled the whole thing down as fast as my fingers could fly.
It was all there for the taking: compelling characters, the taste and smells and sounds of the setting, and the action-packed climax, followed by an ending that could break a heart. *happy sigh*
It’s days like these that make the whole thing worthwhile.