Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Story Device: What would you do for Love?

Your children are hungry and food banks and church programs only go so far. School is starting and they need clothes, new shoes, school supplies. Christmas or a birthday is coming up soon. And you don't have any money.

What would you be willing to do for them? How many times have you thought to yourself, "Oh, I'd never do that...?" Would you be willing to do it now?

Use the above as a story starter or dream up a totally new character facing extreme circumstances and give that character the choice of doing something for the sake of Love that they never imagined they were capable of doing.

Does Love give us extra strength or will power or courage? How so? How can you use that in a story?

Random Logline Generator

This is a lot of fun to see what you come up with, but it can also be useful in inspiring you in your writing exercises. Click, get a random logline, then write a paragraph or story or scene from a screenplay based on that logline, no matter how wacky it might be. Just see what happens.


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Monday, December 31, 2007

Situations Challenges

NOTE: "You" can refer to you, the individual, or a character you have already created or one that you create just for the writing challenge.

You are a minor White House staffer who "stumbles" onto the President who is in the midst of committing a terrible crime. What have you caught him/her doing and what are you going to do about it? What complications ensue?

You're in your car, in line to pick up your child from school, when you hear gunshots from somewhere within the school's interior. What do you do?

You learn that your best friend leads a secret life or keeps a secret and the keeping of the secret could put their family in harm's way. What is the secret and what role do you play in unfolding events?

You discover that your oh-so-helpful household appliances are communicating with each other. What are they saying to one another and what does it portend for you?

You spend time out on your front porch every day, relaxing with a cup of coffee, saying your hello's to neighbors passing by as they walk their dogs. You get to observe a lot. What secrets have been revealed to you? And which one of them is dangerous, either to you or one of your neighbors? And what are you going to do about it?

Your workplace would be a great deal more pleasant without the abrasive personality of one of your coworkers. You, like everyone else who must endure the obnoxious one, would be thrilled if they were gone. You become aware of a conspiracy of some of your coworkers to get this person fired. What they plan is highly unethical and most likely illegal. What exactly are they planning? Do you join the conspiracy? Or do you warn the intended victim? What do you do?

You suspect a neighbor of poisoning your roses. What are you going to do about it?

You are at the zoo when one of the animals escapes its cage or enclosure. Which animal? Will its escape mean danger or amusement? Will anyone get hurt? What actions must you take? What will be the end result?

You are going through the attic or garage where old family "stuff" is kept and you discover a terrible secret that's been kept by one of your parents. Does it matter now? What consequences would there be for the telling of the secret today? Do you confront the parent? Do you need to tell anyone else?

5 Nouns, 5 Verbs, 5 Adverbs, 5 Adjectives

Use all of the following in a scene, story, essay, or any other form of writing:



THE VERBS (yes, you may change the "tense" or verb form but not the actual verb)



No cheating as in "The teacher gave us our vocabulary list and on it was...[then list the challenge words]." This exercise is for you.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another story idea from the headlines

A little boy goes missing from his single mother's home. She seemingly fully cooperates with their investigation. The boy's biological father insists they dig deeper. Police discover the mother's not-so-secret secret life -- making amateur adult videos that are distributed over the internet. Police do not claim the child was used in any of the videos but they want to know who every individual was who was present in the home when the videos were made. The mother has not been specifically named as a suspect in any possible foul play but her name has also not been cleared.

What do you think? How do you think this real-life story will play out?


Family Secrets

An elderly woman dies and her adult children gather in her home to pack up her belongings. They discover a suitcase under her bed.

Inside the suitcase is clothing they recognize as having belonged to their mother and there is one more thing... a baby's skeleton.

They turned the baby skeleton over to police and the coroner must determine the gender of the child and when it died. The adult children, in their 40's and 50's, are stunned and clueless. They have no idea how that baby got in the suitcase under their mother's bed.


What do you think? Can you write a story from this? What plausible explanations can you come up with? Remember, the most obvious answer does not always supply the greatest suspense... and then again, it might if spun out in the proper storytelling fashion. What ideas does this news item inspire in your creative brain?

What's the Worst Thing...

That ever happened to you when a car was involved?

...when the weather was involved?

...when a family member was involved?

...when money was involved?

...when your workplace was involved?

...when sex was involved?

...when a child, yours or someone else's, was involved?

...when a friend was involved?

Write a scene or story to answer any or all of these questions.

G-string Santa arrested for drunk driving

Writer, Your Assignment: Read the following article then write the arrest scene and/or the booking scene as this guy is brought into jail and/or write the scene (amongst the cops) that immediately follows this guy's departure. This should be an excellent exercise for you to display your skill with dialogue and characterization as well as setting the ambience of a scene.

In an impressive display of commitment to the Christmas spirit, a man was arrested in Los Angeles for drunk driving while wearing a Santa hat and a G-string.

He was spotted outside the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Sunday, and was promptly arrested.

In addition to his Santa hat and the G-string (which was purple), the man was also wearing a wig, a red lace camisole and black leg warmers.

The man was taken to jail after tests showed his blood-alcohol level over the legal limit, and was later released on $5,000 bail.

In a helpful bit of clarification from the police department, Deputy Chief Ken Garner said: 'We are pretty sure this is not the Santa Claus.'


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