Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Writing Prompt 2: The Facts

This week's writing prompt is a little different. It's based on who, where, when. You provide the what.

Remember, writing prompts are to encourage free writing and creativity. They aren't for following "rules" or revising. If what you write sparks a story idea, fantastic! But it's okay for your writing to exist just for the sake of existing. :)

Swimming Pool
Photo by sackerman519

At the end of the prompt, I'll share my unedited free-writing based on it. Do NOT feel obligated to read my piece.

Writing Prompt 2: The Facts

Who: Bob Smith
Where: Poolside in Cancun, Mexico
When: Dusk

What is happening?

***

Here's what I came up with.

"Mommy, what's that man doing with that brown ball?"

Earlene shaded her eyes and crouched next to Tammy. The man her four-year-old pointed at held a coconut high in the air. She couldn't see his face, obscured by the assorted palms and bushes bordering the pool. The shadows of the coming night played illusions on the figure, like curtains blowing in the breeze.

Something was off. His posture sent red flags flapping in her brain.

"I don't know, honey. Come on, let's find Daddy." She pulled Tammy by the shoulders and hurried away before the man could see them, but she peeked back before they slipped around the corner. The man crushed the coconut into the bush--but she knew it wasn't just a bush. Two bare feet were visible under the lush vegetation.

Shuddering, she tossed one last glance at his face.

Bob Smith. What was he doing there? Foreboding pounded her, made her breath come in shallow gasps. She clutched Tammy's hand tightly and started jogging toward the lobby. She had to protect them both from the man who'd turned her teenage years into a nightmare.

She wouldn't relive them. She wouldn't go back.

***
As I read this over, I would have expanded the setting. I wanted to go with an early eighties vibe. Bob would be wearing short, Hawaiian print swim trunks, and Earlene would clutch her terry-cloth cover-up closer to her. There would be an ominous  ocean breeze to contrast her earlier contentment watching Tammy build sandcastles. And, I would have fixed the grammar issue of the misplaced modifier and omitted one of the similes referring to "flapping" or "blowing."

I'm really enjoying taking ten minutes a few times a week to try these writing prompts. I hope you'll spend a few minutes too. It's fun! And feel free to share any in the comments or even by e-mailing me [jill(at)jillkemerer(dot)com]. I would love to see what you come up with!

Have a great day!

9 comments:

  1. I really like how you tell us afterward what you would do to improve it! :) That helps my oh-so-analytical brain!

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    1. I know! It helps me too. Sometimes listing what would help it is more helpful than just fixing it. :)

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  2. Well, I'd keep reading. I like how you go back and show how you'd improve as well. Great job. So...who's in those bushes?

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    1. I have no idea! I started typing and that's what came out. I didn't put any more thought into it! :)

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  3. Oohhh! I'm intrigued! I did get a sense that it was set in an earlier time period - but I was thinking maybe the 70's, based on Earlene and Tammy's names. Very cool exercise. I also like how you showed us your thoughts on editing it.

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    1. Names can help convey a time period! In my head, it was late seventies/early eighties. :) Thanks, Gabrielle!

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  4. Way to leave us hanging!!

    I love this too, how you write it out rough then show where you'd improve. Always helps to see it through other eyes.

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    1. It's hard for me to leave anything unedited, so it keeps me sane to write how I would fix it! :)

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