Editor’s Note: This post has been written by Linda K. Strahl, an editor at the Jet Fuel Review. Her full bio can be found at the end of this post.
Bonni Goldberg wrote that, “a writer must be able to describe a character with a detail.” An object that becomes the character’s signature within the story, helps make the character more three dimensional. When I think of this challenge I think of Sherlock Holmes’ Boswell Pipe. You know that Sherlock Holmes smoked a pipe, but the specificity in the type of pipe, makes the detail a paramount descriptor for the character. If you look at a person in real life you can discern their character by looking at their preferences. So to describe a character, within a story, it makes sense to look at their wardrobe. As I had little time to write this exercise out, I chose the sweatshirt I wore today.
The second task was about the future. I could have gone many different ways, as can many writers, when it comes to writing about the future. The future is an open possibility. The problem is, that the future is such an open possibility, many writers don’t know where to start. Therefore, rather than contemplate my own future, or the future of the world, I chose to go with the last suggestion Bonni gave, to write about the future of a story. The choice was easy after that. I am a fan of Anne Bishop and her “The Black Jewel Series.” Anne’s talent lies within her characters. Therefore I concentrated on a character who had recently acquired the task of raising a daughter.
Hopefully, you will find these two prompts as entertaining as I did. Enjoy!
Prompt # 37
Task: Write about clothing…. The sweatshirt I wore
Duration: 15 min.
The eyes on the back of her hoodie give passers-by the impression that an ethereal thing is watching them. Stalking them, as she walks away it stares back. The Cheshire cat stare is hinted at with the cat eyes and cutout teeth. It is set in the background of a massacre. Alice in Wonderland, slices through the melee of characters with two samurai swords. Like a weed wacker she strikes out, killing for the Red Queen’s grotesque pleasure. The crown rests on the drooling face while her blonde headsmen hacks apart the white rabbit that led her down the hole. The sweatshirt shows her demented and accurate version of Carroll’s Wonderland and the price of magic.
Prompt # 38
Task: 20 years later
Duration: 15 min.
He had found his first grey hair that day. His first, and he couldn’t just blame it on his age. He knew that the existence of this lone silver hair, could only be blamed on his over-adventurous daughter. As she grew older, she grew bolder in her freedoms. He knew that the day she chose a mate, a male, his skin would show its first signs of wrinkles and wear. He could not fathom this, next step, as he turned to overlook the field, where she rode her pale white stead that carried prominently upon his head, a dazzling silver horn.
Editor’s Note: Linda K Strahl is a transfer student from University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, where she was studying Archaeology and minoring in Creative Writing. She came to Lewis University in Fall of 2010 to major in Creative Writing. After participating in the production of two plays at Phillip Lynch Theater she has become an enthusiastic dramaturg, and is contemplating a career as a researcher and playwriter.