Welcome to the inaugural TAY Weekend Write! I'm your host, the ever infectious Ellen J. Miller. Why infectious? This is some patient zero, experimental prototype-level stuff right here, that's why! It is not rage and lust for human flesh I hope to be a vector for, it is writing. If you're on TAY, you can use a human input device. If you can use a HID, you can write.
There are to be no grades. No minimum skill level. No mocking. I can promise that none of you are to be kept behind after the weekend to do extra lines.
I will provide at least five prompts. These prompts could be anything, from a word to a piece of dialogue to an item. You can take any of those prompts and use them how you wish, for as many pieces as you want.
In addition to the prompts this week I'll also give you some points to think on for each one to help you get started. There's a vague writing related theme this week but you can do whatever you feel like with them.
Your prompts are:
A broken pen. What sort of pen is it? How did it get broken, and by who? Why was it broken? There are a lot of possibilities, just let your mind wander. Try and visualise the pen if you can. Take a moment and let those tiny seeds of notions sprout.
A coffee barista. What sort of place do they work for? A small independent shop with regular patrons? How about a franchise chain at a busy train station or airport? Do they enjoy their job? Is it just a source of income for them, or something to tide them over while doing something else? Think about their interactions and how customers or co-workers might make them feel.
"That's not how I would do it." A line of dialogue can be interpreted in many ways depending on how it is said. Consider the character's tone of voice, and more than just their facial expressions. Posture can be a great way to show rather than tell. The speaker may mean it one way, but how could it be taken by the receiver? What situation warrants the line to be spoken? Is it spoken at all, or just a thought dripping in condescension?
A library. What state is it in? How busy is it? Does the character want to be there, or are they being forced? People can struggle with descriptions, either by giving too little or too much information. When it is a mundane location, there can be a tendency to say 'well, the reader should know what a library is like' and miss the chance for a little world building. When it is not mundane, sometimes in an effort to get across what is in your mind you can over-describe leading to the pacing of the writing grinding to a stop as you write about the thirty thousand rows of alien pornographic literature in the culture and society section of a galactic university.
Secure. A single word can be the flashpoint for inspiration. What comes to mind at the mention of the word? Close your eyes and think about how the word can be altered by what comes before or after it. See how it alters as you think about different genres of fiction.
"But Ellen, you dashing fiend!" A fictional person interjects, "What are your qualifications to host this? Let's see some bona fides."
The truth is I'm still learning. The Weekend Write is as much an exercise for me as it is for you. We'll make a damn good go of it, right?
One last thing before we get started: If you write something up and then see someone else has written something similar, post it. Different perspectives and all that. There can be far too much worry about being 'original'. Go with the flow, get that idea out of your brain and onto paper, and then see what else is lurking behind it. This is a safe space. We all love you. The old hat you found was without power. The magic was inside you all along.
So let's get to writing!