|Writing with E's|
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Your Best Writing Prompt Ever May Be Found In The Stars!
E is for Exercise. One of the most important habits a writer develops is exercising the writing muscle on a regular basis. This can be accomplished through a variety of ways. Today’s post is one offering. Exercise is more fully addressed in Writing with E’s, available on Amazon.
Last week I wrote about capturing your story in a single sentence. It’s a tough assignment. Boiling your novel down to a single sentence will help you focus as you write and will provide a starting point for your elevator pitch once your book is finished.
I am a huge fan of “less is more” and love it when something so brief can trigger my imagination and pique my interest.
Some of my readers know I am in the process of moving. It is a daunting task and one that has kept me from fully engaging in working on my current novel. Those busy times of life when I can’t remember where I stored my notes or think about those crazy characters I’ve created can pull me away from the keyboard.
It is during these times I know I need to continue to exercise my writing muscle all the more.
Think of it this way. You cannot run a marathon every day but you can tone your muscles or at least keep moving so when the marathon time is at hand, you are ready to run.
Exercise. Last week’s exercise was to write out the essence of your story in a single sentence. This week I took a more creative approach. Have you seen the Zillow television commercial called “Stars” on television? You can watch it HERE.
In a matter of seconds, a story unfolds that is both heart wrenching (read: I cried the first time I saw it) and heart warming. It is a story filled with love. Seriously.
If you haven’t seen it, here is the gist of it. A widowed father hopes to find a home for him and his son closer to family. The story unfolds from the child’s perspective. He misses his mom. He and his dog look to the sky and imagine the brightest star is his mother looking down on him. The ad ends with the boy looking out the skylight in his new home saying goodnight to his mom as he looks at the same bright star.
I watched the commercial a couple of times and realized I wanted to know what happened to the mom. I wondered where they lived, what job the dad had, where “Nana and Poppy” lived. I wondered how the boy fared. Did the dad ever remarry? Who could possibly step into “her” shoes?
You see where this is leading, don’t you? Here I was in the middle of sorting and packing and cleaning and driving loads of stuff I’ve collected over the years to my local Goodwill. But writing is how I cope. The characters in my book, my current work in progress, remain in the back of my mind but I have no time to attend to their needs.
Yet here is this little boy in a commercial begging me to write his story. A little over eight hundred words later I can get back to sorting the junk in my closet. I feel good. I got in some exercise.
I shared the idea of fleshing out the “stars” story at my ACFW chapter meeting. The consensus was that if each person in the room took the commercial as a prompt, we would wind up with as many different stories as authors. What fun!
Do you have a favorite television commercial? Have you ever used a television commercial as a writing prompt? Let’s chat. Share your experiences in the comment section below.