Tag Archives: Fourth grade

Writing to a Deadline Part 2: “I still got Nothing.”

In Part One, I told you about this publisher’s writing prompt.  I told you I decided to pass, even though it was a great opportunity.  It nagged at me, though.  I have written two Epic 400,000 word series.  Why the heck couldn’t I do something with this picture?

I opened the web site back up.  I stared at that picture.  I was brutally aware that I was now two-weeks behind all those happy writers that seemed to be all over this story.  I could do this.  I stared at the picture some more.  I put it on my desktop.  Looked at it all the time.  Thought about it all the time.

Had I lost my touch?

“Just do it,” my son says. “Just write it.  Get it over with and see what happens.”  I ground my teeth as my own words came back to haunt me.  (See my previous post)  Problem was… this was a publisher, not a fourth-grade teacher.  They wouldn’t be happy with a “B”.  This needed to be “A” grade work.

I had no idea where to start, so I used a trick that I’ve used in my novels when I’m not sure how to start a new chapter.  I took the character in the picture—  I knew nothing about her, just what she was wearing and a setting.

I sat down to my keyboard, and had her take a simple step.  The wind whipped up around her.  Her shoes got dirty in the mud.  The air chilled her face… I engaged myself into her setting.  I allowed myself to feel her.

You know what happened?

Within one paragraph, I knew who she was.  I knew where she was going.  I knew how she had to get there.  I knew why she was going.  I knew what she had to do.  Her character snowballed in my mind.

Do  have a story?  Well, no.  Not yet.  I need more characters.  I need to develop those characters.  I need conflict.  I need antagonists.  I need explosions.  I need overlying theme and plot.

But I had a start.  And, to my surprise, I was suddenly interested in that woman in the picture.

Stay tuned.