Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Up-Tempo Writing Prompt

This is an exercise in writing fast and furious, to set a lively mood, to create anxiety, or to give a character a definitive purpose for a short period of time. The object is to write quickly in a descriptive narrative, to move from point A to B in your story in an up-tempo way. Select a situation from the list below, set your timer for 15 minutes and write without pause. When you are done, read what you've written and see if you were able to get from your starting point to your destination in a quick and lively pace. What mood were you able to set? Did you establish tension on the page? How did you accomplish it?


1. Your MC must take her sick brother from the house to the hospital. The MC doesn't know what is wrong with her brother, and fears he might be dying. En route, she tries to figure out what might be wrong, as well as contend with obstacles along the way, such as a traffic jam, a police officer, an injured dog in the road.

2. Your MC is angry at his girlfriend, who he suspects of cheating. He follows her one day to see if she meets up with another guy. As he follows her, he comes dangerously close to becoming a stalker instead of a boyfriend. As he realizes what he is becoming, his anger turns inward, to himself.

3. Two high school friends have a falling out. One friend wants the friendship to continue, the other wants it to end. Each will do whatever it takes to have it her way, until one friend says something unforgivable. Write from the POV of the friend who wants it to end.

4. A parent searches the bedroom of your MC, looking for drugs. Your MC doesn't use drugs, but the parent is certain there are drugs to be found. After tearing apart the room, the parent tries to defend his/her actions, still certain that drugs are hidden somewhere.