Friday, February 20, 2009

Meet Liv

Remember the sentence prompts I did a week or so ago? (You can see my answers here.) My friend Turkey took it to a new level, filling in the blanks as a character from her new project would. (I'd link, but the talented turd doesn't maintain a blog anymore. Hint hint. I'm lookin' at you, turk.)

It's a super way to brainstorm, and it helped me figure out whether my main character and plot (and sub-plots too) are developing as I need them to. I think I'm headed the right direction.

Here's what Liv would say...

Outside my window... I see the February winds blowing. They kick up thoughts about my thirtieth birthday, just around the corner.

I am thinking... about my mother again. Why’d she have to send that letter? And why now? I’ve been fine without her, for all these years.

I am thankful for... Aunt Therese and Uncle Rye. If not for them, if they hadn’t taken me in so long ago, where would I be today?

From the kitchen... comes the smell of just-brewed coffee. Hot as it is, though, I know it won’t be enough to warm me through.

I am wearing... the locket I told you about, the one that was my mother’s. I promised myself I wouldn’t, that it would stay tucked away. But now it hides beneath my sweater, so no one will question its existence. I’m still getting used to how it feels against my collarbone; so heavy, like it’s filled with the past.

I am creating... a new me—the real me.

I am going... to the hospital later.

I am reading... a pamphlet I picked up at the doctor’s office. Maybe it will answer some of my questions.

I am hoping... for the best. I just wish I knew what to expect.

I hear... the phone ringing, but I won’t answer it. I'm too busy soul-searching.

Around the house... are the things I’ve had all my adulthood. But I really wish I had something, anything, that used to be my dad’s.

Plans for the weekend... may upset my best friend. Someone else – someone I didn’t invite – is going to join us for dinner.

I think I'm pleased with where all this leads me.

Would an exercise like this help you? What would your MC say?

***

And it's not too late to turn a letter into fiction! Get your entry in before midnight CST tomorrow, for a chance to win James Patterson's Sam's Letters to Jennifer.

Good luck!

23 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nice way to pick an MC's brain! Always such good writing ideas here. Happy weekend to ya, Janna.

spyscribbler said...

I think using memes for characters is one of the more brilliant things I've seen done, Janna!

giddymomof6 said...

Eeeh! I love this! And how fun! It really does force you to get completely in their head! Thanks, Jenni

Janna Qualman said...

Well thanks, Angie! And to you, too.

Spy - I can't take credit; it was all Turkey's fault. I mean, idea. ;)

Jenni - I thought so, too! I'm really glad I did it.

Jessica said...

Oh my gosh!!! What a cool idea!

JOY said...

Neat exercise. I'm going to try it with a MC I drafted a long while ago. See where it goes. Thanks!

Melanie Avila said...

I love this - Turkey is a genius. :) The one I did for my MC has really helped me get inside her head. I think I'll make a point to do this for all my characters from now on.

Barbara said...

Ok, Janna, here I go:

His given name was Nelson, but everyone lovingly called him Nellie. His mother had looked forward to his birth, but when the moment of birth came, she gave her life for his.

Nellie was blonde and fair with the beautiful blue eyes of his mother. Everyone said they could see Virginia when they looked at him. She may be dead but she was never forgotten as long as he walked the earth.

There were two other children-- 3 year old, Alice, and little 1 year old Betty (who was nicknamed Goldie after her deceased grandmother).

Richard had always been a loving father. He had tried for years, after Virginia's death, to keep what remained of the little family together, but poor health and his meager income forced him to send Alice and Goldie to a children's home for girls and the rebellious Nellie had gone to Father Flanagan's Boy's Home.

Richard was faithful to his children. He longed to have them with him and planned to send for them as soon as his health improved, he had saved some money, and perhaps remarried. But in the meantime, he sent a letter each month with a bit of chocolate to remind them of his love.

Terri Tiffany said...

I love this exercize. I will try it with my own MC.

Joanne said...

Well Janna, this definitely looks like a story I'd love to read. I always enjoy the mother/daughter relationships in a book, and this seems to have a critical one brewing. This exercise might also work to write a blurb or short synopsis for querying, with only a little finetuning.

Janna Qualman said...

Jessica - You'll have to let me know if you have good luck with it!

Joy - Ditto ^

Melanie - Who knew poultry could be so smart? ;)

Barbara - Very good, lady! Thanks!

Terri - I hope it proves helpful for you!

Thanks so much, Joanne! I love to hear that. And I had the same thought about using something like this as a guideline for a query.

Turkey Lurkey said...

Yay! I am so glad you had fun with this! It really revved up my creative juices for my current WIP. By the way, I LOVE your first response about how the winds "kick up thoughts about my thirtieth birthday, just around the corner." Awesome!

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh! What an awesome thing to do for your characters! I think I need to try this one out.

Josh said...

sweet, gonna give this a try!

Amy said...

Great idea! I love this and will try it out this week. Also didn't know about your love of antiques--a love I share. My parents have always been into antiques and now own their own shop in NJ. Love that Father Flanagan letter!

Morgan Mandel said...

Good cure for writer's block. I'll have to remember to use these questions. Great idea.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Janna Qualman said...

Turkey - THANK YOU!

Melissa - You should, absolutely.

Josh - Yes!

Amy - Oh my gosh, I just love antiques stores. Had SUCH good luck at a local one last weekend.

Morgan - Welcome! It definitely gets those juices flowing again.

JOY said...

Janna - Here's a try at the very interesting letter to Father Flanigan. It's fun to imagine!
*********

Dear Edward,
Here is a check toward the large dining hall. It is the least I can do. It's good to hear you will be able to start building this year. Your dreams for Boys Town continue to come true!

I wish I could have been there for Babe's visit. I bet the boys were leaping with joy to meet him. And Nellie, how did she react? She loves baseball I think more than them!

The Exposition at Treasure Island opens today and it is going to be fabulous! Charles has been working so hard. His architecture is beautiful and the fair is being hailed as a masterpiece.

I know it will be a long year for Nellie but no one but you, dear brother, do I trust to take care of her.

I wait to hear from you. Will write again next week.

Much Love to both of you,
Gladys

P.S. Chocolate enclosed for Nellie

colbymarshall said...

These weekend, my MC is planning on tracking down her ex-husband. Oh my.

Janna Qualman said...

I love it, Joy, thank you!

Colby - Eek! That sounds awesomely difficult.

kimmirich said...

Great idea, Janna. Happy Sunday to you.

Stina Rose said...

I am going to have to use this with my MC. Before I run off to do that, I wanted you to know that I think your blog is fabulous. Stop by my blog to claim your award.
http://riikartsrose.blogspot.com/2009/02/fabulous-blogs.html

Stina Rose

Janna Qualman said...

Kimmi - Hope all is well!

Stina - Thank you so much! And good luck using this exercise. :)