Friday, May 23, 2008

What if? Writing Prompts

One of the few textbooks I kept from my undergraduate college years is the wonderful What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter, which is apparently still in print. This fact surprises me, although the inside cover of the book shows a copyright date of 2004, a mere four years ago. Sometimes it feels much longer than that.

Anyways, I know that I'm not supposed to post online any stories that I intend to have published someday, because that makes the story "previously published" and many publications don't accept previously published works. But I would like to showcase my writing, seeing as this is an emerging writer's blog. So instead of posting stories, I will post my responses to exercises in the book. Feel free to comment, but remember, it's just an exercise, not a work of art!

This post is based on the exercise involving taking risks, and involves writing about an experience that never happened to you. Aka, the opposite of writing what you know.

Sweat trickled down my face as I stared at the airplane's exit door. The plane's vibrations jiggled every square inch of my body, which might have proved relaxing under different circumstances. I scrutinized the door, hoping that action would stop my mind from wandering. I read and reread the words printed on the door until they formed a mantra in my head - incaseofemergencyincaseofemergencyincaseofemergency. In case of emergency? Yeah, right. In a few moments I'd be headed out that door, emergency or no emergency, and nothing at this point could save me unless I wanted to be known as a world-class dork for the rest of my life. I sure as hell wasn't about to take the skydiver ride of shame back down to the ground as the rest of my friends fell thousands of feet, bodies floating free through the sky, their limbs writhing like drunken octopi.

(Exercise from What if? Writing Exercises For Fiction Writers, Copyright 2004, Pearson Longman.)
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