RBlog – Story Prompt Part 1

Good evening, readers! And welcome back to The River Blog. If you were here last week, you know that I issued myself a challenge: I requested that people submit story prompts, and then I would pick one and try to write a short story by the next week.

AND THE WINNING PROMPT IS…

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“A piece of civilization in an utterly absurd place (like a vending machine in the sewers or something). This can just be a background piece. Doesn’t have to be the focus. Is it magical? Somebody pulled a fail? What does it say about the world?” – DOODLEEA

First of all, I have to say I LOVE this prompt. It’s just the kind of curious, off-the-wall, slightly absurd image I enjoy writing about and attempting to explain. So my next step, of course, was to figure out how the heck to turn this into a story. Without blatantly stealing the intriguing visual of a vending machine in a sewer (which was tempting).

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Well, I half succeeded – which I suppose some might consider failure, but remember that this blog is about THINKING POSITIVELY! Due to various things that came up this week, mostly work- and memory-related, I only got half of the story done. But, on the plus side, I am rather pleased with what I have so far. So, rather than break my promise and miss the deadline I gave myself, I’m going to give you all the first half. Part 2 will come next week.

*EDIT: Aaaahahaha, “half.” How naive weeks-ago Me was.

So here you go, part 1 of my writing prompt challenge story:

“The Sofa In The Lake”

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Some Thoughts I Had While Writing:

The really fun thing about writing for mystery prompts like this is that oftentimes, even I don’t know what’s going to happen! I’m literally still figuring out this story as I go; I just started with two kids looking down into a lake, and then I had to figure out what details were required in order for my premise to make sense. Why is it unusual for a sofa to be at the bottom of a lake, as opposed to simply being another piece of filth in a polluted body of water? Okay, the lake is super clean. But why is it super clean? Okay, we’re setting this in the future, so there’s a lost technology involved. So now why is that important to the story? Well, the kids should probably end up learning the secret of the lake via interacting with the sofa. And so on! I have a good feeling where this will turn up, but there are still little mysteries I have to uncover for myself. And that’s kind of great, because it keeps me interested in what I’m writing and gives me a small feeling of the sense of discovery I hope to instill in my readers! So I suppose the lesson here is that you don’t ALWAYS have to have a plan when you’re writing. Sometimes it’s beneficial to just go with your gut and enjoy the process.

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(It’s actually frequently not, but details.)

Writing is certainly an interesting process; almost every time, I find myself learning things about the story later on that then make me go back to earlier parts of the story and adjust things. In the case of this story, “The Sofa In The Lake,” I’m starting to feel a theme arising, focusing around Kenny and his sense of responsibility for what’s going on. I have a strong feeling that I will be going back to earlier parts of the story and adding little things that more fully hint at this theme, so that when the big conclusion comes around, it has more impact. This is why revision is so important, folks! Sure, this story MIGHT be okay just as it is in the first draft – but it’s more likely that I’ll be tweaking and fixing little things to get it to just where I want it.

Alright, I’ll see you all next week! It could be interesting getting everything done, as I’m working at a trade show all week for my normal day job and also finishing up the last week of my second-to-last college term. Remember to think positively! There’s always a way to spread a little kindness right where you’re at. 🙂

~Jenn H.

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