Creative Writing Prompt #6

TUES. 6/26/12

A celebrity wants to enjoy his or her

time with family, but a fan is bothering

him or her because won’t stop nagging…

Sequoia strolled down Paparazzi Central to meet up with her sister Seneca. Seneca was finished her photo shoot and wanted to hang out before she left for LAX airport.

Sequoia texted: Almost there. Let’s eat at Luigi’s around the corner.

Diego crossed the street, camera in his hands. “If it isn’t the lovely Sequoia Pondelik.”

“If it isn’t the handsome Diego. When are we going on our date again?” She smiled, winking.

Even though the device covered half of his face, his cheeks showed a deep shade of red. “I get off at 6.”

Sequoia laughed. “A paparazzi’s work is never done.”

She slowed her pace so Diego could keep up; he walked backwards in front of her. She loved appearing on TMZ; it made her feel worthy. As long as she flirted and had a good relationship with paparazzi, they would give her good press.

The public hated her at the moment. No longer America’s sweetheart, she planned to win the hearts back of her fans and possibly gain new ones.

“Trust me, I’d make time for you…so talked to Perry lately?”

Sequoia lowered her gaze to the sidewalk, slipping her hands into her pockets. It was time to put on an Oscar worthy performance. “No, he’s away filming for a new movie.” She frowned. “He didn’t take Echo, but he won’t tell me where my doggie is. I want to see him to make sure he’s okay. To let him know mommy still loves him.”

“That’s cold. I’d never do that to you, Sequoia.”

“Thanks Diego. Then again, I didn’t break your heart,” she whispered. She put a strand of hair behind her ear.

“We all make mistakes. You’ve apologized. That’s all that matters. If he still wants to be a dick about it, then that’s on him.” Diego maneuvered to avoid stepping on a big rock. “Good thing you two never had children since he’s being so vindictive.”

She let him continue being worked up on her behalf. Inside, she smiled because her plan was working. On the outside, she had to fake vulnerability to continue getting sympathy, deserved or not.

“Hopefully, everything will work out soon. We have one more movie to film together, then I’ll be out of his life forever. Well, except for Echo’s visitation.” She knew damn well that she had already been let go of the trilogy, but she wasn’t allowed to speak about it. That whole confidential agreement.

Did Sequoia regret cheating on Perry? She honestly didn’t know anymore. It felt right being with Plaid at the time. Now, it felt right being alone to reflect on things, to reflect on life.

Sequoia was twenty-three, and ever since junior high, she was the girl in the arm’s of a boyfriend. Now, she enjoyed her freedom of being single. Neither guys took that news well, but they’d have to get over it. America too.

“I heard through the grapevine that the studio chose Perry over you.”

Damn TMZ was good. She still couldn’t blow her cover though, no matter how much she wanted to.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m sorry, Sequoia, but I heard you were let go for scheduling conflicts.” Diego frowned. “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.”

“Who’s your source?”

“I’m not allowed to say.”

“Thanks for giving me a heads up, unless I’m being Punk’d right now.”

“I wish that was the case.”

Sequoia sighed, forcing back tears. That would work on the teeny-boppers. They loved their drama. Her bottom lip quivered.

“Sequoia, please don’t cry.” Diego didn’t set the camera down, but he angled it sideways, so he could step closer. He held her hand, squeezing it.

She smiled weakly.

“Do you have anyone you could talk to?”

“I’m heading to meet up with my sister now. Diego, thank you, but I’ll be fine.”

Why did he lower the lens? Hello, this needed to be filmed. Screw privacy. Show the world her waterworks. It’d be fun playing the sweet, innocent actress against the meanie, bully studio.

Game on bitches.

THE END

—-

If anyone would like to try this writing prompt, email me at Author.Yawatta.Hosby(AT)aol(DOT)com. Once I wrote it, I realized it didn’t even meet the criteria. Oh well, it was close enough; besides, the key was getting used to creating scenes again. For the past month or so, I’ve only been editing–hardly any rewrites.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Testing Your Characters

1.  While writing your short story or novel, you should be comfortable resorting to all sorts of communication.  Not just through conversation, but through answering machines, voicemails, emails, letters, texts, Facebook, etc.  This keeps your story realistic.  Of course, if you’re writing about the past, your characters can’t use all these methods, but you could resort to letters.  People used to write letters much more than they talked on the phone in the olden days.

Here’s an exercise you could try:

Choose one of your main characters and reveal him/her through several means of communication.  Write a note or brief letter.  What’s his/her voicemail greeting sound like?  How does he/she leave messages on other people’s phones?  Write an email and text to another character.

  • When you write this, it doesn’t have to be in paragraph form.  You can just label ‘Note/Letter’ then write it.  Label ‘His/Her Voicemail then write it, so on and so on.  It helps if you have an event or situation already in mind–maybe your characters like to gossip about current events.

2.  Pick two characters (main or supporting ones).  For your first one, only describe where they work.  What does the place look like?  What objects are in the room?  For the second person, describe a place where they relax–either at home, work, or at a hobby.  What objects are in the room?

  • This exercise helps you indirectly introduce your characters.  You get a feel for them by the way they arrange their surroundings, and by the way they treat their possessions.  It also reveals some character traits.  For instance, if your character is resourceful but have too much on their plate right now, make him/her have a messy office.  If she/he is a control freak, make the office or home spotless with every item in its correct spot.

3.  Another way to portray characters is by describing what they do (their work or hobby), and how they do it.  It will make your story realistic with people balancing their passions and responsibilities.

  • Working doesn’t have to be a 9-5 job.  If your character is unemployed, you could show them attempting to find a job through interviews, etc.  Or perhaps they are stay at home mom’s and dad’s–taking care of kids and the household is a job.  Maybe your characters aren’t old enough to work yet or just retired.  Working could mean a hobby and/or interests.  Also, being a student whether in school or at college is a job all in itself.

4.  Pick two or three characters (main or supporting ones) and have them meet, interact with each other.  Perhaps they’re roommates or classmates, or a student and teacher.  Imagine them hanging out.  If your characters are total strangers, have them meet at a car accident, flirt in a bar, or fight for a seat on public transportation.  Choose anyplace–doesn’t matter if it’s normal or an unusual place.

  • If your characters are total opposites, all the better.  It can bring tension and conflict.  Let them talk; they should be themselves.  This could mostly be a talk scene, like a play.  Because conversations between two people liven up when a third person joins sometimes, this is why the third character is optional.

Those four exercises help you test your characters to see if they can come alive in your mind.  You have to be interested enough in order to create them.

Also during the testing stage, you can see if a certain character fits or if you want to create someone totally different.  Not all characters will excite or give you enough passion to invest in them.  It is best to find out in this stage instead of wasting time incorporating them into your novel, then feeling lackluster about it.

Creating characters is my favorite part of the creative writing process.  I always spend the longest time in this area by getting to know the people in my story on a personal, intimate level.

  • I like to think of their tone of voice (do they have an accent?  Do they talk like a snob or surfer?); I like to think of their catchphrases.  Are they approachable in other’s eyes, or are they standoffish?  I spend the majority of my note-taking putting my characters through different obstacles to see how they’d handle it.  I practice with mock journal entries, fake Facebook profiles (not actually creating dozens on the website; I mean drawing them in my notebook), taking them to a karaoke bar, etc.  All these ways, I’m getting to understand my characters better, so when it’s time to begin writing my story, I’m set.

For all the writers out there, is there a certain routine you do to get to know your characters?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby