Day 15: Mapping Out Writing Time: Pay It Forward


We went apple picking today. I almost had a heart attack when I saw the entrance fee. If you need a better view, click on the photo. This is a haven for little kids. There’s a huge play area–complete with moonbounce, petting zoo, jungle gyms, climbing walls, a maze, haystack climbing stack, etc.

But, I digress.

There were four lines of people waiting to gain entry. I couldn’t help but notice that once some people paid the fee, they handed tickets to the folks behind them. This went on for some time, a few people shared these tickets, while most tucked them away for later use. Of course I was curious what this was and found out soon enough. Included with my receipt were 4 coupons for 50% off the next visit (1 coupon per person). I admit, I was small-minded enough to be jealous of the lucky people who saved money. For a moment.

Because what I noticed, was even better. Once I gave away my tickets, I bored my girls with an informal 10 minute observation on human behavior–specifically–paying it forward.

“In the order of nature
we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them,
or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again,
line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

What do you think I discovered?
Write-a-Scene-Writing-Prompt: Few people are made of altruistic goodness–wanting to pay it forward–every single time someone shows them a kindness. Some people are generous, but know how to show restraint if necessary. Others, are a little more careful with what they are willing to give up. Generosity can be shown with money, time, efforts, friendships, love, gifts, coupons, etc.
Where does your protagonist fit on the Pay it Forward scale? Write a scene where your MC gives back, ie: to the community, to a friend, to a stranger, etc. Is this a punishment, that turns into a pay it forward situation? Or is this something your MC wants to do because someone was kind to her? Is this something he can do easily? Or does she fight it every step of the way? Does he pay it forward in the midst of lots of fanfare? Or does she do this anonymously? Have fun!
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Vivian Lee Mahoney

Consider yourself warned: I write books about rebels. I'm also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?

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