Day 22: Mapping Out Writing Time: Do the UNEXPECTED

It’s been awhile since my last Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt and I thank all of you for your patience. Though, perhaps, you’ve all been as crazed as I’ve been these past few weeks and have welcomed the reprieve. Or maybe, like me, you’ve hit a creative slump and needed the break. And truly, with the holiday rush, who has time to write?

Let’s wait for the New Year, the beginning of a new decade, to start writing again. Sound good?

Gah! This is no time to wimp out. I must admit, I’ve thought of taking a vacation from writing, but I can’t stop. I’m a writer and that’s what I do. I create characters and stories and most importantly, I write. So, if you’re in it for the long run, like I am, let’s keep on writing. Right now. We can cheer each other on.

The publishing world has been changing for some time and there is no time to wallow in doubt. Have you heard the latest? Kirkus is closing. Rather than worry about what will happen next in the world of publishing, let’s focus on finishing our manuscripts and writing through the end of this year and into 2010. Wouldn’t that be a great way to usher in a new decade of hopes and dreams?

And just for you, I’ve got a new writing prompt, to inspire a new scene or two for your manuscript.



School mornings are hectic in my household. Spy Girl and Wonder Girl are early risers, but Ninja Girl? Let’s just say I’ve tried just about everything to get her to wake up so I can get the girls to school on time. Which is defined quite loosely most mornings.

And since the other two think they have more time, they meander through their morning routine, sometimes taking even longer than Ninja Girl to get ready.

I hate how I have to cajole, yell, scream sing Broadway songs to entice my children to get out the door. It’s painful for all of us and really not the best way to start off the day.

Guess what I did today? I remained calm this morning. No arguments with children about their choice of clothing or hairstyle or shoes or warm gloves/hats or breakfast food. Talk about confusing them! But, they all got ready and out the door in record time. What a pleasant and freeing experience! My children made their own decisions and they shouldered the responsibility quite well, for the most part. And I squelched the temptation to interfere and ruin the good cheer.

Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: Do the UNEXPECTED. We all know we should do this when we’re writing, but sometimes, we need a gentle reminder. Shake things up a bit and let your characters do something unpredictable. Maybe your MC is miserly and shows a bit of holiday spirit. Or has trouble making choices and surprises everyone with a split-second decision. Or falls in love with the right person rather than the wrong one. Or decides to run off with a pack of vampires rather than join the family circus. Or is the shy one and tells off the school bully. See all the possibilities?

Are you ready to write the scene? Have fun with this and don’t worry, there are no wrong choices. Just be sure to show the consequences, good or bad, and let your characters react to the unexpected situation. Don’t wimp out. It’ll be good for your story.
Add an interesting dimension to your story and your readers will love you.
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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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