Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: The Power of Flexibility

Sometimes, life hands you lemons, no matter how well you’ve planned out your ______ (day, week, life, party, prom, etc). Even though you want to ______ (cry, hurl, crawl underneath your covers, pull out your hair and scream, etc), be _______ (careful, positive, flexible, etc). No good will come from _______ (complaining, whining, wishing everything could go back, etc).  ______ (Run away, Think, Just run with what you’ve got, Make something happen, etc).

There’s much to be said about the power of flexibility. Life, as we all know, is not a constant. Things happen. People react. And from there, a chain  of events will unfurl. Sometimes, if we’re lucky and work real hard, things will align just the way we imagine. But, we can be equally unfortunate, and barely have a chance to gasp for air, before getting thrown into more muckery.

I’m sure you can think of people in your life or in the public eye, who’ve hit rock bottom and then made it back to the top. Or maybe life just threw them too many hardships, and they’re more comfortable wallowing in their sorrows. Perhaps you know people with seemingly perfect lives, the ones with all the luck, but secretly worked for it every step of the way.

Flexibility gives us the power to gain control over our lives. We may get a crap hand, but if we just give up, there’s no way we can fight and get out. Flexibility gives us the ability to adapt and see outside the box, so we can gain the advantage.

And doesn’t that make life much more fun?

Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: There are times your protagonist goes off the beaten pathway and surprises you. Maybe she says something crazy, chooses the right guy, fails a class on purpose, or decides to run away from her perfect life. He might do something he never wanted to do, just because he’s bored. Or he might decide to up the ante and do something impossible that puts him at risk, more than you planned. Maybe she wants to express herself, decides it’s not worth it to jump through hoops, or realizes she doesn’t have enough time to makes things happen the way she wants to do things. He might want to give up, wants one more chance, or maybe he’s had enough of being the nice guy and wants to be seen for what he really is.


If you’re the type that likes to stay true to an outline, mark this deviation so you can find the spot easily– use comment tracker, a different color font, or even make another copy of your scene. But no matter what, go with the flow and see what direction your protagonist takes you. If you don’t like what happens in your chapter, you can always go back to where your MC misbehaves.

Just be flexible and keep open-minded.

Your protagonist might want to shake up the plot a little, to show you what she needs to do before she reaches her goal. It might be the very thing your story needs to get to the next level. Or maybe, your MC is just being obnoxious and wants to make you pay for all the hardships you’ve put him through. 😉

But, you’ll never know, until you try…will 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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