I Went to a Writing Group - February 26th, 2020

Sometimes you get a prompt that you follow. Sometimes you get creative.


Analiese wasn't sure what to do for a prompt, so she asked a colleague at the library for a word. The response? "Zipper."

That seems like a decent challenge, to write a story in 30 minutes starting from just the word "zipper." Analiese wrote this on a whiteboard and put a squiggly line under it. The line kind of looked like a tornado, kind of. So I decided I would probably write a story about a tornado.

Just before we started to write, it came up in our square table chat that someone somewhere had once proposed the idea of writing about lightning without using the sense of sight. And of course, I could write about that too. Or anything else I want. The group is based on freedom and encouragement, so we're pretty open.

I sat for a minute or two thinking over the situation, and then I started.

- - - - - - -

Another cracking sound as something smacked against the window of the SUV.

Cindy jolted where she lay in the backseat, curled in the fetal position, her hands pressed over her eyes, and her face pressed into the back of the seat. "Dad!" she yelled and whimpered all in one. He didn't respond.

"Dad!!" she said louder, her voice cracking, just a little.

"Hold on honey, I'm trying to concentrate." he yelled back at her, a little more aggressively than he intended, like a growl.

Cindy could barely hear him over the roar of the tornado chasing them down I-40. She was tired, and sore, and her throat hurt. She thought about her water bottle, only an arm length away, safely tucked inside of the cozy embrace of her backpack.

Just reach over, unzip the bag, and take a drink, she thought as she started to pull her hands away from her eyes. At that same moment thunder enveloped the vehicle, like God clapping, and mountains crumbling.

Her dad grunted something she couldn't understand, and Cindy buried her face back into her hands.

- - - - - - -

One of our group members mentioned that it was "Just like being in a storm." Which is an awesome compliment.

There you go, that's how you write a story using a prompt word of zipper, a squiggly line interpreted as a tornado, and the idea of showing lightning without using the sense of sight. Read a few thousand books, write a few hundred articles, let your intuition get you started and try to guide it while avoiding the two great sins of writing: boredom and confusion.

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To read more from Jeff go to JeffThinks.com or JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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