There was a time, not so long ago that I considered writing prompts, tips for writers who couldn’t think of what to write. Writers who were not in the middle of writing a novel. Prompts for people whose own imagination had failed them. I was wrong. It was my imagination, as it turned out, that had failed me.
Go back to that writing self-help book and check out the writing prompts again. This time, instead of thinking you’re not interested in writing a story about The Path Not Taken, consider writing it from your protagonist’s point of view. What choices has she made? What resulted from those choices. Write about a particular choice that was not a popular one. What did she learn? Was it the right choice? Does she have regrets? You may or may not use any of this material in your Work In Progress but I can guarantee you will get to know your protagonist in a deeper, more meaningful way.I think you’ll be amazed by what this reveals about your character. I know I was.
When prompted by the prompt, A Collection of Lies, I felt Lily’s pain. She realized that her mother had withheld information about a HUGE event in her life. Her attentive mother, the famous opera singer, was not who Lily thought she was. Writing Lily’s personal account of how she felt upon discovering this, made it more real.
Getting to know your characters in a variety of ways is never a bad thing. Now, if I find myself stuck with a particular scene, I write about it from my protagonist’s viewpoint. This may seem the same as writing the scene from her viewpoint, but it is very different. When my protagonist writes about the problem in her own journal, she isn’t worried about moving the story forward. She’s venting and rambling and just getting it all out there. By the time I go back to writing the actual scene, it’s with more depth and fresh eyes.
The next time you’re not in the mood for a writing prompt, try completing it from your protagonist’s point of view.
Until next time…IMAGINE life from your protagonist’s point of view!