Saturday Sprint (on Sunday): Making life hard

Posted 10 April, 2011 by DLWhite in Exercises, Writers Write 0 Comments

Yesterday’s DIYMFA exercise was our usual Saturday Sprint, but after a very stressful week rife with personal issues, I spent my Saturday sleeping and generally lazing about. It was much needed rest, but I didn’t get anything done in the way of writing. I did a lot of thinking, but thinking isn’t writing.

I did my Sprint today, answering the following questions:

Character name:  I decided to go with a new character, Maxine Donovan. She is every selfish, pretentious, self absorbed and vain woman you know, times ten. The only relationships she maintains are those of her friendship circle, simply because they have known her for so long that they’re used to her. As she approaches her late 30’s, she is desperately seeking a man to provide the finer things in life for her and to take care of her and will stop at nothing to make this happen– even attempt to steal a man away from a friend who deserves to have someone good in her life.

What does she want most in the world? To love and be loved, be taken care of, to find her prince charming, by any means necessary.

What is standing in her way? Lazyness, entitlement and holding onto old fashioned and materialistic beliefs. Max is unwilling to really do any work to find Him. She wants Him to fall into her lap. She has a past—a mother, mostly—that has taught her that money and objects and what a man can do for you equals love.

Maxine’s weaknesses: 1) Materialistic  2) Insatiably unsatisfied 3) Judgmental Bonus: Viciously jealous and entitled.

Define a situation that makes her struggle: Seeing others gain, seemingly easily, what she has always wanted and can’t seem to grasp.

Make this situation even worse:  Seeing her frumpy, dowdy friend easily land a good man that doesn’t want MAX.

Exercise: Write a few scenes that put your character in this situation. Make life really hard for him/ her.

In the last scene I wrote, a man fell straight into bookstore owner Renee Gladwell’s lap. He invited her to dinner and she accepted. They’re seated at Bee’s Soul Food, a neighborhood restaurant frequented by many of Renee’s friends and acquaintances. Maxine happens to be satisfying a craving and stops in, happening upon the burgeoning love affair. Despite her flirty ways and skin tight clothing, the gentleman seems to want nothing to do with her, even brushing her off a bit. Miffed and offended, Max storms out.

I continued my scene by changing POV back to Renee, getting her side of the encounter with Malcolm and Max at the restaurant, then had Max call Renee and try to pump her for information, laying on the inferred insults and assumption that Malcolm is better suited for Max than Renee.

I ended up writing over 4,000 words which is awesome considering my original pieces don’t usually flow so well. I’ve been having a bit of a crisis of conscience lately and feeling like I am getting something accomplished was helpful in allaying that. Sometimes this writing life is so solitary– there’s no one around to tell you that you’re doing a good job but YOU. And I personally suck at telling myself Good Job.

I’m opting not to post the blurb in case it ends up in something publishable.

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