Friday, December 27th, 2013

Writing Prompt – Soured Relationships

dreamstimefree_242066eIt’s that time of year where you’re hitting party after party and seeing friends and family you might not have seen for years–or at least about a year.

You know them: the folks you wouldn’t associate with otherwise.

Seeing them turns an otherwise delightful party into a so-so affair. (Or maybe, a total bust.)

Having to socialize with folks like that reminds me of a book I remember a friend reading in high school. I can’t remember the name of it, or who wrote it, but the pages were full of pithy essays and quotes designed to help you get over a dramatic break up.

My favorite (paraphrased) went something like this:

Being with him/her wasn’t a drain–it was a sewer.

I love it! It comes sailing back into my brain each time I see those relations I would rather do without.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Pretend you’re heading off to a party where you’ll see folks you just don’t want to see. Imagine how the conversation would go if you ignored proprieties and told these people how you really felt about them. Write a nice cathartic scene.
  • Re-imagine the same scene. How would the dialogue go–this is tricky–if you just decided not to speak to the other person? Walk out of the room when they walk in, ignore any commentary or questions launched in your direction, allow dreaded “dead air” to accumulate after they speak until they feel so uncomfortable they’ll rush to fill it.
  • Write either of the above two scenarios into your latest work of fiction.
  • Write a book based on a horrible relative. (The beauty of this is that folks rarely see the bad side of themselves: they won’t realize you’re writing about them. And even if they figure it out, what are they going to do? Take it public and admit they’re a bad person? On the other hand, I recommend you consult with a good lawyer before doing this…unless you intend only to keep the novel on your hard drive.)

Good luck!

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