Friday, May 10th, 2013

Writing Prompt – Mistaken Identity

I got sued this week for nearly $10,000.

I received two letters in the mail from attorney’s wishing to represent me.

The only problem is, I am not the Kelly Harmon that everyone’s looking for.

I phoned the attorney who represents the plaintiff, and his assistant apologized: they were certain I was the wrong person when they filed the paperwork with the courts, but they wanted to have something in the case files while the other Kelly Harmon is MIA.

(This raises my hackles on all kinds of levels, not withstanding the fact that it appears in public court documents that I skipped town after not paying rent for a few months. But why would an attorney knowingly put false information in court records?)

But we’re getting away from the topic here: mistaken identity.

If I hadn’t proactively called the attorney on the case, I would have been served with papers. (While I was chatting with the assistant, she put me on hold to call the process server and tell him not to drop by my house.)

Being served would have opened up a whole host of problems: all of which are fun to put your characters through…but no fun to live through in real life.

I got lucky. Here’s hoping that your character isn’t!

Here’s Your Prompt

  • Imagine you’re approached on the street by a stranger who greets you as though he knows you. Instead of claiming mistaken identity, decide to continue the discussion to see where it leads. Write the dialogue and setting of such a situation.
  • Write the story from the opposite point of view: you’re the man who greets the other as if he already knows him. The twist: you know you don’t know him, and you’re trying to scam him in some way. What’s the scam? What happens?
  • Write about a character who gets in trouble because of mistaken identity (is sued, or caught by a bounty hunter and thrown in jail, or becomes the target of a smear campaign, or is beaten up by a raging family member hell bent on getting revenge for someone, etc). How does the character clear his name? How is the situation resolved?

Good luck!