Friday, September 6th, 2013

Writing Prompt – Family Highs and Lows

Two inquisitive ducks - Photo Copyright Peter Elvidge found at Dreamstime Stock PhotosFamily can be the source of great joy, or utter despair.

I love my family. I love getting together and seeing each other and just plain talking on the phone. When I get to yakking with my sister or brother or my Mom or Dad, even my aunt…we’re nearly always on the phone for over an hour. We can’t help ourselves.

This could be because nearly two thirds of my family lives out of state. (Funny that, they’re all from here …but moved away.)

The fact is, I see my out-of-state family a whole lot more than my in-state family. I think it’s because we chat on the phone, we send stuff via snail mail, we make plans…we make the effort, and get together. I invite them, they invite me. The stars don’t always align, but it’s all good.

The in-state side of the family: they’re a little more insular. They prefer to stay in their own neighborhood, where church and close-proximity friends take precedence. Travel is anathema. They live over an hour’s driving distance away, and that feels like such an effort to overcome, apparently. (I drive that distance every day to work and back: it’s a nuisance, but certainly not the great divide.)

But those in-state folks are a whole lot more tech-savvy, I have to admit–always have been. We communicate via email and Facebook and occasionally, Skype. Though it’s all very metaphorical distance-making: family through the telephoto lens. (But still family, even if they keep the rest of us out of their neat little box.)

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Make a list of the three best things about someone in your family: these traits could come from a single person or three different family members. Do the same for worst traits. Now, build a composite family character using those traits. Introduce this character in your work in progress as an impediment to the hero getting his way.
  • Similar to above: write an essay about how your family gets in the way of your dreams.
  • Write about a time when your family came to your aid unexpectedly.
  • Write about a family betrayal.
  • If you’re a poet, write a poem about growing up in your family. Describe a singular event that epitomizes what it was like.
  • Describe “the most perfect family.” Write a story about someone who has no family at all, and dreams about being in this perfect family. Does he or she achieve this dream in the confines of your story? What happens?
  • If you journal, write about how you are like your mother or your father. Or, write about how you are unlike your mother or father. Skip the obvious physical distinctions, instead pay attention to opinions, mannerisms and thought.

Good Luck!

Photo copyright © Peter Elvidge | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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