This week, I jumped into round 2 of editing Demon’s Heart, had two truly fabulous books land in my inbox and suck me in, resuscitated a dormant writing group, and got a jolt of inspiration on two separate novels. Then I sat down to write a response to my own writing prompt, realized it revealed far too much about the actual story, and wrote a different one because I felt all guilty and accountable because I’d promised to post my response.
So that got me thinking about my new writing prompt adventure. There will probably be some that I can’t actually post because they reveal too much. And really, what I wanted to do with this was promote interaction and show off other super cool authors. So how do we do that?
So here’s the new deal. (No, not the one from FDR.) I will still post any links to blog post responses, and I will still post some (but likely not all) of my responses. BUT, if you are interested in having your work shown off to a growing crowd of admiring followers (am I right?), send your writing prompt response to bumblesbooks at gmail dot com. I’ll post my favorites at the end of the week.
In short: I post prompt on Monday. You email me responses before Friday. I post my favorites, along with any links to participating bloggers, on Friday.
Okay, here’s mine.
Take a minor character from your WIP and write a scene from their past, before your story takes place.
I should have known something was wrong when Dad invited Pax to dinner.
After my grandparents died and Pax moved in with us, Mom was enough of a buffer between Dad and his much-younger brother to keep the explosions under control. But once she was gone, the shouting had spiraled out of control. Pax was gone the day after he graduated high school. He timed his visits carefully for when Dad was on duty at the station–unless my dad ordered him to report for dinner.
It was a mostly silent meal. Heather didn’t eat much, painting with tomato sauce on the arm of her booster seat until Dad gave her a warning glare. The tension in the room triggered phantom pains in the leg I no longer had, destroying my appetite. Pax ate, but it was mechanical. His glazed eyes were fixed on his plate, his mind obviously elsewhere. It wasn’t until Dad cleared his throat that Pax snapped back into focus, and even then he refused to meet Dad’s eyes. Instead, he turned to Heather. “Are you liking kindergarten?”
Heather threw a nervous glance at Dad, whose face grew a little redder, and nodded. Dad leaned forward and posed his own question.
“And how’s school coming along for you, Paxton?”
There was too much weight in Dad’s words for Pax to miss. I looked curiously from Dad’s lowered eyebrows to Pax’s suddenly pale face. Was Pax failing his classes? He’d always done so well in school. He was the one who taught me algebra when I was bored with fourth-grade math last year.
“UC Davis, correct?” Dad pressed.
Pax nodded. “One of your recommendations.”
“Funny thing–they seem to have misplaced your file. There’s no Paxton Jennings in their system. Not even an application.”
Heather hunched down in her booster seat until her nose was level with the table. Young as she was, she knew well enough how to tell when Dad was on the edge of exploding. One look at Pax’s face told me that no file had been misplaced. I snatched up my crutches and left half my dinner behind on my plate.
“Come on, Heather. I’ll read to you before you go to bed.”
Dad was the first to blow, though he had the decency to wait until we had made it to the top of the stairs. Pax soon followed. Before I could usher Heather into her room, she stiffened, her eyes sliding out of focus. My chest tightened in panic. Not again. Not now.
It was a short episode, only a few seconds before she blinked and looked up at me, her eyes filling with tears. I tried to keep my voice steady.
“What did you see this time?”
“It broke,” she whimpered, then ran into her room and shut the door. I threw my crutches down and collapsed to sit on the floor, letting the shouts from below and the sobs from the side wash over me as I stared out the window at the empty street.
Mom, why did you have to go?