Hi friends and neighbours,
I rarely use writing prompts, probably because as a memoirist, I’ve never dealt in fiction. I have to admit, though, it’s fun to take a prompt and run with it; it seems to exercise a part of the brain that I don’t normally access in quite that way.
Responding to a prompt reminds me of writing workshops I’ve taken where at some point in the program, the facilitator gives you a scenario or a set of descriptive words and a time limit, and you write down whatever you can cobble together inside that time limit. It’s surprising how nimble and inventive the human brain becomes when there’s a short deadline.
On March 23, 2015, from somewhere on the internet, I wrote the following small piece based on the picture above and the prompt, “Why is She Fleeing?” Here’s what I came up with:
As she raced down the empty track, Ellen couldn’t help grinning gleefully to herself. She’d actually done it; she’d managed to get away this time before the wedding—and with the money too!
Right down to the wire, this escape had been, because she’d just changed from jeans and t-shirt into her wedding gown when she noticed that her fiance had left his fat briefcase, filled with large bills, tucked away in the cupboard where her veil was hanging. Now she didn’t have to go through still another wedding to yet another wealthy, well-meaning young man. It simply took too long to go through the divorce proceedings. Just grab the money, get away, go to another town and start fresh. Run!
Without even bothering to change out of her wedding gown, she yanked her boots back on, stuffed jeans and t-shirt into her fiance’s briefcase on top of the cash—hand hovering over, and then moving past, the Rolex belonging to her erstwhile bridegroom—then raced out of the motel, needing to get as much distance as possible behind her before he realized his bride was missing.
No problem; she’d be stocking up on a new wardrobe soon, and she’d be able to buy a dozen Rolexes if she wanted to. She grinned again to herself. There’d be no trouble at all paying for whatever she wanted.
As soon as she got to the train station, she’d ditch the dress and then travel to a middling-large city where she could become invisible. She’d buy herself a suitably elegant yet unobtrusive wardrobe appropriate for an up-and-coming career woman. Then she’d find herself a little job and keep her eyes open for the next well-heeled man—this time, perhaps, an elderly gentleman who might be flattered that a lovely, starry-eyed young woman was falling madly in love with him.
Ah, yes, an older man; why hadn’t she thought of that before? It was the perfect solution. No messy divorces; just a quiet death and then move on. In fact, perhaps she could get a job in an upscale retirement home where she could play Lady Bountiful. Or, better yet, a medical office, where she’d have access to patient files. Yes, this could work out quite nicely.
The piece could use some fine-tuning, of course, but given that it emerged right off the top of my head, I thought it wasn’t bad. Perhaps I’ll find myself a daily prompt on the internet and do some practicing – although I must say, I don’t know how novelists manage to create multi-character plots. I love reading them, but I doubt I could write one. They’re definitely a whole other ballgame.