In Creative Writing Camp today, my students were challenged to firmly ground the reader in the story in three sentences that convey the setting, goal, and character.
It’s a super fun exercise that everyone should try (credit to the idea from Writing Excuses‘ Mary Robinette Kowal who had a tweet about healthcare go viral this week).
Step 1: Go to Random Plot Generator
Step 2: Choose a Main Character, a Setting, and a Situation
Step 3: Set the scene in three sentences.
Step 4: Change only the setting and write it again
Step 5: Change only the character and try it again
Step 6: Change only the situation and try it again
Here were mine from today.
Scenario 1: A foolish man in his thirties at the fair being left for good.
So maybe he should have told her about the motion sickness before sitting next to her on the tilt-a-whirl, but how was he supposed to know it would both tilt and whirl?
“Forget my number,” she snarled, slinging chunks of his birthday dinner off her designer dress.
Whatever, it was still an improvement from his thirty-second birthday when he’d gone scuba diving with the piranhas.
Scenario 2: A foolish man in a castle being left for good.
The young king watched impassively as his wife bared her neck for the guillotine, trying to figure out why she looked so upset. If she’d given birth to a son instead of a daughter, this wouldn’t be happening. Next time, he’d find a woman approaching her forties; with age came wisdom, and with wisdom, sons.
Scenario 3: A naive old man in a castle being left for good.
The king was flirting with his wife again, but Old-Man Bob wasn’t worried. His young, beautiful wife had a stable life without all the problems riches brought with them. Surely she’d reject the King’s advances.
Scenario 4: A naive old man in a castle giving a dog a home.
Old man Bob squinted his eyes at the puppy dragging an elk out of the castle moat. “Here boy,” he whistled as the puppy bared teeth the size of his arm at him and left out an earth trembling growl. “Let’s get you in out of the cold.”
Want to give it a try? Post your 3 sentence scene in the comments below.