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Spin a story out of an occupation

This entry is part 38 of 43 in the series Friday Sprints

Use a character’s job to spark a story

A person is the sum total of his or her parts and one part is that of their occupation. Uniforms or a particular style of dress often conjure up particular actions, events, and even language. A janitor versus a sanitation engineer may provide clues and lead you into a story.

Instead of a photograph, we’re using a sketch. Let your imagination go to work for you. The image provides a starting point, a visual prompt to catapult you into a story. Body language talks alot about a person. Action is revealing, too. Enjoy this quick writing prompt exercise and launch into story mode.

Simple tools for sprint writing

Use a timer for your writing exercises.

Tactile timer with black dial

Plan to spend 5 minutes writing. Sometimes simple is best and all you need is a plain, easy-to-read black and white kitchen timer. Use whatever writing tools are at hand: pen and paper, journal or composition book, even a computer file. Set that timer for 5 minutes. In a pinch for a timer? Try the one on the oven or use a smart phone app.

Ready, Set, Write

Start writing and don’t start. Capture the person and slip into the character. Stay in the scene, in the moment. Allow your imagination to propel you into a scene. What is your character doing? Why? Stay in character and write to the end.

Don’t stop to reread, edit, or question. Head for the middle and capture an end. (Scroll down for the after-writing process.)

Once you’re finished, read what you’ve written but don’t make any changes. Think about the following questions, then write about the results of your writing exercise.

Read and reflect

  1. What did the job reveal to you?
  2. Did you use this character’s occupation as an element in your story?
  3. Did this person become real to you?
  4. Do you have a beginning, middle, and an end to a scene?
  5. How did the writing go? Was it easy or difficult?
  6. Did you have any problems? In what way?

That’s it. You can stop now or expand what you’re written. Share your thoughts below, and if you’re still in the writing mode check out the other visual prompts in the series..


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