Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Moment #47: a writing prompt for your work-in-progress

(If you’ve already read this then skip past all the italicized blah-di-blah and start writing.) Monday Moments are writing prompts for your work-in-progress. They are questions that come from my experiences and are my favorite way to find out more about my characters. I find I learn a lot. Some of it I use. Some of it I don’t. But I always, always get to know my character(s) better just by answering the question. I hope you do too. )

On Saturday my family went to the theater to see Fantastic Mr. Fox. We smuggled in our little baggies of popcorn and our ginormous boxes of store bought candies. This has nothing to do with the story, but I've decided to confess my cinematic sins right here and now. (Although I did purchase a large soda to share with the girls. For $5.75 I might add. Plenty spent there!)

As we waited for it to get rolling, a family sat next to mine. The mom, with a toddler on her lap, leaned over and said, "This is his first time in the movie theater." I'd guess the boy on her lap was three-ish. As the movie played he was wonderfully quiet (you never know with a little one). But at one point in the movie, Ash gets out of his bed and runs his toy train. That's when the little boy next to us shouted out, "Train! Train! Train!" It was obvious he was thrilled by it. It was sweet.

It got me reminiscing about my little ones' first movie theater experiences. Especially my youngest who had two very funny outbursts. Even though we have told the story once, twice, and even three times, it had to be told again.

Outburst One:


My youngest was two. In one scene, Shrek and Fiona are staying at her parents' castle and are getting out of bed. When Shrek emerges from under the covers, he is in his boxer shorts that happen to be, well, let's say in pretty bad shape. At this image our girlie says in her two-year-old volume (that would be shouting out for the whole theater to enjoy), "Look, Daddy, Shrek has underwear just like you." And yes, there was laughter. (However, please don't think my hubby wears ogre-like undies.)

Outburst Two:

March of the Penguins

Our youngest was three for this one. But as Morgan Freeman delivered that wonderful opening narration, he made a statement that threw our girlie for a loop and she was sure to share with everyone in attendance. I might not get the words exactly right, but he said something about how the film was about love. As soon as our girlie heard that, she said, "Love? Love? I thought this movie was going to be about penguins."

Now we, as her parents, must retell these theater stories each and every time they come to mind because it delights us. However, it may not delight her.

What story is brought up over and over about your character and how do they feel about it?


C. N. Nevets said...

That's a heck of an awesome prompt. At first thought it seems more appropriate for a slice-of-life work than psychological suspense (my own primary genre), but as I reflect I realized that was pretty silly. After all, every human being I know how those stories. What a great element of backstory character development to add. Something that may not even come up in the actual story, but which certainly enrichens the character and takes from protagonist to ordinary person for a moment.

Thanks for the prompt!

Cuppa Jolie said...

Hey, Nevets! Long time no hear. I haven't seen your virtual voice around lately. It's nice to see you here again. And I'm glad you liked the prompt!

Cuppa Jolie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C. N. Nevets said...

Thanks. :) Yeah, threw myself into too many things with too much energy and paid the price, but I'm back and hopefully with a better level-set.

Emilie said...

My main character has two such stories, one serious and one funny, and both get brought up all the time. The first is that her dad saved the life of his best friend during WWI, and while she's living in her dad's best friend's house, his wife brings it up a lot, and usually in a way that embarrasses her. The second is an incident where she pelted this same friend's son (who's her age) with rotten apples from a hayloft after he made one too many snide remarks.

But your daughter's comment at Shrek 2 is fantastic:)

Tara McClendon said...

What a great prompt. I love it. As for movies, we are the parents with the screaming toddler. We try everything from bribery to begging to get them to be quiet--even tried earplugs on one person's suggestion. The first film to mesmerize my son (around 2 1/2) was Finding Nemo. He loved it. Now we just need to find a film my current toddler likes.

holly cupala said...

Ohhh, that's a really good one, Jolie.