Hump Day Prompt #4: What Are They So Afraid Of?

Hump Day Prompt #4: What Are They So Afraid Of? This week we're exploring your hero and antagonist's big fears and how they intertwine.

Every Wednesday, I post a writing prompt here. You write about it, if it tickles your creativity bone, and then come share what you wrote on Facebook to get some feedback and see what the other Ninjas have come up with. My goal with these prompts will to be to make them something that can move your current work-in-progress forward.

***

What are they so afraid of?

This week we’re going to get to know both our heroes and our antagonists a little deeper.

I want you to think about each of them and focus on what they are the most afraid of.

The thing that scares them is also the thing that runs the highest risk of breaking them. And remember this: your antagonist is the hero of their own story. The thing they are afraid of is important to them, and knowing what that is will help you to write a deeper and more robust character.

So ask yourself not only about what scares your hero and antagonist, but how those fears interact with each other. How they drive these two characters as they live these parallel, intertwining lives. How does the hero’s fear drive his rival? How does the rival’s fear direct the way he responds to the hero?

My Turn

My current work-in-progress is a Robin Hood retelling set in modern day Las Vegas.

My hero is Rob Huntington (who is the Robin Hood character) and his main rival is Guy Gisborne. They grew up together, although Guy is a decade older, and they are in love with the same girl.

Rob’s biggest fear is not living up to the huge legacy his father left when he died. He has always feared he wouldn’t be able to fill his father’s shoes, but he’s only seventeen when his dad dies and that fear is intensified. Rob is motivated by love. He wants the people who loved his father–so basically the whole city, but in particular the people who worked in the casino his father owned–to love him. His fear is that they’ll figure out he will never be like his father and that they will hate him.

Guy’s fear is that he really isn’t as good as Rob. That no matter how hard he works, he will always be the kid who was left on his uncle’s doorstep. He’ll always be a charity case. He’ll never deserve the girl he’s fallen in love with. He’ll never deserve anything. His fear makes him hate Rob, who he believes has had everything Guy has ever wanted just handed to him. It keeps him from making good choices, because he can’t see how working hard and being patient will ever work for him.

Your Turn

Are you writing a prompt this week? Leave a comment and let me know!

Come on over to the Ninja Writers Facebook group and share your work. Get some feedback, leave some feedback–get involved in the community. I can’t wait to read what you come up with!

Also, if you’d like to get a PDF of this post and every Hump Day Writing Prompt, head here and sign up for the Ninja Writers Binder Club. Every month I send out a newsletter that includes those links.

Help spread the Ninja Writer word! Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

 

 

Continue Reading

Hump Day Prompt #3: What is Your Antagonist’s Vanity?

Hump Day Prompt #3: How is Your Antagonist Vain- (1)

Every Wednesday, I post a writing prompt here. You write about it, if it tickles your creativity bone, and then come share what you wrote on Facebook to get some feedback and see what the other Ninjas have come up with. My goal with these prompts will to be to make them something that can move your current work-in-progress forward.

***

How is Your Antagonist Vain?

Let’s think about our antagonists this week.

An antagonist can be a full on villain. Think Voldemort. Or more of a rival. Think Draco Malfoy.

Either way, your antagonist is working at odds to your protagonist–and think about this: they are the hero of their own story.

They’ve been broken, somehow, and as a result they are behaving in a way that is less than heroic as far as your protagonist is concerned.

So, let’s dig a little deeper into your antagonist. Making that character fuller, more well-rounded, will make your story better. Nothing is worse than a purely evil, one-dimensional villain.

Here’s what I want you to do: think about your antagonist’s main vanity. Write about it. How does that vanity affect their part in your story? How does your hero trigger that vanity? How does that vanity help your antagonist and how does it hurt them?

My Turn

My work-in-progress is a Robin Hood retelling set in modern day Las Vegas. One of the main settings is a casino called the Nottingham, or the Nott, that is owned by my hero, Rob’s, father.

I have a couple of antagonists to choose from, but for this exercise I’m going to focus on Guy Gisborne. Guy is about ten years older than Rob. He’s the nephew of the co-owner of the Nott and was given his position far too early. He struggles to command respect at work, and really in any facet of his life. While Rob has been away at boarding school, Guy has become obsessed with Rob’s best friend Mattie, a girl he doesn’t stand a chance of winning over.

Guy’s vanity is his belief that he deserves more than what his lot in life has handed him. He has a generous uncle who raised him and has elevated his position–but it doesn’t feel real, because it isn’t. He didn’t earn his job. He doesn’t have anything that wasn’t given to him out of pity and charity. His vanity manifests itself in an almost pathological jealousy of Rob. It drives him crazy that Rob has a name that means something in Las Vegas. That Mattie loves Rob so easily makes Guy bitter and dangerous. Guy actually wants to be more than he is, on every level. He wants to deserve the things he wants in life. He wants to be the kind of man that Mattie could actually fall for without tricks. His vanity keeps him from being patient enough to get to where he might go in his life without resorting to being underhanded.

Where Rob’s driving force is a deep need to work hard to prove that he deserves to be loved, Guy’s is an opposing need to prove that he shouldn’t have to work hard for the same thing.

Your Turn

Are you writing a prompt this week? Leave a comment and let me know!

Come on over to the Ninja Writers Facebook group and share your work. Get some feedback, leave some feedback–get involved in the community. I can’t wait to read what you come up with!

Also, if you’d like to get a PDF of this post and every Hump Day Writing Prompt, head here and sign up for the Ninja Writers Binder Club. Every month I send out a newsletter that includes those links.

Help spread the Ninja Writer word! Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

 

 

Continue Reading

Hump Day Prompt #3: What Ignites Your Hero?

Hump Day Prompt #3: What Ignites Your Hero? This week we're doing some freewriting about what your hero is passionate about. What drives them?

Every Wednesday, I post a writing prompt here. You write about it, if it tickles your creativity bone, and then come share what you wrote on Facebook to get some feedback and see what the other Ninjas have come up with. My goal with these prompts will to be to make them something that can move your current work-in-progress forward.

***

What Ignites Your Hero?

Let’s do some freewriting today, Ninjas.

I want you to spend some time thinking about what turns your hero on. I’m not just talking about sexually here (although, feel free to go there.) What drives your main character? What lights them up on the inside and makes them someone interesting enough to read about?

Use these questions to guide your writing.

What does your hero lust for?

What are they willing to break their moral code for?

Who could break their heart?

Are they willing to put themselves at risk for something?

What is the one thing that could make them give up everything?

My Turn

My work-in-progress is a Robin Hood retelling set in modern day Las Vegas.

On the surface, this is an easy prompt for me. Rob’s best friend is the love of his life. Mattie has been his soul mate for as long as he can remember. He hasn’t seen her in nearly two years. They were fifteen the last time he left for boarding school. The difference between fifteen and seventeen is significant and the shift in their feelings for each other is intense and something they have to come to terms with, but they have always known that they belonged together. It has always been Rob and Mattie.

Rob’s moral code has never been tested. His life has always been privileged and easy. He’s never not known where he was headed. So, it’s a surprise to him to find that a group of homeless strangers who are as different from him as it’s possible to be are the people who help him realize that his moral code is actually steel-strong, and that they are the ones he’s willing to break it for. He longs for the acceptance and love of these people, that need drives him. He finds that he has to do what ever he can to protect them.

Rob has lost everything, except for Mattie. His heart is already broken by his father’s death and by the loss of the life that he’d never even considered that he might not lead. But it turns out that while he grieves his father and the loss of his legacy, what he builds on his own after they are gone make him far more vulnerable. He would put himself at risk for Mattie, and he would put himself at risk for this new life and new family that he’s suddenly found himself in the middle of.

Rob is absolutely driven by the need to be loved. His mother died when he was a little boy. His father was a powerful and sometimes distant man who never stopped grieving his dead wife, and he is dead now, too. It’s important to him, on a deep level, not to fail once he starts on his new path. He especially doesn’t want to fail the people who are depending on him. He needs to prove to himself that he is worthy.

Your Turn

Come on over to the Ninja Writers Facebook group and share your work. Get some feedback, leave some feedback–get involved in the community. I can’t wait to read what you come up with!

Also, if you’d like to get a PDF of this post and every Hump Day Writing Prompt, head here and sign up for the Ninja Writers Binder Club. Every month I send out a newsletter that includes those links.

Help spread the Ninja Writer word! Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

 

Continue Reading

Hump Day Prompt #2: What is Your Hero Missing?

Hump Day Writing Prompt #2: What is your hero missing? Here's an exercise that will help you figure out the perfect flaw for your main character.

Every Wednesday, I post a writing prompt here. You write about it, if it tickles your creativity bone, and then come share what you wrote on Facebook to get some feedback and see what the other Ninjas have come up with. My goal with these prompts will to be to make them something that can move your current work-in-progress forward.

***

What is Your Hero Missing?

It can be hard sometimes to think of a really juicy flaw for your story’s hero, something that will make them someone your readers can relate to and give them a place to rise up from.

That flaw is necessary. Without it, it’s so easy to write a boring, one-dimensional character that no one cares about getting to know.

Here’s an exercise that I’ve found that helps me to deepen my main character by finding that one flaw. It has two parts.

First, I want you to think about what your hero is missing.

What is the thing that’s left a hole in their life? It might be something tangible–a missing parent, a dead child or spouse, an amputated limb, homelessness. Or it might be metaphysical–a broken heart or a crisis of faith. This is a doubly good exercise, because it will start you thinking about your hero’s motivations in the story. Think about what drives them to move out of the comfort of their ordinary life (and ordinary lives are comfortable, no matter how much discomfort might be involved in them. Human beings don’t generally like change much) and into the special, scary, unknown world of the story.

Once you’ve figured out what your hero is missing, decide how that missing thing has left them broken.

Think about what that missing thing in your hero has done to them. How has it changed them? How has it left them broken? Your hero’s flaw lies in that broken place.

My Turn

My work-in-process is a retelling of Robin Hood. My hero is a 17-year-old boy named Rob Huntington. Rob is missing both of his parents. His mother died when he was six and his father died just prior to the start of the story. He’s been away at boarding school for two years, so even when his father was alive, Rob was missing a day-to-day connection with him. Rob has had a close, but complicated relationship with his father most of his life. His father never stopped grieving for his dead wife, which caused a layer of separation between father and son that they never overcame.

This lack of parents has left Rob with a broken sense of himself. He’s always known he was his father’s heir, but he didn’t expect for that to mean anything so soon. He has always known that he would have to live up to his father’s legacy, and he’s always believed deep down that he would fail. He hides his loneliness and self-doubt with arrogance. That arrogance is the flaw that might end up being fatal. It’s what he has to push past in order to survive. He has also developed a deep need to be loved, which drives him throughout the story. It’s something he has to temper, because it keeps him from seeing that the people closest to him are dangerous.

Your Turn

Come on over to the Ninja Writers Facebook group and share your work. Get some feedback, leave some feedback–get involved in the community. I can’t wait to read what you come up with!

Also, if you’d like to get a PDF of this post, and every Hump Day Writing Prompt, head here and sign up for the Ninja Writers Binder Club. Every month I send out a newsletter that includes those links.

Continue Reading

Hump Day Prompt #1: Your Hero’s Spirit Animal

Hump Day Writing Prompt- What is your hero's spirit animal-

I thought we’d try a new feature here that crosses over to our Facebook page. Any excuse to put your butt in a chair and write, and connect with the Ninjas, right?

Right.

So every Wednesday, I’ll post a writing prompt here. You write about it, if it tickles your creativity bone, and then come share what you wrote on Facebook to get some feedback and see what the other Ninjas have come up with. My goal with these prompts will to be to make them something that can move your current work-in-progress forward.

This week’s prompt:

Write about your main character’s spirit animal.

My work-in-progress is a Robin Hood retelling set in modern-day Las Vegas. Rob Huntington’s spirit animal was hard for me to figure out. Rob is aristocratic, in that way that American children of privilege tend to be. But he’s also clever and resourceful, and when push comes to shove, he rises up and becomes a leader. I thought maybe his spirit animal was a peacock–something proud and beautiful, but ultimately a peacock isn’t very useful beyond being nice to look at. I finally settled on a dog. Not just any dog though. A pure-bred dog. And not just any pure-bred dog, either. A pure-bred working dog. Like a German Shepherd who works with the police or a Golden Retriever who works as a service animal. Beautiful, high-born, but hard-working and useful, too.

Your turn! Come share with us on our Facebook page. I can’t wait to read what you come up with.

If you click the little ‘get notifications’ tab on the right side of your screen, you’ll get a notice when the next Hump Day Prompt goes live.

 

Continue Reading