Did you ever play tag when you were a kid?
Remember how there was always some spot that was home base? A tree. A bike. Someone’s mom.
If you got home, you were safe.
For today’s writing prompt, think about the concept of home–deeper and bigger than a house. (Although, where they live might also be their home base.)
If you really want to dig into your story, do this assignment for your hero AND your antagonist. Just think about where they’d run to, if they were being chased. It might be somewhere internal. A memory, maybe? It might be a person. It might be a physical place.
Write a paragraph or two describing your protagonist’s (and antagonist’s if you have time) safe place. Use all your senses.
I’m working on a middle grade story right now called Wonder Roo. My narrator is a boy named Gideon. He’s telling the story of his neighbor, though–a quirky girl named Roona.
Roona’s home base is a thing. Her baby blanket. She believes that being wrapped in it during a house fire when she was a baby saved her life–and that when she wraps it around her neck, cape style, it turns her into Wonder Roo.
It’s a very plain blanket. Soft pink, lightweight cotton with an open weave and a satin binding. After twelve years of all kinds of use, it’s very worn. Her blanket is also her only real connection to her father, who she believes joined the Air Force soon after the fire when she was a baby. She hasn’t seen him since.
Here’s the scene where Roona first shows up in the story, with her blanket:
What caught my attention though, and yanked me right out of my sourness, was everything else about her. She wore cut-off jeans and a white t-shirt. Pretty standard stuff.
She had rainbow-striped socks pulled up to her knobby knees and roller skates that looked like blue and yellow running shoes strapped to her feet. And over her clothes, she wore a red swimsuit with a stripe running down each side. She had something tied around her neck, flapping in the hot, dry breeze as she skated in slow circles on her porch.
“What in the . . .” Despite myself, I was curious enough to open the car door and step my first foot in Ne-va-da.
“See, there’s a kid next door,” Dad said, rubbing my head as he passed me. “You’re going to be fine.”
This story doesn’t have a villain. The antagonist is Roona’s mother–more specifically her mental illness. Or the way she is now. Her home is an activity. Miranda Mulroney is a baker on a soul level. Roona believes that her emotions get baked into her cakes and pies and passed on to the people who eat them.
When things get hard for Miranda, she bakes. She stays up all night losing herself in her ability to turn out perfect cookies or scones. It’s the thing she turns to when nothing else makes sense.
Your turn, Ninja! Write your scene and come share it on Facebook if you want some feedback.