Friday, May 5, 2017

Writing Exercise #10: The Passing of Time

Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a love of all things literary. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her husband, Matt, imagining things unseen and chasing their two children around their home in Northern California. To connect with Shan, check out her website, FB, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Did I tell you all I finished my book?! I did! 

Last week, I turned my YA fantasy into my agent and now I wait. She's a busy lady, my agent--lots of fantastic clients to service and she's opening a new agency this month--so it could be some time before she gets back to me. And as I wait, I've been thinking about how tricky it can be to show the passing of time in our stories.

You know what I'm talking about, right? You've covered all the important stuff in a particular scene and you're just trying to get your characters to the next important moment. Just trying to fill the space on the page until you've written enough that can you feel comfortable saying TIME HAS PASSED.

When we're trying to get our characters from this important moment to that important moment, we can easily stumble into meaningless, not-moving-the-story-forward, wasting-the-readers'-time kind of writing.

Sometimes it's a necessary part of the drafting process. Sometimes, as a writer, you don't know what that next important moment is, so you have to write yourself there. But, during edits, you have to come back and address the drivel. You've got to tighten up the nonsense and succinctly, stylishly, get us from here to there. 

The Harry Potter movies are awesome at this. They use stunning visuals to move us through the school year. 

Think of the Whomping Willow in The Prisoner of Azkaban. To mark the changing seasons, the movie-makers use the willow tree. 

Toward the beginning of the school year, we follow a little bird as it flies through the castle, out over the grounds. We watch as the green-leafed Whomping Willow curls a branch tightly and then lets it swing, vanishing the bird in a burst of feathers. A funny surprise and one that tells us a bit about the tree. 

Later, to ensure the viewers move along with the story from fall to winter, a single autumn-colored leaf is zoomed in on and we watch as it drops slowly from the tree, lazily falling to the ground. And then a wide shot of the tree and the Whomping Willow shakes off all the remaining leaves in one almost dog-like move. A lot of beauty and a little humor using a very important element of the story--the Whomping Willow.

The snarky tree is used yet again to show the change from winter to spring. We're shown the icy branches melting away and with another dog-shake the branches are suddenly free of winter. 

One last focus on the tree, as the final scenes of the film are unfolding, shows us that we've moved into summer again. The willow is full and lush and another misguided bird flies toward it, only to meet the very same fate as the first bird we followed into its branches. Nearly a year has passed and we've passed with it.

Using a powerful story element--the Whomping Willow is practically a character in this story--to show the passing of time, is creative and kills lots of birds (ha!) with one stone.

But how do we do this on a smaller scale? When we're not ready to leave a chapter or even insert a scene break, how do we move our characters and readers to the next important moment in just a few sentences. Take this example from the book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

"What's next, Divination?" Ron groaned. "How are we supposed to make it up to the old bat's tower on time from down here in the dungeon?"
Hermione gasped. "Oh! I just remembered! I have to go get something. I'll see you in class." She hurried off, leaving Harry and Ron to stare at her retreating back.
But she didn't show up to class at all, and they didn't see her for the rest of the afternoon. In fact, Hermione didn't materialize until well into the evening, climbing through the portrait hole into the common room with an armload of books. "I found all these at the library," she said breathlessly, dumping the books on the floor between Harry and Ron where they sat curled up in their favorite squashy armchairs.
In this scene, we leave the immediacy of Harry's and Ron's thoughts and actions and we zoom out. We have no idea how they spend the rest of the day, except to trust that nothing out of the ordinary happens except for Hermione's absence. We zoom back in on the trio later that evening when Hermione returns and the important stuff begins again. 

The passing of time is both important and full of inconsequential stuff and JK Rowling does a good job moving us through it in just two sentences.

Today, we're going to do the same thing in our writing exercise.

Your goal is to get your character and the reader from this moment:

"You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone.

To this moment:
"I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

And you have to do it in no more than three sentences. That's right. THREE! You can do this!

Leave your response to the exercise in the comments section below and come back throughout the weekend to see how your fellow writers addressed the prompt.

And remember, if you participate in the writing exercise, you can use the Rafflecopter to enter our drawing. A winner will be selected next week and will have the opportunity to ask Jill, Steph and me a question for an upcoming episode of Go Teen Writers LIVE.

 

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106 comments:

  1. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. She crinkled her face and squeezed her eyes shut. Maybe no one would even notice…besides, she didn't really have a choice, anyway.

    And so when she showed up to the dance floor two hours later, it was in the same horrible dress, the same pasty shoes, and the same terrified face. "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."


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    1. This was great. You did well at describing the outfit and the worry that the girl had. Good job. :)
      ~PT

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    2. Nicely done. I felt her angst.

      -Ann

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    3. Great job! You managed to pack a lot of character and emotion into very few words. Nice work.

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  2. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. She bit her lip and took a couple deep, refreshing breaths; letting the sun's rays beat against her tear-stained face.

    Hours later, the dark sky, and the bright, crescent moon set the romantic mood. She had shown up to the measly old prom, and she didn't run away despite the dance floor's daring stare.

    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."


    *All feedback's welcome. This was so hard, so it may not be my best work. :)*

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    1. This was hard and I think you did pretty well. It was hard to do it with just three sentences, but I did it for myself on my computer. Great job. :)
      ~PT

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    2. Thanks! I kept reading the post and I was like, "Three Sentences?!?!"
      You guys are really encouraging! :)

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    3. No problem. You did a great job, especially describing the lighting. :) (I know. The three sentence thing totally threw me off, lol)
      ~PT

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    4. Nice transition! I wanted to hug the poor girl. :( Why can't mom show a little more sympathy?

      -Ann

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    5. PT: I think description and building characters is my favorite part of writing. Though, description tends to drive me crazy sometimes.
      I just sat there and thought of how my writing life had been a good one....lol.

      Ann: Thanks! So did I! :\
      Her mom should have been more considerate.

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    6. I love this, LHE!

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    7. I agree; I did a triple-take on that "three sentences" line, too. Good job forcing yourself to do this, LHE! And while it did feel insensitive for the mom to force the girl to do that, she might have been trying to help her daughter learn to take criticism and love herself for her inner beauty instead. Just some thoughts. :)

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    8. Thanks! You're so right. If the girl wasn't ever criticized, then in the future it would make the feeling 10 times worse then it would have been. Thanks, for your comment, Olivia! :D

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  3. I think you did an amazing job at showing the passing time with the descriptions of the sun's rays vs. the dark sky and the moon. You did a great job at adding descriptions in such a short couple of paragraphs. I also didn't read through it at a slow pace -- it flowed brilliantly! Keep up the great work!

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    1. I was so blank when I started, and then I though about how different lighting can really show the passing of time. Thanks, Julia Witmer! I tried to describe passing time in three sentences as best as I could. :D
      Thanks for you encouragement! I really appreciate it! :)

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  4. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. But she had to go, if only to show him that she would not be intimidated into backing down.

    Hours later, she floated across the dance floor as the most regal looking girl there. Even her face was like an ice queen’s as she watched him stride over to her.

    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    ~Sarah R.

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    1. You described her so beautifully. This was a hard prompt to do, but you did a great job. :)
      ~PT

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    2. Great job! You made me respect and sympathize with her in a quick snippet.

      -Ann

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    3. Thanks, y'all! I had fun with this one!

      ~Sarah R.

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    4. Great job! I was wondering if someone would interpret the "dress and shoes" line as being too beautiful and bold for a girl with no date. Excellent!

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  5. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone.

    She sighed and put on her mom's hand-me-down dress and the uncomfortable heels before she sneaked onto her dad's motorcycle and turned the key. She may be going to senior prom alone, but she could at least arrive in style. She entered through the double doors, her hair still windblown from the bike ride.

    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

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    1. This was actually funny. Imagine a girl in a prom dress, riding down the highway on a motorcycle, lol. Great job. :)
      ~PT

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    2. Ha, what an entrance! :) Nicely done.

      -Ann

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    3. I agree, I loved the image of a girl in a prom dress riding a motorcycle. Hilarious!

      ~Sarah R.

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    4. Nice splash of humor! I love how you expressed personality through actions.

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    5. Haha!
      "She may be going to senior prom alone, but she could at least arrive in style. "--- That is so funny! I love how you changed the feeling of unfairness to humor! This was really good, Anon! :)

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  6. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone.

    But, despite her hard feelings towards the Pepto-Bismal pink dress and clunky high-heeled shoes, she put them on and stormed out of her room. She ran outside before her mom could say a word and hopped on her bike. When she arrived, her hair was a crazy mess, but, ignoring the stares of her peers, she walked over to Mark, head held high.

    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I love that you made her rebel in a way by riding her bike to prom. This was good. Also, the way you described the dress was funny. Great job. :)
      ~PT

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    2. Lol, lots of personality in this. Great job!

      -Ann

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    3. PT - Thank you! I thought it was funny, too...
      Ann - Thank you, Ann!
      Both - You both did a great job, also!

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  7. “You’re going,” her mom says, stalking away. “That’s all there is to it.”

    She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone.

    After bragging about her many admirers, to go stag was a punishment worse than death, which she explained all afternoon to deaf ears. No parent with a smidgen of love in their hearts would make her suffer so, which she blubbered out between sobs that evening as Mom coolly wiped off rivers of mascara running down the cheeks.

    But somewhere between the silent car ride and the death march into the school gymnasium, she picked up the pieces of her shredded pride, and once among her fellow students, she held her head high with a smile that dared anyone to say this wasn’t her idea of fun.

    “I didn’t think you’d come,” Mark says, his bow tie flashing under the lights. “I didn’t think you had the guts.”

    -Ann

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    1. This was very descriptive. Good job! I liked how you made it feel like more than three sentences, but it wasn't. :)
      ~PT

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    2. I agree with PT! You made the most of those sentences in a very descriptive way. Great job! :D

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    3. Very vivid, in spite of the low word count and large stretch of time covered. You are clearly a talented wordsmith.

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    4. "she held her head high with a smile that dared anyone to say this wasn’t her idea of fun." ---I love this!! Good job, Ann! :) You were very descriptive. This is very well made. :D

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    5. Thank you everyone! I had a lot of fun with the little drama queen. :)

      -Ann

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    6. Lol. You're welcome, Ann. :)

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  8. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone.
    Yet here she is, in front of the gym, The-Person-She-Was-Not-Thinking-About just a few yards away. Taking a deep breath she walks in, spotting her former boyfriend immediately. "Hello Mark," she says softly.
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."
    - Book Dragon

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    1. Good job. You described her emotion well. I liked it. Also, I like your username. :)
      ~PT

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    2. Ha, The-Person-She-Was-Not-Thinking-About. A telling line. :) Great job.

      -Ann

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  9. Okay, so I switched it a /little/ to match better with some of the characters of my fantasy WIP....but then I also had to keep writing, so it's a bit long!

    ~~~
    "You're going," Connaven spat, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    I couldn't do this. I couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the dance. With a furious glance at the back of the departing Princess, I slid down the wall and sat on the ground, prepared to stay there until the Queen's Crown Warrior came to drag me away for my disobedience.

    Wisdom came and sat on the tower steps with me all afternoon, offering no words, but only comforting silence (as well as prayers to the Crowned, I'm sure). When dusk placed a blanket of darkness over the castle, Wisdom stood and led me towards the great hall, and I no longer had the fire to resist her gentle smile and whispered plea.

    "I didn't think you'd come," Ameren said, his sword-hilt flashing under the light of the many torches lining the wall or the large room. "I didn't think you had the bravery."

    "She's got bravery alright." Jaran stepped towards Ameren, her eyes spitting sparks. Even in a dress, with no (visible) weapons about her, she still looked the great warrior that she was. "Showing up to a royal dance in villager-brown cloth and bare feet? I think Marywyn's got more bravery than you will ever have!"

    Ameren gripped his sword, and a scuffle might have happened right there in the dance room had not Duren entered at that very moment. Dressed in his Captain's cloak, with the characteristic fiddle slung behind his back, he commanded everyone's attention without saying a word. No one dared fight one of his band warriors before his very face.

    Jaran smirked as Ameren turned and left without another glance. "Now, let's have a lovely evening!" She hooked an arm around my waist and pulled me towards a group of West Band warriors. "They should start the dancing soon!"

    A scream from Connaven pierced the air. I gulped. She had finally taken notice of my villager apparel, and by the sound of things, she was not pleased in the least. No, I wasn't brave. I was just plain stupid.

    ~Julian D.

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    1. This is lovely!!! I love the description! I wanted to write more, too... :D

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    2. Okay, this was awesome. You followed the rule (getting from point A to point B) and you added more to the end. I loved it. It's cool you used characters from your WIP. I like it when people do that. Great Job! :)
      ~PT

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  10. This was tough, since I don't often write third-person present tense and know close to nothing about prom (I had to do a tad of research). ;) Thanks for stretching me, Mrs. Dittemore, and congratulations on your book!
    “You’re going,” her mom says, stalking away. “That’s all there is to it.”
    She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t put on that dress and those shoes and show up to prom alone. Left alone, she sits on her bed in her school clothes and wrings the ugly salmon dress in her lap as she watches the hands of the clock on the wall. Every five minutes, her heart jumps in alarm, but when her room descends into evening half-light, she forces herself to don her dress and oversized heels and clip-clops out her bedroom door, out of the house, and into her car. Despite pleading all the way there for one of her tires to blow, she arrives safe and sound at the high school and stilts her way into the glaring room heavy with the stench of mingling colognes.
    “I didn’t think you’d come, Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. “I didn’t think you had the guts.”

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    1. This was a great description. You're really good at describing things. :)

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    2. This was very well described! I LOVE this!!! Good job, Olivia! :D
      "...clip-clops out her bedroom door..." ---Haha, I was thinking of that too!

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    3. Nice details here. Love the evening half-light line. Beautiful.

      -Ann

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    4. Thanks, everyone!

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  11. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    Emma couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. Of all the things to do, how could mom have let Belinda, the person who she hated the most, deliver the dress. Belinda! While Emma put on the hated gray dress with purple stains, and as she got in the car with her mom, she planned her revenge on Belinda. Even when she stepped into the ballroom, she gave Belinda and her tittering friends the evil eye.

    Mark greeted her. "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    What do you think?? Would love to know!

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    1. Ah! Sabotage! Very interesting take on the situation. I wonder what Emma will do to get back at Belinda?

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  12. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    Emma couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. Of all the things to do, how could mom have let Belinda, the person who she hated the most, deliver the dress. Belinda! While Emma put on the hated gray dress with purple stains, and as she got in the car with her mom, she planned her revenge on Belinda. Even when she stepped into the ballroom, she gave Belinda and her tittering friends the evil eye.

    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."\


    What do you think?? Would love to know! And sorry I had to repost because it had a mistake. :D

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    1. I think it's good. I like how you added a name to the girl. I think you did more than three sentences, but this prompt was really hard. I liked what you wrote, though. :) Keep up the great work.
      ~PT

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    2. Great job, Keilah! I feel sorry for her, but at the same time, at least she has a dress. Lol
      Keep up the good work! :D

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    3. Yikes, I wouldn't want to be Belinda right about now. 8)

      -Ann

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    4. Hey everyone! THanks for commenting on my stuff! :D Actually it was 3 sentences and one word.. so yeah, I guess, but I didn't think it would make much of a difference, what do you think? Thanks LHE, lol Ann!

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    5. Hopefully I didn't upset you. I'm not sure if an extra word makes a difference. I've always learned that even if it's one word like that, it still counts, but I may be wrong. I still liked your version. It was descriptive. Great job. :)
      ~PT

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  13. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."
    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. It wasn't the "alone" part that bothered her, but she wasn't a pink-dress-and-high-heels kind of girl, and everyone but her mom knew and respected that - there had to be a way to get around this.
    The sound of the clock ticking away the minutes sounded like a death march to her, but she was determined to show up at prom in something other than a wanna-be princess dress.
    It took her all of three hours (and multiple pricks from her sewing needle) to get it done, but by the time she was driving her way to prom, it wasn't a pink dress that the flashy lights hit - it was a newly-tailored black and maroon one that suited her much better.
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    Gracious, that certainly wasn't my best work! But this was a lot of fun, and I loved the challenge - thanks, Shannon!

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. I think this was awesome! You made the sentences so creative, especially considering there could only be three! You did a great job. :)
      ~PT

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    2. If you don't like the dress, make your own! That was a very proactive solution your protagonist devised. Good job on this!

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    3. Well there's a nifty solution. She must be quite handy with the needle. Great job!

      -Ann

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  14. I did two, since I had two ideas and couldn't pick which one to do.

    "Your going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."
    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on those dress and shoes and show up to the prom alone.
    Because she would be alone, as she was NOT going with Mark, who had bugged her and bugged her about it.
    Not that she was going at all.
    Yet two hours later, she somehow found herself getting out of the car at the school- and there was Mark, waiting for her.
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."
    ----
    "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."
    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on those dress and shoes and show up to the prom alone.
    *But she doesn't have to know that*, she thought, a smile slowly spreading across her face.
    Two hours later in her fancy dress and shoes, she wove through the crowd in the Casino, trying to find Mark. She could feel stares aimed in her direction because of her out of place outfit, but she ignored them as she felt a tap on her shoulder.
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    ~Mila

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    1. I like them both. Was the second one supposed to be the girl being sneaky and going somewhere else? Either way, I liked them both. They both fit the prompt, which was hard with only three sentences. Great job.
      ~PT

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    2. This was great! Both of them were done greatly. :)
      Three sentences is like....oh, my. How in the world can a writer only write THREE SENTENCES?!?! *gasps for air, clutches heart, eyes roll to back of head, faints, while staggering for a wall to soften the fall*
      Okay, that's enough drama. Lol

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    3. You made me laugh, LHE. Lol. But seriously, three sentences was tough. Great job to everyone who achieved this. Y'all rock.
      ~PT

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    4. Lol!
      I think that was a little too dramatic....haha. I guess it wasn't as bad as I thought. I mean, I'm the kind of person that'll just write, and write, and write. I guess I need to broaden my writing horizons. Lol

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    5. Ooh, the second girl was quite rebellious. Nice twist.

      -Ann

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  15. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."
    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone.
    She stews about it all afternoon, halfway between slipping into the dress and slipping into her bedsheets and just hiding until the prom is over. It isn't until she's striding through the door of the high school gymnasium, wearing that same dress and those same shoes, that she realizes she has actually decided. A familiar face appears beside her out of the crowd, looking sincerely impressed. "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

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    1. This was really good. You described her emotions so well. Great job. :)
      ~PT

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    2. Ha, I'd probably want to slip into the bedsheets too--with a nice book. Great job!

      -Ann

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  16. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."
    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone.
    But Ellie's mother always gets her way. Six o'clock comes and she slips into the dress in spite of herself.
    She catches Mark at the door, calls out to him, and miraculously, he waits for her.
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

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    1. Good job! I like how you named the girl. You also passed the time quickly. I like it. :) Great job.
      ~PT

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    2. She won't have to be alone after all. Nice!

      -Ann

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  17. “You’re going,” her mom says, stalking away. “That’s all there is to it.”

    She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. But she knows that tone in her mom’s voice; that tone is not to be trifled with. She dresses and does up her hair feverishly, before being marshaled to the car by her beaming mother and trying not to vomit on the way to the lodge.
    Her mother’s cry of “Have fun!” echoing in her ears, Anna forces herself up the large and lonely stairs to the double doors of the ballroom, slipping inside as quietly as possible and praying no one notices her—but it’s too late.
    “I didn’t think you’d come,” Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. “I didn’t think you had the guts.”

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    1. This was a really good way to pass the time. I liked this one a lot, Katie H. Your description is really good. :)
      ~PT

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    2. Poor kid. Nice way to keep us in Anna's shoes throughout.

      -Ann

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  18. By the way, Mrs. Dittemore, congratulations on your book. That has to be so exciting. I think we all look forward to hearing about it. Thank you for the Friday prompts. :) Have a blessed weekend.
    ~PT

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    1. Oh yeah! i was gonna mention it, Mrs. Dittemore, but was staring in horror at the "only three sentences" thing and got panicky. I get forgetful when I panic. Lol
      That must be so exciting for you! Hope everything with your agent goes well. :)

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  19. Does anyone have any advice on how to write to show that YEARS have past for the character? I mean, at one point, he's gonna go from 15 to 16 years old, but i have NO idea on how to write the time that past. I don't want t rush it, but I don't wanna dwell on that. I'm writing in first person, so it's going to be a bit harder than it would if I had written it in third person.
    All advice would be very helpful, guys! :D
    I'm desperate.......neh.

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    1. This is just from my experience, so its not hard fact.
      I am having my character age over the span of time in my trilogy. With each book, she'll get older. Have you thought about dividing up your story into more than one book?

      Also, another thing I've used is this:
      (btw, these are not my characters. I'm just making an example and it will probably stink, lol.)

      As the last box was loaded into the moving truck, Serena turned to Kelly. Kelly's eyes were filled with tears as she watched her best friend get into the moving van.
      Serena called out of the window, "Don't worry, we'll see each other again one day."
      As the moving truck pulled away, Kelly wondered if those were just false words of hope.

      (this would be italicized) Four years later ...
      Kelly was walking home from school when she noticed a moving truck parked in front of Serena's former home. The house had been abandoned by the people who moved in after Serena and no one had ever wanted it since. To see someone moving in was refreshing. Kelly never wanted to see the house mistreated. As she approached, she realized the people moving in were more familiar than she thought.
      "Serena?"

      And that's something else I've used, where you do a fancy
      number of years later ...

      I know it's probably not the best, but it will definitely pass the time quickly. That's all I can think of right now. Hope this helps. :)
      ~PT

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    2. More than one book? Oh. I really never thought of that. I guess I kinda wanted it to be just be one novel. I don't really believe in myself to make a two book series.
      That wasn't bad at all! :)

      That second idea would probably fit best for me. Hmm, I guess I've just been worrying that if I do the second one, then i'd be rushing into it too fast. I dunno. I guess, I just want it all to be perfect even though I know hat first drafts never are.

      This really does help, PT!!! Thank you ever so much. :D

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    3. You don't have to make it into two books. I think you could do it, but don't make yourself feel like you have to.

      I'm glad I could help. Happy writing. :)
      ~PT

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    4. I guess I could, but I just don't know how that would work. Hmm...

      You're very helpful, PT! Same for you! :D

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    5. Hmm, maybe figure out a way to compare or contrast the then and now. What has stayed the same? What has changed? Could an event at age 15 mirror an event at 16? Find a connection to bridge the gap.

      For instance, in contrast: A year crawled by with nothing to show for it, but an extra inch to my height and some calluses courtesy of my summer job cutting lawns.

      Or comparison: I'd meant what I said. And nothing was gonna change my mind. A year passed, one full of work and setbacks that only solidified my dream.

      I don't think transitions need to be too complex or anything. It's just a "Hey, we're going to jump ahead where the main story picks up again." And if something important happened in-between, the main character will reveal it's effects as the story continues to unfold. Hope that makes sense. :)

      -Ann

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    6. Ann, you are totally right. These examples were great! I may have to use them sometime. It seems like a cleaner way to transition the story forward.
      ~PT

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    7. That's a really good idea, Ann! I guess, when the time comes to give a year or so gap, I'll use your guys's. :D
      Thanks fro the advice. I really appreciate it, ya'll! :)

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    8. I would maybe comment on a birthday if that's something important to your character, or if it's not, ex:

      I wouldn't have noticed that my birthday had passed if I hadn't had a history final on the same day.
      -Mags

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    9. Wow, that could work too, Mags! Thanks! :)
      Ya'll are so helpful. :D
      I love your name. It's like from The Hunger Games. Aww, Mags was so adorable in that movie.

      (Good example!)

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  20. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. Not after her humiliation earlier that day, not after everyone had made it very clear that she was not wanted there.

    It was the anger - the throbbing in her temples as she yanked the dress over her head, the gritting of her teeth as she crammed her feet into her shoes - that propelled her out the door to the car and helped her get into it, even if it was just to show them that they would not intimidate her. She held her head high even as she got out of the car and clicked the button to lock it, glancing over to see that, sure enough, the instigator of the incident was waiting for her outside the building.

    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark said, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    Tell me what you think!

    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good job! :D
      I love how you describe her feelings!

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    2. I think you did a great job. You described her emotions very well in this scene. Description can be hard, but you portrayed it well. :)

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    3. Sorry, forgot to write who I was, lol. That's me above. I think I did that somewhere else, too.
      ~PT

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  21. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away, "That's all there is to it."
    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone.
    She lays on her bed for almost an hour, just staring at the picture on her wall, before she finally gets up, wiping her tears, and slips on the outfit. They had made so many plans for tonight - Tyler would pick her up in his brother's Camaro, they would take pictures at the school with Mark and Serena and George and Linda, they would dance and have the best time in the world at prom, then would all go to Mark's house by the lake for a late night cook out and fun. But Don would want her to go, she thinks as she slips into the noisy ballroom; he would want her to have fun even though he is gone now - and so is his brother's Camaro.
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bowtie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you'd have the guts."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so cool. I want to know more!

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    2. Me too. This was an awesome version. :)
      ~PT

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  22. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away, "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to prom alone.

    But as much as she hated these events, she knew she couldn't miss out. Before she could stop herself, she yanked on that hideous dress and forced her oversized feet into those awful shoes, and prepared herself for an unpredictable night. It wasn't until she had arrived that she realized that she didn't regret coming at all.

    I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bowtie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you'd have the guts."

    ReplyDelete
  23. "You're going." her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to prom alone. She turned to the closet and the Gamora costume Lily had made, before everything. She would go if she had to, but it was too late to worry about appearances; she was cosplaying. She walked to the dance hall with twin swords on her back, outfitted in a leather flight suit.

    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts.

    -Mags

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "She walked to the dance hall with twin swords on her back, outfitted in a leather flight suit." -----This is great! Wow you really gave the average prom a twist! :)
      Good job!

      Delete
  24. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it."
    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. Not after what he said to her in front of everyone. But... maybe that's why she should go.
    She repeated that to herself as she walked into the building pulsing with music, clad in the dress and shoes she had picked to match his tie.
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebellion! That's great.
      -Mags

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  25. "You're going," her mom says, stalking away. "That's all there is to it." 

    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. 

    But then she needs those concert tickets.

    So she squeezes on the dress and slips on the shoes and tugs her hair into a knot, and doesn’t whisper a word until Dad spits her out the rain-streaked car. Mark slides open the dance hall door – oh, super.

     
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh my gosh-- I'm super late but thanks so much for this post! I used to be AWFUL at this, and although I've gotten better as I've gotten older, I can still use any help I can get. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. The giveaway is already over, but I wanted to try my hand at the exercise anyway.

    "You're going," her mom says, stalking away, "That's all there is to it."
    She couldn't do this. She couldn't put on that dress and those shoes and show up to the prom alone. But she also couldn't let a pair of treacherously high heels or a certain even more treacherous boy stop her. So she grits her teeth and gives her best I-don't-care smile all the way to prom. Her smile doesn't drop, even when Mark smirks at her.
    "I didn't think you'd come," Mark says, his bow-tie flashing under the lights. "I didn't think you had the guts."

    ReplyDelete

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