Sunday, February 14, 2010

Writing Exercise - St. Valentines Day Massacre

This past week has thrown a lot at me, and I'll certainly confess - I'm rattled. But I'm going to get some writing done tonight. And to warm up, I'm going to return to writing exercises from C.M. Mayo's website.

Here's the exercise for today:

February 14 "St Valentine's Day Massacre"
This is a plot-generating exercise.
(1) List 5 small gestures Bob makes that show he loves his wife, Betty. (For example, he might do the dishes; he might buy her jewley, etc.)
(2) List 5 actions by which Betty reveals that she no longer loves Bob (For example, she might not pick up the phone when she's sees the caller ID that shows it's him; she might travel on business when she doesn't need to, etc.)
(3) List 3 ways Betty could kill Bob.
(4) In three words -- no more--- describe Betty's secret boyfriend, Jeb.
(5) Where did Betty meet Jeb?
(6) Finally, in what way is Jeb a suprising character? Answer in only 2 adjectives.

All that in five minutes? I'll see what I can do.

1) To show that he loves his wife on Valentine's Day, Bob prepares her breakfast, and delivers it to her in bed. He then tells her to go back to sleep, because he's going to clean the kitchen and entertain their son. That night, he plans to take her to the restaurant they went to on their first date, before taking her to an expensive hotel for the night.

2) To show that she doesn't love Bob, Betty doesn't eat breakfast (she tells him that she's not hungry.) When she does get out of bed, she makes starts working on something from work that could wait until Monday. She criticizes the way that he's cleaned the kitchen. She refuses to talk about anything intimate at dinner. Back at the hotel, she gets drunk on the wine he's romantically provided, and passes out before things can get amorous.

3) Betty could easily poison Bob - the ingrate lets her do almost all of the cooking. She could also sabotage his car - he's always underestimated her knowledge of cars. She could also have her lover fake a break-in, in which Bob might be shot.

4) Betty's lover is Dave, a guy she's been working with at the office for the past several years.

5) Dave's secret is that he's in witness protection. His last girlfriend was the wife of a powerful mobster.

And... done.

Okay, I may have fudged that by a few seconds, but I got almost all of it in the allotted time. Plotting isn't typically one of my problems, but I can see the value in doing something like this. Next time I find myself in a position where I'm not sure how to get from Point A to Point B, I'll try to brainstorm alternatives. It can't hurt.

I'm feeling better about things. I found out yesterday that my employment is in question. In the course of a week, my car has died and now my job may be next on the block. I'll go see what they have to say, but if they fire me it won't be the worst that could happen. Even if they don't, I'm going to start looking. But I'm going to also try to keep the writing going - starting now.

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