INSPIRATIONS Starters for Ten Week 2

Welcome to the nearly new Starters for Ten  from K. M. Lockwood. In this second of eight weekly instalments, you're invited to make the place your own ...

★ A Quick Recap

In case you missed last week’s session, here’s a summary:

• Short exercises to warm up are A Good Thing for sport, dance or writing.
• You will need a timer of some sort, and a way to write and store your responses.
• There are seven ten-minute suggestions below for you to use in any way you want.
• The rules are: write like fury till the timer goes off, don’t edit, enjoy!

★ Week Two Prompts: your second Starters for Ten

 This week’s session is all about place. Everything has to happen somewhere.

Throughout this week, try mixing it up: blend real remembered places with ones from pop culture, ones conjured up that moment, ones from your WIP or fanfic.

1. Choose an indoor location – from your work in progress, your memory or from a favourite book. In ten minutes, list as many physical aspects of the space as possible. To get you started, what about sounds, smells, textures, objects, creatures, plants, textiles, materials, temperature, cleanliness or otherwise? Think tiny, think specific, use adjectives as needed, and make it up however you want so long as you keep on writing.

2. For this exercise, you need two highlighters or coloured pencils, and the original or a copy of your responses to the exercise above. (On a computer, you could either highlight or change the colours of the font.) First, choose two distinctly different characters – they can be from your WIP, your imagination, popular culture, anywhere, any mix. Assign them a colour each. Second, set your timer for five minutes. Read through your list – and every time a feature would provoke a reaction in Character A, use their colour. Repeat for Character B. (If you have any time left, note what the differing reactions are.)

3. Imagine a larger, outdoor location: park, crossroads, village green, shopping centre. In ten minutes see just how many precise physical aspects you can get down. You could refer to seasons, plants, creatures. What about changes if it rains, has a heatwave, there’s snow . . .?

4. Think back to yesterday’s outdoor space. Make a ten-minute list of all the reasons people* might go there: absurd to zany, optimistic, frivolous or sinister. Who, why and when? (*Feel free to include animals and other beings of your choosing – a troll in a car park looking for asphalt to eat - why not?)

5. This outdoor space again – how do people get there? What kinds of transport are there? Where might they come from and how would that matter to how they arrive? Specifics work best: a steward leaving a cruise ship at the end of a tour is quite different to a trawler captain landing a catch. Ten minutes – how many possible/impossible reasons can you create?

6. Take two characters (they could be the pair in ex 2 if you like). How many obstacles could there be to prevent them meeting in that by-now famous outdoor space? You can populate your list with other people/sentient beings as you wish. What or who could intervene? Be daft or sensible as you like.

7. Return to the indoor location of ex 1 & 2. What might make a person /ghost/fairy/witch-in-the-form-of-a-cat stay on there? What are they doing and why? List any possibility that occurs no matter how mundane or bizarre. Keep on till your ten minutes are up.

List exercises like these can be helpful if you get stuck. To find out what happens next, create lots of options without judging them. Select afterwards.

Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash

★ We'd love to read YOUR work. 

If you've successfully used any aspect of Starters for Ten on your blog/website/somewhere on t'Internet, then please post a link on the Words & Pictures FB page or tell us on Twitter. We'll tell everyone about your genius (well, as many as we can.).

Featured image: Pen, Watch, Paper by Eduardo Olszewski via Unsplash 

K. M. Lockwood writes, reads and edits in The Garret.  
Once downstairs, she runs a tiny writer-friendly B&B/retreat or wanders off  looking for sea-glass on the Sussex coast.
Twitter: @lockwoodwriter

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