Here’s a writing prompt to try. Write four to six sentences on something unusual, startling, or amusing that happened to you or that you did. Create three different scenarios, but one of them must be true. Make sure to include some details!
Example 1: I cursed my overheated car as I stood on the side of a busy highway. I had forgotten my cell phone at home and the nearest gas station was at least a 10 mile walk down the road in either direction. I’d never make it in these damn heels. I was already running late for work so didn’t have time to waste. I spotted a Doge Ram speeding down the road towards me, I had a moment of inspiration and pulled up the bottom of my blouse to flashed the driver. A minute later I was in sitting in the cab of the pickup beside a grinning redneck, leaving my heap of scrap metal on the side of the road.
Example 2: Driving down Interstate 95, I had the sudden urge to pee. I watched the road signs desperate for an exit sign, but after 5 miles only found the off ramp to a truck weight station. In my agony of an overfull bladder, I missed the car exit and ended up sandwiched by two eighteen wheelers as we pulled forward to the scales. Between the bewildered stares of the weight station people, laughing truck drivers and my sister’s mad cackling from the backseat, I forgot all about my misery and found a whole new one.
Example 3: I was late for my yoga class and was determined not to miss it yet again, but the clock on the dash said otherwise. I stepped on the gas pedal and coaxed the car to go faster, however, my efforts only managed to make me the victim of a speed trap. Blue lights flashed in my rear-view mirror. I pulled onto the side of the road and faced the unpleasant music. Afterwards I put the car in gear to pull into the traffic, but instead of going forward the fluster and frustration of the situation caused me to accidentally put the car in reverse, and to my complete horror I backed into the parked police car with a shattering crash.
One of the above examples really did happen to me. Can you guess which one? I’ll tell you at the end of this post.
The purpose of this exercise is to get your imagination pumping and see how ideas can sprout from your own life experiences. It also gives practice to being a convincing liar. After all, fiction can be considered telling a lie. We have all told lies at one point or another in our lives, so we have had at least some practice in this arena. In this case telling a lie isn’t a bad thing, it’s about stretching the imagination and being convincing at the same time. What good is telling a lie if no one believes it?
The above exercise is also a great game to play with fellow writers or just a group of friends. Each person creates three scenarios (one that is true, the two others that are false), and the members of the group try to guess which on really happened!
Example 2 really did happen to me (though for the record, I have flashed people and backed into cars- though not any law enforcements vehicles to date). It was about 10 years ago and I had just drank a large cup of coffee and “the urge” hit me out of the blue. That’s why when traveling a long distance, I never drink anything (except maybe a little water) while in the car. Yeah, it’s amazing how experiences like that can scar a person for life. 🙂