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My mind is always churning. I comfort myself with the notion that I’m a writer and, as such, my thoughts should walk a creative distance outside the box of normal thinking folks. Honestly, though, sometimes I suspect I’m a blurted comment away from being professionally observed.

As for those thoughts I think, they tend to come in scenes with the promise of a story somewhere. Absurd or dull ones get shot down as quickly as they come, lingering ones may turn into a short story (or at least get the nod of an honorable intention to make a short story), and great ones get scribbled down and chewed on with the promise of a full book someday.

Then there are the write-a-paragraph-and-never-touch-again scenes. There’s a story, typically something of redemptive or moral value, but I don’t know what it is. It could be anything, so why limit it to one thing? But if I don’t limit it to one thing, how will it ever become anything? And there I go again, off on my mental tangent…

Now here’s where you come in! Written below is a very short scene. The characters are there (at least the initial two), and the stage is set for something…

That “something” is up to you.

Throw me ideas for conflict, questions, promises, future hopes, past regrets, titles…whatever comes to your mind after you read the paragraph.* If your mind embraces the scene and takes off with it…feel free to write it out and add to the story instead of just offering your idea.*

Here goes…

The bed was hard and stiff, as if it had been soaked through then dried in a harsh summer sun. Jenise perched on the edge with one leg crossed over the other and fingered the cheap dove necklace sticking to her skin. The window facing her was lifted just high enough for a small bird to fit through, as high as it could go, and despite several holes in the screen, no air seemed to come in.

A cart rumbled up to the door and paused, then rumbled away again accompanied by the faint tunes of a radio with poor reception. Jenise took a long drag of her cigarette and blew the smoke over the sleeping form of her new husband. Only his fingers moved in response, the rough tips finding the back of her polyester slip and sticking like velcro.

“David,” Jenise called in a soft, shaky voice, half hoping he didn’t hear…

Now it’s your turn! Tell me what happens next. Where are they? Why are they there? What’s keeping her awake while he’s sleeping? What’s she thinking about? I can’t wait to see the ideas that come pouring in.

And that’s not all…the most creative, workable idea or add-on will receive a new copy of James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure, a must-have for every writer or writer-to-be. Be creative and have fun!

*Please do not submit using profanity, gratuitous sexual content, or malicious violence.