What’s the Plot Behind This Face?

The county fair wrapped up recently in my part of the Buckeye State, so when I scrolled onto this photo, I was intrigued. The young man is upset and thinking something over. What’s the plot behind this face?

The music blaring from the speakers on the midway grows faint as I watch them. Tyler is almost a coat for Addie. He’s hanging all over her. She seems to like it. I think.

She sets aside the BB gun, and smiling, moves away from the game, weaving through a group of middle school kids.

Tyler drapes his thick arm across her thin shoulders. Addie giggles.

But is it because she likes it or because she doesn’t? How can a guy tell?

They stroll behind the Ferris wheel.

“Andy.” My little sister tugs on my arm. “We want more money for tickets.”

“Here.” I pull every bill from my wallet. “When you and Mark are done, wait by the bumper cars for me.”

“Where are you going?” asks Mark.

I point at the Ferris wheel and head for it, breaking into a jog.

For more plot prompts to inspire your writing, click here. Over at Writer’s Digest, find 25 plot twists and prompts.

What’s the Plot for this Scene?

What’s the plot for this scene? What drama can you add to two people out on a trail ride? Below is my inspiration.

The top arc of the sun just clears the horizon as we trot down the deserted country lane. A woodpecker drums on the snag of a dead ash.

Dad hasn’t said a word to me since I asked to ride with him this morning. Maybe he thinks it’s weird since I haven’t ridden with him in months. Or is it a year? Maybe he knows I wouldn’t ask to accompany him unless I wanted something from him.

I tighten my grip on the reins. Most likely, he isn’t thinking about me at all. Like usual.

Dad takes Paladin into a canter. Squeezing with my legs, I put Cinnamon into one. When we slow back to a trot, I test the waters.

“Dad?”

His block of a face registers no expression, but his head dips a fraction.

“The county fair’s next week. I’m competing on Tuesday. Can you come watch me?”

He shakes his head. “I have meetings all day. I can’t reschedule them.”

And he wouldn’t even try. I stare at the reins in my gloved hands. Should I even bother with what I really need to ask him?

For more plot writing prompts, click here.

What’s the Plot for this Ordinary Scene?

This month’s prompts are all about plot, the story component I have the most trouble with. If you have that problem too, I hope these photo prompts will inspire you. I almost passed by the photo I’m using today because it seemed so ordinary. But that’s what fired my imagination. What’s the plot for this ordinary scene? Below is my idea.

As we wrapped up the meeting, I noticed how everyone looked alike. We were all wearing sober blue or black suits. We were all smiling in a friendly but professional way, although I hadn’t felt friendly or professional in weeks. We had just had the fifth meeting of the day to discuss things we would discuss in a meeting next week and the week after that. Had we’d decided to do anything in any of those meetings? I didn’t think so.

“Is something wrong, David?” Amy said as she resumed her seat beside me.

How could she tell? I touched my face. My smile was gone. And I had a feeling it wasn’t coming back.

For more plot prompts, click here.

What’s your plot for this ordinary scene?

Writing Tip — How to Thicken Your Plot, Part II

If your plot starts to bog down, examine your settings. Are you taking advantage of their full potential?

When I wrote my country noir short story, “Debt to Pay”, I knew I needed a remote location in Ohio. I chose Wayne National Forest. My husband and I went hiking in the Athen Unit on ATV trails. At the trailhead, a sign explained that if someone in your group is injured, you must figure out which helicopter clearing you are closest to. The dirt roads are so rutted that no ambulance can get back into the area. A medical helicopter is the only means of rescue. And all of that depends on whether your phone get reception, which isn’t certain in Wayne National Forest.

Now I had the ingredients for a story. Two friends are riding motorcycles. I’ll set the story in the late fall to cut down on the number of people using the trail. One friend wrecks. They can’t get phone reception. The uninjured friend thinks that if she can get to the top of the steep, wooded hills. she can call for help. Or maybe she should return to the parking lot and walk out to a road.

Darkness is closing in. If she climbs the hills, she’s not sure she can find her friend in the dark. Walking to the parking lot will take longer, but it will be easy to find her friend. The setting give me so many routes to develop a plot.

Questions to Ask about Settings

Work place: Where does your main character (MC) work? Alone or with people? If alone, would a stranger coming into the setting be upsetting? A welcome change? If with people, are they only fellow employees or also members of the public? I love using settings where the general public can be found because I can throw in almost any character I want.

MC’s home: Is it rural, suburban, urban? An apartment or condo? An apartment would allows me to introduce more characters, and therefore, more plots. In the complex where I had my first apartment, I thought my neighbor might be a vampire because I had not seen him during daylight hours.

Homes of family and friends: Same questions as above. How does MC feel about these houses? If MC is uncomfortable or uneasy, why? If he prefers it to his own home, why?

Locations of hobbies and volunteer work: MC hates her job but loves her volunteer work at a stable. Why? She loves horses. Why? Her grandparents had horses when she was growing up. So why doesn’t she give up the job she hates and work with horses for a living?

Vacations or business destinations: Are these places MC is excited to visit or is dreading? If it’s a vacation, why would MC dread it? Because he has to share a house on the beach with his in-laws. Why doesn’t he like his in-laws?

The more why questions I ask, the deeper I dig into plot.

What settings to you favor in your writing? How do settings thicken your plot?

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