Thumbnail Character Sketch

This month’s theme is probably my favorite. My site is all about characters in May. I’m a character writer. A setting can inspire me, or a plot can intrigue me, but if I don’t have characters in mind for them, those inspirations just languish in the back of my imagination. One technique I’ve learned when I want to make sure my characters act and perform differently from each other is to write a thumbnail character sketch for them. A sketch includes two or three adjectives and a noun.

I build most of my characters from faces that my imagination thinks have potential. So today’s prompt is a portrait that caught my attention because of the young man’s expression. Below is my sketch:

Observant, dry-humored college student

For more on using thumbnail sketches, click here. What thumbnail character sketch would you write for this photo?

What’s So Funny?

My prompt ties to my guest blogger this week, author Phillip Rivera. He writes hilarious stories about life as a dad in the suburbs. This photo inspired me to write a fun, domestic story, but it could also be a humorous superhero story, with this toddler possessing powers like Jack-Jack in The Incredibles movies.

Who wants to play? What so funny about this photo? Here’s my inspiration:

I can’t hold out much longer. When I agreed to babysit theses kids, I didn’t realize they were outlaws. No, more like Vikings–every room they enter, they raze to the ground. Six hours a day, three days a week. They could triple my pay and I still would spin on my flip-flop and march away.

“Emmie?” says a high-pitched voice which would sound cute if I didn’t know who it belongs to.

I press my lips together, holding my breath.

“Emmie, how come you hiding under there?”

For more funny writing prompts, click here.

Limerick Prompt

Because it’s National Humor Month and Nation Poetry Month, I wanted to combined the celebrations into one prompt and decided on a limerick prompt. Then I discovered I can’t write limericks. Haiku, yes. Acrostic poems, yes. Limericks–I can do the first two lines and get stuck. Here’s the limerick I started that was inspired by the photo:

There once was a lion and girl

Who decided to give friendship a twirl.

And that’s as far as I got. I even tried writing a limerick on my inability to write one:

There once was a writer in Ohio

Whose poetry made her sigh so.

I’m still stuck. I console myself with the fact that even gifted poets, like Lori Z. Scott, who will be guest blogging this week, have trouble with different poetic forms. She writes about her effort to tackle a sonnet.

If you can write limericks, please leave it in the comments below. Or if you get inspiration for finishing either of mine, I’d love to read it!

If limericks stump you like they do me, try last week’s spring acrostic prompt.

Fantasy Prompt for a Short Story

I’m wrapping up this month’s theme with a fantasy prompt for a short story. I chose this image because of the blend of fantasy and real-world elements.

What?–An old trumpet found in Great-grandfather’s chest

Who?–A high school girl who needs an instrument for marching band

Where?–Not sure. Girl starts out in her bedroom, practicing.

When?—At the beginning, after school.

Why?– She’s trying out the new trumpet

How?— After playing a few notes, her bedroom melts away and she finds herself on a rocky outcrop with a dragon flying by.

Let me know how this prompt inspires you!

For more short story prompts, click here.

Object Prompt for a Short Story

I enjoyed the object prompt for a short story from two weeks ago so much that I’ve chosen another one. What short story do these objects inspire, answering the questions who, what, when, where, why, and how? Here’s my take on it.

What?–An old film camera

Who?–An elderly amateur photographer.

Where?–In his study or home office

When?—A rainy fall afternoon on a weekend.

Why?–The elderly man bought the camera at a garage sale.

How?— After seeing strangers lurking around his house and finding a window tampered with, the old man examines the camera and sees a faint name on it. He gets out his magnifying glass and …

What short story can you write from this prompt?

Click here for the other object prompt.

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