What’s the YA Story Behind the Hand?

This photo presents so many possibilities. Who is the boy? Who is taking the picture? Where are they? What’s the YA story behind the hand? Please leave your inspiration in the comments. Here’s mine.

What’s up with Braden? He threw up his hand just like he did when Ollie tried to take his picture at lunch.

“It’s cool, Braden.” I lowered my phone. “We’re in my front yard, not school. My mom won’t give us lunch detention for posting pictures of each other.”

He held his arms away from his body, like he was ready to cover his face again. “I don’t like people taking my picture.”

“You can take pictures of me. That’s fair.” Now that I think of it, in the two weeks since I’d met Braden at school, I hadn’t seen him with a phone. “And I’ll show you exactly what I’m gonna post before I do it. If you don’t like it, I won’t post it.”

He looked to his feet. “I gotta go.” He hopped on his bike and pedaled like a bear was chasing him.

I stepped out on the sidewalk. I could just make out Braden stopping at his new house, dropping his bike in the front yard, and running inside.

For more YA writing prompts, click here.

What’s the Relationship?

My theme for February is love and friendship. So what’s the relationship between the four characters in this photo? Yes, I think the horses are characters. Here’s where my inspiration took me:

“You can pet them.” I held out my hand and patted Bailey on the forelock.

My cousin didn’t move, like he’d become part of the rock we were sitting on. “I don’t want to.”

I gritted my teeth. I’d showed Aiden everything, absolutely everything, he could do on the farm, and he didn’t want to do anything. But Mom said I had to be nice.

“They won’t bite.” I bet all city kids think horses bite.

Aiden slid off the rock and ran back toward the house.

“And he’s gonna be here all summer,” I told Bailey and his mom, Smudge. “What am I supposed to do with him?”

From here, I can take the story two directions. Which do you prefer?

Smudge tossed her head like she didn’t know either while Bailey nuzzled me.

or

“Well, if you let us say something to him,” said Smudge, “maybe we could help.”

For another character writing prompt, click here.

Turning People into Characters

Have you ever tried turning people into characters?

At a writing conference, author James Rubart talked about how he had a friend, whom he turned into a character for a novel. He didn’t adapt his friend’s personality or made any other adjustments. He just plunked him in as is.

I don’t have the courage to do that. I figure I’d describe a friend in some way he or she didn’t like and I’d offend them. But most of the characters we writers create contain some aspect we’ve seen in real people.

Such as my oldest’s kindergarten teacher. This woman personified patience and even temperament. She seemed more than able to handle any crisis her students could concoct.

Kindergarten Teacher, speaking in a completely bland voice:

“Now, Aiden, you shouldn’t set fire to the classroom. You’ll get a demerit for it. Children, Aiden has set fire to the room. Please line up at the door so we can leave quickly.”

I’ve been working with a character who has that kind of calm, unflappable personality, although she isn’t a kindergarten teacher. For this character, I’m mixing the kindergarten teacher with a woman from my church.

Who are some people who would work as prompts for characters?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: YA Fiction

girlsw-1031538_1280Last Monday I said that prompt was the last for my month focusing on YA fiction. I forgot that July had five Mondays this year. So you get a bonus YA prompt!

I chose this picture because it’s a group and the expressions and body language sparked ideas for character building. And for some reason, when I invent characters, I often develop them in groups of four, whether they are siblings or friends. Perhaps it’s because I’m one of four sisters and understand how that kind of group dynamics works.

Who are these characters? Are these girls starting out on an adventure? Or wrapping one up? They are obviously having a good time. The one on the far left is smiling but not laughing like the two girls holding hands on the right. She could be the group introvert. The girl in the background holds her head at a sassy tilt. Maybe she’s the one who has a comeback for everyone and everything.

Who do you think these characters are?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: Who Is This Character?

girlw-4000270_1280A picture can say so much.

I found this one when I went to Pixabay and typed in the keyword “teen”, just to see what hits I would get. She doesn’t look like a teen to me. Maybe ten years old at the most. Her expression can be interpreted many ways.

Here is how I was inspired:

Ben said his dad was nice.

He looks nice. He’s been playing with his kids the longest time and hasn’t yelled at them once, not even when Ben accidentally knocked his little brother off the slide.

Maybe he’s a safe grown-up.

I’ll watch some more.

Then I’ll know if I can tell him.

How does the photo inspire you?

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