Today we kicked off the start of the Fourth Annual Dreamweavers INK Writers Retreat. Lots of wonderful writerly conversation as we gathered together, potluck style, for lunch. P.J. gave the group the rundown of the goings-on this weekend. And then we did our favorite part–“The Scenario.” We introduced this writing exercise our second year, and it was quite popular, so we’ve included it ever since, though each year we put a different spin on it.
The exercise starts with a walking tour of the property scenario–meaning we create a scene that takes place at the Memory Maker and the exercise springs forth from that. This year we took advantage of a couple of elements–a fairly recent addition of an outdoor pool and the pool alarm. The scenario goes like this:
Jordan West yawned on the way down to Memory Maker’s kitchen. A hot cup of coffee would warm her insides, and the view of the burnished leaves and crisp lake would relax her soul. She reached for a stoneware cup and jerked at the ear-piercing siren, shattering her once calm surroundings. The cup slipped from her fingers, striking the tile floor before disintegrating into tiny fragments.
Jordan covered her ears, her heart thumping. It had to be the safety alarm for the pools. It could only go off if someone had tripped it from within the property. She was alone–had been since arriving last night.
Her stomach twisted, and she glanced out the kitchen window toward the pool house across the parking lot. No cars. She hopped over the scattered shards and dashed toward the great room’s expansive windows, an inescapable blare, a trumpet in her ears. The view below sent cold panic shooting through her chest. She dropped her hands from her ears, charged down the steps, and threw open the door to the pool patio and rushed over to the water’s edge. The chilly wind blew, leaves swirling in the air, and a body–facedown–floated.
Scenario written by P.J. O’Dwyer. (Click on the link and get a free copy of her book.)
P.J. read the card and acted out the scene while I hid downstairs and tripped the alarm on cue. Obviously we like to have fun with it. The group had previously chosen genre cards from a deck, and the exercise is to write a short story using the above scene in the genre chosen from a “Luck of the Draw” genre deck. (Writers could not choose their regular genre.) Humor, cozy mystery, thriller, sci-fy, fantasy, and mystery were the cards drawn. By tomorrow they will have written their short stories, and we’ll gather together to hear them and offer light critique.
After dinner we meet up in the theater room for a class P.J. is teaching on “How to Grow Your Fan Base”–a class on using Facebook Ads and email book marketing companies. I’ll definitely be taking notes!
Why not take a stab at the writing exercise yourself? You can submit an excerpt in the comments.
Related posts: Dreamweavers INK Writers Retreat: Prep Day