WFMAD Day 11 – choices

Writing anything requires that you make thousands upon thousands of choices for your characters. This is why it can feel like so much fun to start a book, but once you are a hundred pages into it, you are ready to pitch it onto a bonfire. If you made a wrong turn on the path of choices, you can find yourself hip deep in tangled plot with no easy way out.

One of the common mistakes I make in early drafts is to let all of the rotten things that happen to my characters come from the outside. I think I do this because I like my characters, or maybe because, in an early draft, I don’t know them well enough.

I’ve found that letting my characters mess up leads to all kinds of fresh plot paths and story energy.

You can probably see where I’m going with this.


Today’s advice:
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. Yet. But you must get something down on the page today.


Today’s prompt: Put your character in an ordinary scene: babysitting, making lunch, texting friends, whatever, and allow her to make the absolute worst decisions possible for the scene. You’ll need to motivate her decision – let your mind run free. Make it a spectacular screw-up with ugly consequences.


Someone leaves a half-full bottle of tequila at the bottom of your driveway. Write about who left it and why.
(This is based on something that happened to me yesterday. Honest.)



Combine the two prompts above.


11 Replies to “WFMAD Day 11 – choices”

  1. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your character-driven prompts – they’re really helping me work out some kinks in this draft! Thank you!

  2. Question

    Does writing a daily blog count for this challenge? Or should I keep that separate from my writer’s notebook? Love this idea!!!


  3. I know that you are my mother because you know that tequila should be referred to as half full and not half empty


  4. I enjoyed the prompt today. It reminds me of so many books where I was ready to pull my hair out because of the decisions characters make, but it makes me want to read even more to see how they get themselves out of the mess. I am glad that you made me think about how I can integrate this into my own writing, rather than having the characters make all the right decisions.

  5. Finished just now. I got so into this one, I’m going to have to finish it another night. I’m too tired to go on. I chose to combine the two prompts and used a character from a work in progress. It led me to put one of my characters who is pushing the edge of his comfort zone anyway in the path of even greater opportunity for rebellion. I’m really enjoying it. (Not sure he’ll enjoy the end result quite as much!)

    Good night writers 🙂

  6. I seem to be a late night writer….

    ….but I’m still a writer. I got started on this one and had fun with it. I’m not sure how dire the consequences are, but it was a fun write today.

    As always, it’s posted on my other LJ: , and can be found here.

  7. Have admired your books for a long time but am learning to think of you as life inspiration as well. My thoughts are with you and I’m grateful that you share your strength with your readers.

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