Unless you’re an utter genius, the first idea you have is probably one of the first ideas everyone else writing a similar story has had too. Same with the next five or ten.
I have no qualms admitting that at times I am pretty damn guilty of this. Sometimes you just want to finish the damn thing, and the obvious but overused option is all you can muster the strength to write. But it’s not good writing.
Good writing has fresh and original choices. They’re exciting because you’ve never seen them before. You want to keep reading or watching. You’re HOOKED.
That’s how I want my writing to be, so I’ve set myself a challenge.
Once a week or so, I’m going to start creating scenarios that require story choices, and coming up with ten options I’ve never seen or read before. This necessarily doesn’t mean they haven’t been used, but if you’ve never seen them yourself, you’re at least off to a good start on creating something fresh and original.
I think it will help to come up with a least twenty options per exercise, so I can narrow it down to the good ones. Also, if this exercise is done enough times, I’ll soon have a big backlog of scene ideas/story points that I can draw on if similar scenarios ever arise while I’m writing. Handy!
I’ll post the exercises here before I do it myself, so if you’re reading this and it sounds interesting, you can join in and comment with what you come up with.
So I’ll start with something nice and broad:
10 WAYS TO DIE IN YOUR OWN HOME (ACCIDENT OR OTHERWISE)
- Kristy and her boyfriend Josh died together in a freak scrapbooking accident. The details are fuzzy, but from what the police could gather, the flour they used to make paste to glue in the pictures from their Panama holiday was in fact cocaine hidden by a flatmate. When Kristy tripped on a packet of decorative feathers, the cocaine bag was flung into the air, and both she and Josh inhaled a large enough amount in that moment to overdose. A memorial scrapbook has been laid at their graves.
- Rudolph died at home when he got so distracted live tweeting during The Ridges new reality show that he forgot he was frying frozen fish fingers. The resulting fire burned him alive. His family later considered suing the Ridge family, but no charges were ever laid.
- Martin died after finally succumbing to his lifelong Pink Batts nibbling addiction.
- Maria died while in the shower. Her cat likes to sit on the toilet and watch her wash, and when Maria farted, Mr Whiskerson got such a shock he jumped up onto the shower curtain. Maria whipped around, slipped, and cracked her head on the side of the toilet. The bathroom door was locked, and she lived alone. She wasn’t found until three weeks later, by which point Mr Whiskerson has eaten a significant portion of her thigh.
- Adriana died after a group of Japanese female kung fu assassins got the wrong address. They later sent flowers and suffered from emotional disorders at the mix up.
- Carla died when her unborn child turned out to be a tentacle monster a la PROMETHEUS. However, the tentacle monster was innocent. Carla killed herself when she realised she’d have to tell her boyfriend she cheated on him with a charming humanoid squid.
- Valerie was very hungover and mistook meths for Powerade Blue.
- Adam was a regular on Chat Roulette. He never wanted to do filthy things, he just wanted to meet interesting people and chat to them. When Claudia spotted him, it was love at first sight for them both... But their internet connection crapped out before they could exchange details. With no way to find Claudia ever again, Adam became obsessed with Chat Roulette, flicking from person to person, hoping he’d find Claudia again. Unfortunately he did not remember to eat, and perished in front of a party of sixteen year olds in Prague.
- Brutus had been locked in his bedroom for six weeks to avoid the plague outside. He didn’t know much about what was going on, only that Daddy Long Legs had finally evolved, and their bites were now fatal to humans. Brutus had taped up all of the door and window cracks in his room except one, which he left open for air. When Brutus fell asleep guarding the vent, a Daddy Long Legs slipped in. Brutus awoke it find it crawling up his arm. He could have flicked it off, but... he didn’t. The world was no longer worth living in.
- Mrs. Gladstone didn’t want the neighbours to know about her secret visitor Master Charles. Since Mr. Gladstone had died last month after fifty-five years of marriage, Mrs. Gladstone had finally felt free to explore the urges she had been harbouring for as long as she could remember. She looked in the Personals of the Otago Daily Times until she found what she was after - Master Charles, Dominator. Mrs. Gladstone sneaked Master Charles in and out the backdoor and paid him in cash to let her be his submissive sex slave. So when Mrs. Gladstone had chest pains during one of their raunchier sessions, Charles was able to slip away into the night, so no one would herself know her secret. However, he forgot to remove her gimp mask before leaving. Luckily the first police officer on the scene (a closet S&M fan himself) removed it before the neighbours could see, and Mrs. Gladstone’s secret was taken to the grave.
Okay, that'll do, pig. Add your own ten in the comments!