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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Writing Prompt: Memorable Room

By Marilyn Friedman

The weather is gorgeous outside, and Writing Pad has everything you need to take Mother Nature's inspiration and transform it into cold, hard cash!

This Sunday, become a story structure expert. Derek Taylor Kent's Structure, Structure, Structure: Building The Foundation For A Killer Book and Melissa Clark's The Road Best Traveled: Designing Your Hero's Journey will help you apply the techniques of screenwriting or Greek mythology to build a solid structure for your book or tale! Before you know it, you'll have completed a page turner without banging your head against the wall trying to figure out how to pull the story together.

Also, this Monday, award-winning journalist,Vince Beiser will teach Pitching For The Press: A Query Letter Clinic. Vince will show you how to convert your great idea for a celebrity profile, reported essay, or article into an irresistible pitch that will land you a feature contract!  Sign up for these classes (and the other ones below) by clicking on the links or emailing marilyn@writingpad.con.

And don't forget to scroll down to the bottom for your free writing prompt and a chance to win a free class at the Pad!

Structure, Structure, Structure: Building The Foundation For A Killer Book The Road Best Traveled: Designing Your Hero's Journey
You in 1200 Words: Writing and Publishing The Personal Essay
What's On Your Mind? Building Your Brand Through Social Media
True Tales: Writing A Compelling Past

Book Publishing
Get Your Book Published

Children's Writing and YA
From Bedtime Stories To Tales of Teenage Woe: Writing For Kids and YA Pt I
From Bedtime Stories To Tales of Teenage Woe: Writing For Kids and YA Pt Advanced
Structure, Structure, Structure: Building The Foundation For A Killer Book

Creative Writing/Multi Genre
So You Want To Be A Writer
Finishing School
Structure, Structure, Structure: Building The Foundation For A Killer Book

Fiction, Memoir, Romance
Structure, Structure, Structure: Building The Foundation For A Killer Book
The Road Best Traveled: Designing Your Hero's Journey
True Tales: Writing A Compelling Past

Journalism, Personal Essay and Web Writing
You in 1200 Words: Writing and Publishing The Personal Essay
Pitching For The Press: A Query Letter Clinic
What's On Your Mind? Building Your Brand Through Social Media
Hello World, Welcome To My Blog
Me.Com: A Copywriting Ninja Skills Workshop
Advanced Personal Essay First Aid

Playwriting and Writing For Actors
It's All About You: A One-Person Show Workshop Pt II (2-Night Intensive)

Black Hats/White Hats: Mastering The Studio Canon
Trouble and Rapture: Crafting The Studio Romantic Comedy
Made To Order: Writing A Killer TV Spec Script

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 rooms that are memorable to you or or to a character from your writing project (e.g. your childhood bedroom, your grandma's living room, your cubicle at work, etc.). Pick one. Now add a sensory detail (smell, taste, sound, touch) and a specific detail to the room that makes it a unique place (e.g. window shades that have fluffy, white clouds on them). Now write for ten minutes and then post the results of your write in the comments of this blog!

Here are some ideas for what you could do with this prompt: you could write a description of the room, you could write a scene of something that happened there, or you could write about how this room changed over the years.  Just write and have fun!

Write about a memorable room.  Post your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog, and you could win a free class!


Anonymous said...

“We’re selling the house.” It was like a boulder had been lobbed at my pit of my stomach. The weight overwhelmed me and thrust my body down on my dorm room bed. The anger was beginning to swell in my chest and I fought every urge to hang up the phone on my mother. That would let her off too easily. No, this was definitely going to be a fight.

How could they? I mean, I put up with their divorce, my Dad’s nervous breakdown, and I didn’t even complain when he rented out my sister’s bedroom to a complete stranger. But this was unacceptable. This was the last semblance of home I had left and they were ripping it out of my weak, powerless hands. A precious heirloom I would no longer be able to touch, see or smell, unable to show my future children physical proof of what it was like to grow up as me. My happy memories, gone from my life forever, soon to be someone else’s mortgage they struggle to pay.

This wasn’t just any house. It was special. I’m sure everyone thinks that about their own childhood home, but I know mine was different. It was “the” house, the one all of my high school friends hung out at every Friday and Saturday night. I’m sure part of it was the fact my parents let us drink beer in the house as long as nobody drove, but I will argue the layout was a huge factor as well.

One place we almost never left was the screened-in porch. That porch was magical, like a large living room outside where you could smell the crisp, cool Maryland air but still feel the inside-ness the screens provided. My parents had bought a rather expensive green wicker outdoor sofa set that was so cozy you could sleep on it. And many friends did. There was also a '70s-style white Formica dining table with swivel chairs that was the perfect setup for a variety of drinking games. Quarters, Asshole, Waterfall. You name it, we played it.

The porch was large. Sitting over our two-car garage, it provided a nice perch for watching cars and guests arrive. One Christmas we put white lights around the parameter of the porch that looked so pretty we kept them up year round. I loved those lights. To this day when I see white lights anywhere, on trees lining a city street or in a romantic Italian restaurant, I am overwhelmed with a sense of home.

Enjoy grace! said...

A room with a view. Stunning. Captivated by love's creation. The blue sea looked like navy marble from this room on the pediatric floor of the UCSF hospital. It moved like tectonic plates and smelt like cancer from this distance. It was water, peace-inducing water, instilling calm and serenity into the patients who gazed upon it. It was Alex's room. Room 802. A patient under 18, he was doted upon by the nurses and every soul who stepped into 802. He was sick. The room was sick. A sick room, far from the healthy sea that saw life from beginning to end, remaining salty for eternity.
“Hey Alex. How are you feeling?” My cousin, my brother. Raised by my mother and all those who stood in for the incapable “man” and “woman” who came together on a bed bug infested mattress, with children far from their thoughts, one lightless day. Now, this room was raising Alex. Raising him into a man, or so we hoped. The electronic bed, sterile and plastic, clung tight to this child, unaware of whether or not he'd make it to 18. 1 month away. Multiple IV's and chemo parties away. How may more images of the marble sea would this room see with this boy in it? If he made it to 18, this room would be free from the guilt of taking the life of a child. The shame held within the window's frame of stealing so many innocent lives would get a break if he could just make it to 18. The room caught a break and finally got to view the sea with clear conscious.

Chelsea said...

The walls were deep green with gold trim. I know, it sounds ugly, but back then it was magical. It was a magical guesthouse tucked behind a dilapidated craftsman in Hollywood. There was an amazing garden that lead you behind the main house, Over grown sage, lavender and rosemary…random junk; headless gnomes and old paint chipped chairs are strategically placed among the bushy plants, creating small vignettes that quietly elude maybe crazy people live here. But of course I like it anyway….CRAZY as I would find out later is what I like.
Inside it smells rich, deep sensuous; vanilla, sandalwood, something peppery…it smells like sex.

The bed-sits on a 6’ platform off the floor, it’s simple and clean. A small kitchen to the left, bathroom straight ahead and one giant room to the right. There are twinkle lights, a dresser, a comfy antique chair, and a rustic ladder leading up to the bed.
The bed…. is the only place we can both “sit “ comfortably.
The bed is the only place you can really see the TV, which is located on a shelf suspended 6.5 ‘ off the floor.

The bed is where we would end up spending most of our time from here on out.

Her slim tattooed arms grab the ladder and with out missing a beat she flings her torso over the edge and lands with a soft thump. Horizontal with her head in her hands, grinning like cat who’s about to bag the best mouse EVER, she pats the mattress and says “come on up”.

As I pause to take off my boots, I look around underneath the bed for a sign that this person is bad for me and I should turn and leave immediately, but all I see are photos of her and her friends, an antique print of Venus surrounded by nymphs, a cowboy hat, a row of shoes, her leather motorcycle jacket is carefully hung on a hook along one of the bed posts, everything is neat and tidy there’s nothing crazy in here, except me.

My heart is racing; I nervously climb the ladder, popping my head up like mercat to access how I am going climb up there, as gracefully as possible.
I’m almost dizzy and the voice inside my head starts screaming, “STOP! What are you doing??? If you go up there you will end up having sex with her. STOP!! You’re not gay!! (Are you?) STOP, WAIT, NO! GO BACK…
The sweet smell of sandalwood and vanilla is now mixed with the fresh clean scent of her freshly washed sheets. It’s intoxicating, I’m drunk, I can feel the blood racing through my veins, I’m sure my eyes are dilated, my heart is pounding.
It’s so crazy, that before I realize what I am really doing, I am on my stomach next to her,
twirling my feet, looking in her eyes, giggling.

It’s the most comfortable bed I have ever been on, flannel sheets, soft blankets, down comforter, fluffy pillows. We talk about all kinds of things, first.. The bed, then who lives in the front house, how long she has lived there, our mutual friends, the gold leaf paint she used to trim out the room. As the sun goes down, the twinkle lights begin to illuminate the room, confirming that this the most magical place in the whole world, and it seals the deal.

The intoxicating smell is strongest right next to her, so when she starts kissing me, I am rendered powerless.
We kiss for what seems hours, then slowly my clothes come off, until I am totally naked, She is toned and a few olive shades darker then me, my soft, pale unmarked skin looks ghostly and fragile next to hers. I’m pretty sure it makes her like me more.

She lights a candle or two and as darkness falls, the night blooming jasmine, that vines around all the windows, sends in it’s scent, mixing with the spring air that is already thick with our sweat and heavy breathing, adding one more layer to the already scented room.
The gold trim glistens in the candle light, the sound of the 101 freeway sounds like rushing water, I forget where I am, who I am.

That would be the first of many nights in the green room with gold trim. Although other
girls spent time there too, it was mostly mine for long while.

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