Monday, April 21, 2014

Writing Prompt and a Contest

Hey guys! We haven't done a writing prompt/exercise in a while, so I figured it might be fun to bring that back. I'm a big fan of daily writing exercises, and one of the easiest things to help me flesh out characters, back stories, or ideas for plots is using prompts. If you haven't tried writing with prompts before, it's really fun. Currently, I'm working a lot with photo prompts, but words/phrases and songs are also great to use.

Today's prompt is the picture below or this song (or both, for you overachievers out there). Write up a response as long or short as you like, leave the link in the comments, and I'll choose one person to win their choice of a query critique or crit of their first five pages Tuesday night. Don't worry too much about editing-- the purpose is more to write, have fun with it, and see what cool things other people can come up with given the same prompt. 

My take on the picture's below. It's a scene after my WIP's protag Gemma bargains her way out of captivity and things don't go quite as she'd planned. Good luck, and have fun!

Clouds cut into the air and blur the horizon line, and the mid-morning humidity weighs down her clothes. Escaping should feel better than this-- less damp and cloudy, but windier, warmer, clearer. 
This is nowhere she recognizes, and Gemma's hands curl up into themselves. Of course. This is just what happens when you bargain with stars, and Bet wouldn't have done it any other way. He's one of them, after all. 
She hears the sound before the pain snakes up her arm-- the staccato slap of flesh on metal, her palm stinging from where it smacked the yellow fence overlooking the gully. Bet. She'd even nicknamed him, because Betelgeuse was a mouthful. Even now, she can recall his easy smile, dark eyes, the way he shrugged acquiescence when she'd laid out the terms for their trade. He'd seemed so good, and that should have tipped her off from the start. 
Gemma leans over the railing and looks down. Brush and woodland debris, a railroad, a factory whose smokestacks reach high enough up to hold the fog in place like a low ceiling. She has eleven dollars in her pocket, a dead phone, and keys to a car and house that may be hundreds of miles away for all she knows. 
It's not uncommon for people to come back like this: in the middle of nowhere or stumbling through foreign cities like addicts strung out between fixes. That's just how stars work: they screw you over. Gemma closes her eyes and breathes in the wet air. So what if Bet wasn't any different? She got out. She may have no idea where she is, no easy way home, but she got out, and that's all that matters. 
Soon, she will walk down the street to the police officer and ask him for the date, place, and time in her most affable manner. He will look at her over the rims of his dark glasses, like Bet looked at her with his black hole eyes, tell her what she asks for, then mutter aw hell, another bright one when he thinks she's too far to hear. 
And soon she will wander through this city without a name, shrouded in fog and decaying letters, and somehow, slowly, she will find her way home again. 

none yet! 

(picture credit: me)

When Alex Yuschik isn't writing her next YA novel, she's working on someone else's as an intern at Entangled Publishing. She writes about lock picks, ghosts, the abandoned places in cities, and how not to strike bargains with stars. Between sneaking in time to game and rocking out to indie music, Alex spends the rest of her free time working towards her PhD in mathematics. You know, as one does.

You can find her on Twitter @:
Or drop her an email at:
And also visit her website @:

2 secret replies:

  1. She walked this path to work every day, it used to be with him but now it had become only her. The speed limit was 25, but how often had anybody ever gone that slow, she wondered as she watched the cop turn his lights on. It’s the first time something interesting has come out of this habitual speeding though, as she nears the pulled over car she watches as the cop hauls the person out of the vehicle. Shocked she is when she realizes that she knows the person the cop has hauled out, she’s even more shocked when a voice from behind her calls, “Miss Gray.” She turns and sees another officer. “Yes?” she asks. “You know this man, you used to know him intimately,” the officer suggests.”That’s correct,” she replies, worried about being late for work. “It has come to the government’s attention that he is a threat to national security,” the officer begins, “you don’t look surprised.” “He would be a threat to national security,” She responds. “We are going to have to bring you in for questioning,” the lady cop asserts. “Do I need to be handcuffed?” She laughs dryly, after all the years she was dating him. Now after she’s finally got her life together they decide to bring her in. “No,” the officer replies a bit rudely to be honest and leads her to the car. “Romy,” he laughs as she’s put in the back of the cop car with him. “Carter what have you done this time. I was just trying to go to work,” Romy sighs.

    1. Yay! :) I love how you end on such a cliffhanger. I definitely want to read more!

      Nice work, and congrats, you've won your choice of a first pages crit or a query crit! Email whatever you'd like me to read at alex.yuschik(at), and I'll have it back for you in about a week. :)