42 was the Right Answer, Plus Three

After 42 days of writing prompts and exercises we’re now weekly instead of daily. And here we are, already at Week Three. Every Wednesday afternoon at 5pm (Dublin time) I will post another prompt and suggest a way in which you can use it to generate new writing.  As always it is just for enjoyment, no pressure, no hassle, no worries.

two seagulls sToday’s creative writing prompt is:

Double Trouble

Think of doubles, of couples, of twins.

They say everyone has a doppelgänger – a look-alike. And identical twins can get up to mischief. How about a story involving mistaken identity? This could be deliberate or accidental. What happens? Who is involved? Where? When? Why?

The visual aspect of doubles is obvious, but what if someone sounds like someone else? Some mimics can become very convincing copies of other people – imagine how that would affect a phone conversation, or a radio interview.

Spend a few minutes writing down everything that comes to mind associated with this and see where it might go. Then try writing a story – go for 1,000 words. What kind of convincing twist can you come up with to make a satisfying end?

Remember you can only have a few characters in such a small wordcount otherwise you run the risk of confusing your reader. And although you are writing about doubles, try to make the names different (unless that’s key to your story). For example, a Joe, John and Josh in the same story might get confusing. Try a different first letter and a double syllable name alongside a single one, a simple trick to help the reader work out who is who without making them work too hard.

Don’t forget to use your senses and some dialogue to move the story forward and keep descriptions of people and places to a minimum unless these are important. If your main character is a six-foot redhead with a doppelganger, that might have some bearing on how your story unfolds. But the colour of their wallpaper or the design on their dinner plates might not. The same goes for revealing whether they are in Manchester or Mullingar – you only need to say if it is important to the story.

Think about POV (point of view). Try writing the opening scene from different viewpoints, just to see which works best. Think about tense, too. Writing as if the action is happening now (present tense) can be compelling.

If you’re lucky, you might get to squeeze twice as much enjoyment from this exercise than ever before!