I rather enjoy writing to a prompt. The days I drive the Live Journal for the Torquere Social, I might ask for prompt words, although lately I’ve been asking for prompt scenarios. When one is doing stunt writing, producing a small story on command, that helps rev up the juices. Those fun little ficlets are scattered here and there through the blog, tagged “free read.”
Some of the prompts have caught my imagination in a big way and needed more treatment than a stunt-fic can get. My newest published story, 8 Seconds on the Mountain, had that kind of start. “A rodeo and a beautiful bucking horse named Midnight Kid” turned into a look at Kurt’s past and Jake’s present, with a glimpse to their mutual future. Another prompt will end as a scene in a larger work. A lot more came out of that LJ day than I quite expected.
The Torquere Charity Sip blitz is not exactly a prompt story scenario. The designated charity this year, which will receive all the proceeds from the short stories donated by the authors, is Doctors Without Borders, and a medical theme was requested but not required. That’s pretty broad, and only narrowed down slightly by having two obvious candidates for characters: Keith and Dante, the doctor and vet couple from the On Call stories.
There are two On Call shorts, and I hadn’t planned on any more, but never say never, because this sort of situation arises. So I sat down to write, and was really startled by the results. It’s like pulling that fateful thread on the sweater: pretty soon you have a ball of yarn and a cold back. I followed the thoughts where they led, and — well, let’s just say that story isn’t seeing the light of day any time soon.
This time, I gave Keith the sort of patient encounter that caused him to re-evaluate everything he was doing, and let him and Dante work out the changes that would inevitably result. The story starts dark, which is not my usual, but ends on a much more hopeful note, and incidentally let me revisit a couple of my favorite venues.
Now the story is in the marinating stage, and when it’s had another set of rewrites, I shall send it off to what I hope will be its new home. It’s been a busy and productive few days; this plot bunny bit hard and fast.