Today’s prompt is about “The Problem.” These series of prompts are based on Sheldon Siegel‘s 2011 Writers Forum workshop.
We’re working on how to write suspense, mystery, thriller. If that doesn’t interest you, you can also use these prompts to write memoir.
Write a one-sentence premise. What’s at stake? Why should the reader care?
If we follow along with Prompt #49: Our heroine is about to get into a limo to meet with Monsieur Blanchard. We know her father is concerned about her. We know she wants to look professional for this meeting. That’s about all we know.
Let’s play with this. What if our heroine is a contracted killer? What if she is meeting with Monsieur Blanchard to receive her next assignment? What if she needs the money because her father is in danger of losing their house for failure to pay back taxes? What if Monsieur Blanchard is about to blackmail her? What if she has information to blackmail him? All sorts of possibilities.
Premise: Our heroine, Monique, needs money to pay her father’s bills.
Stake: He could lose the house. She could lose her life.
Care: She will die.
When you are writing thriller, mystery or suspense, Sheldon says to know the enemy. Know who it is and what we’re scared of. Then you can manipulate the reader. Need to feel the enemy. Personified. Fear the murderer.
You can use your list of fears from Prompt #47 to incorporate with your character’s problem. Or you can think about your fears and work one of those into the premise.
Prompt: The problem is . . . Or, The problem was . . .
Note: If you are writing memoir, write what actually happened, as best remembered. Be sure to include details, such as character description and location. When writing about real people, they become “characters” in the story. Use sensory detail such as smell. Use the weather to mirror mood of character and of story.
Photo by Sasha Oaks