Two families live side by side, cheek by jowl. They must share one tap for all their water. In this exercise, the challenge is to take a basic unexciting situation then make it dramatic by adding a mixture of character, confrontation and threat.
This is a writing prompt from the Writers’ BLOCKbusters series.
First decide the setting of your tap. Perhaps it is a tap at a domestic house which, during a drought and water shortage, must be shared. Perhaps it is a water pump in a remote village. Imagine the place, the time, the century, and the circumstances requiring the sharing of water. Consider the practical difficulties, the emotional consequences. Is the water supply constant, or intermittent. Why is the water supply under threat.
Now add your two families. Concentrate on two main characters but sketch out two other family members so you have the option of using them to add tension or balm to the situation. What key emotions and experiences sum up the relationship of your two protagonists? Have they met before, or are they strangers. Resentment. Community spirit. Jealousy. Pedantry. Hatred. Isolation. Shyness. Admiration. Suspicion. Pragmatism. Attraction. Decide the specific water needs of each family.
Now put your two characters together and see what happens in the following conflict situations:-
Both families want to use the water at the same time and there is only sufficient for one;
A reckless waste of water is spotted by one of the neighbours;
A 50% reduction is required;
A third family must use the tap too;
The water runs dry.
Try not to prejudge the genre or mood of your story. Instead, create the situation then separately develop the characters. Put them together with one of the conflict situations, and see what happens.
© ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby
What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’?
I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they are suitable for all genre of fiction precisely because each exercise is based on a subject unrelated to whatever you are struggling with. I am not looking over your shoulder.
Ebooks coming soon at Amazon…
Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 FirstParas
Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 FlashPics
Writers’ BLOCKbusters: #500 WordStorms
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
#FlashPic 46 Tap Going Two ways #writingprompt https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4vB via @SandraDanby