I recently stumbled across a group on Reddit. This particular group is called Writing Prompts, and the topics are story suggestions, meant as practice for writers. People reply with story segments in comments.
I was alerted to one topic by a text announcement on my phone. The topic was:
"People gain superpowers the day after meeting their soulmate. When a hot young celebrity does so the day after a meet-and-greet, they're desperate to find every person who they even just shook hands with that day."
As I got ready for work, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. As I worked on the assembly line, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. At lunch, I read some of the story segments others had posted in response, and I plotted a continuation and thought of all sorts of details.
When I got home, I ate and showered, then went down to my computer to write. “Just an hour,” I thought. “I’ve already got this thing figured out,” I thought. I left work at 23:15 and generally am ready to do things or sleep around midnight. So I started to write. At 02:30 I thought, “Okay, I’m halfway there. Just a bit more.” At 04:00 I thought, “Okay, maybe I should go to bed. I’ll just put this thing in Dropbox so I can read it from my phone.”
One upload later, I was in bed, but not asleep. I opened my phone and discovered that I could edit the text file from Dropbox. “I’ll just make a few adjustments,” I thought. At 05:30 the thing was ready. I could hear my friend getting up and getting ready for his shift at the hospital, which started at 07:00. I posted the story as a reply comment to the story segment I had been inspired by, and I finally slept.
The writing prompt:
The story segment that inspired me:
My story segments (a two-parter):
I woke up at 13:30, started my Thursday and got ready for work. At work, I was tired. I was actually falling asleep on my feet.
Yes, I was tired. But when I got home, I looked at Reddit to see whether there had been any reaction to my post. Not a lot, but the author of the story I was inspired by posted a comment “Nice. Maybe you should try writing one.” So I mulled that over.
After getting enough sleep Thursday night, Friday I woke up with a lot more energy. I had come up with an idea for an original scenario. All Friday at work I thought about it and worked it out, but I was not feeling as obsessed as I had felt with the first story.
I posted it on Saturday. It gained one approving comment, so that was good. It starts with “Moya-Jane Braithwaite was petite, slender, and an absolute powerhouse.” (warning: NSFW because of swearing):
There were a lot of things that inspired me in this one:
- “Moya-Jane” is the personal name of a relative. I haven’t seen her since I was a teenager, but I always thought she had an incredibly cool name.
- “Braithwaite” is the family name of a cool lady I met at PFLAG, who was also slender, petite, and an absolute powerhouse. She was a teacher. I don’t know whether she could fly.
- The École nationale de cirque is a real school in Montréal; I had a tour of it once. Fascinating place.
- I listen to a LOT of trance music.
- My sister took theatre tech at Ryerson. She learned to do things like run the lighting boards. When I was writing the bit with Moya-Jane on stage, I really felt like she was there with me. I was almost crying.
- I was also thinking a lot about my mother and her sisters and the way they were always singing. One of my first memories around age 5 is waking up from being ill and hearing Mom singing in the kitchen and knowing everything was all right. And the bit about being pierced by the music came straight from my other sister’s wedding, where my aunt sang and it pierced my heart. It’s a very strange feeling to meet someone you’ve known all your life and see this new side of them that seemingly carries the power of the divine.
- The rest of it I muddled around with until it felt right…
I am not really expecting a lot of people to see these Reddit things, but they are awesome writing practice.