Scene Prompt #8: The HeartStorm

This one comes straight from Laura Whitcomb. I’m just gonna quote it:

Set a timer and write as fast as you can about the scene for ten minutes. This is your heartstorm. Don’t overthink it. Don’t think at all. Feel the scene, the emotions, the sensations, the wonder. Don’t judge what comes out of you. Be bold and swift. Don’t worry about typing mistakes or punctuation or tense or misspellings or fact-checking. Just think about the scene you’re preparing. Think of the emotions involved, the smells, tastes, scents, textures, sounds. Think of the strangest details and how they affect the characters. Is there something in the setting that illustrates the theme of the novel? Look at the interaction of your characters from different angles. What’s happening outside the window? In the next room? What are the characters thinking or feeling that they aren’t saying? Let your mind go anywhere and everywhere, and write as fast as you can.

She goes on to say that in doing this exercise “you are unearthing your personal poetry. When a passage in your novel is bland or cliche, poetry will bring color and originality. When a scene is harsh or sterile, your poetry will provide readers with grace and warmth to make the scene live in their imaginations. When your page is swimming in sentimental crap, your poetry will sharpen and defrock your prose, lifting each line toward truth.”

I don’t know about you, but for me the left-brained part of writing comes easier than the right-brain part. If that’s you too, give this exercise a try.

If it’s not flowing or you’re resisting, Ms. Whitcomb offers another prompt to help us out. That’s next week. See you then!

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