Sunday, August 16, 2015

Writing Prompt: Let’s Get Uncomfortable

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt challenges you to write something outside of your comfort zone. It’s designed to push your creative boundaries and stretch those artistic wings.

What subject matter makes you cringe? Do love scenes make you blush? Does violence give you nightmares? (okay, maybe skip that one then) Does deep, emotional soul searching make you feel hokey? Grit your teeth and dive in. Your challenge:

Write a scene that focuses on something that makes you uncomfortable.

Skill tip: This is likely going to hit all kinds of personal buttons, so dig deep and tap into the character—these are their feelings or experiences, not yours. Let them filter what’s hard for you to write, which will help you create characters with different views from your own.

I understand many won’t want to share these, so perhaps share what type of scene or subject matter you’re attempting if the scene itself is too much. Also, if you have a good tip, share how you tackle hard-to-write scenes for those who are struggle with something you’ve overcome.


  1. I like this idea. It forces someone to take a new approach to her writing.

  2. I don't do romance, so here's mine.

    His lips touched mine. For a second, I hesitated. Maybe just this once, I should let there be something between us. He deserved it.
    No, I couldn't. It would only make things more painful. I pushed him back as gently as I could.
    He stepped back, his face wrinkled in pain. "I'd hoped maybe-" he said, the sentence unfinished.
    I wiped away tears. "I'm sorry. It will never work."
    He frowned. "You know I'm willing to try."
    I looked away. He already knew the answer, the same as always. A marriage between two people who worshipped different gods would never work out.

  3. Rodger scanned the field before turning around. Lying on his back, he slid down the embankment and under the fence. A few yards into the woods, Bradley already had their AR-15s out.

    “Hey, Rodge, you’re late,” Brad said tossing a rifle to him. “Anybody see you leave?”

    “Yeah—like somebody would notice me.”

    Brad tossed him a magazine. Rodger snatched it on the fly, slapped it into his weapon, and chambered a round in a single motion. The other boy grinned.

    “Boy! You’ve got that down.”

    “How you coming?” Rodger asked.

    “Watch,” Brad said as he ejected his clip. It hit the ground, and a second magazine appeared simultaneously. He jammed it home and pulled the bolt back in a blur. Only the sound of slapping metal confirmed what eyes had trouble following.

    “Guess you’ve been practicing.”

    “Yeah. I think we’re about ready. What do you think?”

    “I think so, but I’m wondering about surviving.”

    Brad shook his head. “We’ve been through this. There just ain’t no way. Even if they let us surrender, they’ll lock us in a hole forever. They’ll be a thousand dicks in our ass before we’re twenty, and then they’ll fry us. Man. I don’t want that life.”

    “Me either, but I’m thinking maybe we can pull this off without getting caught.”

    “How are we going to do that?”

    “What if we empty a few magazines into the schoolyard and ditch the guns back in our hole? When we pop into the schoolyard a minute later, we act like we’re running for our lives like everybody else.”

    “Man,” Brad sighed. “I can think of a thousand reasons why that won’t work.”

    “Okay, man. Give it a go. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think I’ve got it covered. If I missed something, maybe the two of us can figure it out.”

    “Let’s see,” Brad began. “Say we shoot off three magazines—ninety rounds each—in about two or three minutes. We drop back into the woods, and reappear a minute later. Don’t you think a few people are going to recognize us? Face it, man. Even if we kill a few dozen each, we can’t kill everyone who knows who we are.”

    “Good points, but I thought about all that. First, we don’t really come out of the words to shoot. We stay in the tree line, in the shadows where they can’t see us. Second, we don’t come out of the woods from where we were shooting. We stay in the woods and run apart for a distance. I don’t know if we should shoot from the same or different places, but we come out the woods yards from where we did the shooting and a good distance from each other.”

    “Hmm,” Brad smiled. “It would be awesome to watch it all on TV. Hey, maybe we could do it a second school someday. They’ll have to come up with a new word for our kind of killing. Maybe they’ll call us massacutioners. I kind of like that. My shrink said you were a smart kid.”

    “Mine says you’re a sociopath.”

    “Yeah. Mine says that about you too, but he says you’re smart sociopath.”

    “Maybe we should put them on our kill list.”

    “Yeah,” Brad grinned again, “but if we go out of our way to kill all the bastards who trashed us, we’ll give ourselves away for sure. If we’re going to pull this off—especially if we want to live to do it again—we can’t go settling personal scores.”

    “You’re right,” Rodger sighed, “but if I get a bead on Dean Harper, she’s a goner.”

    “Oh, I agree. I hope we can do her. Nobody could single us out for that. Anyone with a shot would put a hole in that old bag right where a human would have a heart.”

    The warning bell rang. The boys wrapped the rifles in their plastic sheet, put the package back into their hole, and covered it.