Sunday, March 04, 2018

Writing Prompt: The Re-Write: Who Doesn’t Like Cake?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt is a new type! One of the early prompt challenges was to edit a purposefully bad bit of writing. In that spirit, I’m adding a prompt designed to let you practice your revision skills without the risk of messing up your manuscript.

You have to keep the bones of the piece, but you can move things around and add dialogue and internalization and whatnot. As long as you can still identify this scene as the scene I started you’re good—so no completely rewriting it from scratch. The goal is to make my monstrosity better.

Edit the bad writing, strengthen and clarify the goals, conflict, and stakes, develop the setting, establish the character, etc. You know the drill.

Your challenge: Turn this snippet into something worth reading:
She had no idea what she was doing. It seemed like a good idea at the time, going to the movies with that guy George, who worked in accounting when he wasn’t taking people to the movies, and that had to have been her first mistake. Going into the break room for cake.

The cake was delicious. Three layers of chocolate with white frosting, the corners shaped into tiny flowers of pink and yellow. Between each layer was a strip of raspberry sauce with bits of real raspberry about a quarter inch thick. It sat on an old china plate someone must have brought from home. Stella maybe, or Lolita, or maybe that dude from purchasing, Augustus.

Augustus was cute, but George was cuter. She should have asked him what he was doing this weekend. He had a sweet way about him, even if he didn’t like cake, and really, who didn’t like cake? That should have been her first clue that this wasn’t going to go well.

Have fun!

1 comment:

  1. (I thought the protagonist should have a name, and yours seemed right *smile*)

    Janice should have had her head examined, accepting a movie date from George in Accounting. Lolita, in the cubicle next to her, warned her that George was notorious for chasing after the new office girls. This situation called for cake. The paperwork could wait; Janice was going into the break room.

    On an old china plate was the cake: three layers of chocolate decadence covered with white buttercream, decorated with pink and yellow frosting flowers. Her first bite of chocolate layered with real raspberry filling confirmed that this cake was from a fancy downtown bakery—and worth every calorie.

    Augustus from Purchasing sauntered in the break room, and poured a cup of black coffee. Lean and muscled like a professional basketball player, he was easy on the eyes, but George could pass for a Ralph Lauren model. The problem: George knew it.

    “This is a pretty plate. Did you bring it in?” Janice asked. Smart move. Open with a stupid question while he’s mid-sip.

    “No, I think it’s from Stella,” Augustus said.

    His sweet, gentle smile assured Janice that lame conversation starters didn’t bother him. She should ask about his weekend plans, but he and Stella, the firm gossip, worked closely together.

    “Would you like a piece of cake? It’s amazing,” Janice said.

    “Thanks, but I don’t care for cake,” he said.

    Who doesn’t like cake?

    Unless Augustus was a diabetic, and she just offered him a poison pill that would land him in the ER. And if Stella caught wind of Janice’s date with George, she’d be labeled the office trollop. Her first week at Blumberg & Kohl wasn’t going well.