Friday, April 18, 2014

P IS FOR PATH!


P is for Path  (Skim to the underlined genre or style that best suits you.)

Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so the ideas I will be posting are free for you to use.

Think about the path to Romance in your own life. Now think about two people who are physically taking paths in the opposite direction. Then think about a unique way in which those two opposing paths will somehow end at the same place, or come to the same crossroad. Think of this metaphorically as a well as literally. Consider that dirt road she had a flat tire on. He just happens by in his sporty car, offers her a ride, which she decides against for safety reasons. Without even knowing her, he’s concerned for her safety, too. Some weirdo might not accept no for an answer.

So, he tails a safe distance behind her, on the lookout for weirdoes in her path. At some juncture, their paths will cross and hero and heroine will meet again. They’ll run into a few rocks in the road, kick them aside and, still tattered and weary from their journeys, come to a truce and live happily ever after. Think about the characters whispering in your minds. What brought them to the roads they took, and what propelled them forward?

Mystery enthusiasts, it was on a bright and sunny day that your sleuth took a jog down his or her regular path, then, hoping for new scenery, took a detour on a cobblestone walkway, where a dead body lay. It’s his neighbor. A young single mother with a four-year-old boy now left with no one. Little Jimmy. The boy your sleuth was teaching how to play T-ball. So when your sleuth goes back to check on Jimmy and discovers he isn’t there, he has to wonder–was this a kidnapping that went sour and resulted in the murder of the kidnapped child’s mother? Maybe she didn’t have the ransom, and maybe she was afraid to go to the police because of a threat, or maybe the boy is staying at a relative’s house and isn’t the victim of kidnapping after all. Sleuth decides to do a little digging. Calling upon the grandparents only made things worse, because they were sprawled out bloody and beaten on their kitchen floor. Now what? There’s still no sign of little Jimmy. There’s no father in the picture; he was killed in a car wreck years ago.

In Literary fiction, the idea of a path, metaphorically and literally, shows up often. It can be the inner journey we take, or the external, as long as in some way it sheds insight into the human condition.  It might answer the question, why are we here or what purpose was meant for me? It’s not enough to endure long travels, whether exhausting or adventurous or both–the journey must not only define a specific character, but it should say something about what it is to be, period. The story might have a circular feel, following the choices a character makes to a deeper understanding of what it all means in a bigger sense than just to that specific character and immediate family. What does it say about the human condition? It might be simply that we are who we are, and that whoever that is, we stand for something larger than ourselves, yet not monumental or anything for history books in the future. This literary story will dive into the path it takes a character to understand a small part of the human condition. Consider the circle of violence being passed from generation to generation until at some point, one family member breaks free and changes the mold. That can be a literary journey. A literary path might be shown symbolically, yet in a physical sense by following the blood flow from vein to heart and back again, which parallels some event in a character’s life.

Children or young adults can people a story with a path in much the same way that other genres can. The path can reflect a child’s goal, showing each step the child takes toward that goal, or even a visual of the gravel road the child travels to get from point A to point C. For young adults, the outward path will parallel the inner travels of going from adolescence to adulthood. Shereen practiced basketball every night, often missing the social life her friends enjoyed. She put everything she had into getting an athletic scholarship. But when her husbandless mother is diagnosed with cancer, new choices come in to Shereen’s life.

Note–I was going to write about procrastination for the letter P, because it’s been on my mind quite a bit during this challenge. My good friend Silvia Villalobos (at Silvia Writes) warned me that I should really get a head start on all these blog articles and have them in a file before April 1. “I will, I will,” I said, then went about my business working on everything else. I did get a few articles prewritten, but that’s it. And I’ve been kicking myself ever since. Kudos to those of you who wrote about procrastination today. I’m too mad about the word to grace it with my story prompts.  

What ideas can you pull off the top of your head? If you can offer some in genres I didn’t cover, such as horror, sci-fi, or fantasy, please share! Readers will appreciate it.

Happy writing!

 

62 comments:

  1. These are all great ideas for stories. :)

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  2. What a wonderful write, there are many paths in life to take, Most enjoyable to read.
    Yvonne.

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  3. Another very useful post to bookmark. Thank you.

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  4. 'Pricking' the brain cells here Debi. Thank you. So many ways to use 'path'. All genres could use this very effectively. Often when I go for a walk after much procrastination, wonder whether to go left, right, straight ahead when I get to where I have to make a decision.
    Garden of Eden Blog

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    1. Yeah, those pesky decisions always slow me down. I have a daughter who is awful at making them. :-)

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  5. This one works well in all genres.
    I especially like the epic type of literary stories that deal with life choices/paths/direction... and the consequences thereof.

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    1. Me too. But I love so many genres, I'd find a love for a path in any of them. :-)

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  6. A chance meeting of paths. Just like life except when story telling you can see them coming together. Love this :)

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  7. The idea of path, roads in Romance made me smile. My husband and my wedding song is called "All My Roads" by Collin Raye, and it's about how our life's roads led us to each other. :)

    And I was scrambling writing posts this time around, too. Still working on Y and Z.

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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  8. I love the idea of paths both literally and metaphorically. I like walking especially on nature paths. And I like observing and writing about the human condition, emotions, learning & growing. Great post, well done!

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  9. Great ideas! I think every piece of fiction is about the paths characters are on...and the obstacles they'll encounter along the way.

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  10. Paths can intersect and go another way, leaving one with many a what if to write about

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    1. Yes, I love asking the "what if" every time I write a story.

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  11. Path is a great topic. I didn't think of procrastination as my topic probably because I am too much of a procrastinator and would have procrastinated on the topic.

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    1. Me too. I'm really surprised I haven't seen anyone write about it yet, but I haven't been to too many blogs yet either. There's still time. :-)

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  12. Path is a great choice. I always mention a path in my stories.

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    1. Yes, they give a direction, which is always helpful. :-)

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  13. A path leads in so many different directions -- the proverbial fork in the road being one issue in a mystery, especially when searching for someone. I like the detour idea in your mystery. Everything goes down the hill after a detour.
    Thanks so much for the shout out, Deb. I like Path better anyway.

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  14. Got to have a good path in a great story. Choices, choices, choices. :)

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    1. Yep, those choices keep this story interesting and make every story unique. :-)

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  15. What a lovely way to use one prop as a backdrop for any genre. Excellent!!

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  16. I like the outward path that mirrors the inward path. I was reading about the path less traveled on another blog, so I'm feeling like I'm rather stuck in that loop. =)

    True Heroes from A to Z

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    1. :-) I've seen a few blogs about paths in the last half hour. :-) Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. Hello Debi,
    Thank you for your attention...
    I read some of your posts and had the opportunity to enjoy your writing style and placement ideas.
    They are nice.
    Kind regards from Brazil:
    Geraldo

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    1. Thank you, Geraldo! I appreciate your visit in the follow.

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  18. First, I love the Path ideas. I think that in every story the characters are on a path of some sort. Deciding to weave an actual path into the story to really frame it... ah, decisions, decisions.

    Now on procrastination... last year I wrote about half of my A to Z posts. In fact, I think it was about NOW that I petered out. The last half of April was Misery. It was so bad that I barely blogged in May and had difficulty feeling any enthusiasm for June. This year, I wrote all of my posts in advance and am thankful for it. Next year you will know better and DO better. Hang in there!

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    1. Yes, for next year's challenge I am taking Silvia's advice and starting way in advance. So I should be busy writing my 2015 post of A on about May 1, 2014. :-)

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  19. I think you covered everything for path. :) When I was preparing for the A to Z Challenge, I knew I wouldn't have time to write my posts in April, and I'm big on having posts ready ahead of time, so I wrote my posts a couple of months before hand.

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    1. That was smart. This is my first year, so I had no idea what kind of time I needed to allow for. :-)

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  20. Over 30 years ago, I heard that there was an international society of procrastinators. I was going to look them up and join their organization, but I never got around to it.

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    1. Ha! If you ever do get around to it, give me the scoop so I can join, too. :-)

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  21. The path like the river is a well used metaphor and perfect for any of our life journeys.

    As to on the spot creative posts. . .I'm not very good at them. I like to mull things over and plan ahead.

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  22. I find myself constantly in pursuit of the human condition; to observe, witness, and experience it, whether in writing or everyday life. It's an endless path! :)

    The Immarcescible Word

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    1. Yes, it is, but an interesting one. :-)

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  23. This is wonderful I love reading romance and you explained a romance set up so wonderfully.

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  24. Path and procrastination:) Both good words to write on. Happy Easter, Debi.

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    1. Thanks! You have a happy Easter, to Sandra.

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  25. I loved the idea of a path so much I named my blog after it! Journeys and paths are a wonderful way to frame a story. :)

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    1. Yes, they do allow for a great frame. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  26. Thanks for stopping at my blog! I wish I had your talent of writing - maybe with a few of these ideas I could do better! :)

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  27. Congrats for taking on this challenge! Also... Great ideas!!

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    1. Thank you. It was fun yanking them out of my head. :-)

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    1. Thank you so much, and thanks for the visit!

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  29. I love these writing prompts. This is a fantastic A-Z theme.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle, and thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.

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  30. She jogged out of the forest, her footsteps slowing as she took in the moss-and-ivy-covered ruins in the center of the clearing -- the old wizard's tower. Doubt crept through her mind, whispering to her... You don't have the strength to do this. You'll fail...and all will be lost because of it... "No!" she said vehemently. "I will get that spellbook and I will not fail!" Squaring her shoulders, she strode up the path toward the ruins...

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    1. Great little scenario. I'd love to see this story finished.

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