Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q IS FOR QUILT!


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

Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so these ideas are free for you to use.

Snuggle up with a bit of Romance. When Grandma Mabel, who’s a little bit blind and a little bit forgetful, gives a quilt that’s a family heirloom to her home health care provider rather than to Jason’s bride-to-be (as intended), he sets off to find the caregiver on her weekend off. When he finally tracks her down at the café where she waitresses (second job), he has to wait until she’s on break to talk to her. And that’s when the bug for romance bites him good.

 True, he has a fiancé, but he’s been watching this cheerful waitress for over an hour, and though he tries, he can’t seem to turn away. She works two jobs and yet remains energetic and cheerful. If she’s tired, she hides it well. And she’s so kind to everyone, even the old widowers who spend the morning drinking coffee and shaking dice, and then don’t leave more than a dime for a tip. How can he not be attracted to her?

Mystery. Justin stops by to see the publisher of his last novel, intent on explaining why his next book can’t be the sequel expected. Upon arriving, the door is open a crack and Justin steps in. He calls out. No answer, but he smells smoke. He wanders to the kitchen, sees nothing at first. Then he notices a body wrapped in a quilt on the floor, and smoke rising from ashes in a trash bin that apparently had been burning not too long ago. He knows he shouldn’t touch even a corner of the quilt to see the face of the victim, but he can’t resist. With the pause of a burglar, he takes a peek. It’s the publisher’s wife, and she has no pulse. (Okay, that should get you writers started.)

Literary. In a writers’ workshop a few years back, I read someone’s short story about a woman who was supposedly making love to her husband, but the whole time, she was looking at the light fixture and wondering little things like, Should she get a new one? There’s a really nice one at Home Depot. Maybe something a little bigger, or at least brighter–more bulbs. Her thoughts went on like this through the whole two minutes, or thirty, I don’t remember.

What if Sue was involved in some other task with her husband? Making love is okay, but maybe she’s helping him with some hobby they’d always shared together. She’s having a hard time focusing now, because she no longer finds purpose in their hobby. While she’s mechanically working alongside her husband, she’s thinking about a quilt her mother had given her, one passed down from the grandmother of the lover Mom took shortly after Sue was born. She remembered a few stories her mother had told her about different pieces in the quilt, and the more she thinks about the beautiful spread, the more stories come back to her. She can’t get the quilt out of her mind, which causes her to fumble in answering questions her husband asks. “Honey, are you going to pass me that glue, or what?”

Glue? I can’t think of glue right now.

Middle Grade or Young Adult. Kristen is going to be moving soon, and she’s not liking it. She’ll never see her friends again. Wait, what friends? Her BFF already blocked her from Facebook, and Kristen isn’t even sure why, other than the fact that Jeremy seemed more into her than into her friend. But is that her fault? Maybe moving won’t be so bad. As she prepares to move, she sets her mind on mending a few friendships. She has some successes, and some total flops. She starts to worry that maybe this is it. Though she’ll have Facebook, will she ever again feel really connected to these people she grew up with? What makes her feel even worse is the fact that her BFF is the one person who hasn’t been responding to any messages. No Facebook, email, or Twitter. Had the argument over Jeremy really end a longtime friendship?

Her answer comes in the way of a going away gift–a quilt. Each of her friends have cut into a beloved piece of clothing to get one 12-inch square from it, then they worked together to stitch Kristen a gift of love. Favorite articles of clothing were used so that Kristen could look at each piece and remember exactly who it was from. It’s a memory blanket. And guess who was the one who came up with the idea? What a way to mend a friendship with your BFF and show how true friendship never dies, despite arguments and misunderstandings.

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!

 

 

68 comments:

  1. How wonderful it is to be posting ideas. Makes me wish I had taken part in the challenge too. Have read brilliant posts on Q since morning. The best had to be Que sera :)

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    1. Thanks. I haven't seen Que sera yet, but I'm looking forward to finding it.

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  2. Some very good ideas Debi. Have a wonderful Easter.
    Yvonne.

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    1. You too. My husband is baking pies right now. :-)

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  3. I love the idea of the quilt patches representing different phases/experiences/generations in somebody's life... maybe as an heirloom in a literary context?

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  4. Threads..as in quilts. Great post Debi thank you.
    http://www.gardenofedenblog.com

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  5. First I thought of snuggling up on a couch with a quilt ... and reading some book or other. Then I thought of the magic carpet in Aladdin. woo! :)

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  6. Wow! What a great exercise! I loved them all but the first one really resonated with me. Maybe that's because as a young bride-to-be, I was the recipient of a quilt from my husband's grandmother.

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    1. I am so glad to hear that somebody actually had a wedding gift of a quilt, I'm also glad to assume yours wasn't given a way to a home healthcare provider. :-)

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  7. How inventive the ways people get together and create...
    Thank you,
    Susan
    Garden of Eden Blog

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  8. Ahh, quilts. There are so many romantic possibilities with them. Love it!!

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  9. Quilts can hold a lot of history indeed lol at the light fixture

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    1. There was one guy (very young) in that workshop who got so uptight that a woman could write a story about daydreaming while making love. he was just floored. I laughed so hard I almost peed. Poor kid. bet we scarred him for life. (Hope not) I couldn't help laughing. Not something I can control when something is funny, and it was.

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  10. If your blog has taught me anything during this challenge, it is that *anything* can be used to launch a story idea.

    Did you ever see the movie Always? Holly Hunter's character recited a grocery list in her sleep. It was very funny. The places our sub conscious mind goes!

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    1. No, haven't seen it, but I love Holly Hunter, so I'll definitely check it out. Thanks.

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  11. I read a story several years ago and a quilt was central to it. Now I can't remember it at all. Too much alphabet soup this month.

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    1. Hah! Soup! Now that could be used in the A to Z!

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  12. I love the different genre & target audience approaches. I think a lot of writers don't always consider how to hone in their story towards a specific group.

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    1. It's fun to think about different stories for the various genres. :-)

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  13. What a great idea. I wonder if you could combine horror and the quilt or sci-fi and the quilt.
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

    Shelley Munro

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    1. I bet combining them would result in a great story, full of tension!
      Thanks for the return visit, Shelley.

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  14. A great -- and unexpected -- choice for today's word.

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  15. Every story could do with a quilt. For appearances at least. :)

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  16. Yup, a body wrapped in a quilt . . . that's what I thought of for mystery.

    I was also going to mention story quilts and how a story could evolve around the stories and patches on the quilt, but you bet me to it. :D

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  17. Quilts in mysteries, especially those se tin rural areas, are a must. :) Thanks for the great ideas here. Yes that'd get us going.
    Thanks for commenting on my blog (and for the chuckle). You give me too much credit with the idea of checking to see who is awake. :) Initially that was my R post, then I changed my mind and didn't make the correction until after I posted, when I did remember. I, too, need more sleep. Enjoy your weekend. We're taking off to be with family as well. Happy Easter!

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    1. Hope you had a good Easter. I ate a light chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies. :-) We also went to church with their daughter and son-in-law, and it was a great service. I think I was even awake. :-)

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  18. I suppose in the comic fantasy I seem to end up writing so often, a quilt would be the ideal magical item, in that it's a bit unwieldy and unlikely. A story in which the heroes accidentally take the Fates' quilt of destiny to a jumble sale might work, if they then have to try to recover it.

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  19. Finding a body wrapped in a quilt.... Character debates, 'Should I touch it, or...' Reader leaps in, 'No, don't touch it!!!' <--- That's how those moments go for me when I'm reading.

    In fantasy, the quilt could be an incidental map of locations in another world, each square detailing the way to some landmark or artifact. Or maybe, swerving into the dark lane, the patches serve as a sort of 'Pandora's box' where details of creatures are sewn into the patterns, which the character cannot help but to trace lightly with her fingertips. Unfortunately, to trace the patterns is the same as reading a text. The symbols grant these beasts entrance into this world. (The coffee has spoken.)

    The Immarcescible Word

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    1. Great suggestions. Thanks so much for your input.

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  20. Great ideas, Debi. When will we see the finished versions?

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  21. Great ideas! My husband's mom and her mom loved quilting. We have quilts all over our house. I would add, for those thinking about the MG/YA idea, that you might want to make it Twitter or Instagram. According to most of the tweens/teens I know, "Only old people are on Facebook now." Old=over 20.

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    1. Hah! that's true, though I have some 17-18 friends on there. Haven't seen them younger. :-) Thanks!

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  22. Love the ideas. My moms boyfriend is the only one I ever knew that made quilts. He made one for all the grandkids in the family.

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    1. I always planned to make one for everyone in the family--sisters, aunts, kids, grandkids. So far, I've made one for my hubby. :-)

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  23. Those writing workshops are interesting. The one I went to in LA surprised me-"F" words, raunchy writing. Sex just hovered in the air. I wrote a great poem about Marilyn Monroe--wish I could find it.

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    1. Hmm. Maybe check your silverware drawer. That's where I found my glasses yesterday. :-)

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  24. Wow. That's really impressive, Debi. Great theme! :)

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    1. Thank you. It's been fun writing prompts and ideas.

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  25. This was such a great post and some really fine ideas but I esp loved the romance one...the grandmother after all knew the right girl for him!
    Wishing you and your family a very happy easter!! :)

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    1. I hope you had a fine holiday as well, Aditi!

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  26. Memory quilts are the best. Each square is created to represent an important moment in your life. It is both funny and frightening when you think about the different thoughts running through a person's mind at the most unlikely times!

    Julie

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    1. Can't argue with that. :-)
      Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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  27. A memory blanket! What a lovely, lovely thing. :)

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  28. Debi
    Have a great sunday of Easter together with the family
    Geraldo

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    1. I hope you had a good day, too, Geraldo.

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  29. I don't read much romance but I really liked your idea. Could totally see that as a women's fiction type story, maybe tying in memory loss and caregiving and how people like the waitress handle rough patches or a rough life.

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

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  30. I read every one of your glimpses into a story, which is rare, because usually other bloggers don't hold my attention that long. Thank you, Debi.

    Quilts are a passion of mine. I read Debbie Macomber (sp?) stories, but these stories are more intense. Again, thanks.

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  31. Ohhh, I absolutely love the Mystery prompt! What a great idea for your post. :)

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  32. I think of it in terms of history.

    Do you remember the controversy from the Underground Railroads and quilts? An overzealous author argued that quilts were used as sort of maps to guide escaped slaves to freedom. Though the assertion generated interest, the author can never substantiate the role of quilts and most historians discredit it all together now.

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    1. Wow. that's really interesting. I've read about the Underground, but I've never come across this. Thanks!

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    2. Actually I've read about that as well, sadly can't remember where I read it, great idea.
      You gave some great ideas for a hard word there, excellent.
      Maggie@expatbrazil

      Maggie@expatbrazil

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  33. Ummm My post may have disappeared :( Or maybe it's awaiting moderation? So just in case, I will give brief cliff notes.

    Read earlier in the week, but couldn't come up with a fun prompt using quilt like I had hoped to. Then wasn't sure that is what you offered people to do in comments to begin with. Thought it best to just comment and catch up!

    Sweet theme! I'll have to see if you use it throughout the challenge. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

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    1. Thanks, Jak, and yes, you can add to these prompts with your own ideas, but you don't have to. Thanks for stopping.

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