Saturday, April 26, 2014

W IS FOR WAINSCOTING!


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

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

 The first thing I do when I think of writing a Romance is take a deep breath, imagine the possibilities, and sort of smile and sigh at the same time.

Robin is hard-set on doing a little cosmetic remodeling to the small bungalow she’d recently inherited, and just thinking about doing the work herself–or at least most of it–fills her with pride. She’s almost glowing with it when she walks into Home Depot, expecting to find just the right shade of wainscoting for the new kitchen that she imagined the old one could be. But she finds more than wainscoting when a pleasant green-eyed man flashes his business card in front of her and says, “If you need that installed, I’m your guy.”  

She mentally swoons and orders her knees to stop shaking and palms to stop sweating. “I, um, I’m doing the work myself.”

With a smirk, he looks her petite frame up and down. “You’re kidding, right?”

She squares her shoulders, and the battle to romance begins. (P.S. Robin’s name originally was Jolene, but she decided to change it. You go, Robin! J)

If you want to turn the above scenario into a Mystery, then when Robin comes home after researching how-to’s on home renovation at the library, she notices a few things out of place in the house. Things not missing, but sitting at different angles. An antique clock that always faces the left just a bit now faces straight center on the shelf. The file of papers, death certificate, and the legal will of the previous owner–her great uncle whom she’d never met–has been shuffled through. A few crumbs of moist dirt speckle the carpet, but she had taken her shoes off at the door. Upon further inspection, she finds that same business card, the one from the green-eyed Romeo at Home Depot, on the floor under the desk. She checks her purse and the card she’d been given is still there. Something’s up. She checks the bedroom and stops right there.

Someone has left a stack of boxes of wainscoting. And it wasn’t the wallboard she’d decided on and that would be delivered tomorrow, but rather, a heavier grade and finer quality than she could afford. But how could anyone have known …

She’s too angry to even make a phone call and decides to confront the no-longer-attractive, arrogant intruder face to face instead. His address is on the business card, after all. But when she gets there and he doesn’t answer the door, which is open a crack, she nudges it. A much larger man than the guy she’d met is on the floor, a knife in his chest and blood pooled around him. She swallows the scream in her throat, and having forgotten her cell phone, she eases into the room and borrows the landline. That’s when she recognizes who the dead guy on the floor is–the attorney who handled her great uncle’s estate.

You can take it from there. J

Wainscoting can nestle right into a Literary story, because if you look at it closely, you’ll see a little writing inscribed over the wood butted next to the doorframe. Dates that Dorinda Burgess first started putting there in 1902, and more her daughter added in 1927, and those Aunt Florie added in 1945 and again in 1953 when she moved back to the house after having moved out. And then Mama, divorced like Aunt Florie, brought James and Rachael here in 1979, when Rachael was eight years old. And now here Rachael is again.

Next, decide what those dates signify and how it turned out that the women in this story  had all at sometime come back to the same house they’d started their lives in. Though the house has been remodeled many times, the wainscoting has never been replaced. It’s never been painted or re-varnished. The most it has seen is a dust cloth. There are a few cracks, a few stains, and yet this wainscoting has weathered through age and even a winter without heat and it’s still intact. Play with this idea and see how you can shape it into a specific and powerful (though possibly subtle, if you handle it correctly) meaning.

For a Children’s story, imagine that little Luke always wants to help Daddy, but he doesn’t know anything about attaching wainscoting to a wall. Still, he wants to surprise Daddy before he wakes up from his nap, which he’s taking way upstairs.

Armed with hammer and huge nails meant for four-by-four studs, Luke tackles the job. It isn’t the banging that finally wakes Dad; it’s the screaming. And not the screaming Luke did when he clobbered his own thumb, either. No, it’s the frantic scream he lets out when he hits the wainscoting a mite too hard and cracks it. What was it Dad had said about this stuff? The store couldn’t order anymore of this style, but that it was okay because he had the exact amount he needed?

Flesh that little scenario out and do it with love and humor, and you’ll have a great story for kids.

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, historical, or fantasy, please share! Readers will appreciate it.

Happy writing!

 

75 comments:

  1. A great post to start the day's reading, plenty of ideas for the future.
    Have a great week-end.
    Yvonne.

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  2. As soon as I saw my name... I knew we were going for a fun ride today. And, for the record, just by mentioning Jolene you have that song AGAIN on a loop de loop in my brain.

    Well, I know that Romance theme is completely unworkable if the character's name is Robin. I never meet anyone at Home Depot or Lowe's who is tall, dark, and handsome. I have met married, gay, short, and old, though....

    Thanks for the shout out Debi... that was fun:D

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    1. You have to get there really early in the morning when they first opened, because that's when all the big strong contractors are there to pick up their supplies. The older ones sleep in and then feed the birds before they start their six-hour days. :-)

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  3. Hey Debi! You stopped by my blog a week or so ago and I wanted to pop in and say hi! I love your theme for A to Z. What fun! I opted out this year, as I'm working at revisions on my novel. I look forward to seeing you around the blogosphere. :)

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  4. Great word! I love what you're doing with these. So inspiring!

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  5. First time I ever even heard that word haha but yeah it can be helpful as a story provider

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    1. I love original wainscoting in old houses, and some of the new stuff looks pretty close to it, but some is very cheap-looking knockoffs.

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  6. A very interesting word for W, and what an idea for a romance novel. I were a novelist, I would have fun with this one :)

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    1. Thank you, and I'm glad you stopped by. I have family over today, so I'll be a little slow and getting over to other blogs today, but I will get there. :-)

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  7. I have read through your past few posts and I'm truly in awe of the effort you have put into them. In awe and maybe a little bit envious. This year's A-Z Challenge has kicked my butt a bit--I have a few "real" posts and lots and lots of what I call "cop-out" posts. I did better last year, but not sure that counts. :)

    Thanks for stopping by & following. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, and I appreciate your visit, too, and the follow.

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  8. Never thought to start a story with wainscoting but there you do it and great to. Poor kid's going to get into trouble. That green-eyed guy is not to be trusted. What came to my mind. After a bad divorce, Eve bought an old home and like most silly women decide to paint the beautiful wood wainscoting that has been left un-touched for over 100 years because she thinks an off white would be better (can you tell I hate it when people paint wood). She starts to sand the wainscoting and as she sands she starts to notice something coming from the wood. It appears to be a faint image of a face. The more Eve sands the more the face becomes present and she sees his tortured look and eyes staring at her. Suddenly she notices other faces coming through the walls....

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    1. WOW! I love your idea much better than mine. Thanks so much!

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  9. I'm very impressed, debi.... these excerpts are AMAZING..... Well done!

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  10. Hi debi your posts make me feel smarter and overwhelmed at the same time... smarter because i feel like I could make something of a story with your tips and overwhelmed because you write more romance, mystery, literature and children's stories in a single post (every day for a month) than I could imagine doing in a year...

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    1. Thank you so much, Ida. It's been fun.

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  11. I never would've thought of any of these ideas you presented. Consider my mind blown. ;)

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  12. What clever ways to work wainscoting into a story. I love them.

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  13. Hmm I'll take the fantasy route. Turns out that once the wainscot is applied it creates a doorway that leads her a to a dark world overrun by the mysterious green eyed stranger she met in Home Depot. He has been watching her from the other side and his plan is to kidnap her and make her his bride. He gives her the wainscot knowing that once she put it on the wall the door will open and she will be too curious, not to cross over. Robin doesn't know it but she was born into the world a white witch, and as she begins to explore the dark world her powers start coming to light. The green eyed stranger tracks her progress by sending out his right hand man, Caleb to watch over her as a spy. Caleb leads Robin awry at first but then he starts to develop feelings for her, and soon his only wish is to return Robin back to her world, and keep her safe. But will they ever be able to find the door that led her to the Dark World in the first place? The door was one sided, once she entered there was no turning back. Is she trapped there forever, destined to be the bride of a man more powerful then she could ever imagine. Or will her powers work to her advantage and help her open the portal once again?

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    1. Excellent go at a great story idea. Thanks so much!

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  14. This is such a neat way to approach the challenge. Wainscoting, who knew?

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  15. Very clever! I like the mystery. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I appreciate your visit.

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  16. I love wainscoting. :) And it needs some attention in a house that one of my characters inherited. It's a very old, neglected thing, that poor house.

    The Immarcescible Word

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    1. The wainscoting will certainly add character to the house in the story. :-)

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  17. Not only do I like wainscoting, but the fact that Robin decided on a different name. That's my kind of character. The battle of romance has her name (the new one) written all over it. Go Robin!

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  18. I appreciate wainscoting and I wish I had it in my kitchen. Although I'm not a writer, I found your W post entertaining and interesting. I'm more of a "writer's groupie." I just hang out with them. Ha
    Your hair is very attractive. Thanks for stopping at my blog. It's nice to meet you too.

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  19. I had to Google the word. I'd never heard it before. Obviously remodeling isn't my thing

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    1. You make up for it with your writing, Alex. :-)

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  20. Well, my first thought was of the old Monty Python sketch. But then I thought of The Money Pit; a story involving house renovations could be fun.

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    1. I think there's a lot of room for creation in a story about home renovations. I'll have to look up The Money Pit. Is that a book?

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  21. Such a fantastic writing post! I love the wainscoting idea, and especially your suggestions when it comes to inserting into a children's story. Thanks so much!

    Sheri at Writer's Alley

    Home of Rebel Writer CREED 2014
    Mighty Minion Bureau Team #atozchallenge

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    1. Thank you so much, Sheri! I'm glad you stopped by.

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  22. That is an interesting one for "W." I'm pretty sure I've never used wainscoting in a book!

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    1. Keep it in mind for your next book. :-)

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  23. Ugh... a green eyed adonis again. I'd hire him and pay him in kind ;)

    Robin. I like Robin. I liked Jolene too, though :)

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    1. Green eyes – yes. Can you guess what color of eyes the love of my life has?

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  24. Love the literary tip. :-)

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  25. Wainscoting! Now that was a surprise. You're not making it easy. Good for you!
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

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  26. Love the romance battle angle!!!

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  27. I am enjoying your little writing ploys. :)

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  28. Interesting ways to use wainscoting!

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  29. Debi this is so original! I love it! You're doing something unique here. With the way you use something so simple as wainscoting and turn it into an important story element is the sign of a very talented writer!

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  30. Hi Debi, I'm so glad you stopped by so I could come find you here - I love your theme!!! It's so smart, and it's so fun to see each idea turned into a different genre. I'll definitely be back!

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  31. Hi Debi, I'm so glad you stopped by so I could come find you here - I love your theme!!! It's so smart, and it's so fun to see each idea turned into a different genre. I'll definitely be back!

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    1. Thank you so much, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your posts as well, Liz.

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  32. How clever your wainscotting ideas are. I've never used it in a book, but I'll have to keep in the back of my mind for future. :) Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

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  33. Aloha Debi,

    Some great ideas here, so thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mark, and I'm glad you enjoyed this post.

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  34. Debi,

    What a great post. You have quite an imagination. After the A to Z is over, you should consider giving out writing prompts in your posts. You're good at getting the creative juices flowing.

    Sunni
    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

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    1. Maybe I will. It would give me something to post. :-)

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    2. You really should. You're VERY good at coming up with just a few short pargraphs to get people started. :)

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    3. Ok, I'll be sure to do that now and then, :-)

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  35. The Children's entry for this blog made me chuckle. It was not in the bad sense, it's that I feel sorry for this kid.

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  36. Hi Debi .. Wainscotting can conjure up many a ghostly ghoul from me .. or Jerry the mouse getting away from Tom ... oh and I've done that sort of thing .. don't remember screaming though, but I cringe to this day!

    Thanks for coming by and finding the blog and I'll definitely see you around - my ideas are free too!! .. Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hee! I was waiting for someone to comment on the 'free' ideas. Thanks for stopping over and for the follow, Hilary.

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