Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y IS FOR YODEL!


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

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

Romance. Kirsten wanted to stay home, but Janessa wouldn’t take no for an answer and hauled her down to the karaoke bar, because the owners were doing something different tonight. A yodeling contest. Seriously? Fine, she’d go, but no way would she stand up there and yap like a hillbilly. But her plan didn’t go so well when Janessa enlisted a couple of patrons to help tote Kirsten to center stage.

Laughing more out of embarrassment than enjoyment, Kirsten couldn’t get out even one yodel. Then Janessa had the gall to ask the audience for volunteers to do a yodeling duet to help Kirsten out. Kirsten’s first instinct was to ring her best friend’s neck. She changed her mind when a man with Blake Shelton’s dimples and sexy green eyes hopped onto the stage and stood beside her. Add a little music, clapping, and toe tapping to this scene, and it won’t be long and Kirsten will be yodeling and dancing a do-si-do for the rest of her life.

Mystery. Karleah wasn’t really breaking and entering when she stepped into her brother’s apartment. He’d said she could borrow his lightweight dumbbells to start getting in shape before she invested her own money into any equipment. Jogging she understood, but it wasn’t doing much for the flapping wings of her upper arms.

She didn’t even switch on a light until she got to the spare bedroom that he called his mini gym. She turned on a small desk lamp, but she couldn’t find the dumbbells. She got down on her knees and peeked under the desk. There they were.

Just as she grabbed the weights, two voices carried from the front room, and neither one belonged to her brother. One sounded harsh, then the voices quieted, until one let out a chuckle that turned into a sort of yodel. A really odd but unmistakable laugh. She had the impression these guys were not her brother’s friends. Soon she heard clanging and thumping–they were fighting. Trembling, she waited until she heard nothing, then she crept to the living room. Yes, a big man lay with his head bleeding. Karleah stepped closer, picked up the bloody fireplace poker next to him, then dropped it, just as a voice from the doorway said, “Hands in the air.”

Investigating to clear herself, Karleah interviews friends and family of the deceased, as well as her brother who claims to have no idea what’s going on. She learns that the dead guy had a very gruff laugh. Good. Now all she has to do is find the one man in the world who had a yodeling sort of laugh.

Literary.

Dreams of the yodeling woman in the blue dress had first interrupted Mia’s sleep when she was six years old. Her parents had told her she’d probably seen someone on TV that impressed her, and her subconscious thought about the strange singing during her sleep. By the time she was ten and often yawning through school, she knew better than to ask her parents if they knew such a woman. They would not only insist it must have been someone on TV, but they’d get irritated with her for repeatedly bringing up the subject. They weren’t even open to discussion about it, which made Mia even more curious. It wasn’t until her early twenties that she’d forgotten about the lady, because through adolescence and her new adult years, her own yearnings, teenage angst, and social life kept her brain more than busy. But just after her thirtieth birthday and on the day she began working at her fifth job for the year (hoping to find her true calling), the dreams were back, and this time more vivid. The woman spoke to her. “Don’t forget me,” she said, and when she did, Mia felt sure she’d heard the voice before, sometime long ago.

This might sound more like suspense than a literary story, but it’s what you do with it that can make it either. It can be both. Use metaphor and incorporate a sense of self discovery in your symbolism. At some point, Mia will realize that she isn’t looking for answers to a dream. She’s looking for a piece of her own past, and just like all of our pasts, until we can put can them in proper perspective, they can hold us at a standing point, stop us from moving forward. For Mia, she will never find her place in the world, not at work and not at home, until she takes the time to know who she is. She needs to satisfy the restlessness within.

Children’s stories. Since I have a bad flu while I’m writing this, I’m going to incorporate a little truth into this premise for a story. Afflicted with an unrelenting flu and sore throat for the last twelve hours, thirteen-year-old Sophia fretted on how she’d manage to show up for the preliminary choir recitals. She hadn’t missed a day of rehearsal throughout the entire exhausting month, and now she could barely open her mouth without running to the toilet. How was she to yodel? And Mrs. M was counting on her, and no one else had practiced the yodeling aprt, because it was assigned specifically to Sophia.

If she talked to Mrs. M, surely there’d be disappointment, but Mrs. M would understand and tell her to stay home. But throw in the towel two days before the big finale? No way. There had to be a solution. Sophia had already eaten soda crackers, and that wasn’t working. Chicken soup and warm 7-Up hadn’t helped, and neither did gargling with that nasty tasting salt water. What if she got up under the spotlight and hurled right in front of everyone? Or passed out–she sure felt as though she could.

Okay writers, I strongly suspect that many of you have more energy than I do right now, so I hope you can finish this up. It’s not hard to imagine what could possibly go wrong in this story, but to make it work I think the stakes would need to be a bit higher. There’d have to be some reason that showing up for this recital is so important to Sophia, more so than simply to tell herself that she did it. But then, not wanting to let down an instructor that you admire can have power, because we all have to face letting someone down at some point in our lives. Besides possible disappointment, what else can go wrong when Sophia considers her goal? Maybe she does take the chance, and she knows she’s about to throw up, so she runs offstage, just in time to puke all over her secret crush who was watching from the left wing.

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!

 

 

96 comments:

  1. Yodel your way to a romance. Awesome one Debi!!

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  2. Great write Debi, I love to hear yodling, we here in the UK had a couple of singers who yoleled very good.
    Yvonne.

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  3. Sorry -- just can't quite picture yodeling in a romance. At a local high school beauty contest, one contestant sang "The Lonely Goatherd" from "Sound of Music." When the girl was introduced, a woman sitting near me said a little bit too loud, "Oh sh!t, she's going to yodel." It was embarrassing AND hilarious.
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

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  4. No matter how Yodel is used, it can't be serious.

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  5. lol yodeling in Switzerland may be romantic, right?

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    1. I should've known...... Pat The Kitty Cat Hatt's here too. Darn... I thought I was special.

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  6. Ah! I had to yodel once--for Sound of Music. I don't think I got it down very well, but at least I understand the concept of HOW to yodel. So there you go: a story premise for a girl playing Maria Rainer in the Sound of Music. =)

    True Heroes from A to Z

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    1. Crystal, thanks so much for stopping by. I can imagine you could yodel quite well. I still remember your singing you had in that post. Awesome!

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  7. I love yodeling...not me! Listening to others who yodel-yup the secret is out! I love yodeling music and have a couple of CD's and records as it reminds me of Europe and to me, it feels homey. I think the young girl musters the will to go to the recital. She can hardly see straight but she is determined to yodel as she loves it so much. This one chicky-bird who think she is the next Bo Derek laughs and berates her love of yodeling but she is just jealous because she is the not the star of the recital. Sophia starts to yodel and sounds like the beautiful angels from the mountains, everyone is entranced by he beautiful voice. She finishes and bows to the audience several times. She leaves the stage and runs into Chicky-bird, takes one look at her and hurls over her brand new Jimmy Choo shoes. Chicky-bird wails like a cat in heat while Sophia, sicker than ever, feels triumphant. OK my little ending to your start...hope you don't mind:)

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    1. Oh and you write much better than I do but had to try:)

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    2. I LOVE IT! Thanks so much. You sure wrote a fun ending.

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  8. Until today, it never occurred to me to use yodeling in my WiP. I am not sure that there is a place for it in my current project, but this post reminds me to never rule anything out!!!

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    1. Hee! Thanks for stopping by, Robin.

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    2. WAIT! Robin, you're here too? Seems to me this is the place to be.

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  9. I can't picture yodeling and romance unless it has comedy included.

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  10. Wow, you made yodel work for all of these ideas. Nice.

    LittleCely's Blog

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  11. Yodel and romance sounds a bit comic.

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    1. Yes, but then I do love romantic comedies the most. I love to laugh. :-)

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  12. I'd never thought of using yodeling, but you've done it across genres and it worked. Very impressive, Debi.

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  13. It's difficult NOT to make yodeling funny! These were great though.
    Hope you get over your flu soon! Feel better :)

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    1. Still chomping soda crackers and Tums. :-( Thanks.

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  14. I can't say I've ever worked yodeling into a story.

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    1. Um, I've read your writing. You could handle yodeling or anything else that comes your way. :-)

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  15. What a clever idea for the A to Z Challenge!

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  16. Wow, I was entertained. You did an unbelievable job of crossing genres, too. Quite impressive! My mother in law used to yodel. Probably the only person I ever heard do it--other than recordings.

    I have run across some very talented writers while doing the A to Z, and you certainly rank among them! :-) !

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  17. Okay, 'yodel' caught me off guard, but you did an amazing job envisioning how to incorporate the word into storytelling. Impressive! :) (naturally, my imagination ponders the dark side of yodeling...)

    The Immarcescible Word

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  18. I never would've though of using yodeling in a book, but you pulled it off! :D

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  19. yea! for yodeling in various genres. You are very talented and I've enjoyed your a to z

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  20. I am impressed by your talent. What an original and amusing post. So many genres...which to write in...:)

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  21. I love that you can write so many genres and got yodel to work in the mystery. Nice.

    I hope you feel better. Maybe for Z you can just to to zzzzz.

    http://katloveswriting.blogspot.com

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    1. I am feeling a bit better today. I just might even get my Z post written. :-) Never give up, right?

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  23. A yodeling duet sounds pretty awesome, and Blake Sheldon in the mix of things, oh, that's a good one. I was thinking of yodeling in romance, somewhere very rural, as a way to call someone from afar, maybe a lover. :)
    Hope you feel better soon, Deb. Take care.

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  24. Love your writing prompts. I also hope you feel better soon. I have had a cold/allergies this month. It doesn't help does it?

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    1. It doesn't seem fair to have allergies ruin a beautiful season. As for the flu, who knows why it chose me. :-)

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  25. Alas, my wife insists that I have never had an idea worth having.

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    1. Oh, um, well, was it your idea to marry her? :-) That should rate as a good idea. :-)

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  26. I thought for sure it was going to be yo-yo. I like yodel so much more, though. I think I'd have an actress staring in a stage version of "The Sound of Music" and doing the "Lonely Goatherd" song . . .

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  27. Yep, I can see how a Blake Sheldon look-a-like would inspire one to belt out a Yodel-lay-e-hoo or two. Thank-you Janessa!!! And you...feel better soon, I think you may have a Yodel-lay-e-hoo coming from a publisher after all these clever posts.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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  28. I would have never thought of putting yodeling into a story. Now you have me wanting to.

    ~Patricia Lynne~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, YA Author

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    1. Go for it, Patricia. And let me know if you do. I'd love to read it.

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  29. Interesting that you picked yodel for your Y word. I would have thought it a little different. What if our heroine can't sing because of her sickness, but can only yodel instead? She yodels at the concert.

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    1. Good suggestion. That could be interesting. :-) I picked yodel because I didn't think it would be easy. :-)

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  30. I was wondering what word you were going to use.
    Then I saw yodel, and wondered how this word would fit in.
    You did a great job. I like the mystery and the literary ideas...

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  31. More great story ideas.

    I hope you feel better soon.

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

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  32. I'm so glad you stopped by my blog, I may never have found you otherwise. Loved your yodel stories. My daughter (the one I mentioned in my post yesterday) once asked her singing teacher if she would teach her to yodel. The teacher advised me to find a different tutor if that was what my daughter thought was singing. She did eventually meet someone who taught her and still yodels whenever she needs a pick me up. It's her "make me happy" singing.

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    1. Wow. How wonderful. I'm so glad you told me this.

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  33. Thanks for stopping by my blog ! Nice to meet you. I like the variations on a word, especially like yodel. I usually work from scenes that come into my head.

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  34. I had no idea how you were going to make 'yodel' into a mystery, but I am definitely impressed :)

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by. Just think, it's almost Z time! :-)

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  35. Continuing w/ the YA theme: Sophia knew she wasn't the only one suffering from laryngitis and the flu. Mrs. M. had insisted everyone practice at 6:00 a.m. every morning the week before the performance. Missing the show was out of the question. Not only would she fail the class, but Sophia knew Mrs. M. wouldn't let her sing in the YouTube video they were recording. Having the video go viral was a school tradition after last year's success making one go viral. And she still had her senior project to finish. Well, K would just have to understand. Sophia just couldn't miss the show. The paper could wait. (ugh. channeling some frustrations here)

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    1. Excellent suggestion, Glenda. That certainly adds more tension. Great!

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  36. brilliant depictions as usual. :) thank you. Your snippets always inject me with a desire to write in a much more descriptive manner than I do.



    http://ceciliaaclark.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Thanks, Cecilia. I appreciate your comment.

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  37. Fun stuff. I love a good yodel. :)

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  38. Wow, very creative and ambitious theme! I applaud you. As for other genres, I write a lot of horror, and believe me…a yodel is horrifying all on its own. It needs no embellishment. :)

    You did a great job. I particularly liked the ominous tone of the mystery.

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  39. Ever seen a Blueman yodel? It's not a pretty sight. Good thing it's not on youtube mytube or anytube.
    So this is the place to be.... Let's see..... The Cat is here, so is Robin.... You know what, I might just stay. Now excuse me while I go and read the next line....

    The yodeling woman in the blue dress.... I like that. The word yodel in a children's book.... I collect children's books and you're the first one to get away with a sentence like, "How was she to yodel?" I'm impressed.

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    1. I thought I was special.....not even a mention. *Turns away in huff*

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    2. It's work off the top of my head and no revision. :-)

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    3. Hi Jules! (She's my favorite Brit, mind you. We're off to go to Bora Bora in 2040 I think it was...)

      See, she can be so distracting.

      No revision at all.... I couldn't possibly do that.

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    4. ;-) I'm sure I'll pay for it in deep humiliation someday.

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  40. Hi Debi - thanks for calling in yesterday ... I'm having pc problems .. but I will be around and back .. just somewhat disjointed at the moment. just got Z up though - luckily.

    It's easier not to tempt fate at the moment ... thanks for the visit though .. cheers for now - Hilary

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    1. Thanks. I set my Z post for automatic timer to come up at 12:30 a.m., had just finished writing it shortly after 10:30, but it never posted automatically, so I just did it now. That will mess up the timing for e-mail subscribers. :-(
      Don't know what I did wrong, but I was pretty tired, so ...

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  41. I had a go at yodelling in Mexico. It was after several margaritas and a pile of dutch courage. I was not saved by Mr Right but laughed off stage for my poor attempt. I've never been the same since.

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    1. My throat would get sore if I even thought about it. :-) Characters can always do what I can't. :-)

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  42. Thanks so much for stopping by and following my blog! :) Whenever I think of yodeling, I am reminded of Slim Whitman!

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    1. Hee! Yeah. I think of Swiss Miss commercials.

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  43. I'm convinced - YOU can write a story about anything! It's been fun reading your plot bunnies. This time it's the literary concept that's most intrigued me.

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    1. Thanks, Nicki, and thanks for stopping by.

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  44. I was wondering how the yodel would figure into the mystery story. Ha!
    Reminds me of a knock-knock joke from grade school:

    "Knock-knock."
    "Who's there?"
    "Little old lady."
    "Little old lady who?"
    "I didn't know you could yodel!"

    I guess that could figure into a children's tale...a quite lame one. :)

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  45. Ha ha ha! I just saw a poster here in Geneva for the upcoming yodeling championships in July!

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