Writer In Motion Prompt is Here!

Last week I unveiled the Writer In Motion project and talked a little bit about my writing process. Basically if you want to drive from Washington to Oregon via Chicago, that’s about how I roll.

Today we enter Week 2, the prompt.

Provided by the awesome gamemaster, Jeni Chappelle, the prompt will become the spark that kicks off this new story, and I can’t wait to get started.

Pre-prompt jitters

For seven years of my life I was a runner. Every afternoon when the final school bell rang, I’d grab my gear and race to the track. I was eager to run, to stretch and warm up, to get all the jitters from the day out of my system and get to work.

During high school I hit my stride as a runner. In fact, I got invited to some pretty prestigious track and field meets, but they all had one thing in common. That moment before a race where your body is warmed up and ready to go, where you have to pee so bad you begin to gauge whether there’s enough time to bolt to the bathroom before the starter orders you to the blocks. (You never do) All that excitement and nervousness builds until you’re about to explode, but in the back of your head is a single truth: once the starting gun goes off, the jitters are gone, you no longer have to pee, and your brain forgets everything but the finish line.

While the Writer In Motion project isn’t a race, the excitement behind the scenes is starting to build. The writers are excited to get the first glimpse of our prompt because we’re ready to dive into a new story. There are still five days to go, but I’m both excited and antsy to get started. I love exploring new worlds and characters, and there’s the question that keeps nudging my brain: will this story take place in one of my established universes or will I begin weaving the first threads of a new one?

Opening the prompt

Today is June 7th, and it’s about 7am, which means I slept in 2 hours late. My eye is infected and swollen, so it looks like I got in a hell of a fight, the weather is barely 50 degrees outside, and I’ve just been informed that sneaky Jeni Chappelle launched the Writer In Motion prompt a day early.

So let’s roll!

The Prompt

Note on the article: Jeni called me brilliant. Someone please write this down.

Okay, here’s Jeni’s prompt in image form. Big thanks to Casey Horner at Unsplash.

First impression

The duality of color in this is gorgeous. My eye was immediately drawn to the decay, the rust and peeling paint, and what it must be like to climb through the grounded vessel long after its glory days. What I really adore though is the derelict feel of the surrounding landscape. Nothing lives inside the boat or on the visible terrain, but one look at the stars and there’s an abundance of life and energy that’s far out of reach.

So my questions start flowing in.

  • Who would be here?
  • Why would they be here?
  • Does the barren landscape speak of a post-war climate, or is it part of a homeward bound journey?

Right about here is where I start to see the first inklings of a picture. Someone’s alone, injured, maybe even bleeding. This is definitely a journey home. Perhaps to say goodbye to a loved one, or to get one last peek at something important.

Life feels at an end here. A last spark before the decay sets in and steals another heartbeat.

I don’t have enough information yet, and I still haven’t asked all the right questions, but already in my head the idea is beginning to take shape. The character is male, alone, and he has something in his hand (maybe a picture of someone special). He’s lost everything, his whole life wasted before he gets to the place he needs to be, or corrects the mistake he made.

And the next question comes:

  • Does this character live in one of my existing universes or is he from an entirely new plane in my head?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure yet. He’s human, and he has one question burning a hole in his head. Was it worth it?

As you can see, it’s the questions I have to ask that get the creative juices flowing. But I’m going to stop here as I have kids to scramble off to school, Writer In Motion posts to retweet, and client work to finish. Plus I’m reading Writer In Motion’s participant Sean’s opening pages and loving them.

It’s time to start my day, but the idea is brewing. I may even do another blog post mid-week to chat more about how I’m brainstorming and what I’ve discovered about this character so far, no guarantees though.

Anyways, if you want to follow along with my thought process through images, you can follow me on Pinterest. You can also follow the other writers through the #WriterInMotion hashtag or we’ve got them all listed on the >Writer In Motion project page.

Follow along with your own short story.

The Writer In Motion team invites anyone to follow along with the prompt, write your own short story, and blog about your revision process. If this is something that interests you, check out Jeni Chappelle’s tweet for information and let us support your journey too.

And just for fun, here’s some historical information about the shipwreck.

Note: It’s now 6pm in the evening and I’m still not finished with this post. Life derailed me today several times and I still haven’t gotten past the first few questions. Can’t wait to have time to thoroughly brainstorm. Welcome to life in the revision trenches!


K. J. Harrowick K.J. Harrowick is a freelance web developer and graphic designer with more than a decade on industry experience on a diverse range of projects. As a child, she fell in love with fantasy worlds like those found in the books of Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey, which continued well into adulthood with the worlds of Ivan Cat, Rand & Robin Miller, Terry Brooks, Orson Scott Card, and E. R. Mason. She began to world build and create fantasy languages in 2004, and in 2014 it became a full-blown passion to write and publish her own books. Currently she resides in the rainy Pacific Northwest where she works with a broad range of client projects, plots how to destroy her characters’ lives, and occasionally falls down rabbit holes.

Don’t forget to check out this year’s Winterviews and partner interviews. You can also follow the Writer In Motion journey by subscribing to this blog.