Let's face it - most of the time when we read something by an author, it has been through rounds of critiquing, beta-reading and editing. What you see as a finished product is often VERY VERY far from where it started. And I bet you didn't know that many authors do a lot of "practice" or "method" writing inbetween working on their drafts or editing. I thought it would be fun to show my readers what honest, in-the-moment writing looks like. No editing. Misspelling and plenty of errors abound. But it's often raw and honest and on-point. Sometimes, it's not. Sometimes, all it is is just a nice little exercise to jolt the muses awake for the "real thing." So once a month, I'll be a hosting a "writing prompt" post where I take on a new prompt and give it all I got. Feel free to jump in with your own version of the prompt in the comments or your blog!
Write a scene or short story in which your main character is a female child.
My father closes the comic book and sets it on the bedside table. "So, you see, Crescent City is a little like Gotham."
"Like we have a Batman and a Catwoman?" I ask excitedly.
His laugh shakes the bed. "No, darling. I wish, but what I mean is that even though lots of bad things happen here, it's our city and we love it. We protect it. We fight to make it better and expose the truth."
I think about the dark alleys we pass by at night when my father picks me up from Ruthie's apartment and how the police cars are usually squished between the buildings, yelling up at someone. Or the way the old wrinkly man on Belvedier Avenue is always in the same spot, with the same tin can, shaking it about, asking for money. I just give him a sad smile. If I had my own money, I'd give it to him! He's just sad. I wonder if this is what my father means.
"So we should save that old man who asks us for money, right?"
He looks down at me, his eyes squinting, his brow rising. He does this when he's confused I think.
"Yeah, baby," he says, softly. "We probably should."
"But why can't we?"
My father is quiet for a moment. When he talks, his voice is so small I can barely hear him. "Because we're just ordinary people. We don't have special powers and sometimes staying out of the way is helping."
He tucks the blankets under me like a cocoon of warmth and kisses my forehead. "Goodnight, love."
My father walks to the door and shuts off the light, but I'm still thinking about what he said. And I don't like it. Not one bit.
"I'm gonna be Batman someday. I'll be the one to tell the truth."
I don't have to see him to know that he's smiling.
Special Note: This exercise is EXACTLY why I wanted to start doing this - because in taking on this prompt - I've written a scene of backstory for my upcoming NaNoWriMo project. Even this itty bitty, tiny exercise sparked BIG ideas and gave me insight into my characters. There's always a good reason to practice your writing - even when you don't think you'll need it. You may end up surprised.