Writer In Motion 2021: The Prompt

IT HAS BEGUN. I’m so excited to get started with this year’s Writer In Motion event!

Writer in Motion 2020 spurred me to create this blog and was basically my introduction to the online writing community. I had so much fun participating and learned a ton from the process, even though I signed up too late to work with an editor. You can read my posts from last year here:

Week 0: The Prompt

Week 1: First Draft and thoughts on process and vulnerability (about how I failed to post my actual first draft…lol!)

Week 2: Self-Edited Draft

Week 3: CP Edit and Draft

Week 4: Final Draft: The Witch of Blue Ridge

Week 5: Final Thoughts

This year’s prompt

A closeup of a dark-hooded figure with a hand over their unseen face. Smoke seeps out between their fingers, obscuring any features.
Photo by Jaroslav Devia at Unsplash

I noticed that the photographer included thoughts on the photo in Spanish.

[Siento] que en la actulidad nos venden muchas cosas que si lo vemos como una metafora es humo nos venden humo cosas muy falsas que duran poco…

Photographer Jaroslav Devia

Rough translation (per Google Translate): “I feel that currently they sell us many things that, if we see it as a metaphor, it is smoke, they sell us smoke, very false things that last a short time.”

My initial reactions

Devia’s portrait portrays a person who does not show their true face, but merely an illusion. Yet when I looked at it, my first thought was concern for this person–are they on fire? Are they trying to hold the smoke in and remain corporeal? Are they pressing something to their face that burns them, like a brand? Or are they hiding themselves? Is there even a face under that hood/hat, or is it completely empty?

Or perhaps this is a vampire who stepped out into the sun and expected their head covering to save them, but it did not. (It reminds me of Spike traveling under a blanket in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with curls of smoke trailing off him–a character who refused to accept the restrictions that his nature imposed on him.)

When someone hides their true face, is it fair to assume they are trying to deceive out of malicious intent? Perhaps they are just afraid, or in pain, or very sensitive to light. As a person who can be reserved and aloof when I don’t feel at home (and who suffers migraines and burns to a crisp in the sun) I can relate.

The other thing that came into my head when I looked at this was the idea of shadow people. I’m fascinated by all things spooky, paranormal, and cryptid, and shadow people are some of the most creepy urban legends around. While I was poking around the internet reading dubiously sourced articles about this phenomenon, I came upon this article linking shadow people to Djinn–spirits of fire from Arabian myth. Although I probably wouldn’t write about Djinn, since they come from a culture and mythos different from my own, the connection between fire spirits and shadow people definitely sparked some ideas for me.

Last year, I wrote a story from the perspective of a witch who in another story might be a creepy monster. Maybe this year I will write from the perspective of a person who lives in the shadows–whether by choice or otherwise.

Some Housekeeping and Links!

I’ve been trying to post to this blog once per week with thoughts about my writing process and news on the publishing front. I will probably still try to do my normal Monday posts–keep an eye out next week for my thoughts on building a writing habit and staying on track with goals. (It’s funny because I’m behind on my word count already this month…) I may try to put together my Writer In Motion posts for Friday afternoons. We’ll see what happens.

If you enjoyed my post earlier this week about the joy of pantsing, please check out Mia Tsai’s blog post on The Art of Pantsing in the Rain! I love this:

So, pantsers, embrace it: you are improvisers, you are miracle workers, you are repositories of information. You are everything you learned and everything you love and your writing process is a wonderful chaos crucible, a cauldron of delight, that you are as excited as the rest of us to read.

Mia Tsai, No Wrong Notes

I also loved this delightfully funny and on-point post from my Pitch Wars classmate Briana Una McGunkin about writer’s block, in which she interrogates the various aspects of her creative brain: Writer, INC: Who’s In Charge Here?

Yours truly took a trip into her own brain to find out just who’s in charge at Writer, Incorporated. What follows is a series of interviews with the various voices in my head, like any perfectly normal person might conduct. It’s like Are You My Mother? but for writers.

Briana Una McGunkin, Moon Missives

My friend Adria Balton is also participating in Writer In Motion this year! Follow along with her writing process on her blog here. If you are participating, let me know in the comments so I can link back to you!

Now time for me to go stare at this prompt some more…

2 thoughts on “Writer In Motion 2021: The Prompt

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