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Fiction Coming of Age Inspirational

[Friday]

Jared relaxed in front of his laptop on a bright Friday afternoon after another busy week of school. He simply sat and stared down the writing prompts, imploring them to spark an idea to light a fire. He could go in any direction for this week’s theme - Stubbornness. He read and reread the prompts, waiting for that miraculous moment where an entire story took shape in his mind. ‘Miraculous’ since it rarely happens.

Jared moved to lounge on his dorm bed munching on chips with his unfinished assignments thrown across the bed. He ignored them all and opened a new document and stared at the white page. Ok, where to begin. Where to end?  He wrote down one prompt at the top of the page:

Write a story in which a character justifies an argument with: “Because I said so!”

Jared chuckled as he practically heard his parents’ voices through this one phrase. Ok, he thought. I can write about parents scolding a kid. But where to begin… He faced off with the white canvas, fingers at the ready, poised to attack if an idea materialized. After some time he leaned back and thought, I just need to jot down some notes. He consoled himself as he picked up a notepad and pen…

Alex only noticed the car seconds before he was hit, he was trying to save a black cat that had crossed his path. Suddenly there was Death standing in front of him...

A mother troll tenderly rocked her newborn baby, concern for the return of her husband clear on her face…

A black cat watched the little boy playing with his ball as it rolled closer and closer to the streets…

...Something about a kangaroo…?

Almost an hour went by and Jared had compiled random thoughts of characters, settings, scenes and even some jokes. His notepad was full of crossed out ideas that didn’t feel right. He had multiple paragraphs on his laptop of poetically worded scenes of different worlds and stories, none of which went together. 

With a sigh he powered off his laptop, put it next to his bed and laid down on top of his sheets, not bothering to change. I have plenty of time, he thought as he started drifting off. This will be a great story, whatever I decide to write about...

[Monday]

Write a story about someone sticking a course of action, even when they know it’s wrong

Jared was once again atop his bed, school work as done as it’ll get for the day. Hmm, not sure how I can spin that one to make it interesting. It might be a longer story than I can manage since it’s already Monday.  “Hey Jared!” His roommate, Chad, called from the open door. Jared looked up from the screen to see four boys crowding the doorway. “We’re heading out for some food and a little late night volleyball. Wanna join?” Jared looked from his pizza, to the laptop and to Chad. Thoughts of his essays, exams and now writing were making his brain swell.

“Nah, I think I’m good tonight,” he said. “I still have a ton of work to do.” 

“Alright,” Chad replied. “Suit yourself. Let’s go guys.” And with that they all headed off down the hall. Jared stared at the prompts, his mind going blank again. After another thirty seconds he raced off after Chad. 

“Hey! Wait for me!” Jared called as he ran after them. You only get to live once right? I’ll have plenty of time to write later.

[Tuesday]

Write a story about two people who need each other, but are too stubborn to admit it

As Jared walked to his college class he muddled over the possibilities for this prompt. I can take this one in so many cool directions, he thought to himself as he stopped by the giant fountain in front of the main lecture halls. A giant narwhal of all creatures, stood poised above the clear water with streams gushing and spraying out of the nozzles. His gaze became enthralled with water, the lapping of the mini waves pulling his mind under…

The pirate ship was flung over the cresting waves, her sails soaked from the onslaught of heavy rain, but her stubborn captain refused to yield to the relentless sea. “Captain!” His first mate called down from the deck. “We have to find land!” He could barely hear her over the roaring winds, salty mists stinging his exposed skin. “Never!” He called back to her…

Hm, would a woman have a high rank on a pirate ship? Were women pirates? I think so… I could make this a homosexual tale. A gay pirate adventure… Jared’s mind kept weaving the pieces of the pirate tale together as he sat down in his lecture where he was rudely interrupted by the professor for the next couple hours. 

[Wednesday]

Jared sat in an older lecture hall, mulling over more possibilities. The hall was stuffy with barely enough light to see the dust motes swirling around. The warmth enveloped him and his other sleepy classmates, many of whom had their heads down or supported on their hands, eyes heavy. He stared blankly at the professor as he fiddled with his pencil, bouncing it up and down. Rather than listening to the prof, his mind wandered over the prompts he had memorized at his point.

Start your story with someone accepting a dare

His eyes were hazy, looking past the prof wave his pointer stick in front of the chalkboard. His words went right through Jared as he watched the stick wave in the air. To and fro, waving in arcs and jabs...

‘I challenge you to a duel!’ One character would say to another as they pick up their swords. “My name is Rodrigo Ventoyez’… or whatever the name actually is, thought Jared…. ‘You killed my father, prepare to dance!’ Oh crap, that’s from How I Met Your Mother. Jared’s mind quickly rewound to the dare. ‘I challenge you to a duel!’ That counts as a dare right? Jared’s thoughts continued through the lecture. I guess it should be set in medieval times. That could be fun. Haven’t written a story in that setting yet. Maybe the duel is over a woman… or a man! Gay knights? Jared paused here. I should find some other twist than homosexuality, though Jared, still bouncing his pencil. 

Jared’s mind surfaced from what felt like a rather deep slumber. Adrenaline rose as he noticed the seats around him were empty. The lecture had ended and the professor was gathering his things. He shook his head at Jared when they made eye contact and Jared quickly gathered his bag and hurried out of the hall, keeping his eyes downcast, cheeks a little red. 

[Thursday]

Jared sat at his desk in his dorm in front of his laptop. He had finally done enough work that he could spend some time writing, but his heart was heavy knowing he wouldn't have time to write a worthwhile story with proper editing at this point. 

 I need to focus on the theme…. About stubbornness… Jared’s mind went in several directions until it landed on his father. His dad is one of the most stubborn people he knew. He pulled out his disheveled notebook and opened to the next empty page to jot down more ideas: 

  • Stubborn father is against abortion until his daughter would have to have one to save her life
  • gun laws?
  • anti vaxer?
  • Something with a flat earther?

Jared sat back and stared at the list and gave a small chuckle. I doubt dad would be happy that he’s actually helping me with my ‘crazy writing dream’, thought Jared. Maybe I could write about one of these… but they’re are all so political. I would have to be really careful not to offend some readers. He chewed on the end of his pen for a few moments before sighing and crossing off his latest thoughts. Frustrated, he decided to just start typing. He spent the rest of his free time that evening jotting down his ideas from the past few days, going into deep detail in one character before moving on to a different plot, writing out a beautiful description then switching prompts again and again until the pull of his heavy eyelids drew him to his bed once again.

[Friday]

Ok, thought Jared sitting in one of the mess halls while perusing his document. The mix of paragraphs, half outlines, mini characters and random scenes he had typed up over the week stared back at him mockingly. So I don’t have a full story written this week. At least I got some brainstorming in. He tried to console himself as he added the document into the graveyard folder, where other stories and ideas had gone to die off.

Jared’s heart was heavy as he walked out of the mess hall. Maybe dad was right. Maybe this isn’t for me. A prompt popped into his mind:

End your story with someone conceding to another’s point of view

Maybe I should’ve written about conceding to my dad’s idea to major in economics. It’s too late now though, I’ll never finish a full story with classes today. Wish I had that idea days ago...

He stepped out into the bright sunlight, feeling the warm rays soak into his skin, the breeze caressing his face. He muddled over the long hours spent coming up with ideas wishing he was more decisive. 

As if on cue his phone buzzed with a new email.

His chest tightened as he saw the new prompts were out. 

Jared felt cautiously excited as he opened the link. 

But a small smile spread across his face.

An entire story took shape for the theme:

Making Decisions

May 29, 2021 00:20

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4 comments

Maeva Minh
09:36 Jul 20, 2021

Dear Alyson Ackman, I am contacting you because I have a project to create a Youtube channel of audio books, and I would like to know if you would agree to me using your stories. Of course I will write in the bio of the video, the name of the author and a link to your page .. Laura who works for reedsy advised me to write to you to get your agreement, I don't want to do this behind your back .. Thanks in advance for your answer. greetings.

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Alyson Ackman
18:10 Jul 20, 2021

Hi Maeva Minh. Wow this is so awesome! I would love for you to include my stories in your project with one condition - can you send me the link once you have them up?

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Maeva Minh
02:53 Jul 21, 2021

Hello, thank you for your agreement. Of course I'll let you know as soon as the youtube channel is created .. I'm building it now ..

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T.H. Sherlock
08:18 May 29, 2021

The trials and tribulations of Reedsy prompts huh? I feel Jared's pain but I love his ideas - I kind of want to see him write some of these! I thought this was really well-written and flowed well. The descriptions balance nicely with the dialogue which maintains pace too: E.g. The hall was stuffy with barely enough light to see the dust motes swirling around. The warmth enveloped him and his other sleepy classmates, many of whom had their heads down or supported on their hands, eyes heavy. What I'm trying to say is that the descriptions ...

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