Inlander Short Fiction Contest

Did you know The Inlander's annual short fiction contest is open to all ages? Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 21, and should reference at least one Inland Northwest landmark. They should also be less than 2,000 words, and be based on the theme "spirits." For more information, click here, or come to our Nov. 6 meeting.

Truth or Dare

"Ghost Stories #Camping" by Bonnie Bogle.
October's TWINE writing challenge is inspired by the story Erin wrote last month in response to the writing prompt, "write a story in which a character begins a sentence 'I hope you're all happy, because now  (fill in the blank)..."  Erin wrote a scene in which a game of Truth or Dare goes off the rails. It got us to thinking about Truth or Dare and how such a simple childhood game can show us so much about the people playing. So here's your writing challenge for this month: Write a scene where the characters are playing Truth or Dare. Does your main character choose "truth" or "dare." What happens next? Set a timer for fifteen minutes and write! As always email us your best effort and we'll post it right here on the TWINE blog. And take a look at Erin's great scene here:

These are your shoes...

Woman's silk damask shoes with buckles, 1740-1750, England. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.81.71.1a-b.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird    

A great trick for getting to know your characters is to think about the kinds of clothes they wear and why. For instance, do you have a main character who runs around in jeans and T-shirts? Or is she wearing a frothy, fabulous ball gown? If a man is wearing tights, does it mean he's a Shakespearean actor, or is he some kind of wrestler? To practice getting into character, try this exercise: look at the shoes above and think about who would wear them and why. Then set a timer for ten minutes and write from that person's point of view. Who are you? Where do you live? What's important to you? And where are you going in these shoes? As always, email us what you come up with and we'll post it here!

I Can't Believe, by Kaitlin

"I Have Seen Stars" by Casey
Based on Heather Wright's writing prompt, where you start a scene with a snippet of dialogue and build from there.

"I can't believe he gave that to her!"

"I can't believe she took it!"

Jasmine skulked back to her listening place behind the bookshelf and drew a shaky breath in. Why shouldn't she have taken the necklace from Jason? He had been so sweet, setting up that romantic dinner before showing her that dazzling necklace. What could be wrong with it?

She knew that Jason wasn't the best kid in school but she believed that he was just misunderstood. She crunched her eyes closed and thought back to when he gave her the necklace, trying to remember anything strange. His face hadn't given any signs of bad intention the whole night. Wait... when she asked where he had gotten it, he had started stuttering and quickly changed the subject.

She knew he had been accused of stealing things before, but never something this big. If he really had taken it, he was in big trouble. Big trouble indeed.

She decided that when she saw him tomorrow she would confront him and demand the real story...

I Can't Believe, by Erin

"School Hallway" by KFIU Public Radio
Based on Heather Wright's writing prompt, where you start a scene with a snippet of dialogue and build from there.

"I can't believe he gave that to her."

"I can't believe she took it."

Penny wasn't deaf -- she could hear the whispers. It wasn't like they were exactly hard to hear: in the hallways, out on the grass, and even in the classrooms. She had heard them before, always about different people. Never once had she dreamed the whispers would be about her. But now they were and she had no idea what to do.

It wasn't like they were wrong. Yes, she had accepted Jake's gift. So what? Was it wrong to say thank you and accept a gift? Did middle schoolers really have to take every interaction between a male and a female as some sort of relationship?

Well, technically, Penny and Jake did have a relationship, but...

Someone stopped her in her thoughts. Penny blinked and flinched in surprise. "Who's there?"

Jake smiled sheepishly "Uh, hi?"

Penny stared at him before grabbing his arm and dragging him to the side of the hall. "What are you doing?" she hissed.

He seemed confused. "Saying hi?"

"We can't be seen together." Penny's face flushed.


"Haven't you heard the whispers?"

Jake nodded. "About me giving you the hockey book? Yeah, why?"

Penny took a shuddering breath in. "They think that one, I'm a weirdo for liking hockey, and two, that we're in some sort of relationship."

Jake shook his head. "Why can't you tell them the truth?"

Penny sighed and placed her hands to her head. "Come on, Jake. Who's really going to believe that we're cousins?"

I Can't Believe, by Sierra

"Damascus Steel Ring (#126)" by Jon Fife

Based on Heather Wright's writing prompt, where you start a scene with a snippet of dialogue and build from there.

"I can't believe he gave that to her!" Jasper said, referring to how Sebastian had given Luce his family's ring.
"I can't believe she took it!" Emelia replied, shaking her head, her brown curls bouncing as she did so.

Word of the engagement had spread quickly through the high class people of London. They wondered why such a noble girl would ever want to marry Sebastian. He was a disgrace to his family and would bring shame to Luce's name. But they didn't know the full story. They didn't know how he had saved the entire country...

The exact opposite

"Defining the Fleeing Retronym" by Derrick Tyson
This month we're thinking and talking about characters. What makes a character seem real or likeable? Are the characters in your stories just like you? Or are they so different from you that writing about them is like inventing an entirely new persona? Our writing warm-up prompt this month is all about getting inside the mind of somebody not like you at all and being able to bring them to life. Give it a try, and if you like what you come up with send it to us here at twine(dot)

Writing Prompt: If you were to describe a character who is the exact opposite of you, what would they be like? Would they be the same gender? Old? Young? How would they dress? What would they care about? Who would their friends be? Go ahead and list everything you can think of about this "opposite" character. Now, think about how you would go about making this character likeable to readers. When you've got some ideas, write a paragraph or two either having your character tell us who he or she is, or have someone describe this character. Go!