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Guest Post - A Fun Writing Prompt by Lisa Regan
Over the years I’ve had periods where I’d stall during a project or between projects. There were times when it was difficult for me to push through and just write. I dug up tons of writing exercises but none of them really helped me. Then I found one that really worked. I honestly can’t remember where I first found this prompt so I am NOT taking credit for it. As I’m going to give it to you here, it’s not exactly as I found it. Below are my own lists but the structure is basically the same.
We’ll do three lists, numbered from one to five.
List #1 is WHO.
1. A doctor
2. A prostitute
3. A priest
4. A murderer
5. A celebrity
List #2 is WHERE
1. A playground
2. An emergency room
3. A police station
4. At the scene of an accident
5. A funeral
List #3 is WHAT
1. Has just been mistaken for someone else
2. Has just been fired
3. Just got into a fight
4. Just received very bad news
5. Just made a major purchase
Okay so now you do NOT look at the lists and you pick a number from 1 to 5 three times. So I’ll pick: 4, 2 and 3. Note I did not say pick three numbers from 1 to 5 because you can repeat numbers. You want to pick one number from each list without knowing what the number represents.
The first number corresponds to the first list (WHO). Number 4 on my list is a murderer. The next number corresponds to the second list (WHERE). Number 2 on my list is an emergency room. The third number corresponds to the third list (WHAT). Number 3 on my list is: just got into a fight.
So there you have it: a murderer just got into a fight in an emergency room. From there you write the scene—whatever pops into your head.
Here is what I came up with (unedited):
Hands pulled Jim back, away from the man writhing beneath him. The police officer who had been stationed outside the emergency room slammed Jim to the ground and cuffed his hands tightly behind his back. The man Jim had attacked lay among the overturned chairs in the waiting room. The other patients had scattered to the corners of the room, giving Jim and the other man a wide berth as their argument reached a crescendo. The man had been upset because he had waited three hours to be seen. He was berating the nurses when Jim intervened and told him to sit down and shut up—only maybe Jim didn’t say it that nicely. The man had turned his tirade on Jim, screaming at Jim, coffee-scented spittle flying at Jim’s face until Jim could take it no longer. Anger erupted from somewhere deep in Jim’s bowels. Howling and shrieking, it knocked the man to the ground. Jim punched and punched until blood trickled from the man’s mouth. The man continued to scream at Jim, his rage turning to fear. For a split second, Jim had a vision of his mother’s face the day he had strangled her. It was that flash that froze Jim long enough for security to pull him away from the crazy man.
Write for as long as you like. If your scenario isn’t inspiring anything, pick new numbers. Make your own lists. Just don’t overthink it. This prompt will get the creative juices flowing; it’s just for fun and who knows, there might be a good story idea in there somewhere.
Author: Lisa Regan
Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing LLC
Purchase at AMAZON
FBI analyst Kassidy Bishop is assigned to the “For You” killer’s task force after a series of sadistic murders bearing the same signature arise in different parts of the country.
The homicides are both calculated and savage, occurring in different states, but bearing the same signature: the words “for you” scribbled at each crime scene. The case chills Kassidy, bringing back memories of her own encounter with a violent criminal five years earlier.
Kassidy’s mentor, legendary agent Talia “The Confessor” Crossen knows the task force assignment is Kassidy’s chance to prove to her colleagues that she belongs in the Behavior Analysis Unit. For five years, other FBI agents and profilers scoffed at Kassidy’s appointment to the BAU, believing she was only offered the position in exchange for her silence about the brutal assault that almost killed her.
The stakes rise when the task force links the killer’s signature to Kassidy. As more and more bodies turn up, Kassidy must delve into her past and the mysterious death of her twin sister, which holds the key to uncovering the killer’s identity.
The closer Kassidy comes to finding the killer, the closer she comes to a deadly confrontation that could cost her everything—including her own life.
It was a blitz attack. Cowardly. He hit me over the head with the baseball bat I kept next to my bedroom door. I was asleep. I never even heard him. The next thing I knew, I was tied to a chair in my dimly lit dining room. I woke suddenly to a high-pitched keening. He was shooting me up with something. My left forearm pricked and burned. My head felt heavy, achy. My eyelids weighed a ton each, but I lifted them and looked at him.
He smiled. A cranked-out, toothy smile, his wide lips peeling back from his teeth. He held up an empty syringe.
“Crank, bitch,” he sneered.
I thought,where was that needle before tonight? That was my first thought.Whether or not he just infected me with HIV or hepatitis. I didn’t wonder how he got in, if I had a concussion, how long I’d been unconscious, or if he had raped me while I was out.
I wiggled in my seat, but there was not much give. My hands were bound to the armrests of the chair. My feet were tied in the same fashion to the front legs of the chair. I glanced at my dining room table and saw a knife, a ball of twine and my standard issue Glock nine millimeter.
He paced back and forth in front of me. He was waiting for the crank to kick in. Waiting for me to become fully awake. He wanted me to be fully cognizant during the torture he was about to inflict. My head lolled. I don’t know how long it was before he got impatient and slapped me hard across the face. White hot pain streaked through my jaw.
“Wake the fuck up,” he growled.
I swallowed. “I’m awake.”
He picked up the knife, flipped it open and used the tip of it beneath my chin to hold my head up. I looked into his eyes. Wild eyes.Green and brown. I’d seen them before.
“You thought you had me, didn’t you?” he said.
He needled the knife until I felt a small puncture. A drop of blood slid down, pooling in the hollow of my throat. As I became more alert, the blurred edges of the room turned sharp one by one. My heart thumped furiously in my chest, rattling my rib cage. Soon I’d be fully awake, conscious of every last detail of my death.
It wasn’t how I thought I’d go. I thought—okay, I’d hoped—I’d be shot in the line of duty or killed in a car wreck. Maybe even cancer or simple old age. Too much to hope for.
It had to be this. Torture, rape, death and probably dismemberment at the hands of a violent criminal. I knew I was going to die. It was just a matter of how fast or how slow.
I thought of my parents. Well, mostly I thought of my dad. This would kill him. He’d always been so worried about this sort of thing. I always assured him that these things never happened. Never. They only happened in books, movies or on TV. Real life wasn’t like this. Real FBI agents didn’t have to worry about collars coming after them.
He pulled the knife away with a sound of disgust. He continued to pace. My head felt full. The crank made my spine ramrod straight. I held my head up and looked at him. He wore khakis, loafers and a muted green shirt. The sleeves were rolled up, revealing muscular forearms. His greasy black hair was in disarray. Even so, he didn’t look like a killer.
They never do, Kass.
That’s what my SAC at the Baltimore field office said when I closed my first string of homicides. The FBI didn’t normally handle homicides, but several state and city police departments had asked for our help tracking a particularly malicious serial killer whose work spanned three states. Again, I thought of Ted Bundy.
He had been handsome and a charmer from all I heard.
The man before me was a charmer, but he had the blackened heart of a demon. As if sensing my thoughts, he looked right at me. A sneer slithered across his face. I wondered if this was how he’d looked to his previous eighteen victims.
About the Author:
Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member Sisters In Crime. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.
Her latest book is the crime thriller, Aberration.
Visit her website at www.LisaRegan.com.
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