I did my best trying to answer the prompts, so hope it makes sense!
1. Character that can be made more like anyone: Zeke, Macey’s co-worker. He appears in the second scene, when Macey has returned to the office after what she believes has been a successful intervention with a client. Zeke is 35, happily married to his college girlfriend for the past ten years with two sons that he calls the kiddos. Honest, calm, smart, kind, generous, loyal to his friends, Zeke has quickly carved out a niche in the consulting firm in high-tech – although he is athletic rather than geek, the guy who happily buys a round at the bar and drives a beat-up sedan with child seats permanently set up in the back.
2. Character who is unlike anyone else: Macey’s older sister, Tina. She first appears through texts and voice mail and Macey’s comments about her before we meet her in person in the fifth scene. Tina is a free spirit, a brilliant and fashionable flake who takes seriously only vintage clothing and yoga. Her texts tantalize with snippets about her yelling “Namaste, bitch!” as she rams the car of a woman chatting on a cell phone.
3. One thing that my novel will say that my readers may not want to hear: You can change the persona that you project – you are not your past nor the expectations of those who know you – just as others are not who you think that they are or need for them to be – you cannot possibly predict how another person will live their life with or without you in it.
4. Situation where protagonist is boxed into a situation with no clear right or wrong: Macey is pressured to put a bid in on her dream house even though she has not completely convinced her boyfriend that they should buy it together; her boyfriend usually lets her call the shots in matters practical and financial, so it’s not unprecedented that she would act first and talk later.
5. Altered situation where we know exactly what Macey should do (and does): Macey has won the house with an exorbitant bid, but lets it go when she would have to live there alone.
6. Free-write a scene that shows an explosion and ends with a bang:
“You did what? Without talking with me about it? Didn’t you think I should be involved? I haven’t even seen the inside of this place and you decide that we’re going to buy it? What is the matter with you?” Edward’s voice was cold and hard. “I am done.”
“Yeah, right,” said Macey. “Leave the whole mess to me to take care of while you go do your West Coast project. It’s like everything else with you – if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.” Her heart was pounding hard.
“I’m done.” His voice was low, almost gentle.
“What?” Figures that he’d leave everything for her to handle.
“What?” It had gotten quiet on his side. He must have found an office where he could get away from the others.
“I didn’t want to do it like this. We’ve been together for two years now and it was really, really good for a really long time. I thought that we were going to…well, anyway. Things change.” He muttered something that she couldn’t make out.
“Edward?” She massaged her forehead. Sometimes that helped keep a migraine at bay.
“Look, I gotta go. You can send my stuff to my office. I’ll do the same with yours. We’re done here.” His line went dead.
So that was how he was going to be about this. She had taken the lead in finding the house of their dreams like they’d always talked about and then he bails on her. Not only that, but now…. She stopped pacing. What had just happened here? Had Edward just broken up with her?
7. Identify one way in which this world works by rules hidden….
In this world, no one is who we think they are or expect them to be. With the exception of a few notable characters, everyone else relies upon appearance and roles to navigate. For example, Eleanor assumes that the Mexican waiter who helped to save her life when she had a stroke is an illegal immigrant who needs hard, cold cash to bring his family to the United States, never dreaming that he is an American citizen whose children are college graduates. The waiter saved Eleanor because her symptoms were the same as his aunt’s when she died from a stroke. As another example, a much younger third wife ends up using her husband as a useful tool rather than going along with his plans.
8. It is impossible for Macey not to be the smartest and most accomplished person in the room – yet she is coerced into taking a yoga class with her sister and is impressed by how expert Tina is at anything other than fashion as well as amazed at how terrible Macey is at it.
9. Thinking that she is doing what her boss demands that she do, Macey does not support the alcoholic client that she has promised to help. It goes catastrophically badly for Macey when the client turns on her.
10. Write a passage with which we are utterly familiar: dicey neighborhood late at night:
The GPS chirped that she had arrived at her destination. She did not agree. There was no 650B McDermott anywhere in sight. What she did see was a cat savaging a fast food wrapper from one of the battered metal trash cans. Streetlights shuddered meager light for the people hurrying toward the bright avenue behind her. The brownstones hunched black-windowed, bored, and cold.
11. Write another passage that portrays a situation as if it’s out of a dream, a nightmare, a fairy tale, or an epic: Macey has arrived late at Edward’s party:
Edward handed her a wet glass of seltzer choked with ice and shards of lime. “Just the way you like it!” he chirped and turned to Bruce.
Macey stared into the drink. She hated ice. She hated lime. Edward knew that. What was wrong with him tonight? What was wrong with all of these happy, joking people ignoring her, leaving her out of conversations, and talking about her behind her back?
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