Did you ever read a choose your own adventure? I used to read them when I was a child and I totally had a choose your own adventure flash-back at work this week. I was writing a speech for a senior manager to read in celebration of Diversity Awareness Day. The problem is I didn’t have access to that senior manager. Without the ability to interview him, or get to know him in any way, I was feeling really challenged to make the words personal. Then I had an idea, a choose your own adventure speech line.
“When I was young/in school/insert age, I was picked on/bullied/moved and found myself out of place due to my culture/religion/place of birth.” I thought, great, now I can write the final speech, he can personalize it, and my problems will be over. Then I read the idea again and realized the sad truth, it sucked…but hey not all of my ideas can shine right? But in good news it made for some great comic relief when I “fake pitched” the idea to colleagues. (‘Cause I get bored.)
Me – Look I totally wrote a choose your own adventure speech…my problems are over.
Colleague – What? You mean like the books?
Me – Yep. Ever wonder why they don’t make choose your own adventure books for adults?
Colleague – Um, because they’re so poorly written…I mean how many times did you die?
Me – I never died, because I flipped ahead to all the options and only choose the ones where I didn’t die.
Colleague – That’s cheat your own adventure. Totally cheating.
Me – I’m risk adverse.
Colleague – Still a bad idea.
In life, we often don’t see the hard stuff coming. We are surprised by circumstance and tragedy and we just have to muddle through. Wouldn’t it be great if the major turning points in our life warned us that they were about to take place, like in a choose your own adventure book? “You have just been offered a job in Chicago, if you take it turn to page 47, if not turn to page 28.” Consider a world where you had the opportunity to choose your own path and see in advance hints of what the situation would be like with each option. Would it make life simple and easy or just plain boring? Would there be people who went through life choosing the hard path intentionally just for the chance to defeat the difficulty of that path? Spend twenty minutes writing about that world. Would it be worth living in? Would people still feel responsible for their choices knowing that in some way the options had been limited and known? In what way would the hints of future be revealed? (Flashes of insight? A card slipped under your door? A blinking light in the corner of our vision suggesting we visit the ministry of foresight before proceeding?) Happy Writing.
This sentence is from a chapter of Redemption. It’s a scene where my protagonist (Elita) is leaving a washroom and we witness her unwillingness to touch a bathroom door because she thinks that doors are one of the dirtiest surfaces in the bathroom. It doesn’t have much to do with the plot but helps me illustrate how her mind works, and this sort of small detail helps make characters more real to me.
Elita grimaced at the thought of aerosolized bacteria blown into the air with each flush, and still wet insufficiently washed hands slapping into the bathroom door, providing a moist nursery.
NB. I’m totally behind in Redemption. I had planned to write 1500 words per day, but so far have only done that for three days of the last fifteen. So rather than 24,000 words done, I have only formally written a few thousand. But I’m going to credit myself a few days because I did write a full beat sheet and that did take some time. Thankfully I have put together some time tonight and tomorrow to play catch-up. (Fingers crossed.)