I have found that when I can’t seem to get the words to flow to continue my novel, it really helps when I write stories about my Characters that won’t make into the book. I write text messages between them, emails, and random conversations. I write about their friendships, their personalities, and it really helps me form their characters in my writing without me actually describing them.
I have to say thanks to Didi Oviatt, I didn’t discover the power this writing tip had until I first did her prompt challenge back in January. I had so much fun writing it and getting to know more about my characters and now I look forward to her prompts every month.
John, author of The Eclectic Contrarian has also been sending me some writing prompts so this month, I decided to combine one of the pictures he sent me with Didi’s challenge.
Here is the link to Didi’s challenge, which explains the rules, and if you’d like to participate, I strongly encourage you to do so!
The Road Trip
It was the summer of 1984 when Michael finally realized he was in love with Cara. They had just graduated from college and to celebrate they decided to go on a road trip to Cara’s home town. It was all he could do to keep his eyes on the road when she’d become stiff and rub her neck and shoulders, or when she would dance in her seat as her favorite songs came on the radio, or when she would cross her long, bare legs.
She was growing tired, but Michael wanted to keep driving. There was only 3 more hours till they reached their hotel, so Cara positioned her body so her feet were resting in his lap, and once again he found it difficult to tear his eyes away from her as her dark, wavy hair blew in the wind while she leaned her head back in enjoyment.
Cara would point out some of the places that had special meaning for her, and he realized that he now loved these things too because of how she loved them, and that’s when he realized he loved her. He swallowed thickly, feeling the lump rise in his throat at this sudden realization. Cara continued to ramble on and on, oblivious to the feelings that were evoking the man in the seat next to her.
He reached over and grabbed her hand in the middle of her sentence. Startled,she stopped abruptly, looking at him and raising an eyebrow in confusion.
“You okay?” She asks.
“I’ve never been better,” he replied. “Please continue.
Cara stared at him for a moment, before shrugging her shoulders and continuing to talk about the town an hour away from her hometown and how it was the closest mall, and her friends and her would hang out there. She talked about the first true blue date she had and how they drove to Cumberland to go shopping for Christmas presents, and they ate lunch at Diatri’s.
Michael found himself asking her more and more questions, wanting to know about the girl that made her into the woman she is now.
Michael tore his eyes away from the road to stare at her beautiful face once more, but the events that happened next would forever haunt him.
Michael failed to see a black bear run out from the woods until he heard the terror in her voice as she screamed his name, he heard the skidding tires, he heard the sound of shattered glass, and then, he heard the most deafening sound he had ever heard, silence.
Being on the highway he was cruising along at a high speed and when he swerved to try and keep hitting the bear, he lost control of the car, spinning them around the road, and crashing into the side of a mountain. He saw Cara, her head lying limp and blood running down her forehead before everything went black.
27 hours later,,,
Michael awoke to the sound of beeping, the lights were extremely bright and he fluttered his eyelashes trying to get his vision to focus. His head was pounding and the light was killing him. “Someone, please turn out the light,” he spoke loudly, hoping someone would hear.
The lights went out. “Sorry about that, I was just updating your vitals,” he heard a woman say,
He opened his eyes and saw a nurse now standing at the foot of his bed.
“How are you feeling, Mr. Williams?”
“Like I got hit by a truck,” he replied.
“Not quite, but you hit a rock pretty hard.”
Flashbacks of the terrible incident flashed through his mind and his panic started to rise.
“Where’s Cara?” He asked frantically, “Please tell me she’s okay, oh please, please tell me she’s still alive.”
The nurse stared at Michael for what felt like hours before she finally spoke.“She’s still alive,” and Michael sighed a sigh of relief, “….but,” Michael suddenly hated that word as he felt his throat tighten with worry. “She has a concussion and a broken arm,” she finished.
“May I see her?” He asked.
“Not quite yet, we’re still running some tests just to make sure there’s no permanent brain damage, we want to monitor both of you for the next 24 hours, but you’re both very lucky, it could have been far worse.”
The next 24 hours were hell for both Michael and Cara, but fortunately there was no serious damage done to either of them. Cara walked away with a broken arm and Michael, only a sprained wrist.
Fortunately, Cara had family who came and picked the couple up to take them to get their rental car. Michael spent the entire time holding onto Cara, afraid that if he let her go he might lose her forever.
“I was so afraid I had lost you,” he whispered in her ear.
“You can’t get rid of me that easily, Williams,” her smile turning to concern as she recognized the fear in his eyes.
“Cara, I’ve never been so scared in all my life,” he paused, trying to collect his thoughts. “We could have died, you could have died,” His eyes were burning as he tried to hold back tears, “I love you.”
“It’s been a very emotional experience,” she started to continue, but he stopped her.
“No, Cara, I knew, I think I’ve known for a long time now, but I tried to deny it. I was too afraid of getting hurt again, but I realized it and I couldn’t deny it any more, and if I’ve learned anything from this experience it’s that life is short, and if I don’t take this chance, I might not get another one, we’re not promised tomorrow Cara, and I love you.”
Cara started to speak again, but once again Michael stopped her. “You don’t have to say anything. I just wanted you to know.”
They spent the rest of the ride in silence.
Later that night Cara drove Michael to her favorite spot in Garrett County, a hill top in Pleasant Valley where there was no ambient light, and all you could see for miles and miles is a sea of stars among the tops of pine trees. She grabbed his hand, “I used to come here all of the time when I was younger. Whenever I needed to get away, whenever I needed to clear my head.”
“It’s beautiful.” He told her.
“Michael, I wanted to share this experience with you because I don’t want this to just be my place anymore. I want to recreate all of these precious memories with you. I want you to be the last man I ever create memories with. I may not be able to give you many or any of my firsts, but I want you to have all of my lasts.”
She stepped in front of him, tears in her eyes. “I love you too.”
Thank you again for posting these monthly prompts, Didi! I really enjoy them!!
I also want to invite anyone who reads this to send me writing prompts, if there is anything you’d like to see me write, please feel free to share it with me, and I promise I will get to them.
Love & life lessons,