Each Friday we post one new writing prompt created by a Sarabande author. Prompts like this one are included in our Reader's Guides along with discussion questions and suggested reading to accompany each title. So if you can't wait a week for the next prompt, visit our Reader's Guide page to find them all in one place!
Today's prompt comes from Jerry Gabriel, author of Drowned Boy, which won the 2008 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. This prize, along with our Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry are now open to submissions.
Exercise: The Real World Interrupts
Choose a stock situation—the kind of thing that would be given in the Spark Notes version of your story (woman thinks her husband is cheating; man returns to hometown for 20th high school reunion; drunken couple argues about whose to blame for their troubles in a bar; gardener sees thief escape down the trellis of the house). Next, write a scene in which that drama is forestalled by the real world interrupting it. The woman in the drunken couple has to go to the bathroom (many things can happen between the table and the bathroom). The gardener has to pick up his daughter at soccer practice. Use that digression to explore the character.