“Image Props for Stories #6: A Coffee Maker, Earphones, and a Lamp” by Joan Y. Edwards
Here are three props to add to one story or use to give more life to your characters in several stories. I hope you enjoy using them.
Here’s a passage from a story that might entice you to use them:
Steve got home from the bar really late. First thing he did when he walked in the door was to brew a fresh cup of strong coffee with all the caffeine. The smell of it filled his nostrils. The telephone on the table beside the lamp rang.
He didn’t answer it. He was too tired to talk.
He sat in the lounge chair on the back porch. One image he couldn’t get out of his mind. What was the matter with him? He felt he needed to help every helpless woman who came into the bar. Perhaps it was time to sell the bar. Maybe he’d go into law enforcement and lock them up.
Could he do both? Be an undercover cop and run the bar at the same time. It sure did sound great to think of that 7 foot bully in the jail house, instead of infuriating him and hurting defenseless women.
Uncle Ted is a police officer in Virginia. He’ll call him and see if they do that kind of thing. He might be on duty. He’s the dispatcher for 911. He gets tired of wearing the earphones and talking through a headset. But he loves helping people. Helping people must run in our family. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? Then why did Steve feel so powerless.
If you’d like to finish my story, feel free to do so. If you want to add a story of your own using these three props, please do so. I’d love to read your work. I hope you see how using props adds interest to a story. Please leave a comment. I enjoy hearing from you.
Here are links to my whole series on Props for Stories:
“Image Props for Stories #3: A Basketball, a Pillow, and a Pair of Boots” by Joan Y. Edwards
Props for Stories #3. Joy Moore, Claire Iannini, and Meri added their stories using these three props in the comment section. Hip Hip Hooray for them.
Here Ye, Here Ye. Come on in. Story #3 is about to begin. Use all three props. Write a first page. Make your story all about rage.
Post your writing in the comments below. At the end of a week,I’ll post all the stories with the names of the people who wrote them. I’ll give a free pitch and first page critique to one of the people who posts a comment. I will be the one critiquing your pitch and first page.
A first page sent to an editor or agent would be double-spaced, a first page would be from 150-250 words for a novel, Young Adult, or Middle Grade. If it’s a picture book then 250 words would be almost the whole book. So go for what will make this writing exercise fun for you. The challenge is in using all three props: a basketball, a pillow, and a pair of boots in a meaningful way. The main emotion I’d like for you to show in your story on this first page is rage – violent, uncontrollable anger. Synonyms: fury, anger, wrath, ire, passion, frenzy, madness, rave, storm, rampage (from Google Search)
Joy Moore wrote and submitted the following first page:
This morning I saw the boots hanging from the entryway hall.
There were to boots from my mom’s victorian phase. The ones from her snow ski period. My small perfectly proportioned sister’s little shoes. And then there were mine. The large size eleven ones staring back at me to remind me that I had grown into a giant.
I was compact at age six. I could fit into any small place like under the table, under the crook of someones arm. But now at age fifteen I had grown into my size eleven shoes. At six feet and counting I had a sense that I will never be able to disappear and blend in with the crowd.
Modeling was something my mother had been pushing lately. The auditions were coming up for the North Park Mall Run Way shows. And she was hinting me hard to try out for it. Especially when Prom came and went with no date. But I couldn’t tell her. It was all too pink and frou frou for me.
I have always loved sports. When all the other girls in the neighborhood were comparing Barbies I was out practicing Basketball. At first it was my passion. When I didn’t fit with the others anymore, it became my escape.
Now I place the pillow under my bed cover to make it look like I am still in it. Then put on my jeans, nudge the basketball under my arm and walk out the door.
As I shut the door I take one last glance at the clock. It says 5:00 A.M. That’s good because it means I have at least and hour and a half to practice before anyone wakes up.
Thank you, Joy Moore.
Wasn’t that fun! Are you ready for more fun and excitement? Let’s read our next entry from Claire Iannini:
Once Jeremy’s head set upon the clean fluffy pillow, sleep took him hostage. After only sleeping one hour, he felt like he was climbing out of a deep cavern, being chased by a Giant whose boots pounded and echoed throughout the large underground cave. Jeremy’s eyes struggled to adapt to the unlit bedroom equipped with room-darkening shades. Peeved, he sat up to orient himself after so little sleep, having worked all night. Huh? What is that? Oh, Jeez – it’s a basketball? Are you kidding me, a basketball? Jeremy was furious.
He jumped out of bed, incensed by the interruption of sleep, and slammed open the bedroom door to the patio. “Ugh, my eyes.” He immediately covered his eyes as if they’d been set afire by the sun. “Who is it?” he yelled. “Are you nuts? What are you doing out here?”
Each question was screamed at an irate pitch higher than the one before it. Jeremy fumed and spewed his wrath at an unseen assailant as his hands still covered his eyes. He began to make slits between his fingers to peek out from, and found the culprit. Jeremy then remembered that a new family moved in next door. He was so angry that his hair felt ablaze.
Jeremy stood on the flagstone pavers in bare feet and boxers, hair cockeyed, a five o’clock shadow at nine in the morning, bloodshot eyes glaring between fingers, and he was clenching his teeth. He was infuriated at the boy’s insensitivity to his work schedule, and even more annoyed at the lad’s astonished expression as if he, Jeremy, was the madman.
Now even more enraged, Jeremy continued with his crazed onslaught at the boy with the frozen-in-time-look on his face beneath a Yankees’ hat. “Don’t tell me the real estate agent didn’t share my work schedule, because I paid her to do so. And stop looking at me with that puppy dog face as if I’m some raving lunatic you just encountered from an asylum.”
Long curly hair tumbled as quickly as tears rushed down the face of the young girl from next door, as she removed her baseball cap.
Thank you, Claire Iannini.
Oh my gosh! You’re saying, Whoa! Now that was awesome. Are you ready for our last entry for this week’s “Finish the Story #3?” This is where on television they have a commercial, to keep your suspense up. Dun De Dun! Our last entry is from Meri:
The hardest thing I had to do was to enter that house, alone, and to take one last look through it by myself.
I knew the realtor was right. I just didn’t want to do it. I may just be tempted to set the house on fire, but that would give me away now wouldn’t it?
What is the world coming to when the police refer you to realtors who specialize in selling properties that were crime scenes? This I thought as i opened the door and walked into the cold crisp air of the house that felt as if it were frozen in time.
I saw the basketball first and thought of Timmie, the child my husband thought was his for the last 7 years until he learned the satisfying truth. After picking it up and tucking it under my arm I headed into Cassie’s room to get her boots, her favorite hiking boots. The ones we’d bought a REI with her allowance money, just our little secret. I’d decided to bury them with her.
It was then that I spied the pillow. The one my husband had held over her little four-year old face until I came in and sent him over to glory for doing it. That and other things he’d done in our 12 years of marriage. He cheated, he lied, I covered it and cried until finally I saw my way out and I took it.I took it without remorse or misgivings. I didn’t shed a tear and I didn’t wear black and I didn’t hold a memorial service for him either. He’s gone and good riddance. I hope he burns in …..
I hope I have a match. Maybe there’s a lighter in my purse.
Thank you, Meri.
I applaud each one of you for participating in “Finish the Story #3. Each of you used the props in an interesting manner and showed the emotion of rage. Blue Ribbons from me to each of you!
Here’s my entry:
Jane had been at work for more than 15 hours. Selling basketballs. She’d like to throw a few basketballs down the throats of a few of the customers. However, she’d rather kick her boss with her size 7 boots. She’d like to kick him right where it hurt. Even at best of kicking him in the buttocks might work, too. Kicking him so hard that he’d have to wear a pillow around with him twenty-four seven. The audacity of him leaving her alone in this rinky-dink store on the night before the Black Friday sales begin.
Bret said his aunt died. Well, his aunt must have nine lives or he came from a very large family. Every big sale that he schedules, his aunt dies and he takes off and leaves Jane alone to set up for the sale. This time it’s going to be different. She wasn’t going to stay there. She wasn’t going to let him push her around. No sir. She’s going to show spunk. She’s going to show him who’s the real boss. She was going to walk out that door. Lock it, and never look back.
Jane set the alarm, walked out the door, and bumped right into the arms of Bret Hutchins, himself.
I hope you enjoyed this.
Thank you, Linda Andersen for writing and encouraging everyone in the comments area.
There were four people who left comments on this blog post: Linda Andersen, Joy Moore, Claire Iannini, and Meri. The winner of the free pitch and first page critique for Finish the Story #3 was Number 3 (Random.org) – the third person to comment, Claire Iannini. Congratulations, Claire. Please send me your pitch and first page you’d like critiqued to email@example.com.