My previous post described seven dystopian worlds as imagined by Australian writers. Each story involves characters whose everyday, familiar world becomes fraught with danger, risk and loss. In some, the characters stay to fight; others decide that leaving home offers the greatest chance of survival.
I invite you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and imagine for yourself a situation in which you, or a created character, are faced with ‘leaving home’.
NB: If you only have a short time, use the first or second exercise as a quick writing prompt. If you’d like to explore the idea in more depth, follow each prompt in turn to develop a completed story draft.
Walk through your house (either literally or in your head), describing each room as you do so. What items do you take for granted or offer you comfort?
2. 10 items in 10 minutes
Imagine: you have ten minutes to flee your home. You can take only one bag with you. What ten items will you pack to accompany you on your journey?
Brainstorm 10 possible reasons you might be forced to leave your home. Choose the one that interests you the most.
NB: Although I’ve been asking you to imagine yourself in this scenario, you could quite easily create a fictional character as your protagonist instead.
4. After – What If?
What happens to you/your character after you leave?
Where do you go?
What happens next?
If you’re stuck for ideas, you might like to ask what if? This is one of the central questions any writer can ask and helps you to brainstorm ideas of what happens next in the story: what if I head to the hills/interstate/up north/overseas? What if I stay and fight to protect my home? What if I meet someone who offers to help me? What if … what if … what if …
What are the possible ways your story could end? How does your character/s change as a result of the events that befall them?
Putting it All Together
Using your ideas from the above questions, create a story in which a character is forced to flee their home – and if you need a little more inspiration, check out the images below.