Saturday, September 22, 2012

Freewrite of the Week: Missed Connections

by Jacqueline Fauni

Ever read through the missed connections on Craigslist? It’s fascinating to read the (sometimes very creepy) messages that people are compelled to release into the interwebs after a random encounter with that special stranger at the supermarket/coffee shop/intersection/[insert typical or extremely bizarre place to meet somebody here]. It can be especially fascinating to writers because lots of questions abound that can inspire how you answer similar questions regarding your own stories -- who are these people (characters), what did they say to each other (dialogue), what happens next (plot), why should we care (theme)? When you’re feeling blocked, the missed connections section can be a gold mine for hours of procrastination story ideas.

Missed connections function as a central element in several movies -- Serendipity, August Rush, Sleepless in Seattle, and Before Sunrise (ditto Before Sunset, and perhaps Before Midnight), to name a few. An Affair to Remember is a classic example (and, in my humble opinion, the most romantic of all time), and is in fact the film that inspired this writing exercise! Take a page from the book (or screenplay) of those films’ screenwriters and see how your characters would interact in a missed connection story.

The prompt: If your protagonist wrote a missed connection to a special stranger, what would it say?

*Bonus exercises: Write the scenes in which (1) your protagonist first encounters that special stranger, and (2) they reunite (or not) (or freeze in anguish because all they could say was, “hello”).

Have fun, and happy writing!

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