I ran errands all afternoon yesterday. I went to a bookstore, a big box store, an office supply store (I love anything related to paper), a restaurant, and a grocery story. I bought: a new Laurie King novel, a cake plate for a wedding gift, a weekly planner, lunch, and groceries (lots of fruits and veggies and some dark chocolate, chocolate chips).
Dream up a character that has to run some errands. Think of at least four places he or she might need to go. Get out a piece of paper and list your four destinations at the top. On the top half of the paper, underneath each destination, brainstorm the kinds of things that could be purchased at that store. On the lower half of the paper, underneath each destination, list the kinds of people or incidents your character could encounter at each location. Go wild. An incident can be as sweet as bumping into your Great Aunt Angie, discovering her cat is missing, and agreeing to come over to her house and help her find it or as wild as blue-eyed zombies addicted to red licorice raiding all the stores in town in search for more.
Once you have filled your brainstorm paper with intriguing possibilities, choose one item each from at least three columns and use these three ideas to inspire a story.
Write your story. Remember to hook your reader by having your main character encounter something puzzling or challenging at the beginning of the story. Include conflict, dialogue, and action. Build the story to a crisis point where a decision must be made or action taken that brings about some sort of resolution—be it good or bad, tragic or sublime, and establish a new normal for your character at the end.
Edit and revise as needed.
When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners. Compliment one another on the effectiveness of the dialogue and conflict, and the vividness of the settings and scenes. Share your story as a comment. Though I returned safely from my trek all over town, I am curious to learn what fate befell you characters.