Illustration by Ana Hinojosa.

Illustration by Ana Hinojosa.

Time for more fill-in-the-blank Creative Prompt fun! This time I want to introduce you to a version of an exercise that I did in my college writing classes called Person Action Person. If you are anything like me, you love crafting the perfect setting and working on those character details. But then, you have an interesting person in a cool place doing, well, you aren’t really sure. One way to expand your idea is to get another character on the page and make them interact. This activity is a way to jump-start that. It is exactly what it sounds like: You choose a person, you choose an action verb of some sort, you choose another person, and you build from it.

The two “people” you are choosing from are very basic descriptors. You will fill in the rest. I am just giving a vague sense of age (whether they are adults or young people—we don’t use babies in this exercise since they aren’t very active) and gender:
Man, Woman, Boy, Girl, Non-Binary Adult, Non-Binary Young Person

You can choose an action from this list:
Brush, Kiss, Tickle, Punch, Smash, Gaze, Feed, Stumble, Dance, Grab

Now some of these are actions that would make people in my classes smirk at each other because they imply Action-type action or they make us cringe because they could imply violence, but you do NOT have to go with the overt meaning of a word. Kiss could be platonic; Punch could imply a gentle slug on the arm or lovers who meet for the first time when one is punching the free-coffee punchcard of the other and their fingers brush (ooh, that would be using two actions, NICE!). Similarly, Feed doesn’t have to imply vampires or zombies, but it totally could if you want.

You can look at both lists and choose what speaks to you, or if you enjoy things being up to chance, use this website, set the maximum number at six for the people and at 10 for the action, then count from the left side of the list to get your people and your action.

Fill in the details, who and where these people are, then discover what leads them into action and what happens as a result of it. Tell your story in prose, poem, or visually, and send it along with your first name, last initial, age, and location to [email protected] with the subject line “Creative Prompt” by Monday, August 22 at 6 PM EST.

Last week, we asked you to build a story from archetypes. Here’s how the framework of a character inspired you…