IF THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE WERE YOUR WRITING COACH, it would remind you (perhaps a little smugly) that for every up—in your mood, your writing fortunes, in your book’s acceptance by the public or by agents—there will be a down. The Wheel would mention that all fame is temporary, all luck a roll of the dice. The only constant is change, the Wheel of Fortune would assure you. It’s the way of the world. And depending where you found yourself at that particular moment, that assurance might encourage you—or it might make you feel a little anxious about what the next turn of the wheel could bring.
Fortunately, we have w-a-y more control over our characters’ lives than we seem to have (at least some days) over our own. This prompt will give you a chance to spin the wheel wildly in one character’s favor … but not so much in another’s. Enjoy wielding your power!
Tarot Writing Prompt
Imagine the view one character has from the “top” of a situation. Is she an elected official? Is he the boss? Or just a bossy older brother? Write a quick scene that gives us a feeling of his or her top-dog perspective.
Now, imagine a second character who is experiencing the same situation from the “bottom.” The personal assistant? The beleaguered younger brother? The stay-at-home spouse who has to smile too widely for too long at public rallies? Write the same scene, but from that character’s perspective.
Finally, write a scene in which the two characters’ relative fortunes spin, leaving their status exchanged, so the original top dog is face down on the bottom of the heap, while the underdog is enjoying his or her (temporary) cat-bird seat.
Need a couple of examples for inspiration? Check out THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, by Mark Twain, and the absolutely golden chapter on status and character relationships in IMPRO: Improvisation and the Theatre, by Keith Johnstone.