18 June 2022 - 10:30 am

Writers’ Asylum: Altered Dimensions: Prologue

A person standing in a square portal between worlds
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Welcome to the Asylum, lovely writers! Come on in, get settled, make yourself comfortable. You’re going to be here a while, so let’s make it an awesome time.

Today we will embark on a multi-dimensional adventure, across many worlds and five different challenges. Each challenge lasts for an hour or until you write 1,000 words; whichever happens first. Each challenge will also have a bonus element for you to put in, if you’re feeling ambitious. There will be a break between each one, including a longer meal break, so you are properly fuelled for your challenges! 

I recommend that you don’t stray too far from the prompts you will be given today. That said, the only rule is that your character must survive to the last challenge.

Before we get started, let’s set the scene for where our stories will start and who they will be about. I will give you the setup and then you will have a few minutes to make some notes, before the first challenge begins. 

Today, we’ll start with our character. This person is from a contemporary-ish world (more on this soon). They can be any gender, culture, or age you wish. Take a moment to picture them in your mind. What do they look like? What does their voice sound like? How do they typically dress?

This person has a special ability, so let’s take a moment to figure out what that is. Perhaps they have a particularly high capability in a skill that makes them unusual and noteworthy, like strength beyond typical human capabilities. Or it could be a skill that humans normally don’t have at all, like flying or breathing under water. It can have any source you wish, such as a random mutation, a scientific origin, or wielding a kind of magic.

Decide what this special ability is, and think about what the character can do with it. It’s also important to know what the character cannot do with it, so make sure you think about that as well. Next, importantly, how does the character feel about this part of themself? Do they like it? How accepted is this part of them in the world they live in? Are they proud or ashamed? Do they hide or flaunt it? Do they use it every day, for mundane things, or only when it’s absolutely necessary, or never at all?

Think about how your character grew up. What were their hopes and dreams? At this point in their life, how are they doing on the way to the kind of life they want? Is their ability helping or hindering them, or just a part of the whole messy bundle? 

How do they spend their time now? Do they study or work, or do something else with their time? What is their profession, or the type of job they want or are working towards? Do they have a family or a partner? Do they live alone or with others? Do they have one pet, many, or none? Who are they close to? What is the thing they want most in the world?

Let’s talk about this world they live in, because that’s important too. It’s a contemporary world to ours, with a similar level of technology and a similar history. How similar it is, exactly, is up to you.

How does it treat people with an ability like your character’s? Are they rewarded, revered, or reviled? Are they common or do they stand out? Are they forced to live in secret? How does all of this impact your character? Think about the big picture of their life, but also how it affects them on an everyday level. 

Build this picture of the world your character has grown up in in your mind. Think about the town or city they live in. Think about the people who fill it and what they do every day. Think about how they move around and what it sounds and smells like. 

Now take a moment to take some notes about your character, their special ability, and the place where they live. The first challenge begins shortly.

Let’s get started!

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