During the April 2016 Writer’s Weekend at Mt. SAC Fiction Workshop with Christina Lynch, participants were given a prompt to write a scene that is rooted with unexpressed action.
The scene should include the pin-the-tail on the donkey and have the parents going through a divorce.
If you would like to try this prompt, the main exercise is the unexpressed action.
The following is my attempt at the prompt. I took the unexpressed action as things the parents weren’t saying in regards to their feelings with the least amount of detail. Turned out very script-like. You can go this way or completely turn it around.
“Mom! Marty pinned the tail already!”
“So, he did,” she said biting her pinky nail.
“Look at that,” Dad said with a scoff.
“At least he knows where to put it,” she muttered.
The boy pulled on the mother’s sleeve, a frown on his face, and a pronounced dimple on the right cheek.
“Must feel good.” Dad gulped the rest of his drink and crushed the red plastic cup.
The boy pulled on the mother’s sleeve again.
Mom sighed. “You’re only saying that because a donkey needs a tail.”
“Mom!” The boy let go of her sleeve and threw down the donkey’s tail still in his hand.
Dad continued to squeeze the cup. “What do you want from me?”
“Mom?” The boy crossed his arms, pouting.
“Yes, dear.” She knelt in front of him.
“I don’t want to pin the tail anymore.”
“Hey, hey.” She placed her hand on his chest, rubbing it like slathering VapoRub.
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”
“Is that what this is?” Dad rolled his eyes and picked up the tossed tail. He gave it to another little boy who kept eyeing it from the game line.
The children’s voices rose above the music as the game continued.