writing prompts. and chocolate.

A friend just sent me a care package full of interesting books and movies and bits and pieces. Among them: a book of writing prompts. I’m trying to think of a way to describe what this is like, for somebody who writes for a living, but nothing fits. A box of truffles? Maybe. Some of the prompts just don’t strike you as interesting (orange cream, not something I seek out in a box of chocolate). Some you want to devour immediately. Others you think about for a while.

(Aside: today in a shop I saw chocolate flavored with absinthe. Really. I asked about it and the shop owner said the FDA was always trying to put that particular chocolatier out of business, but hadn’t yet succeeded. I have no interest in trying chocolate with absinthe. None.)

Here’s a writing prompt from the book that made me think. That I’m still thinking about:

A phone sex worker is ten minutes into a call when she realizes she’s talking to her teenage son.

This doesn’t work for me for a couple reasons. First and foremost — I can’t buy the idea that it takes her ten minutes to recognize her son’s voice. But it is interesting. So now I’m playing with the premise, trying to tweak it to something more viable.

A phone sex worker is ten minutes into a call when she realizes she’s talking to

…her adult daughter’s new boyfriend.
…the professor whose lectures on medieval romance she’s been attending two afternoons a week
…her neighbor’s ex-husband

I’m not going to write this scene or story, but it does pose interesting possibilities.

Any possibilities occur to you?

5 Replies to “writing prompts. and chocolate.”

  1. This is funny. Today, in Quebec, a movie comes out about a middle age man who’s surfing porn on the net and stubbles upon… his daughter! Pretty creepy. I don’t know, it made me think of that.

  2. A phone sex worker is ten minutes into a call when she realizes she’s talking to her teenage son’s parole officer. [possibilities for favours]

    A phone sex worker is ten minutes into a call when she realizes she’s talking to the arresting officer from her teenage son’s recent bout of arson. [possibilities for unjustified revenge]

    I don’t understand enough about phone sex to see how ten minutes is the length of the call…seems long to me. So I’ve been imagining it’s a bit like a domination phone line, you call in for the dominatrix to direct you. She draws it out as long as possible, and possibly, never to your satisfaction (although, since you’re calling to be dominated…). Frustration might be the title of such a work, eh?

    I thought of “daughter’s father-in-law” and “son’s teacher” but these premises seemed to be movies I’d seen or episodes of law and order. Or maybe, if the calls are coming from the other coast, then perhaps it’s 10 minutes before she recognizes her first love, from college, or summer camp. Ah, but that’s a possible Harlequin.

  3. Maybe twist it a bit and have someone call the wrong number thinking they called a phone sex line. Maybe it’s on the speed dial, and he calls his mother in law instead..hehe. Or, have the dialog for the phone sex conversation then at the end have the guy say..”Oh, before I forget, were outa B-bums, can ya grab some on your way home?” Sorta a O’Henry twist.

  4. Pam, as I understand it, the longer the phone worker keeps the line open, the more money the business gets, kind of like a long distance charge. So an hour of chatting is worth more than 10 minutes.

    A female who is designated for both men and women answers a call, becoming confused. It’s as if she’s talking to herself until she realizes the voice is her sister’s, supposedly happily married with 2.5 children.

    A man calls. Then he wants her to participate in a 3-way conversation, getting the other man on the phone. Her husband. Or maybe her priest/pastor/therapist – you choose.

    Oooh. This is fun.

  5. ..or a sci-fi twist, some kind of first contact from Aliens.
    ..or from a bridge jumper that wants to talk to the woman whom her husband’s bin talking to over the duration of there marriage.

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