Thursday Writing Prompt No. 133

A quilled Mardi Gras mask that I made as a contest entry. The mask is made from coils of paper that were shaped over a plastic form.

A quilled Mardi Gras mask that I made as a contest entry. The mask is made from coils of paper that were shaped over a plastic form.

Earlier this year I made a quilled Mardi Gras mask as a contest entry for the Little Circles February quilling contest. In case you’ve never heard of it, quilling is made from rolled strips of paper that are shaped and glued into place. While I didn’t win the contest, I was pleased enough with how my project turned out that I put it in a white shadow frame and am currently looking for suitable wall space. Translation: it’s sitting on the floor of my office because I haven’t figured out where I want to hang it up yet.

What’s this got to do with writing prompts, you ask? This week’s Thursday Writing Prompt is about masks. Ha! I bet you didn’t see that coming!

Here’s the scenario: you find a mask that has the power to give you a skill or ability. You don’t turn into a superhero; instead, the ability is something that you’ve always wanted but were unable to accomplish or were afraid to try. For example, I don’t swim particularly well and I’m afraid to dive, so perhaps my mask would give me the power to do an awesome somersault dive worthy of an Olympic medal. Or perhaps it would give me the ability to sing opera arias. In front of an audience.

Pick your own poison — name one of those things you want to do but are afraid to try, or simply can’t do. Now your mask gives you that ability. Put on the mask, do the task, then sit down at the keyboard and write about your experience. Was the mask truly magical, or by giving you anonymity did it just allow you to give yourself permission to fail? By removing the fear of failure, did you relax enough to actually succeed?

You can spin this into your fiction by writing the story about one of your characters, too. To do this you’ll have to give some thought to what motivates your characters and what scares them. That actually might be easier than figuring out what motivates or scares you, but then, just how much of yourself is in your characters? Try on the mask, and get writing.

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