Writing Prompt: Respawn

respawnIf you were a fan of 30Rock, you might remember the time the writers played Halo through their entire vacation, sitting in the office wearing diapers and killing themselves (in the video game) before anyone else could so they could respawn and keep playing. They did it so many times, they lost all track of time and had no idea what day it was until Liz came in for their first day back at work and found them all exactly where she had left them.

I find the option to “respawn” quite interesting and not a little strange. I don’t pretend to understand video games, but from the show I gleaned that respawning is an unlimited option. To me, it seems lazy and cowardly: wouldn’t a good player be able to fight their way out of the situation instead of blowing themselves up? And don’t you then have to go all the way back to the beginning of the adventure? So imagine, in The Lord of the Rings, if the hobbits respawned when they found themselves pursued by the wraiths, went back to the beginning, and left at a different time of day or took a different route. Imagine Gollum respawning after losing the ring to Bilbo and then killing him outright the second time through instead of messing about with riddles. Imagine–well, what character would you imagine? And not just from LOTR–anything.

That’s today’s writing prompt: re-imagine a thrilling scene from literature, giving the main character the option to respawn.

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I’m Fine But You Appear to Be Sinking

30316233My first thought upon seeing Leyna is that she’s taller. Not that it’s physically possible–when I knew her in grad school we were both in our mid twenties and we’re in our early thirties now, and people don’t tend to grow at our age–but perhaps she stands straighter than the girl I knew: this woman in a soft black blouse instead of a Ramones t-shirt (though I’m sure that shirt is at home). This woman who has penned some of the best short stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and who is on the last stop of her first book tour. Her first of many, I hope.

The stories in I’m Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking deal with a world not quite level with our own, but not so magical that any plot point seems impossible. Strange happenings abound. A tiger is being kept in a suburban neighborhood; a giant squid haunts a wayward trimaran; sea life does its best to escape the sea. The end of the world, we are told, will begin with a series of beeps. Continue reading → I’m Fine But You Appear to Be Sinking