I can't be the only one here. I'm not alone. I can't be.
None of you, not a one, can tell me that you haven't read a book or watched a movie or seen something happen and thought, "what if it happened this way?"
Now, some people might discourage rewriting scenes that you like from other media, but I honestly don't see anything wrong with it as an exercise. It's not great if that's all you're doing, of course, or if all you're doing is copying exactly what happened. But I think that should be relatively obvious.
So earlier today, I was watching White Christmas, which is a wonderful, wonderful movie and if you've never watched a Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye film, and you like rom-com, then you gotta see this movie.
Anyway, at one point, both main characters are bantering about how they never expected their (not-so-pretty) buddy from the army to have two such pretty sisters. This of course grabbed my thoughts in a choke hold and twisted them into this:
"And you promise you'll treat her right?"
Lyle scoffed and gave his friend a grin. "Of course I will. If she's your blood she's as good as my own kid sister. I won't let a thing happen to her. Cross my heart." He didn't know why Dan was so uptight about it. Until last week he hadn't even known his best friend had a sister, which he supposed should have been a bit of a shock. But apparently she was one of those kid sisters that needed all kinds of protection so they didn't fall apart like broken glass. That was a good enough reason for Lyle. He'd never been much for being gentle with people, but he was learning.
"Alright. I'm holding you to that." Dan glared at him for a moment, just to let him know he was serious, then moved over to the door and pushed it open. "Alright, Penny. Come on." He hovered protectively over her as she stepped into the room, already dressed for their trip.
Lyle nearly felt his jaw hit the floor.
This was no kid sister. This was a woman, and she knew it. Shorts showed him a goodly length of tanned leg, a tanktop exposed soft, freckled shoulders, and from under the brim of her hat a pair of deep blue eyes blinked shyly at him. Lyle shook himself, but couldn't seem to get his brain under control until Dan leaned over and kicked him int he shins.
Half siblings, definitely. They didn't look anything alike. Nothing at all. He had a broad, ugly mug and a crooked nose that Lyle himself had broken at least once. But his sister. Wow. That sister. Her soft face and dark hair and beautiful curves-
Dan stomped on his toes.
"Yeah. Right. The hike. Let's get going, or we won't reach the top before dinnertime." Lyle gestured for the sister to precede them, which she did, glancing back at them curiously. But as soon as she was outside, Lyle turned a bewildered stare on his friend.
"Holy cow, Dan, why didn't you tell me she was gorgeous? Give a guy some warning, huh?"
"Because she's my kid sister," growled Dan, "and if you keep looking at her like that, you'll get a black eye."
That was about it before the scene moved on to the song-and-dance routine. I regret nothing.
I think there are two really good things about this exercise.
1. This scene is inspired by something that happened somewhere else, but isn't the actual scene it was inspired by.
2. The idea inspired me to write - always a good thing.
Now, if I never use this scene, that's fine. It's planted seeds for me, and elements of this scene may resurface later on down the line. It made me write, and it stretched my creative muscles. Win/win.
What about you, Inklings? Do you think this kind of exercise is positive, negative, or neutral?