One of the best writing prompts I’ve heard all year came from a group of eighth grade boys huddled up just outside my room at dismissal.
Boy One: The basement door is open!?
Boy Two: How much do they have?
Boy Three: Are there cameras?
Boy Four: His response is muffled by the chaotic sounds of middle schoolers departing on a Friday, and despite my proximity to Boy Four, I am unable to decipher any of his words.
The boys realize I’m a little too close for their comfort, so they walk away. Still talking and clearly on a mission.
I’ve thought about writing two stories based on their conversation:
In one version, the boys are charged with a crime, based mainly on the testimony of a suspicious teacher. The boys, whose skin tone is brown, are innocent but are convicted of the crime nonetheless.
In another version, the boys commit a heinous act, but because they are perceived as “good” boys who come from “good” families, the teacher withholds information from the prosecutors. The boys are never charged with a crime and justice is not served. (Reminiscent of themes in Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s novel, All American Boys)
Fiction mirrors reality. Reality mirrors fiction.
How would you craft your story?