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There are those moments when you’re watching a movie or reading a book when your suspension of disbelief is replaced by a mixture of disgust and loathing and “that can’t be right?”

You doublecheck. Play back the tape (I’m a child of the 80s: it’s an expression) or reread that last paragraph.

Yeah, you did read that correctly. That character you’ve been following around just did or said something that drove you to throw the book against the wall. Maybe with a battle cry.

There’s no shame in that.

But I find that the better reaction when you’re trying to level up your writing game is to take those WTF moments and plant them deep inside your soul and keep them for later. let them fester properly, ferment, whatever your model of soul does with unwelcome things.

Now take that moment and make it a writing prompt.

Here’s an example, this line from the movie Gladiator (2000): If only you had been born a man, what a Caesar you would have made.

That’s the aging and ailing Marcus Aurelius to his daughter, Lucilla. It bothered me when I saw it in the theater. It stayed nestled in my hindbrain. “Well,” I ask myself, “what kind of Caesar would she had made?” Lucilla is smart, calculating, merciful, well spoken, all those things that her brother Commodius, who succeeds dear old dad, was not.

Some food for thought. Take those scenes, those lines of dialogue that bother you, unravel them, and weave the threads into something you find more fitting.

And you can always watch HOW IT SHOULD HAVE ENDED videos for inspiration. But don’t forget–you should be writing!

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