There is a moment in every story where a protagonist has to make a choice: to take up the challenge of the story or to turn away. Everything else flows from that.
Today, write a story in which your protagonist makes the other choice.
Helen rose from the table and began to clear the plates. Chet touched her elbow as she leaned past him, “I heard from Riley.” She glanced at Jimmy and Mary, still at the table. Mary was picking at the pile of green beans on her plate; Jimmy was downing the last of his glass of milk. “May I please be excused”, he said, pausing for a swallow. “Go play”, Helen nodded, and the children slid from their chairs and scooted to their bedrooms.
Through the open door, Mary could hear her parents’ voices, first cautiously lowered.
“Well?” Helen asked.
“He’s made an offer. It’s not as good as I would have liked, but there’s a chance for a raise in six months.”
“I accepted. I start in six weeks.”
Helen’s voice rose. “Six weeks! How can we possibly sell the house, pack, and move in six weeks? And school starts Tuesday. We agreed that if this didn't come through, you would wait and start looking again next spring.”
“Well, it has come through, and we’re moving.” Chet’s tone was flat and hard.
“Moving!” Mary shouted from the bedroom door. “Where, Daddy?”
“Whoops! The cat’s out of the bag, Helen. They might as well know.” Jimmy peered out from his own bedroom, a boxcar in one hand and a piece of track in the other. He looked stunned, while Mary was aflutter with excitement. Chet pushed away from the table and leaned toward them in his chair. “I have a new job — in New York!!”
New York! “The Empire State Building!” Mary said, clapping her hands. Jimmy was silent; in his ten years, they had already moved five times, and he’d gone to three different schools. Moving had no appeal.
“You and Mommy will stay for a while with Pop-pop and Grandma while I look for a new house, but then you can see the Empire State Building. And the Rockettes. And the Macy’s Parade.”
Mary was bouncing up and down, a big grin on her face.
“I’m not going”. Startled, Chet looked at Jimmy and opened his mouth to reply.
“No, you’re not”. Helen wiped her hands on her apron and clasped her hands near her mouth briefly before adding, “Daddy can go where he wants. We’re staying here."