Posts from the ‘Writing Prompts’ Category

Writing Prompt: Mothertruckin’ Robots!

Character/Device: I’m super lazy, so today’s prompt just involves robots. Describe your ieal mechanical companion in great detail. What does it do? Why does it do that? can it feel emotion? How smart is it? Will you build an army of robots to take over the world, or use your power for good?

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Writing Prompt: Department Store Blues

Setting: Write a story set in a department stores (think big commercial companies like Sears or J.C. Penny). It’s a relatively boring setting, what can yo do to spice it up? Is it that last haven for a group of terrified shoppers being chased by zombie dinosaurs? Is it Christmas and full of cranky shoppers? Is it completely deserted for no reason? How do the employees act? Around customers? Around each other?

Writing Prompt: Redneck Jamboree

Prompt: Write about a band that tours the country and exclusively plays at trailer parks. Plot twist: it isn’t a country band! What kind of music do they play? Why do they only play at trailer parks? What kind of revenue is generated? Are there social repercussions for aiming your music at drunk rednecks?

Writing Prompt: 3 Things

Alrighty then, back to our irregularly scheduled program.

Prompt: Take these three elements and incorporate them into a story. It’s like Chopped but with words instead of chicken feet and marsala.

  1. Genre: urban fantasy
  2. Character: a business executive with a secret life
  3. Problem: a local cult is stealing livestock

Good luck!

WWYCD? Answers

A) Taking on leadership with reluctance is consistent with a thoughtful character. They may be sure of their abilities, but also wary of the ethical responsibilities of being the one in charge.

B) Taking on leadership with trepidation is consistent with a character who is fearful or anxious. They tend to avoid positions of power, though if it’s necessary they will step up, even though their first reaction is fright.

C) Taking on leadership with enthusiasm is consistent with a reckless, spirited character. They actively seek out challenges, take pride in their capabilities, and are likely aggressive and optimistic by nature.

D) Taking on leadership with bravado is consistent with a character that is defensive. They are most likely less assured than they seem, and are thus likely to compensate with strict rules and harsh discipline.

E) Immediately issuing orders is consistent with a fearless, tough character. They are often worldly and experienced in handling emergencies, knowing what needs to be done to ensure the group’s success or survival. Followers are allowed no doubts about who is in charge.

Writing Prompt: Dreams

A lot of the time, I don’t sleep well. It results in late nights spent staring at my ceiling, or sitting half awake at my desk scribbling things in my notebooks by pencil. Things that make absolutely no sense when I read them again the next morning. I have something called recurring nightmares. It’s always the same, down to the last detail. I have three that keep coming back, and despite research spelling out some line about stress in real life causing them, I haven’t found a cure even by confronting my “inner demons”. A better method I’ve found is shutting them up with chocolate and dirty jokes. Anyway, here’s the prompt. 

Prompt: What’s the oddest dream you’ve ever had? Why was it odd? How did you feel when you woke up? 

Example: I dreamed once that I was a penguin. I lived in a world of white ice and small pockets of crystal water. The passing of time held no interest or meaning, blurring past in a haze of days and nights, until one morning, I woke to find a dragon on the horizon. It was big, bigger than my tiny feathered body, dragging scaled limbs slowly over the ice. Someone had injured it- there was a trail of blood in its heavy wake, thick and foul smelling, like sulfur. As it reached me, it stopped, and we stared at each other for a long time. After awhile it simply lay down, and I watched it die. 

When I woke up, I was confused as all hell. It was a pleasant respite from the usual dreams, but I didn’t quite know what to make of the penguin and the dragon. 

Writing Prompt: Old Story, New Twist

Recently, I’ve switched over to Yarny for my word processing dealybob, and I love it. Seriously. Go check it out. Anyway, that means I haven’t had the time to sift through my Documents folder in awhile, but today I had cause to do just that, looking for some snippet of dialogue I wrote a few months back. It was like walking back into your room after a week of vacation, at the moment in time where you realize how much of a mes your house is. So I organized it. What does this have to do with today’s prompt? Nothing, I just wanted to share. 

Prompt: Take an old idea, whether it’s yours or pilfered from somewhere else, and rewrite it with your own twist. I don’t just mean rewording it, I mean change the view from the top. 

Example: As a submission for a writing contest in sixth grade, I wrote Little Red Riding Hood from the wolf’s point of view. Just this past year, I redid the idea for the Literotica Halloween contest, obviously with adult themes. 

Writing Prompt: Anxiety

Having a lazy day folks, mostly working on random bits of nothing and hunting for stories to critique on Scribophile. I’m Alis Barr on there too, come find me. Anyway, I pulled today’s prompt from some random link WordPress offers.

Prompt: Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

My youngest child entered the world in the midst of a whirlwind of turmoil. At eighteen years old I found myself facing the prospect of being a single mother, frightened and completely unprepared despite the fact that I already played at being mommy-dearest to my older son. When I first held E, he was perfect. This tiny little bundle made of velvet skin and hunger and love that burned like the sun. I had forgotten the way a newborn felt, their solid weight cased in liquid limbs that seemed to have been poured into blankets and dolloped into teensy mittens and shaped to fit the shirt that fit too loosely on his long body. I was lost in his perfection, blinded to the aches of my own body that had so recently been a vessel for such a precious gift. I vowed then and there that I would love him and protect him from ever being hurt by anyone. And then the nurses came. 

Why are his fingers and toes still purple?

Look at that, he has some jaundice.

Listen to him breathe…that’s not right. 

And they took him away. My infant child left the safe cradle of my arms and wheeled down the longest hallway in the world to the Continuous Care Nursery. I was left alone, to sit in my worry, feeling like the walls were closing in around me. Fear, hot and paralyzing, crushed the air from my lungs. What had I done? He was healthy, nine pounds of wailing baby, angry at the world for displacing him from my womb. So why was he not with me? I fretted until I was allowed to see him, and suddenly he was very small, laying there surrounded by wires and monitors that sounded an alarm every time his oxygen levels dropped. That alarm sounded in my nightmares for weeks, even after I brought him home, where he was safe. Five days I stayed, allowed by doctors but not by my own conscience to leave his side. He nursed and slept and cried, all alone in that little box of light. My baby angel, lit by the blue glow of a blanket meant to warm him and heal his sickly yellow skin. For every tear I shed, a piece of my anxiety drifted down my cheeks with it, leaving only a smooth ball of calm resolution in the pit of my stomach. And though the next six months were a blur of doctors and needles and worry, I never forgot the promise I made to him the first time I held my baby, to protect him. 

Writing Prompt: Holiday Cheer

It’s Christmas! (says Captain Obvious) Also, yes, I know most of my characters are tortured. It’s what I do best, so just bear with me and try not to have a heart attack when I finally create someone happy.

Prompt: How do your characters spend the holidays? Who’s a total Scrooge…as opposed to the bringer of all things red and green? Family visit or none? 

Example: 

Standing on the porch in her pajamas, Kenna blithely ignored the biting cold as she watched snow fall in sheets. The children were in the front yard, shouting and laughing as they chased each other in circles, leaving tracks in the puffy whiteness covering the ground.

“You know, most people wear a coat when they go outside in weather like this.” She startled, whirling and half into a defensive crouch before she saw it was just Blair. The tall woman was fully dressed in jeans and boots under a puffy winter coat. She had a knit hat placed delicately on her head, managing to look twice as put together as Kenna had ever managed.

“Oh. It, uh, feels good.” she shrugged awkwardly, shifting from foot to foot as Blair joined her on the porch, shutting the door. “Sleeping next to Jamie is like being in bed with a furnace.”

“It’s a Frasier thing.” the other woman laughed lightly. “David’s hot too. And he always seems to want to be right next to me.” Kenna gave her a half smile, folding her arms and looking out at the yard again. “You know, I feel like it’s rude to ask, but if you don’t mind…you don’t seem very comfortable here. Why?” Blair asked, and Kenna’s mouth twitched.

“You aren’t being rude.” she said, keeping her eyes on Angela as she bounded through the drifting snow, squealing as her sister chased her. “Truthfully, I am completely out of my element, being here with your family.” Angela ducked behind one of the cars, hiding as Louise searched around, the snowball in her hand half forgotten. “I’ve never had anyone to “get together for Christmas” with. If I was lucky my older brother would come home for a few hours on Christmas Eve, but usually he was out, and I was alone.” Louise found her sister, shoving the snowball down the back of Angela’s coat, making her yowl in protest. Kenna blinked, then smiled slightly at Blair. “Pardon me.” she said, and ducked back inside.

In the spare room she and Jamie had been assigned, she shut the door, hearing the shower running in the bathroom attached to their room. Stripping off clothes as she went, she stepped naked past the curtain and pressed her body against Jamie’s warm back.

“Jesus!” he yelped, jumping and turning to face her, holding her at arm’s length and putting her under the hot water. “Did you go out there just so you could do that to me?” She grinned slyly, and his scowl deepened. “Jerk.” he said, stepping close again and leaning in to kiss her.

Writing Prompt: Switch It Up

There are times when my characters just refuse to behave, and that’s when I either A) horribly maim one of them; or B) do this.

Prompt: Take a character you’re familiar with, and put them in a completely different setting. How do they react to this new environment? Perhaps they know nothing of their “previous life”, or are they fully aware that things have changed?

Example: One of my triad stories seemed to be going in circles, as they like to sometimes, so I took all three characters out of a futuristic setting, and put them all the way back into medieval times. As it turned out, the problem was that two of the three weren’t as strongly bonded as I was hoping for; so I remedied that by having them meet first and travel together a bit before introducing the third character.