Wednesday Writing Prompts XX

1. Between television and novels there lies a middle ground which has gone almost forgotten, simmering steadily in the darkness with its own life and its own undeniable charm. I speak of course of the radio drama, and in its heyday, it was an art all its own. Craft your own radio drama, or at least a script that could be used for one (or perhaps a story that centers around one.) Be creative, give life to this almost forgotten means of telling a story, and see where the intricacies and idiosyncracies of this unique medium take you!

2. In today’s world, we worry about time, about money and about events in the future that could suddenly go wrong, but on the whole, this worry is a relatively modern thing. (as far as humanity goes.) Do you think it’s a permanent change? Do you think that people will worry about these things from here on out, or do you think these worries are temporary? Will worrying shift to some other focus (like, say, some unfathomable concept that we cannot currently grasp) or go away altogether? Project yourself into the probable future and write down what you think people will worry about in the centuries to come. Now– work it all into a story.

3. Would you survive as a character in a horror movie? Consider some of the terror flicks you’ve seen in your lifetime and how well you might survive in them. Now, set up your own “horror movie,” featuring you (or a pseudonym) as the star. Write your story– even if it ends in horrible disembowelment and death, put it on paper and run with it. Remember, sometimes in horror, it’s okay if in the end, the bad guy wins and everybody dies.

4. Write a story that begins with a death. (There are a million ways you could go with this.) It could be that the story unfolds at a wake or funeral, it could be that the death is the first step in the main character’s journey, it could be that the death of someone close to the main character triggers the story and the events that are meant to unfold around him or her, or it could be anything else. Think about it for a while, and then write the best idea that comes to you.

5. Anyone who’s really gotten into gardening can tell you stories about “volunteer” plants. The basic idea is that sometimes, some seeds left over from the previous season’s garden (or from a garden that someone else planted there years before, etc.) actually sprout randomly from the soil in the same plot as plants that have been intentionally placed there that season. Write a story about a mysterious volunteer plant that looks like something familiar (a tomato plant, a pumpkin vine, etc.) but ultimately becomes stranger and stranger– not enough to warrant weeding, but just enough to make the gardener curious enough to let it grow.

6. Think about something that you’ve always wanted to do with your life (like becoming a plastic surgeon or going to law school.) Now, imagine every door between you and that goal were suddenly thrown open. How would you go about achieving your dream? What would it feel like? What would you have to do to get there? Now, write your story.

7. Imagine for a moment that some miraculous new source of cheap, renewable, sustainable and zero-emission energy were suddenly discovered either here or somewhere else. What kind of impact would it have on our world? On our economy? What would people do? Would it become widely used, or fiercely regulated? Be creative, try something new, and see where the idea of the ultimate energy source takes you!

8. Working from the premise set by #7, now imagine that, only after all the good and happy, miraculous events had come to pass and society was firmly hooked on this new source of energy, it turned out to have some profoundly terrible secret. Where does it really come from? What kind of horrors are involved in the making and/or processing of it? Is it brokered by some Faustian bargain that ultimately comes with some terrible price tag which humanity has to pay? See where the idea takes you, and feel free to try anything that reaches out and grabs you!

9. Write a story about a transient whose life is suddenly and drastically changed by a discovery he makes while digging through a dumpster. What does he find? How does it change his life? For better? For worse? Are things harder but ultimately more rewarding? Be creative, try a few different ideas before you settle on one and write your story.

10. Brainstorm the basic premise for a movie (Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back or giant robots attack, one man has the secret to defeating them, action ensues, etc.) and then pick real life actors to play the roles (Who’s the boy? The girl? The leader of the giant robots?) Give them defined roles, write down a few pieces of dialog or random quotes from the movie, and then write your story.

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