Wednesday Writing Prompts V

1. Think about something that really bugs you, something in your life that irritates or frustrates you to no end. Put words to that frustration, explore it, let yourself go off on it, and then express your tirade in ink. Finally, formalize it (as an essay or an article) or put it in the mouth of a character who has the same (or a similar) problem.

2. Create a new holiday, one with a long, traditional background (either on Earth or somewhere else entirely!) And use it as the backdrop for a story. Detail it, give it festivals, flesh them out and make them real, then merge it all into the plot of a story. Use it to set the mood, to accentuate points, events, and even the climax. Make it the metaphor for the tale you’ve woven into it.

3. Write a story where two people are thinking about each other, without being anywhere near each other. Consider two lovers, or maybe two people who’ve just gone home after their first date, or even two friends with some point of contention between them, any of whom are having their own silent conversations in their minds. The thoughts could be dramatic and misguided, they could make assumptions, judgements, they could come quick and furious like the words of an argument– because that’s exactly what you’re going for. Now take these two lines of internal conversation and interlace them so it’s almost as if they were talking or arguing all along.

4. Create a story where all the characters have objectified names. Consider the relationship that could spring up between Left and Right, between Red and Tall, between Green and Cube. Consider how these relationships could interrelate: Is Green stalking Tall? Is Cube cheating on Right with Red? Remembering to keep things abstract, put pen to paper and see where a few objectified names can take you!

5. Consider for a moment a particle, a wave, an atom, a photon, or a neutron, and then consider what it might be like to be that thing. Consider the human implications of all matter being compressed into a single one-dimensional point right before the big bang that flung everything out and created the universe (as if there were human thought, as if you were occupying the point along with countless others) and then take it a step further. Look for places in science and theory that seem alien and cold to you, places where no rational mind could logically project a human consciousness, and then play with it. Become a quark for a day and discuss how irritating the subatomic bonds that hold you to your brothers are, or marvel in the long trip a photon takes toward Earth, only to miss it just barely and be sent on into the depths of space.

6. Write a modern story in such a way that it feels like Science Fiction. Go heavy with the technology and the explanations of proven theory that in an earlier decade might have been classified as Science Fiction. Talk about things is odd detail, like how the wireless transmitter in someone’s iPhone links up with distant towers of silicon and steel to connect him to a massive unseen network of information people refer to as “The Internet.”

7. Take something in the society around you that makes you uncomfortable or disgusted (like beauty contests, drag queens, McDonalds, pot smokers or American Idol) and write a story that casts it in a good light. It can be a story of redemption, of inspiration and strength that either leads the character out of the disturbing thing or further into it, depending on which way you want to go. (Like a drag queen who starts small but manages to transcend so many boundaries, so many stigmas and so much adversity that he wins some massive televised event and is recognized all over the world as someone incredible, someone who has fought hard and won through in spite of everything the world has thrown in his path to try to trip him up.)

8. Write a story where two things that are normally seen as total opposites (like love and garbage) become metaphors for one another.

9. Take some time to check out some of the “outer circle” dialects of English in the world today, and use their examples to create characters who speak these unusual dialects. Now, throw them into an unusual situation. You can create a world where everybody in the upper class talks one dialect and everyone in the lower talks another, or even throw three different dialect speakers into the same room and see where it goes, considering what words mean different things (or nothing at all) to people who speak a variation of English that comes from another side of the globe entirely.

10. Take something mundane that you have to do regularly and according to a certain schedule (like going to school or work) and make it fantastic. Instead of walking across campus to sit in a musty classroom that smells like old banana pancakes to listen to lectures from a bespectacled professor with a combover who shakes and drools as he talks (and probably farts dust), fly across campus in a biomimetic thrust pack, grind the asphalt with plates of nanoregenerative shielding, and slide across scarred linoleum into a hangar bay where a cute technician in a skin-tight jumpsuit stands waiting to teach you how to pilot the latest in uberdestructive mecha.

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