Wednesday Writing Prompts XIII

1. Think about something that makes you sad. It can be anything, a memory, a person, an object, an ideal, an unrealized goal in your own life that seems impossible to achieve– now write about it. Explore why it makes you sad, why it effects you as strongly as it does, and then set it down for a moment and rethink it. How can you fix the situation and turn something unhappy into something happy? Is there something else out there in the world that is happy that you should be focusing on instead? Something wonderful in your life that others might look at and wish they could experience too?

2. Think about some change in your life that, when it happened, not only shocked you, but made you feel like you were getting older. It could be friends moving away, getting married, having children, etc. or anything else you can think of. Now, write about how you felt, delve into the emotions, explore them, name names, reach out into the world and wrap your hand around the core of what’s going on, and what the most profound truth of it all really is.

3. Take on the role of a cryptozoologist for a day and write a paper on your latest theory or find. It doesn’t have to be the tale of a crackpot logger who swears he saw Sasquatch shaking hands with Jesus, but could just as easily be a formal, “eyes only” report on something the military found and isn’t willing to let the public know about yet. Be creative, have fun, try something new, and see where it takes you.

4. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Write a story that proves once again that this old adage is true. The “Trash” could be anything, or any number of things. The first man could even be metaphorical. Consider the roles of the antiques collector who makes weekly visits to an entire circuit of thriftstores, the man or woman who swoops in to draw the discarded lover of another into his or her arms, or even the transactions that go on at any given yard sale.

5. Write a story where a great and epic hero is brought low. It doesn’t have to be the story of a person whose arrogance or overconfidence becomes their downfall– it could be a story where the great defender of a land finally succumbs to the ravages of time, disease, or the steady chipping and scheming of another. Where the story goes from there is up to you. Is the hero redeemed? Does another take his or her place? Does darkness envelop the land? Does something else altogether unexpected happen?

6. Sit down and think for a moment about a place where you would really love to live. It doesn’t have to be any specific place– it doesn’t even have to be real. Write a little about the place, give metaphor and literary life to it– then, set a scene there (or write about how you get/got there!)

7. Write a story that casts the human body as some massive facility or transport vessel. Consider the different dramas or crises or jobs that might unfold in any part of the human body if it were run by fully cognizant little lifeforms. (Like sentient cells, I suppose.) What kind of people would work in the brain? The blood vessels? The intestinal tract?

8. Write a story that messes with the reader, (like a story about a story of the same name that pulls its readers in and sends them to another dimension or a story about a person sitting at their computer or on a bench, reading a story of the same title until someone comes up behind them... etc.) Go over it a couple of times, consider the impact it might have, and streamline it. Make it feel as real as possible.

9. Tell the tale of an epic battle between two great nations of incredible power. It could be two nations from history, two nations of today, two nations of a fantasy world, or even two star-faring meganations of the future. Fill the story with powerful, awe-inspiring detail, make the base and bloody business of warfare distant, obscured under a phalanx of golden shields and shining polearms or lost in a sea of sweeping laserfire that vaporizes everything it touches.

10. Do the previous writing prompt, and then take it a step further– What is the human cost here? How does it all look to the one man or woman standing on the sidelines, the soldier dodging arrows or missiles and doing his or her damnedest to survive? What are the human dramas here? What are the social issues and points of contention that only overshadow the entire war for one or two people? Is there some form of resolution among all this conflict?

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