Wednesday Writing Prompts XV

1. Write a story about some fantastic piece of technology that has lain undisturbed and undiscovered for millenia in some place that still maintains some of its mystery. Consider the sands of Egypt, the moon, Mars, or even somewhere else altogether. What does this piece of technology do? Who built and used it? Is it truly ancient, or did it end up in the distant past some other way? Is it the only one, or are there more? Is there a whole trove of “ancient” technology buried somewhere that only your story dares to tread? If the device(s) are discovered, what happens to those who begin to tinker with them? Is the discovery merely the start of their adventure?

2. What do you think of when you see garden gnomes? In classes I’ve taught, I’ve heard everything from “They’re just dumb” to “I bet they walk around at night and knife people!” Come up with something creative, something fun, but something definitely about the secret lives of garden gnomes.

3. There are few things more powerful that an individual can do for the greater good than to willingly sacrifice him or herself in order to save or protect others (At least, story-wise.) Write a story about a person who chooses to sacrifice himself or herself, but be creative as to what exactly that sacrifice means. What will the sacrificee be like afterwards? Dead? Comatose? Ethereal? What causes this change? What is the sacrifice ultimately meant to save? A people? An ideal? A way of life? There are about a thousand different ways to go with this– modern day, drama, fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, magic realism, etc.

4. Make a list of things that frighten, disgust or terrify you. They can be things as simple as spiders, rats and disease or as far out there as werewolves, Nazis and Cthulhu. Whatever they are, put them down on paper and then consider them both individually and how they could be combined to create the driving element of horror for a story. (Like a furry spiderbeast that makes a noise like a thousand angry rats and has fangs which drip contagion.) Now, write your story. Put pen to paper and create a horror masterpiece that addresses all that you truly fear.

5. Pick up the closest book and flip through it until you find a word that strikes you as “cool” (Try a shorter one– you’ll see why in a moment) Now, consider what that word might stand for if it were being used as the acronym for a project, device, or organization. Consider an example from my own Pink Carbide series– FLAIL (Fellowship for the Liberation of Artificially Intelligent Lifeforms.) Now, take your own completed acronym and write a story that features it. Be creative, really think about what you could do with your word before you settle on any one idea.

6. Write a story about something mysterious that a character finds while poking around somewhere (like at a yardsale or in an unused attic, etc.) It could be anything, a bottle of wine, an old antique, a subtle knife or something even more mysterious or interesting. Whatever it is, give it a certain significance that makes it interesting, if not downright magical.

7. Read one (1) piece of short fiction by each of the following authors (in this order) Jorge Luis Borges, Storm Constantine, Rikki Ducornet, Brian Evenson, and Kate Braverman. Now, write about your life. Let yourself be inspired by the material you’ve just read, see where the experience of reading these previous five authors takes you.

8. Sit down and take some time to create a map of a world that doesn’t really exist. Give it detail, consider the level of technology, how long the people have lived there, etc. It doesn’t have to be an entire globe– it can be as small of a “world” as a town or a city. Now, once you’ve finished, set a story there. Use the map as a reference while you write, and use it to inspire new ideas you might not have otherwise come up with if you hadn’t made the map.

9. Write a story that encapsulates the experience of a generation or a decade. Think about the changes that have occurred over time, the hairstyles, the music tastes, the mannerisms, what stays cool or uncool and what changes as time goes on, or just root your story firmly in the soil of a time that has long since passed. Be creative, and feel free to work beyond the lines laid out by this prompt. Combine stuff, do what feels awesome. There are about a million ways you can take this.

10. Everybody hates scammers, cheats, and people with no moral backbone. Write a story about an especially nasty trickster with no qualms at all about screwing people over, no matter how bad off they may be, and then have that trickster caught and punished in whatever way you think is ultimately appropriate. (Feel free to go as far with this as feels right.)

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