Wed. Writing Prompts XXV

1. Write a story in which other, successive stories are told in reflection or flashback, each tale layered on inside another, but all interrelated somehow. Create meaning within their interactions, integrate their symbols and choice words in a way that creates its own story within this “onion” of a tale.

2. Imagine you are presented with an opportunity to travel into the past to any period in history. The only catch– you cannot leave. You must live out the rest of your days in that time. Would you walk away from the offer? Would you accept? What period would you consider going back to? Write your story.

3. Think about the phrase “behind enemy lines.” While most people are familiar with its literal meaning, what else could this line be applied to? A trip to the mother-in-law’s? A breakdown in a rich neighborhood/barrio? The inadvertent tread into intellectual ground in which you might have no footing? Be creative, see what you can come up with, then write your story!

4.Write a story that analyzes the idea of humanity as a resource. What does this concept of people as a consumable (like wood, livestock, etc.) say about our culture as a whole and especially the business world of corporate? Jot down some ideas, consider them, and then pick one (or more) to pursue. Use that as the premise or message for your story.

5. Spend a little time researching a person from history who has either disappeared or died suddenly. It could be as far back as Pyrrhus or as recent as Dave Williams or Michael Jackson. Study the record of their final few moments, the events leading up to their demise– and then start a story there. Where do you go from here? There are a thousand ways– consider perhaps what might be going through your chosen person’s mind in the slow, stretching seconds before death, or entertain the possibility that the whole thing might have been elaborately staged, the person in question making a life for themselves elsewhere, away from the limelight. Be creative, try different things and see where your ideas take you.

6. Consider some of the things that might crop up (or have cropped up) in the course of dating someone that might be deal-breakers. What might someone say, be, or do that would completely destroy any attraction you might have had for them? Make a list (if there’s more than one) and then use this list as a guide. Write a story about a person who is/has all these things and the person who can’t stand them– but for some crushing, inescapable reason, must.

7. Create an army. It could be any kind of army– anything from a line of determined children whose goal is the cookie jar or the big hairy kid to an interstellar armada poised on the brink of an alien frontier. Make it something you’re passionate about– detail it, think about individual “soldiers” and the roles they play in the struggle that is to come. Now, write that struggle. Put words to the battle they must wage, whether it’s for cookies or the fate of the galaxy.

8. Consider the effect a given occurrence of societal backlash has (or could have) on the fragment of society seen as the “oppressor” whose “shackles” must be violently tossed aside in an act as much about freedom as retribution. (Take Feminism for example– instead of fighting for equality, which was and still is the primary goal of the movement, some feminists actively seem to seek a vengeful dominance over men in order to “show them how bad it was.” Do you think this is right? Write about it.

9. Consider the impact it would have had upon society had public education never become a reality. What would the world be like if school had remained the domain of the wealthy and those who were born to parents of lower classes were never given a chance to even learn to read or write? Create a story that takes place in just such a world. Capture the struggles, the ambiance. Make it real.

10. One staple of horror fiction is the idea of being the subject of an unplanned surgical procedure– while still conscious and without anesthesia. It plays across our fears, the expectation of pain, the violent violation of self, as well as the terror of inescapable death. Write a story that incorporates this horrific element and takes it to a level that leaves your reader feeling truly terrified.

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