Wednesday Writing Prompts Strike Back (Thrice!)

1. Take a classic tale from any period (from the Odyssey to Ivanhoe or anything Dickens to anything Spielberg or Romero) and turn it on its head by thoroughly integrating some new element into it (as in Pride and Predjudice and Zombies)

2. You’re on your way to a perfectly ordinary day at work, when suddenly a sign looms up before you that says “Road Closed” and you’re forced to take an unmarked detour down an unfamiliar road that seems unusually devoid of traffic. Is it an ordinary short cut, or is something more ominous going on? What awaits you around the next corner? Does the pavement suddenly and inexplicably end? Have you crossed into the proverbial twilight zone?

3. Write a piece where physical “imperfection(s)” in a body or an object add to its beauty as opposed to making it merely “less than perfect”, and therefore “less than beautiful.” Consider the patina of age or the ancient chipping of a Grecian urn, for example, or the beauty of a more “average” woman compared to the “perfection” of an over-the-top supermodel.

4. Create a story filled with unexpected, unsettling and unexpected twists that still seem logical and/or realistic while being incredibly jarring. (Maybe a man accidently takes as hostage the one person who could easily disarm him, or maybe a typical, cliche event [man slips on a banana peel] ends on a different note [man keeps his balance and uses momentum and slipperyness of peel to get to work on time.])

5. Close your eyes and focus on the sounds around you. Listen to them, shuffle them around in your memory and use them as key points with which to drive a story forward.

6.I once had a Spanish teacher whose mother thought that the reason why America is such a big player in the world today is because every time you leave the freeway, you see a sign that says “exit” (exito means “success!” in Spanish) and she assumed that, (as many Americans seem to) the only difference between Exit and Exito was that Spanish seems to add an “o” to the end of a lot of words. Write a story where a mistaken translation creates an erroneous assumption (or judgement) that has either comedic, dangerous, or otherwise interesting consequences.

7. Take a song you’re quite fond of, listen to it, then incorporate elements, concepts or themes from it into a story. If it’s an instrumental piece, think about how it makes you feel, what it reminds you of, and then create a story that uses those images and impressions.

8.Take a hike. Literally. Keep an eye out for a particular place (like a clearing, a meadow, a thicket, a glade) that inspires you. Once you find one, sit down and imagine a scene that might have taken place there. It could be a romantic one, an argument, a murder or anything else. Next: Put pen to paper and write!

9. Everyone has their taboos and things that frighten or disgust them, and it is playing off these concepts that makes the most terrifying horror. Think about what frightens you, then create a story which incorporates and confronts these elements. If you’re claustrophobic, write about an unlucky someone trapped in the narrow darkness of a cave, alone, unable to escape the stifling pressure of the deep earth no matter how hard he or she tries, etc.

10. If there is one constant in the universe, it is change. Think of a profound change or transformation that occurred in your own life, then use it as the central theme for a piece more fiction and fantastic than fact.

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