Saturday, April 10, 2021

Writing Prompt: In the Spotlight


A sailor on the U.S.S. Missouri mans a searchlight.
Reading about the naval career of Britain's Prince Philip gave me an idea for a writing prompt.

During World War 2, the Prince was a Midshipman in charge of a search light aboard the HMS Valiant on a dark night off Cape Matapan. When he was ordered to unshutter it, the light revealed an Italian cruiser so close that only half the ship was lit up.  Italy had some of the most modern battleships of the era.  Some were like Ferraris on the high seas.  But, Italian crews didn't practice gunnery at night, the cruiser was already damaged, and British gunners sent it to the bottom in moments.  A few minutes later, another Italian cruiser was caught in the lights and sunk.  It must have been quite a fright to be standing right by the only thing the Italians could see to shoot at!

For today's writing prompt, turn on a searchlight on a ship, a police car, a homeowner's deck, or somewhere else where a searchlight might be available and write about what is 

revealed in the light!

Condolences to the Royal Family, the people of the United Kingdom, and the British Commonwealth.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Fantasy Writing Prompt: The Magic Item

Did you ever play Dungeons & Dragons?  Long, long, long ago, I played regularly.  It was a great way to pass the time and engage the imagination.  It was an especially good game for imaginative people with no money.  I more than qualified under those criteria when I was in college.  As characters advanced in this popular roleplaying game, they accumulated experience, wealth, weapons, and magic items.  But, often, this inventory of weapons became commonplace and classified not by their magic, but by the numerical advantages that they gave the characters in the game.  The items weren't valued and weren't special anymore.  Instead, they were simply an inventory: a ring of invisibility, a bag of holding a +1 dagger, or a +5 sword.

Cookham Dagger - photo byJohnbod, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Where's the magic in that?

You don't have to be a D&D player to have fun with today's writing prompt.  Anyone who enjoys fantasy writing can have fun with this one.  The assignment is simple.  For today's writing prompt, imagine an item that a character in a fantasy novel might possess, describe it, incorporate it in a story, and most of all --- 

bring the magic to life!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Adventure Writing Prompt: Flight of the Cobra

A mysterious group of mercenaries recently tried to by a trio of AH-1 Cobra gunship helicopters for use in the ongoing conflict in Libya.  It was all part of a shadowy mercenary operation.  Fortunately, the plan fell apart when the Jordanian government investigated the groups claims and cancelled the aircraft sale.

An AH-1 Cobra Helicopter belonging to the US Army participates in a military exercise in Egypt

While being an international mercenary is certainly bad business, the idea of owning a Cobra gunship is pretty appealing to the 14-year-old boy part of my brain.  You could certainly have some adventures with something like that.  So today's writing prompt is to create a short story or flash fiction piece involving ---

 a Cobra gunship.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Writing Prompt: The Race

One thing you can usually count on in February is the Daytona 500 NASCAR race in the United States.  The race officially marks the start of the stock car racing season in the United States.  It's a good time to think about racing as a theme in stories as well.  As a writer, a race gives you a competition, a course, obstacles, wrecks, fires, and times to beat.  From Daytona to Monaco, auto racing also gives you some fantastic locales for a story.  Plus, you can highlight all sorts of rivalries set against the backdrop of a race.

For today's writing prompt, write a short piece of fiction where the action and drama centers around -

a race.

Photo by NSCRDVA, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are looking for an auto racing novel, here's one written by a master of the thriller.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Writing Prompt: Absolute Power

 Power.  They say it corrupts absolutely.  Sometimes you can really see it.  Whether it's a Facebook group administrator or a President, you can see new leaders flex it, test it, and enjoy it.  Of course, power isn't easy to maintain.  You need presence and charisma or gravitas and fear.  You need also need allies, henchmen, and other mechanisms for exercising your power and enforcing your edicts. 

Mussolini declaring war
 You also have to safeguard power against enemies and rivals.  You have to know when someone is trying to usurp your power from within your entourage.  You also have to survey the political landscape for people who want to oppose you.  Someone out there always wants to fight the power!

Power is truly a tricky thing.  Do you think you could exercise it wisely or justly?  Would you even want to?  You might need the wisdom of Solomon or the ruthlessness of a Stalin.  You might not be able to trust anyone.

Today's writing prompt is to create a story about how you would handle absolute -



If you want to organize your power, try the Battery Daddy as seen on TV.  I bought one recently through Amazon and it's pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Writing Prompt: Big Money

In the United States, we've recently had a rash of big lottery jackpots.  One person won almost a billion dollars.  These jackpots are amazing and life changing for the winner.  But, experts warn that winning a big lottery jackpot has a dark side.  Long lost family members come out of the woodwork seeking money.  Criminals and con artists flock to the winners.  I would imagine it could be dangerous and lonely for many winners.  But, still, for the winners who can manage the huge winnings, the experience must be incredible.

For today's writing prompt, create a short tale about a person who suddenly receives --

big money!

Photo by Maklay62, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Friday, January 22, 2021

Writing Prompt: What's in Box 1494?

The popularity of unboxing videos is one of the most curious phenomenons on the Internet.  People just can't resist opening up a package and seeing what's inside.  Quests for hidden treasure are similar.  People just want to know what behind the door or in the treasure chest or what around the bend.  Perhaps it is just a reflection of human curiosity and our thirst for knowledge?  No matter.  It's a human foible that works in our favor as writers.  We can write up a box, put something in it, and hide it!

For today's writing prompt, I present this humble row of post office boxes.  Your mission is to create a short story about -

 the contents of Box 1494!

Photo by MarkBuckawicki, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Writing Prompt: In the Spotlight

  A sailor on the U.S.S. Missouri mans a searchlight. Reading about the naval career of Britain's Prince Philip gave me an idea for a w...