Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Writing Prompt: The Castle

Sometimes all you need to get you in the mood to write is a good setting.  One such setting is a castle. 

Bodiam Castle - Photo by WyrdLight.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Built in the middle ages, the castle was the center of military power and economic activity.  it was also the home of powerful people such as a ruling lord.  If you are looking for a setting to place powerful, important, and sometimes violent people, the castle is a good one.  Castles automatically generate many, many questions:

  • Who lives there?
  • What is their title?
  • What are they defending?
  • Who defends the castle?
  • Why is the castle important?
  • Who is threatening the castle?
  • Who is locked away in the dungeon or tower?

For today's writing prompt, create a short story that is set in a -


Monday, April 29, 2019

Writing Prompt: The Narcissist

Personality disorders provide a rich treasure trove of character traits for fiction.  A little research can provide a rich treasure trove of information to help shape your character.  For example, when you consider the classic narcissist, the image you conjure is a vain woman who spends an inordinate amount of the time in front of the mirror.  But, when you read about narcissistic personality disorder, you will realize that the narcissist is far deeper.  

If you read up on relationships with narcissists or narcissistic mothers, you will learn how destructive narcissists can be.  Take a quick look at narcissistic personality disorder on wikipedia.  Now, for today's writing prompt, write a short story featuring a -


Painting photo by DanielleBigata [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Writing Prompt: The Tycoon

In America, business tycoons occupy a special place in society.  From fictional tycoons like J.R. Ewing and Gordon Gecko to real life business leaders like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, when these larger than life characters make a move, the world takes note.  For writers, the business tycoon can play a lot of roles.  They can be visionaries or villains and, sometimes, they can be both.  Business tycoons have the personal power to drive people to accomplish goals.  They also can have some glaring personal flaws that drive them towards their singular focus of making money.  Overall, they are interesting characters.  For today's writing prompt, write us a story involving -

a business titan

Larry Hagman - the actor who portrayed J.R. Ewing on Dallas. Photo by Toglenn [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)] 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Writing Prompt: Liars, Rogues, and Storytellers

While they may drive us crazy in real life, the world of literature is made a lot more interesting by liars, rogues, and storytellers.  Whether it's a wild story told with a twinkle in the eye, a boldfaced lie, or an entertaining work of fiction, colorful characters make for a colorful world.  For today's writing prompt, write us a short piece of fiction that features -

a liar

A Waterloo - painting by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge [Public domain]

Friday, April 26, 2019

Writing Prompt: It's a Monster

The great thing about the printed page is that words can bring creatures to life and scare us to death with them.  I found this colorful little monster at a thrift store and he's kicked off quite a few story ideas already.  Everyone loves monster stories.  For today's writing prompt, create a short work of fiction featuring a -

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Writing Prompt: From Beyond

When it comes to paranormal activity and paranormal experiences, ghost stories lead the way.  Polls show that most people believe in ghosts and many people report sensory experiences from beyond.  However, some scientists believe that people experience auditory and sensory hallucinations from time to time.  Whether you believe in ghosts or not, our planet is a lot more fun with ghost stories.
For today's writing prompt, write a short story that features communication from -

beyond the grave!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Writing Prompt: Creature of Legend

Legendary creatures and folklore are a little more fun than conspiracy theories.  When told with a twinkle in the eye, they bring liveliness to a sometimes boring landscape.  They make us look into the woods with a heightened sense of wonder and mystery.  Sure, all the respectable scientists, wildlife managers, and other authorities tell us that the creatures of folklore don't exist.  But, we still wonder.  For today's writing prompt, write us a short story involving -


Pikes Peak Bigfoot Statue - photo Alexander Migl [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Writing Prompt: A Conspiracy

As myths have been widely discounted around the world, a more insidious form of mythology has risen to take its place:  the conspiracy theory.  Conspiracy theories explain events through complex stories containing a blend of fact, fiction, and sometimes deliberate disinformation.

The danger with conspiracy theories is that they often mask real conspiracies and they weaken resolve by causing confusion.  For example, the 9/11 attacks in 2001 were planned and undertaken by the Al Queda terrorist group with the funding and support of radical Islamicists around the world and with the help of at least some elements of the Saudi Arabian government.  A wide variety of conspiracy theories arose to blame the attacks on members of the George W. Bush administration and powerful government and business interests.  Tragically, these theories have led some people to doubt that reality of the 9/11 attacks with thoughts that the crashed planes were missiles holograms and not passenger jets full of innocent victims.  To some degree, these conspiracy theories diverted blame and attention from the real culprits and the threat they pose to the western world.

For today's writing prompt, create a conspiracy theory that explains a current event in the news in a way that is favorable to one country, political party, or religious movement.  Then, do the world a favor, don't promote it on the internet as a fact.  This is just a writing exercise.

graphic by Quintendp099 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Monday, April 22, 2019

Writing Prompt: Creating a Myth

Throughout human history, mankind has come up with powerful systems of mythology to explain events like the creation of the planet and to pass on the customs, values, and morals of their cultures.  Mythology runs through our civilization from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey to modern day Star Wars movies.  Today's writing prompt is to explain something by -

creating a myth.

Parthenon - Photo by jean melis [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Writing Prompt: A Blimp

I bet you didn't think you were going to write a story involving a blimp today.  Well, you are.  For today's writing prompt, write us a short piece of fiction involving a blimp.

Alternatively, if you are into historical fiction, you can write a story involving a dirigible.  

Oh the humanity . . .

Friday, April 19, 2019

Writing Prompt: Going without

Today, we take for granted that we'll have smart phones, tablets, laptops, online music streaming, light, refrigeration, and much more.  Of course, all of it depends on electricity.  We don't give much thought to what life would be without electricity.  However, power stations and electric grids can be knocked out by natural disasters, wars, terrorism, hackers and a host of other threats.  For today's writing prompt, imagine that electricity was out and that it would be a considerable amount of time and investment to bring it.  Imagine that your world is -

without electricity

Photo by Alan Zomerfeld [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)]

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Four Word Writing Prompt: Around the House

Today's four word prompt inspired by housework and chores.  Create a 100 word flash fiction story incorporating these four words.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Writing Prompt: Hero of Mystery

Heroes often have mysterious origins. If you don't believe me, read Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell, or check out this nifty list of literary archetypes from Hillsborough Community College in Florida, or just go watch Star Wars again.

On the Hillsborough list of archetypes, one thing typically seen in a heroes journey is that "The origin of the hero is mysterious or the hero losses his/her parents at a young age, being raised by animals or a wise guardian."  For today's writing exercise, create a hero, think of his background, and describe the 

origin of a hero.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Writing Prompt: A Hero Comes Along

If you're going to be a hero, you are going to have to bring a bit of swagger and bravado to your game.  The safety of our world depends on soldiers, marines, sailors, police officers, and firefighters.  They've got the muscle to fight evil or the elemental on our behalf. For today's writing exercise, describe a -


Photo by CHPSocialMedia [Public domain]

Monday, April 15, 2019

Writing Prompt: When Rivals Meet

Conflict is the fuel that makes many great stories burn brightly and leave memorable scorch marks on our brain.  When rivals meet, sparks fly.  It doesn't matter if a story is about two high school divas meeting at their hall lockers or gunfighters meeting in the streets of a dusty western town, when parties to a conflict meet, things happen.  Our writing challenge for today's writing prompt is to write a short story depicting the --

meeting of rivals

Photo by David Maiolo [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Writing Prompt: At the Museum

This is a photo of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  An art museum can be the setting for many fine tales.  Anything from a romantic date to a multi-million dollar heist can happen in an art museum.  For today's writing prompt, write us a short story that takes place in an -- 
Art Museum.

Metropolitan Museum of Art - photo by Arad [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Writing Prompt: A Mysterious Machine

It seems that we see basic commercial cargo vans on our streets nearly every day.  Usually, they carry honest workers or small shipments of cargo around the community.  Workers go to and from job sites.  Deliveries bring merchandise to customers.  But, sometimes, basic vans can be used for other purposes.  They could transport hobos, burglars, bank robbers, kidnappers, hit men, or government agents.  For today's writing prompt, answer the age old question:

What's in that van?

Photo by MobiusDaXter [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Friday, April 12, 2019

Writing Prompt: Journey to the Stars

We live in a vast universe with many galaxies that lie far beyond our own.  This photo is called Hubble Looks Into the Storm and it peers into a nebula (N159) that is part of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) galaxy that is a satellite to our Milky Way.  It's a place where stars are born.

For today's writing prompt, take us to -

A galaxy far, far, away!

Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). N159,  Hubble photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA [Public domain]

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Four word writing prompt: the newspaper

Write something that incorporates these four words:


Photo by Kingmiwok [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Writing Prompt: A sign to start writing

Sometimes you just need a sign to prompt your writing efforts.  Fortunately, we have a great one for you.  Write a piece of flash fiction involving a sign that says this --

Sign on a cemetery fence in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Prompt Place: The Vikings

They came from the land of ice and snow to explore the world, raid coastal areas, and plunder.  Along the way, the left us with a rich system of mythology and mysteries like runes.  They were the Vikings.  For today's writing prompt, write a short story that features -


Monday, April 8, 2019

Writing Prompt: Sports

Today, April 8, 2019, marks the end of March Madness basketball in the United States.  "March Madness" is the name collectively given to all the post-season college basketball tournaments that are used to see how college basketball programs stack up in the United States.  The winner of the NCAA Tournament is considered to be the national champion.  The world of sports is a massive stage for drama at the personal and team level.  For today's writing prompt, write a short piece of fiction that is centered around a --


Sunday, April 7, 2019

One word writing prompt from the schoolyard.

Today's writing prompt is a topic that has made a lot of news over the past few years.  Write something that incorporates the word:


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Situation Writing Prompt: Betrayal

According to Google, betrayal is "the act of betraying one's country, group, or a person; treachery."  However, it is much more.  It's an act that hurts emotionally, causes harm, and creates conflict.  Betrayal leads to anger and revenge.  It's powerful.  It can happen to on the smallest personal scale or it can be epic.  No matter how it happens, betrayal can fuel stories.  Today's writing prompt is to write about an act of --


Friday, April 5, 2019

Writing Prompt: The Ambulance

If you live in an urban or suburban location, you'll likely hear the sirens of an ambulance everyday.  Every time you see the first responders rushing to the scene of a medical problem or taking someone to the hospital there is a real drama going on.  It could be a matter of life and death.  It's a perfect topic for a writing exercise.  For today's writing prompt, write a short piece of fiction that involves --

An Ambulance

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Four Word Prompt: For the birds

Today's daily writing prompt is a four word prompt that touches upon nature and the natural world.  Incorporate the following words into a short work of fiction:


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Writing Prompt: Secrets and Powers

It seems like the world is awash in conspiracy theories.  There are so many things that most of us just don't understand and seem out of our control.  Today's writing prompt is a challenge to use the following words in a short work of flash fiction:


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Writing Prompt: Up in the Sky

When it comes to great adventures, the sky is the limit.  The sky is also where a great many real and fictional adventures happen.  For today's writing prompt, write a short story in any genre you choose  that takes place -

in the sky aboard some sort of aerial vehicle.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Writing Prompt: Awkward Situation

Awkward situations can be memorable.  They provide laughs and fodder for gossip.  Everyone goes through awkward moments from time to time.  Remember a time when you got caught in an embarrassing situation.  Think about how you felt.  Think about how people reacted.  Bring those feelings to a personal recollection or fictional situation.  For today's writing prompt, write about an -

awkward situation

Setting Writing Prompt: The Old Shack

America's countryside is littered with old houses, barns, and shacks.  Many of these are documented and explored in Abandoned Places pho...