Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Photo Writing Prompt: A Horse of course!

The relationship between mankind and the horse has lasted a long time.  From books like the classic Misty of Chincoteague to famous movie horses like Roy Rogers' Trigger, horses have captured the imagination of many writers and movie makers.  It's not surprising.  Horses have carried barbarians, cowboys, cavalrymen, race jockeys, and plenty of other characters throughout history.  Let's saddle up and beat writers block.  For today's writing prompt, write a short piece of fiction that features a prominent role for -

a horse

Chincoteague Pony - Photo Judy Gallagher [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Science Fiction Writing Prompt: An Alien with a Twist

Science fiction provides a way for all of us to imagine and interact with alien life forms.  When I think back to some of the most interesting and impactful aliens that I've seen or read about over the years, it seems like "aliens with a twist" is a common and memorable trope.  For example, think of the H.G. Wells classic, War of the Worlds.  The classic radio drama and novel brings alien invaders to Earth.  They thoroughly defeat all that mankind's military can throw their way, but in the end they are (spoiler alert) defeated by our germs.  Think of the classic Star Trek episode, "Trouble with Tribbles," and how they were cute and adorable until they began to multiply and multiply and multiply.

For today's science fiction writing prompt, write a short piece of fiction that involves aliens and includes an integral twist that makes them unique and memorable.  Today's exercise is --

aliens with a twist

Martians vs. HMS Thunderchild - painting by Henrique Alvim CorrĂȘa / Public domain

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Four Word Writing Prompt: Walk on the Beach

Boy meets girl.  Boy loses girl.  Boy tries to win her back.  Boy encounters obstacles.
Girl meets boy.  Girl loses boy.  Girl tries to win him back.  Girl encounters obstacles.
Girl meets girl.  Girl loses girl.  Girl tries to win her back.  Girl encounters obstacles.
Boy meets Boy.  Boy loses boy.  Boy tries to win him back.  Boy encounters obstacles.
Boy meets girl.  Girl becomes boy.  Boy becomes girl.  They encounter obstacles.
Modern love can be complicated.  But, the heart wants what it wants.

For today's writing exercise, we'll bring the elements together. But, you add the magic to make the story you like. For today's writing prompt, write a short piece of romance fiction that includes these four words:


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Writing Prompt: The Mistake

As I read about all these exoplanets orbiting stars in neighboring solar systems, I imagine what an undertaking a journey to a distant planet would be for humanity.  Can you imagine the effort that would go into creating a spaceship that could travel for many years or even generations at light speed or near light speed?  That would be truly awesome.  It would be the highest human achievement.  I would love to see us launch such an expedition.

Spacecraft Image - NASA / Public domain

However, that is not today's writing prompt.  No, today's writing prompt is to imagine that we launched an amazing interstellar journey towards a distant planet and then realized that we made a crucial mistake about some aspect of the destination.  I mean we are only human.  What if we launched a ship to visit and settle on a distant planet and we missed a crucial detail about the planet?  Today's science fiction writing prompt is -

What do we, or our explorers, do then?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Four-Word Writing Prompt: Out Arizona Way

If you are going to write a western, you've got to set the scene.  These four words provide a tree and a bird found in Arizona; a saddle part to keep a man in the saddle, and a revolver to take a man right out of the saddle.  But, words are just words.  It's what a writer does with them that makes a story.

For today's writing prompt, I reckon you should take these words and spin us a short western yarn:


Cactus Wren

Photo by Bureau  of Land Management / Public domain

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Writing Prompt: Part Man, Part Beast

When the moon is full, subtle changes happen all around us.  The wolves begin to howl and, sometimes, people begin to howl with them.  With tonight offering a full moon, it seems like a good time to bring forth a story of a lycanthrope.  For today's writing prompt, look deep into the night, howl at the moon, and write us a short piece of fiction involving a --


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Writing Prompt: Take Me To Your Leader

One staple of science fiction is the alien.  We've all been intrigued by what intelligent life from another planet might look like.  How do aliens breath?  What do aliens breath?  What do aliens eat?  How do aliens communicate?  What do they want?  What would we say if we ever met them?  The possibilities for aliens in science fiction are endless.  But, it takes a good writer to bring aliens to life.

For today's writing prompt, create a short piece of fiction that involves -


Thursday, April 2, 2020

Writing Prompt: The Forbidden

Society is increasingly moving into an era of censorship.  Between the "cancel culture" that aims to eradicate the art of people deemed to be politically incorrect and the "disinformation eradication" efforts of online communities, many people find themselves suspended from Facebook or other social media sites for sharing humor or posts that would have been perfectly acceptable just a few years ago.  Movies and books are altered to satisfy the desires of totalitarian governments and audiences in faraway lands.  For example, the American flag was omitted from the astronaut movie, "First Man," in order to change history and increase the appeal to foreign audiences.

Whether it be through formal censorship by hosting organizations or communal shaming spearheaded by generations with new sensibilities, the result is a chilling effect on free speech, free thought, free religious expression, and free political thought.

For today's writing prompt, write a short essay or piece of fiction that expresses something that you-- 

don't dare write, publish, or post.

Now, I officially advise you to tear it up and eat it or put it through your shredder.  Do what you will.  We may like writing, but we aren't fools.

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...