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Ever wonder what it's like to be in that moment between struggling artist and published author? Read on and find out.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

            PROMPT 44 – STORY ROULETTE 

            Select or randomly pull two character labels, like cowboy and a college professor. Then select or randomly pull an issue that these two characters will clash with one another about. For example: an old cowboy and spinster kinder-garden teacher clash over the issue of how a child should be raised. Now put all that together to create a story.

            Here are two lists to get you started:

            Character Types                                               Issue

1. Soldier                                                                     1. Baking the perfect cake
2. Busy CEO                                                                2. Faith
3. Stay-At-Home Mom                                                3. Who gets the last seat to safety
4. Lawyer                                                                     4. Discovery of a dead body
5. Waitress                                                                   5. A monster among us
6. Homeless Man/Woman                                            6. Ownership of a dog that is found

* For even more fun, roll a die for random selection of characters and the topic.

Example: I had my son roll a die three times and generated the numbers 1, 3, and 6 – in that order. Using the chart, that gives me a soldier, a stay-at-home mom, and ownership of a dog.

See Spot Stay -

When the family pet runs away, a young stay-at-home mother clashes with a homeless vet over the ownership of the dog and eventually must decide whether her children or a friendless man deserves the dog most.

Writing Prompt #43

            PROMPT 43 – KNICK-KNACKS

            This prompt is similar to Three Item Monty in as much as it uses items to stimulate your mind into generating new story ideas. If you have an old knick-knack drawer or memory chest, look through it. Take out the items one at a time. Perhaps they generate a memory that triggers a story idea. Or maybe they are interesting enough to give you ideas if you think about the item in hand. If you don’t have a collection of memorabilia then take a trip to a antique store and look around. Something is bound to shake loose an idea for a story.

Example: I have an old aftershave bottle shaped like a car. It still has most of the aftershave in it, but I can’t imagine its any good after all these years.

The Glass Factory -

An inquisitive young man visits a factory that makes the most popular toys on the planet. Everything the factory makes is made out of the most beautiful glass—that doesn’t break. When he slips away from the guided tour of the factory he discovers a gateway to a world where technology is based on glass manufacturing and is powered by strange scented-liquids. Before he can return to the tour he is captured by the Glass Baron and put on trial as an industrial spy. His only hope of returning home safely is to escape the Glass Castle and find the portal that will take him back to Earth.


Writing Prompt #42

            PROMPT 42 – THREE ITEM MONTY

            Grab three random items and put them on a table. To make sure these items are as random as possible, make sure they each come from a separate room or location. Line then up in front of you and see if you can find a correlation between them that can be used for the basis of a story. If not, move them around until you do.

            Example: A blue plastic tumbler; a small, blue fan; and an old-fashioned lantern that uses a candle for light. Blue reminds me of cold. The tumbler and fan make me think of someone who is trying to cool down. And the lantern gave me images of a storm raging and the electricity going out.

Monster Storm – When invaders from another planet trigger a global storm, Dave takes refuge in an old, underground tunnel complex, but he discovers that he is not alone in the dark.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Writing Prompt #41


            This prompt requires quite a bit of imagination. The idea is to make a list of imaginary devices and then feature one of them as the centerpiece of your story. For example, a radio that eavesdrops on your neighbors. Here is a list of ideas for the origins of your devices:

            - Recently discovered/invented tech.

            - Tech brought back from the future/an alien planet/a different dimension.

            - A magical artifact passed down as a family heirloom.

            - An artifact given as a gift from the gods.

            - A cursed object of power inhabited by an evil spirit.

            - The object mysteriously shows up one day.

What Will the Neighbors Say? – Who doesn’t love a yard sale? But when Greg and Monica buy a vintage radio from the strange old man living next door, their lives are changed. By simply changing the station Greg and Monica can listen to any conversation taking place in the houses on their block. They discover which of the people in the neighborhood are really their friends, which are snooty pretenders, and which ones are planning to murder someone living on the block.


Writing Prompt #40


            Take a common phrase and imagine someone saying it to you during a conversation. Then work through a list of uncommon responses until you find one that really ignites your imagination. Develop a story based on that response.

            For example: the phrase, “Go to blazes/Hades.”

Imagine what kind of story you could write if the response was, “Nope. I can’t go there. Satan still has a restraining order on me.”

            Or for the phrase, “Would you like a hand?”

The response might be, “Sure, but where would I put it?”

            Here are a few phrases I found especially ripe for story-mining:

            - The best of two worlds.
            - Add insult to injury.
            - A blessing in disguise.
            - Costs an arm and a leg.
            - You’re playing the Devil’s Advocate.
            - Every cloud has a silver lining.
            - You let the cat out of the bag.
            - Steal someone’s thunder.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Writing Prompt #39


            Story ideas abound in the world around us. They can even be taken from our jobs. This prompt gives authors a chance to pull from something they know quite well—their jobs. If the author has a problem picking an event from their job then they can look to the profession of a relative or a friend.
            Choose a profession and then add a surprise to the normal work routine. A doctor could find that his/her patient has a mysterious organ that doesn’t belong in a human body. A construction worker might discover a buried artifact, or a body, on the construction site. A nurse could walk into a room and find that a coma patient is awake and asks her to write something down because it is important.

            For example, one of my first jobs was as a projectionist in a small independent movie theater. What if a character started a new job at a theater and discovered that the projector started by itself at midnight every Saturday and showed images of the future?

Sneak Peek – Randy loves his job as a projectionist, staying up late and watching movies felt more like entertainment than work. Then a friend asks him to cover his Saturday night shift, everything changes. He discovers that the projector can start on its own and shows images of events that will take place in the week ahead. But his friend doesn’t return to work and Randy is left as the sole caretaker of a projector that predicts the future and a mystery of a missing coworker to solve.