Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beauty rest

You've awoken from cryosleep in a restful but clinical room, lights dim, Mozart playing softly. You don't know how long you've been asleep.

After a few minutes adjusting to being awake you sit up. Next to your cryopod is a robe draped over a chair. You put it on and as your body warms it, it adjusts to fit.

Under it are several page size plastic panels. You touch one and it displays Vogue magazine with this woman on the cover. With the onscreen controls you page through it briefly but it doesn't get any better. (Your own skin is just as you remember it.)

The door clicks. Someone's about to enter ...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hot mail

Mom's been waiting in Heaven for you for a while and your time has finally come to join her. But, oops, turns out you need some chastisement for some earthly indiscretions. As a matter of fact, your transgressions are pretty serious and your stay in the nether world has no end date in sight.

But you don't want to upset Mom (your one redeeming value). Write her an upbeat and reassuring letter to let her know it will just be a little longer before you get to join her.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blizzard horse

Use all of the words on each line in a sentence. Use any order and feel free to changes tenses and word forms.

Make the sentences evocative of winter.
  • stripes -- terrific -- distant -- emperor -- barely -- horse -- blizzard
  • valley -- slimy -- boulder -- vanish -- ignorance -- sly -- rust
  • modified -- laugh -- salty -- drooled -- crusty -- attitude -- flammable
  • wander -- slimy -- past -- crafty -- bumpy -- dictator -- dependable
  • luxury -- sliding -- jerk -- stuffy -- rainy -- visitor -- tattered

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


You're an icicle. During your life you bravely face the sun that both increases and diminishes you, wind, competition with other icicles for precious water, vicious kids, snowballs, warm weather, cold weather ...

Write from the point of view of the icicle. What's your goal in life? Who's trying to interfere? Do you make it? Do you suffer a too early death? Do you continue on after falling?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Write an epigraph for a story or book. An epigraph is that cryptic bit of poetry at the beginning of a story that makes your brain hurt ;-) Often they're quotes or bits of other people's poetry that inspired the story, or connect some way.

But don't let truth get in the way of creativity! Be cryptic and obscure and make someone else's brain hurt. Use at least 10 of the words. You might try writing a phrase inspired by the word and then rearranging the phrases. You might combine words to see how they work on one line.

When you're satisfied, take it to the next step and see what story it inspires in you


Random words from Random Word.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blue Moon Potions

She's the best potioner in the city. So you've heard. Love potions. Revenge potions. Energizing potions. Baldness potions (giving or curing). Various curse potions.

You have a pedigreed female pet dog (or some other creature) you'd like to breed but she just rolls her eyes at any of the father prospects you've introduced her to. So you've come for a potion.

The potioner listens to your request, asks a few questions and then with a secret smile and a little laugh says, "I have just what you need." She goes to her workroom in the back and returns in a bit with a bottle.

You take it home. What happens next?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Snake eyes

Scientists have discovered how to alter human DNA with one animal characteristic (like cat night vision, bloodhound sense of smell) or physical feature (whiskers, fur, striped skin). (A second injection causes the characteristics to fail or cause unpredictable reactions between them.) So far it's perfectly safe and many people are choosing to do it.

What's society like ten years in the future? Write from the point of view of someone who just won a free injection. (Why they didn't choose to before is up to you: wasn't sure, or were too young, or couldn't decide, or ...)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Road work ahead

New Year's Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

-- Mark Twain

Okay, it's now a week after the New Year's resolutions and they lay discarded like the streamers and empty champagne bottles.

We all supply our own material that paves our way to hell, whether that be "good intentions" or evil works. But we don't do the paving. There's a devil who's job it is to do the actual work. (Or is it a different devil each year?)

He or she has had the yearly week of rest while everyone tries to maintain their resolutions but now the bricks of our foibles and weaknesses are being delivered and he or she places them as paving bricks on the Road to Hell.

So, who is the devil? How and why did he or she get the job? What would happen if we all became good?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Big Hairy

Big Hairy Audacious Goal ... BHAG, pronounced bee-hag.

Indulge your fantasies. Make a list of goals you would set your eye on if time, money, obligations or motivation weren't a factor. They can be goals that you would set for this year, the next five years, and life goals. Don't edit! Free yourself :-) You can be fanciful -- Become a wizard; Emigrate to Mars -- but they should be ideas you can imagine focusing your life on.

Now take one of those goals and create a character who sets out to do it. Put all sorts of obstacles in the characters way but make determination to reach the goal a factor that drives him or her on.


"Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." -- Google BHAG.

Big Hairy Audacious Goal was an idea developed by James Collins and Jerry Porras. They noticed the most successful companies had one clear compelling goal that energized their employees. It gave them something to focus on. People have since adopted BHAGs as life goals.

Top 10 Tabloid Headlines for January 2009

Though the Weekly World News no longer exists in print, here's the headlines from the archives of City Newstand in Chicago, for writing prompts or just for fun.

Top 10 Tabloid Headlines from JANUARY 1999
  2. Vatican sources say . . . Pope will blast off in 1999 -- WWN
  3. Most gals wait until third date to pass gas! -- WWN
  4. Scientists discover massive piece of dinosaur poop! -- WWN
  7. Hubby sues ex: 'Give me back my kidney!' -- SUN
  8. Yo-yo crime wave sweeps Singapore! -- WWN
  9. Former ruler denies use of zombie army! -- WWN
  10. Lovesick emu traps man in house -- for two days! -- SUN

Most Recent Weekly World News