Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Now with 100% more zombies!

Take any movie and add zombies to it. Write a blurb for the ones that spark your interest. Expand one that really grabs you.

If you need a list of movies, here's one culled from Mr. Showbiz' Reader's Poll.

Star Wars
Gone With The Wind
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Empire Strikes Back
It's A Wonderful Life
E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial
The Wizard of Oz
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
The Sound of Music
Singin' In The Rain
Dances With Wolves
The Princess Bride
Top Gun
West Side Story
Field of Dreams
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Jurassic Park
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The Maltese Falcon
Back to the Future
Dead Poets Society
The Lion King
The Breakfast Club
Toy Story

Obviously there are oodles of lists available just a Google away by searching for "100 best movies". A good place to start is AFI's 100 lists.

Zombie courtesy of toxiccandie.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Let it loose

Let it loose

Something new today! :-) Every morning that I don't post a prompt, I'll post a phrase you can use to write for 5-10 minutes.

You can:
  1. use it for a focused free write: begin with the topic and let the words flow from you continuously without pause, disregarding spelling, grammar, drift from topic. Even if your brain stalls and you need to write "I can't think what to write" over and over. Keep doing that until a new thought comes.
  3. use it to spark a scene with your current characters. Likely it won't generate anything you can plop into your story, but see where your characters go with it. They're likely to give you some new insights into who they are.
  5. come up with a scenario then use the prompt to drive it.
  7. let the prompt inspire the scenario and run with it.
  9. use it for whatever you want!
To use your time most efficiently, try Dr. Wicked's Write or Die. Use the default settings (normal and strict). Set the length of time. Click Write!

In the interest of full disclosure, these are all song titles. I make no claim to toiling my brain over a new phrase each day ;-) I wanted something with an emotional ring to it but was easy and quick. Hopefully you'll quickly forget I mentioned they're song titles. My tastes range from Metallica to Rory Gallagher so it's unlikely anyone has a similar collection on their iPod ;-)

They're all speculative fiction friendly. Some, like titles from Judas Priest and Rob Zombie, pretty much can't be anything else!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nursing a grudge

Back! With a new router with lots of pretty green lights indicating it's alive. :-) So, on with the prompts ...

Literally. Your character is literally nursing a grudge. The grudge can be the emotion in physical form. It can be a specific grudge. It can be a creature named a grudge. Or someone named Grudge.

For some reason it needs some healing attention. Is it an easy patient? Is it grumpy and demanding?

Or is that nursing as in breastfeeding? Maybe it's a baby grudge and your character is it's mommy. Or wet nurse or other caretaker.

Whatever comes to mind, run with it and see where it takes you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back sooooon!

My router has passed on. I didn't even know it was sick! :-P

A new router has been routed from the safety of the warehouse and is en route, scheduled for arrival sometime on Tuesday so be back then!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oceanside groomer

I was maybe in my teens when I suddenly realized that suitcase actually came from suit and case. It struck me as outrageously funny that I hadn't realized something so obvious before! ;-)

For each of the following compound words substitute synonyms for its component words. You can shoot for the same meaning or be more freeform and see what happens. You may come up with a word that means the opposite. :-)

So, if the word were beachcomber you might change it to shoresearcher or shorebrusher or oceansidegroomer or coastdetangler.

xylophone <-- fudging a bit for x, though it's a compound in Greek!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lost in translation

Your character is visiting a foreign land and speaks just a few words of the native language (and some they may not pronounce correctly or only think they know). The person they're trying to talk to speaks just a few words of your character's language.

Write the ensuing scene. They may be working in the foreign land (and their interpreter hasn't shown up). Or trying to get somewhere. Or buying something in a store, ordering in a restaurant. Trying to arrange a wedding or a coup.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Choices, choices

"Before every point at the United States Open, the server will turn to a ball person and request a ball. Or two. Or three, maybe four. ... It is a long-held tennis ritual, the choosing of the balls, a process built at least as much in superstition as in science. ... Whether there is truly an appreciable difference is debatable, but the process of choosing the ball offers glimpses into the psyche of the players. ... Andy Roddick ... sometimes looks at several balls resting on his racket, like a chef holding an omelet pan, looking for the sleekest one that might go an extra mile per hour. ... If nothing else, the few seconds it takes to choose a ball can buy players time to exhale from the previous point and focus on the next."

Describe someone choosing in a ritualized manner. Life is in the details and glimpses into the rituals a character uses to soothe himself can bring the character to life.

It can be arrows for a battle. Ingredients for a spell on one they hold a grudge against. Paper and pen for a letter. Outfit for a speech. Salvaged parts to repair a robot. Ax for an execution. Eggs for the queen's omelet. (The details may reveal more about the cook than her need to create something perfect for the queen. Or maybe she hates the queen but still needs to turn out a perfect omelet to keep her job and continue with her plot.)

(The above quote is from A Ritual With Roots in Science and Superstition.)

Thursday, September 03, 2009


"Oxfam killed my bookshop!" The brouhaha began after The Salisbury Journal called on Marc Harrison, 42, a ponytailed former Roman Catholic priest who, until this summer when he could no longer pay his mortgage, ran the [second-hand bookshop] Ellwood Books on Winchester Street, a modest commercial strip just beyond the center of town.

Oxfam is the internationally renowned organization dedicated to "fighting poverty and famine, providing emergency relief, combating climate change and discrimination". And, apparently and mysteriously, second-hand booksellers with bearded collies named Mitchell.

The ponytailed ex-Catholic priest caught my attention first, but there are several surprising elements that seem begging for a story. Treat it as a slice of quirky life or throw in international terrorist plots if you wish. England makes me think of Doctor Who so maybe Oxfam is really some alien cover! :-)

Inspired by Beleaguered Bookseller Knows Whom to Blame: Oxfam in the NY Times. (You may need to register to see the article.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


What's he thinking? What's he been up to? What's he contemplating doing?

Is this everyday dress for his people? Is it for a special occasion?

(When you're done, you can click on the picture to see where it came from.)