Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beginning to end

Begin a sentence with the first word of the pair, end it with the second. Feel free to change tenses or forms of the words. This is a great exercise if your sentences tend to have the same structure :-)

angry -- careful
dizzy -- sparkling
bitter -- determined
curly -- embarrassed
slimy -- tame
odd -- dead
black -- snow

disturbed -- purring
dark -- wild
filthy -- modern
fragile -- energetic
wandering -- fierce
wicked -- lucky
begin -- end

A previous prompt along the same lines: Curious ferocity.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tempestuous weasel

Choose one of the following for a story. Constraining yourself to what's given can be inspiring, but if a different mix sparks a story idea for you, go for it. :-)

The story is about:Who is:At some point the setting is:Include the following words:
an immortal womana witcha bleak prisonscarcity, growing old, desire
a ruined elfan investigatora drenched chamberwound, silence, inhabit
a treasonous spidera runawaya forbidden atticpoison, loyalty, faint
an oozing beasta healera crumbling space stationcustoms, betrayal, tree
a tempestuous weasela bounty huntera foreign towercorpse, imagination, secure
a perky lizarda queena haunted furnace roomscourge, racism, find
an unlucky soula traitora mythological pooltears, honesty, lift
a repulsive dragona slavea private templerunes, mercy, combat
an outcast boyan actora ruined circusgeneration starship, privacy, dare
an alchemist cat boya masteran abandoned hospitalbook of prayers, regret, dare
a tattooed girlan heir apparenta sacred cryptaura, loyalty, celebrate
an unforgettable spiritan actora shadowy tunnelexcuse, tradition, rile

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

V is for cheerleader

A is for seed.

At least it is in George Shannon's Tomorrow's Alphabet because today's seed is tomorrow's Apple.

Give it an alphabetical try! The letter is the first letter of the "tomorrow" word and the "today" word is the word the letter stands for.

A fill-in-the-blank list: "Today's ___ is tomorrow's ___," should help to keep your todays and tomorrows from getting mixed up. Try brainstorming a list of things that changed or were changed. When you're done brainstorming, plug the word into the appropriate space and fill in the other.

Don't let the alphabet form tie you to kid ideas. V can be for cheerleader (who spent the evening with the long-toothed boy). D is for aging gladiator (who became dinner for the lion).

George Shannon also wrote a similar book Q is for Duck.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tanks for nothing

(The tank video linked above ends at 6 mins. The last 2 mins of the show are more graphic.)
Take it in whatever direction the photo inspires you.

(I'm dating myself. When I first glanced at it, I thought gas station. Long ago some gas stations did have a booth for the attendant between the pumps!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Busting stereotypes

Below are some unexpected combinations. Come up with a dozen of your own busted stereotypes. (The first two were real people my daughter and I encountered, the third inspired by a criminal on The Good Guys where there are fresh busted-stereotype bad guys each week :-)

I failed miserably at busting fantasy or science fiction stereotypes. Perhaps because both are more renowned for plot stereotypes. And the busted character stereotypes authors come up with are themselves becoming cliche like the kick-your-ass princess and the emotional android. But it's a challenge to try. If you need some cliches to break, there are several at:

The Fantasy Novelist's Exam
The Not-So-Grand List of Overused Fantasy Clichés
Grand list of overused science fiction clichés
And Diana Wynne Jones's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, a description of every fantasy cliche imaginable.

(Of course you're free to use any of the following for a writing prompt instead if you wish.)
  • The leather clad biker, with the droopy mustache and a skull on his helmet, whipped out his wallet to show the pictures of his new kitten.
  • The criminal mastermind, a tribal tattoo on the side of his shaved head, sat at the head of the long dining table drinking fresh carrot juice with his vegan Stroganoff.
  • The burly construction worker, t-shirt and jeans stained with signs of his labor, ordered his favorite mocha raspberry latte with extra whipped cream.
  • Tucked in the bag with grandma's lap quilting were her multisided dice and her Nintendo DS with the latest Pokemon game.
  • Sarah alternated between her two favorite activities: snuggled up in her room with a great read or out on stage before a packed house.
  • The emancipated android took her prize Pekinese pair out for a morning walk.
  • Behind the closed door of her cloister room, the nun made the final edits on her latest paranormal romance.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A dank and storied night

It was a dark and stormy night.

With the above as the first line, write the opening paragraph or two in at least 5 of the following genres:

Newspaper article
Paranormal romance

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

He that is good at making excuses ...

"He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else."
Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let fire destroy the world

When I am dead let fire destroy the world;
It matters not to me, for I am safe.

Can you picture the bad guy saying this? Would he or she say it gleefully? With weariness? In rage? Write the scene a couple of different ways, using different emotions.

Quote from Unknown Authors in Bartlett's Quotations, 9th (1911) edition. It's just listed as "Frag. 430" which got me curious about whose collection of fragments and how old they might be. It must be mentioned somewhere, but, so far, failure.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Beautiful ugliness

From Claylindo's charming collection of
Day of the Dead wedding cake toppers
Write about something ugly — war, fear, hate, cruelty — but find the beauty (silver lining) in it.

This is from Writing Forward's 25 Creative Writing Prompts where there's a wealth of fresh ideas, tips, reviews, essays, all well organized.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Threat exploitation

An eccentric owner extensively remodeled the ancient castle he'd turned into his home. He was so passionate about the decor that he threatened to return to haunt the place if anyone ever moved any of his furniture.

What if someone deliberately moved furniture to make him come back? To punish him so he can't rest? To make the house more interesting to tourists? (Perhaps its been turned into a hotel and they want a real ghost as a selling point.) Is the threat a binding obligation? Is the ghost going along with the assumption of an obligation for his own reasons?

(Inspired by the description of the Treasurer's House in England for Dummies.)