Prompt #12: Craft together a story or story opening from the sentences of different books lying around you.

School is almost over for me, and with the end of school comes finals. UGH. Stress, stress, stress. For this last prompt, let us have some fun with this easy little game. Here’s what you do. Take some of the books that are lying near you or closest to you. Flip to random pages. Find some sentences and try to stitch a story together. Points if it’s funny. Points if it’s sad. Hell, points if it makes any sense. The goal is to try to make some sort of small one to two paragraph story out of this, but at the very least I hope you find some fun sentences.

Prompt #12: For fun, craft together a story or story opening in a paragraph or two from different books you have lying near you. At the end, list what books you got the sentences from.

Attempt 1

It was still raining and soon the windows were wet and you could not see out. I woke early, having slept soundly and dreamlessly thanks to the drug abuse. Can you believe how long it’s been? In those days there was no money to buy books. The autumn winds blew. It makes sense, if you think about it. Mankind, I suppose, is designed to run on – to be motivated by – temptation.

I remember undressing, putting on a bathrobe, and standing out on the balcony. I knew I was quite drunk, and when I came in I put on the light over the head of the bed and started to read.

It was raining.

Attempt 2

It was hard to process. I don’t need a job. He’s going to buy me a house. Standing there I wondered how much of what we had felt on the bridge was just hunger. It was a little past noon and there was not much shade, but I sat against a trunk of two of the trees that grew together, and read. I’d spent a whole week thinking about this. I don’t know what to do. It made me nervous.

Books Used

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

Lamb by Christopher Moore

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Notes: Of course, I have to go the hard route and try to make it coherent and serious haha. It wasn’t the easiest thing to craft together, and they aren’t really stories as much as they are perhaps the beginnings to really confused, tense-shifting stories, but oh well. It was fun. I hope all of you come up with some interesting stuff with this too.

Thoughts? Responses? Leave them down below!

Advertisements

Prompt #11: Revise a previous work.

Since my semester in college is drawing to a close, I have revising on the brain. As a lot of you might know, revising is just as important, if not more important, than the original work. Revising can be small such as polishing grammar and consistency, but sometimes it requires a major revision. Sometimes we must rewrite from a different point of view or from a different starting point in the story or a new character or setting all together. For this prompt, take a piece you have written before, even one of the previous prompts if you like, and rewrite it. Imagine how you could make it better and then do it.

Prompt #11: Revise a previous work.

“No, no, those won’t do at all. I need a memory or thought that you hold close to your heart, like water or sand, praying to God that the details don’t slip away from you. This is the Nostalgia Shop after all. You can read, can’t you?” said the shopkeeper. He was a stocky man in a grass green tweed suit with an equally green bowling hat.

“What the hell does that mean? And why the hell would I give away something like that, freak?” The teen scratched the five hairs that made up his flesh-colored mustache.

“They would leave you anyway in time, my dear. At least this way you get something out of it.”

The teen reddened; his face wrinkled in disgust. “Don’t call me that, homo.” He stormed out, his blue spotted boxers peeking from above his jeans.

A slow clap started from a man in the corner. “Now that’s what I call customer service. No wonder you have such a booming business. What is your name, sir?” Except for the man in the corner and the shopkeeper, no one else was in the shop. The man was dressed in a freshly-ironed black suit with crisply folded cuffs and shining black buttons. He wore patent leather shoes and a gold watch.

The shopkeeper wrinkled his bulbous nose. “I don’t deal in names, sir.”

“You deal in whatever we tell you to. Or else we’ll find someone else, Bardas.”

“Why ask when you already know?”

Notes: This is from a story I had worked on a couple of years ago. I liked the premise for The Nostalgia Shop, but my readers said they were more interested in the shopkeeper than my main character. In this small section I tried to explore having the shopkeeper as the main character or one of the main characters. It still has quite a lot of work yet, but as I was writing I found the emerging character in the suit intriguing. I think he will foil Bardas the shopkeeper quite nicely.

Prompt #10: Write about an odd character in a normal setting.

This prompt can be fictional or nonfictional. I think that no matter what you are writing there is always a place for that odd character that either adds interest or a laugh. I think sometimes we find ourselves in a rut where the characters are too bland or too outlandish so this will be a good time to find that middle ground. Whether it’s a fantasy world or everyday life, the key to this prompt is making the setting normal to contrast against the abnormal character.

Prompt #10: Write about an odd character in a normal setting. 

Even as exhausted as she was in the middle of her double shift at Barnes and Noble, she noticed him immediately. There were a lot of things a person could say about Gene Hableford but being subtle wasn’t one of them. Standing six feet tall with black hair slicked back with gel and tattoos covering his arms, he hovered over the customer service counter. Jonathan, her shy, acne-ridden coworker behind the counter, held the expression of person trying not to shit himself in fear. Guys like Gene – well, guys who looked like Gene – normally didn’t frequent bookstores.

“Do you have any how-to books on cleaning blood off of cars? I made a bit of a mess, if you know what I mean,” said Gene as he wiggled his eyebrows and then winked mischievously. Jonathan looked down at his little computer monitor. Shaking like a little dog, he hunted-and-pecked for letters on the keyboard. Gene leaned over the counter, practically lying on it, to get a view of the computer screen. Robin grabbed a book off the cart and smacked the back of Gene’s head with it.

He swiveled around to face her in mock anger. “Hey! What was that for?”

“Stop scaring my coworkers. You’re going to get me fired.”

“But it’s true! I accidentally hit a raccoon on the way here.”

All she could do was shake her head and laugh. That was Gene all right.

Notes: Hopefully my character was odd and funny. I wanted to make him unusual, but  I didn’t want him to fall into a stereotype or feel cartoonish. Also, as I was thinking and writing about this character, I have to say I’m glad that he plays around with people’s perception of him. He’s such a dork. I hope ya’ll liked him. Anywho, I hope that ya’ll have a safe and fun Thanksgiving!

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them all down below! 

 

 

Prompt #10: Write about a difficult or traumatic moment in your life or someone else’s.

Life is a roller coaster of good and bad moments. As writers, we need to be able to capture both. For this exercise, think of a difficult or traumatic moment in your life or someone else’s and write about it. It doesn’t have to be the worst thing in the world, but own those crappy moments and make something out of them. Now, I think we all know there are plenty of stories about a divorce or a death or whatever, so don’t forget about those sensory and personal details. Make it stand out.

Prompt #10: Write about a difficult or traumatic moment in your life or someone else’s. 

My brother’s face was purple when he flat-lined. The bedside monitor wailed as my brother’s body flailed, his finger still pointing at his ear. Two nurses flocked in. Leisurely exchanging tools, the two doctors glanced at the monitor. One injected medicine into the IV tapped to the crook of my brother’s arm while the other inserted a tube into his mouth to suck out the spit and blood so he could breathe. This was the third seizure that morning.

He had a bump on his head the size of a goose egg, my mother would say afterward. Almost an hour before, he had face-planted onto the sterile white floor of the hospital, blood gurgling in his mouth, during his second seizure that morning. He had been looking forward to getting his driver’s license. He had been discussing baseball players with my father as they watched reruns on the bulky hospital television minutes before. It had taken six men to lift his two hundred pound body onto a gurney as he shook, muscles trembling. Blood streamed from his nose and mouth. He had later shown us how fat his swollen, cut tongue had gotten and the bruise, black as a tattoo, on the inside of his puffed lip. One of his front upper teeth was chipped, but no one knew when that happened. He had fallen a lot that morning.

Notes: It was really important to me that I got a lot of those details in. Hopefully, some of those will help make the experience seem more real and some of the details will help distinguish it from other seizure stories. I also tried to work with sentence structure a little bit more to keep it dynamic.

Thoughts? Comments? Responses? Leave them all down below!

Prompt #9: Write dialogue between two characters trying to size each other up.

Often times in our writing, we will have a scene where two characters are getting to know each other or figure each other out. However, how do we do that and make it interesting? Hopefully, this prompt will serve as some practice for us. As well, since this prompt is pretty broad, feel free to apply it to fiction or nonfiction.

Prompt #9: Write dialogue between two characters trying to size each other up.

Claudia’s dance partner from the East of Rakar was far too informal for her liking, his breath hot in her ear and his hand straying far too low. His steps were jerky and irregular: whether he was simply inexperienced to the dance or did not care for convention, she did not know. The man grinned from ear to ear.

“Things are getting interesting. Can’t you feel it?” he asked.

“Oh, yes, I’m sure. Werewolves and trolls and faeries, oh my.” Her voice wavered with doubt.

“Nervous are we?” he asked He couldn’t possibly know she had done, could he? She remembered how earlier her sister had taken a bite of the poison apple. Later, her sister was gone, her book crumpled with its spine broken, and the apple discarded only half-eaten.

Claudia’s eyes met his. His eyes, a shade of baby blue in this light, gave nothing away.

“Nosy are we?” She snapped back.

“You are quite uptight, princess. Perhaps, you should loosen that corset a bit and enjoy yourself. This ceremony is for you, after all.”

“That is none of your business, Grimm,” Claudia whispered, hoping to cut this conversation at the knees.

“Have some humor; if you act as stiff and humorless as the dead, you might as well be one.”

She rose her hand to slap him. He caught it and twirled her around so that her back faced him, her arms tied around herself like a straight-jacket. Her face burned with anger.

“Want to hear the end of your story, princess?” He chuckled and started humming to himself. She shivered.

Notes: I found it’s quite hard to write a scene that doesn’t seem purposely vague or withholding when you have two characters that are trying to figure each other out. Since Claudia distrusts Grimm and Grimm wants to mess with Claudia, it naturally leads into a lot of questions, but I hope it was easy enough to follow. As well, it would be nice to know if ya’ll could tell me if you were able to get a sense for who these characters are since this is a scene out of context.

Thoughts? Responses? Leave them down below!

Prompt #8: Describe your mom or grandmother’s kitchen.

As we enter November, we enter into the month and American season of food. Thanksgiving invites the indulgence of pies, turkey, casseroles, and on and on it goes. In light of this, it only seemed fitting for our prompt this week to match. If you don’t have memories of your mom or grandmother’s kitchen, try a kitchen atmosphere in general. What is your kitchen like? What is your friend’s kitchen like? Just try to make it come to life with all the sensory details: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and all that fun stuff. Thank you to WriteShop for the idea of this prompt. Please check out their website here for more great prompts.

Prompt #8: Describe your mom or grandmother’s kitchen.

Grandma’s shoes squeaked on her patterned kitchen tiles. Fat and oil sizzled on the stove as she prepared to cook the green beans and potatoes. The smell of turkey filled the air.Grandma served meals right on the dot and filled the whole table full of meat, veggies, potatoes, and dessert. With my grumbling stomach, the familiar clatter of plates and water filling our cups invited a rumble of hunger. My brother always had Kool-Aid. I always had tea alongside my mom and grandmother. Grandma called me in, the only other girl, to help.

A homemade pumpkin pie and whipped cream lay on the counter. A big spoon sat next to them.

“Whip it,” she ordered.

I looked down at the pie and the whipped cream. “Whip what?”

I had never been in the kitchen much. I hated cooking. I was a kid after all. Why did I have to cook?

“Whip it,” she repeated, frustration rising in her voice.

“Okay,” I whined. I picked up the spoon. The lid of the whipped cream made a sucking sound as I opened it. I took a big dollop of the whipped cream and proceeded to vigorously whip it into the pie. My grandma whipped her head around.

“Stop! Stop!”

“But you told me to whip it?”

She shook her head. My brother in the other room laughed.

Needless to say, I never had to “whip it” ever again.

Notes: Whelp. That’s a story I still get made fun of for. Hope you guys enjoyed it. As I was writing this, I realized just how hard it is to avoid cliche when writing about a grandma’s kitchen. Thus, I think the scene I added helps to distinguish it from other grandmas and their kitchens, hopefully.

Thoughts? Responses? Leave them down below!

Guest Blogger Tries Prompt #7: Write about one or more of your nightmares.

Our Guest Blogger this week is James from Undead Author Society which you should check out here. He will be trying this week’s prompt, and over on his blog I’ll be trying out one of his which you can check out here.

Here’s James!

Prompt #7: Write about one or more of your nightmares.

In a ghost lit house, there are many strange things. An old woman walks outside, with a crowd of shadows following her. She stares deeply as I pass, the multitudes of her soul seeping through her eyes. I pass her a note.

It reads: Can I talk past here?

She passes me a note: Does the Sun rise in the West?

I have my answer and enter the damned building, a looming rickety structure, past steeple. My friends have gone here before me, three or four still remaining. Notes slip into people’s pockets, with question-questions, and answer-questions. We do the best we can to talk in nothing but riddles and keep the ever lurking koan away.

The house is dark, light only by a sun behind a curtain of clouds. It is alone, on a bed of grey stone and a steely sky. In the depths of the basement, there floats a cube that glows deep red. It moves about the halls, painting every gray corner and black shadow red. It follows its prey, waiting until they are alone. And then they are gone, gone into the looming scarlet shimmer.

I see my friends fade, one by one as it slips between doors and walls. The house is bare, with only a few chairs left. It is coming toward me down the hallway. Its light is warm like a desert day, I feel sweat running down my face as my body cries preemptively.

I lunge, I grasp the burning red cube and hurl myself through a window, ripping it out of its abode. And I fall, I fall forever until the ground itself fades into sky.

Notes: I’ve always tried to use dreams, so translating wasn’t too hard. If you can keep a dream journal, they can provide nice little prompts. But that’s where I ran into trouble. Dreams, in my experience, are rarely chronological. I tend to remember details, but not order, or scenes after something has been established. For horror, this can be fine to a point, but in order to be understandable, some structure needs to be added. This particular dream was a bit short, but I embellished a bit (details that feel right even if they aren’t precise), and for longer stories, stitching multiple dreams together can get the results.

If you have any thoughts on James’ piece feel free to leave them below. Also, leave your attempts down below if you like. Thanks again James for being a part of the blog!