Recently, I’ve been sharing writing prompts on my FB page, twitter, and Instagram. It’s a bit of a silly thing, as much a way to share some of my stranger photos as anything else. I suggest people write fun captions, or a little flash fiction, whatever they fancy. I’m personally kind of useless at it – as has been mentioned in this video on the glorious art of Dr Seuss, I like the idea of writing prompts. Actually using them, though…
However. As a writer in the wilds of internet land, you come across other writers. This is a wonderful thing, as we are essentially solitary little creatures, and finding others to connect with can be tricky in real life. As supportive as your partner and bestie may be, they tend to look bemused and/or concerned when you start babbling about plot bunnies, rather than nodding understandingly and saying, “I know. Little monsters.”
As writers, we discuss writery things. Like themes, and characterisation, and plotting techniques (for writing, not for murder. Although they’re sometimes the same thing). Also tea, and cake, and how cats are taking over the world. You know, important stuff. And it turns out that I’m coming to know some very talented writers, who have the most perfectly wonderful responses to my writing prompts. Reading them gives me so much happiness every single week, and I wanted to share a few of them with you. If you like them, please head over and say hi to these lovely and clever people!
Simon Thurtle – As with many sights from movies, the reality of Bag End was not quite as glamorous as Mr Jackson had portrayed.
“Pitch black doorway into the side of a hill? In the middle of nowhere? What could go wrong?” thought Steve. “Still, the locals recommended I visit it, so…”
Three days later they found only his bloodied backpack. The Rabid Hamsters of Doom had their sacrifice for another year, the locals toasted their success as the backpack burned on the ceremonial bonfire.
Note: I personally want to know more about The Rabid Hamsters of Doom. If they’re not a local punk band, that is. And maybe even if they are.
Jimmie Bise: The first dragon in space drew a lot of attention from the multitude of beings who had already reached space and were busy establishing highways to get them quickly from their own home planets to the planets of other beings who had things they wanted. Mostly, that broke down into two categories — food and money — and you were generally better off taking money over food. The culinary skills of most intergalactic civilizations are not as developed as one would hope, considering the level of development it requires to become an intergalactic civilization. But, we can suppose, one can be technically proficient while not being particularly artistic. Look, for example at the civilization in the icy world that orbits Carina—what was that? Oh. Yes. I suppose I have gone off on a tangent.
You know, that reminds me of the many-eyed tentacle beings who live under the surface of what was formerly the ninth planet of our solar system. They so craved contact with other species that they actually created a symbol on the surface of their “planet” to show their love for–what? Again. Oh, very well.
The first dragon in space, as I said, drew a great deal of attention. Most of that attention involved gawking and saying of the syllable “Ooooo!” with some sort of exclamatory phrase following. Some notable examples include:
— “Oooo! Isn’t that a clever dragon who has learned to use his wings to navigate the ether of interstellar space.”
— “Oooo! I do hope he’s brought enough breathable air. I don’t think I put the spare tank in the boot this trip.”
— “Oooo! I wonder if he tasted good with catsup?”
The latter was spoken by a member of the aforementioned many-eyed tentacle beings, who were not at all as pleasant as they seem.
Note: Jimmie writes fantastic flash fiction, and you should go read it now.
Matthew Charlton: Don’t forget flying sharks.
Me: Isn’t that a bit cliche now? Shouldn’t we have, I don’t know, flying albino alligators or something?
Matthew: Well, that’s terrifying.
Me: Unlike flying sharks?
Matthew: Alligators are much scarier than sharks, those things were designed to eat and kill.
Peter was at his desk when he got the text message: “Watch the news, quick”. He closed his awful powerpoint presentation and opened up a browser, going straight to CNN, and that’s where he saw what was happening: the president of the United States had just announced that several large objects, probably ships, had been detected leaving Europa, Jupiter’s water covered moon, and were now travelling towards Earth. The world seemed to stop as the analysts talked about how the radio messages they’d received in the previous weeks, our satellite data and telescope images all confirmed that this was an alien life form, and it was coming to meet us.
Four months had passed, and the ships were now in orbit around Earth. Normal life had been put on pause, with everybody reacting differently to the news: the churches were packed, cults were being created by the thousands, shops were empty and millions of people now lived in underground bunkers, scared at the idea of great metal tripods landing on their houses. But when the ships opened up, the first images sent back by the ISS were much more terrifying than anything anyone could have imagined: the aliens were jumping out, without any equipment, and falling straight to earth. They didn’t have skin but scales and could apparently survive very, very hot temperatures, with flames covering them as they entered our atmosphere at high speed but not hindering them. They could live without oxygen. They had no fear, no visible weakness. And they were white, pearly white, the white only angels should be allowed to be; but they were no angels.
They were the flying albino alligators from outer space. And they were coming for us.
Peter picked up his phone and texted his two best friends: “Johnny, Alfonse, our time has come. Let’s protect this blue ball that we live on”.
Note: You can find out more about Matthew and flying albino alligators from outer space on his website here.
Simon Thurtle: As he watched his costume bob in the ocean, Buttons the Pixie knew two things; he’d never forget his stag weekend AND he was never drinking tequila from a gnome drag-queen’s belly button again. now, how to get back to the hotel when naked with an inflatable sheep glued to his… And before you ask, the sheep was Stuart the barbarian’s idea…
Me: Dammit, Stuart! Why can’t you just have a nice evening with friends? Why bring the poor bloody sheep into it again? You KNOW what pixies are like with sheep.
Simon: Some would say that this is WHY he brought it along… mischievous minx that he is!
Me: Who’s going to pay off the farmer this time, though, hmm? Just doesn’t think things through, does he?
Simon: Normally a reminder that Stuart is involved keeps them quiet. Still, if the tabloids get hold of it then it’ll be #FairyGate all over again. Tinkerbell was never the same. In rehab again now, or so I hear…
Note: Stuart the barbarian is the star of one of Simon’s WIPs, and it’s going to be AMAZING. But until then, you can find a bit more on his new website here.
Jimmie Bise: They knew about the ducks. They all knew, but they did nothing.
First, all the felt went missing. No one could figure out why anyone would steal so much felt. And some Christmas ribbon? It didn’t make sense.
Then came the trucks. They arrived in ones and twos, dropped off crates on the edge of Duck Marsh that nestled cozily against the Old Town Pond, and left. In the morning, the crates would be gone — all that remained were a few scattered packing peanuts. Once, Young Thaddeus Slocomb stayed up late to see what was going on.
He’s not been seen since.
Then the signs went up and it all became clear and horrible and it was too late to do anything but submit and pay tribute with piles of dried brown bread.
The Duck Mafia had taken over Pond Hollow.
As I’m writing this, there’s also an on-going story over on the instagram post for the T-Rex, with myself and the wonderful Courtney Konstantin taking turns writing lines. It’ll probably be finished by the time you read this. Maybe.
Thank you to all my wonderful writery and readery friends for making social media so much fun to hang out on. I mean, yes, I should be writing, but look – I’m writing about you writing about writing prompts! Or something.
Interested in joining in with the writing prompt weirdness? I put a new one up every Tuesday. Hit any of my social media links, or come join Worlds of Wit & Wonder! Jimmie and I have just set up a fab readers’ group on Facebook for people that love these sort of stories – you’re welcome to join whether you’re a reader, writer, artist, or just generally interested in the sort of stories that might be a little odd, but leave you smiling at the end. (Self-promo will be restricted to weekly threads, though – we want more stories, less selling!)
Now, tell me – what would your caption or mini-story be for any of the above prompts? I’d love so much to read them! And do you use prompts for your creativity? Tell me all below!