If you like a little foreplay to get your motor running, have some fun with these. Don’t say we didn’t warn you that they are what we like to call, “outside the mainstream” where we live. You may click here to go to some prompts for younger writers.
- Who do you really, really detest? Why, and what might you do about it someday.
- Think up your own version of The Great Train Robbery and write down the plan. Then build a novel around the heist. Sure, heist stories have been written before. Hell, after Shakespeare put his quill down, as they say, it was all written. But with strong characterization, complex plot twists, and taut suspense throughout, you just might write something good. I detest people who pigeonhole genre fiction because the best of everything written could be placed in a genre, and then so what?
- What part of your brother-in-law would you fix if you could? Would you fix him and then maybe do the same favor for your immediate friends? How about your partner’s flaws? Would you fix them as well if you could? How far would it all go?
- Since we are living 7 billion to a planet made for 3 billion, how will we solve the overpopulation problem, the elephant in the room that one no one wants to talk about? To what lengths do you believe people will go to curb the birth rate?
- Have you ever cheated on your partner? Describe what would happen if you were discovered.
- Invent a character with a secret, make it a horrible secret, and then write about how far you would go if it were your secret to protect.
- Imagine that you awoke tomorrow morning in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya, and you are the appropriate ethnicity for the country you choose, and you can speak the language. However, you have no money, you are ignorant of even the simplest customs, and you are very old and very infirm, so much that walking out of where you are is impossible. Find a way back.
- You went out in the woods with some friends to camp and your buzz on, and whilst you were wasted, one of your party went missing. You all search but no matter what you do, you can’t get a phone signal, and you can’t find the missing guy. When you return to camp, your camp gear is gone, and the spot looks untouched. What happens next?
- The love of your life loves someone else. Your love will forever be unrequited. An opportunity comes up for you to buy the house next door to your unrequited love and his or her partner. What do you do, and how does it all shake out? Is it more painful never to see the love, or is it more painful to be apart?
- You have just hit and killed a person walking alongside the roadway in the dark. You are a little buzzed. You stop and learn your victim is dead. You tell yourself that it was his fault for being on the road, and you drive away. Early the next morning, the sheriff is at your door because the walker’s phone recorded everything, including your face and part of your license tag. What happens next?
- You are living in your car in a major city. You have a job, but you can’t get a place to live until you get a paycheck. There is a perverse rich man who patrols the areas where homeless people can park their cars to sleep in them without drawing attention from the police, and he finds people like you who don’t know how to be homeless, who have just had a setback this one time, and he tempts them because they are economically helpless maybe for the first time and vulnerable in a way they may never be again. What are you willing to do for this man to get a safe place of your own to live and shower in? What do you think this man could compel others to do in exchange for getting off the street?
- You are a talented professional dancer in the prime of your career. Yesterday, you were in a wreck and your legs had to be amputated. Your drunken partner was driving. You thought your partner was sober. What will you do next?
- My Cherokee grandfather told a story about two wolves. These two wolves live within us all. One wolf is angry, hungry, snarling, and quick to fight. The other wolf is calm, a reliable part of the pact in hunts, satisfied with the pieces of meat he gets, and quick to mend riffs in the pack. These wolves struggle against each other inside of us. When asked which wolf wins the struggle, Grandfather said, “The one you feed.” Write a beautiful poem or story about that struggle.
As always, thank you for reading, and use these prompts in any way you like, by Ricardo Verde.