As promised, a short list of prompt ideas, in no particular order, from the writing contest I was part of. For those reading about this for the first time, I was part of a writing contest among close friends. Each week or so we would have the winner of the previous contest determine a new prompt for the group along with deadline and any restrictions including page/word limits, tense, and other restrictions. We learned that heavy restrictions are a creative way to encourage diversity in our writing styles, but it also limited us greatly in some situations. I will present the prompts we’ve written for without restriction and I hope at least one of them is an inspiration to anyone who might read this!
Fantasy – You are a mythical creature. Mortal humans have breached your world for the first time, and their reactions to your kind and others of your world are wildly varying from disgust and fear, to awe or even curiosity. How have they come to be here, and what is your experience upon meeting them for the first time?
Sleepless – You can’t sleep. What’s keeping you up at night?
Horror Story – This can be creepy, scary, disturbing, or a combination.
I did not write for this prompt because horror stories are not really my thing. When I think scary, I think graphically and realistically and I did not feel any sort of inspiration or attraction to a story in likeness to that. Others might be scared of the dark, or clowns, but I simply don’t find those stories particularly scary.
Power Child – It appears that upon turning (choose an age) you develop superpower. Explain how it has, will, or is changing your life. Good or evil. Common or one of a kind. Write this story.
We suggested to avoid cliches and for this one. My brothers prompt was my favorite because he used a historical event in American history and chose an ability in likeness to teleportation. The story was moving, well-rounded, and open for more! I wrote a sort of Goosebumps style story where there were alternative endings and the reader was able to choose which major actions the character makes to change the outcome of the story. I went a little crazy with this one and tried to create a very elaborate mind-game out of it. Aside from the page limit hampering my ability to flesh out details and rising action, I also took it a bit far and it probably came off a little on the mental side of things…
Unfinished Business – Write a story about unfinished business. This can be any number of things, from filling a quota at work, illegal business, to personal relations.
World of Magic – 568 years have passed since the Dark Lord was felled by the Chosen One. Since those times, the wizarding world has known change. The Ministry- an institution created to govern the world of magic- has fallen. As such, no rules bind the realm of magic. Tell this story. ***Note: This world was created by J.K. Rowling, the same universe where Harry Potter exists, except it takes place in the far away future. It is not an original universe and thus was merely for literary fun and experience. Fan-fiction may seem like a sour word to some writers, but I assure you that it is only as bad as you make it.***
I may share an excerpt I wrote for this prompt in the future because I really enjoyed writing characters in this world and received a lot of positive feedback from it. This prompt was a learning experience for me because I think I realized that setting establishment is so so important and probably something I lacked in earlier submissions.
Virtual Rescue – Someone you know gets sucked into a video game of your choice and becomes trapped inside. You must become part of the game and save him/her! But what will you encounter to do so? How will you enter the game? ***This prompt idea was particularly fun for me. I did not come up with it but I had gotten a few ideas after watching Sword Art Online for the first time, a week or so prior. I had this grand idea to write about getting trapped inside World of Warcraft, but the amount of detail I was aiming for put me way over the word limit and I decided to change last minute to a simpler game: Asteroids. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like the most interesting of games to get trapped inside and I think my journal-entry-style writing made that perfectly clear. It’s certainly not my best writing, but it was a fun side-trip from what I am used to.***
Beauty – Use figurative language and detailed descriptions to illustrate beauty or something beautiful.
A really pleasant prompt that sent me out of my way to learn new vocabulary and write scenes depicting something otherworldly.
It’s History – Rewrite a story from history with an interesting twist.
The example given for this prompt was: Anne Frank actually killed the nazi’s that found her and escaped.”
Senseless – Write a story about anything, but you have lost one of your five senses.
Although my writing quality for this submission was severely lacking, I really enjoyed this prompt. The concept of losing one of the five senses was inspiring to me because a loss like that would create a myriad of obstacles and thus providing a strong basis for building character development. I think if I had a chance to rewrite this I would probably change the plot to give the story a more simple focus, and this time ignore the word limit because it prevented me from fleshing out the protagonist.
Moon Party – There is a party taking place on the moon, and everything is “going bananas”.
This was by far my least favorite of the prompts, but still held a merit of potential. Overall, I would say that my writing quality was hampered because the restrictions were too disabling for my creative mind. We had to include the specific phrases: “Part on the Moon; Everything’s going bananas”, “K, like potassium”, “Hey look, math! … and feta!”. We also had to include one monkey, and one balloon in the story. It was an odd collection of submissions anywhere from a God teaching Russian-speaking monkeys (at least I think it was Russian?)…something, to the story of a band, an essay for class, and a children’s story. I think of all the submissions, the children’s story was my favorite. I wrote the essay-style story from the perspective of a student writing an assignment for school. It depicts one view of educational/social systems, highlighting the life of a victim of abuse. It was not written for a specific instance of injustice, but it’s interpretation (I believe) is loose enough to encompass a wide range of people. Looking back now I feel that it holds some value- especially after all of the recent chaos.
Deathclock – Write a story in a world where every person on earth knows the exact date they will die, and that date never fails. However, there is an exception. You.
I absolutely loved this prompt; it was one of my favorites by far and I think several others can agree that this was a pretty cool concept and gave us a lot of inspiration. My submission was about a girl who
Triple Perspective – Write stories from three witnesses (of different perspectives) of a single illegal or paranormal activity.
I did not write for this one due to time constraints with my classes, but the submissions I read were pretty interesting.
Serial Killer – You are a notorious serial killer in your prime. You’ve never been caught, but you’re getting a little bored. You want to retire, but before you do so you want to have one last spree.
The submissions for this prompt were interesting to read because each story was wildly different in terms of character. One of the submissions was from the perspective of a mad man- truly insane in every sense of the word. Of course, that’s the mentality you’d expect from a serial killer, but the varying degrees of insanity were compelling because it illustrated the complexity of the human mind. Each submission conveyed the manner in which we perceived the mind of a serial killer which was, to my mind, a sort of unique experience.
Medieval – Something unnatural in the forest.
This was the first prompt we wrote for. It was very open with little restriction, but it had to take place in a medieval setting and revolved around something unnatural in the forest. There were stories about dragons, hallucinogenic herbs, a multi-perspective narrative of family feuds and betrayal, as well as an exceptional poetic prose telling the tale of Peter Defeator and Blu of the Lou (you might see where this is going). Suffice it to say that none of us were expecting a poetic tale for a first-time entry, delivered as eloquently as a bard which was especially fitting for the chosen theme, and yes- he earned the first win of the contest.