Mandamon

Writing Excuses Season 10 Writing Prompts

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The WE crew is doing a masterclass this year in writing, and the first month has exercises on coming up with ideas.  So we don't overwhelm the forum (or give away all of our ideas!) lets limit this to one or two for each, if they're the full 150 words, or more if they are less. 

 For anyone who wants to try it out, here are the prompts:

 

Writing Prompt 10.1: Write down five different story ideas in 150 words or less. Generate these ideas from these five sources:
-From an interview or conversation you've had
-From research you've done (reading science news, military history, etc)
-From observation (go for a walk!)
-From a piece of media (watch a movie)
-From a piece of music (with or without lyrics)
 
Writing Prompt 10.2: Using last week's five story ideas (or five new ones):
-Take two of them and combine them into one story.
-Take one and change the genre underneath it.
-Take one and change the ages and genders of everybody you had in mind for it
-Take the last one and have a character make the opposite choice.
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Well, unlike the post by Robinski (entitled Brevity) which sparked this my writing responses to the prompt seem pretty long. Rather than junk up this thread how about I post links to the 'homework' on my site? It is probably too much to read, but perhaps some bits may entertain (I think I may actually spin some of these into short stories at some point as the lessons progress).

 

I will post one of my favorites from 10:2 - just because it was fun to write (and you might not have time to read the rest).

 

John is a lean mean fighting machine. He is positively bursting with health. The doctor has told him that unless he has an accident he's going to live a thousand years. He can feel life around him, an electric current in his every step. He imagines the suns rays bouncing down and filling him with its power. The only problem is, John doesn't want to live forever. All of his old girlfriends have turned into geriatrics, pursuing him frantically with walkers and little whining electric vehicles whenever he goes out. He's been forced into mandatory retirment and is receiving floods of mail from AARP and other old folk magazines, touting the benefits of bunion soaks, toilet seat cushions and anti-bacterial denture solutions.

He starts to eat fattening and unhealthy foods and lay on the coach all day. After a few weeks of gustatorial and arterial abuse he notices that a woman, with a tall blue beehive of hair mounded on her head, and a growling Bichon Frise, walks past his house every morning. As John's body falls into decrepitude, and he develops age appropriate shortness of breath and aching joints, he notices the 'beehive lady' passes more frequently. She walks with a decidedly militant stride - that is almost a goose step -  a golden water tank with a sprayer strapped to her back. John also notices that the dog, is actually  more of a cloud riding cherub of some sort, and eventually he becomes convinced that the blue haired lady is in fact, Life, determined to not let John escape his fate (a result of some celestial bet or Heavenly quota perhaps). As he peeks out the window he sees that this heavenly foot soldier is in fact spraying some sort of 'life juice' into his water supply! John is enraged. He waddles across the carpet to confront the startled - and glowing - blue-haired lady. The angry little cherub begins fitting arrows to his little golden bow with a decidedly unangelic sneer.

Edited by stormweasel
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This is a great idea, I've always been frustrated that, by listening through WE in order, I have always been way behind the discussion on the their site's comment pages. This said, there are various reasons why I won't be joining you in this endeavor. (1) I'm trying really hard to catch back up and keep pace with critiquing the submissions here and on Start Write Now; (2) I'm trying really hard to pick up Waifs & Strays again after doing nothing over the festive period / my 2 week holiday; (3) I'm trying to get caught up on WE from being midway through Season 7 and I don't want to skip ahead; (4) I don't want to muddle my thinking with Waifs by throwing around a lot of different ideas; and (5) I want to keep my powder dry for my idea for a slightly different thread on here, but that's probably a little way off.

 

Sorry to bore you with all that, but I wanted you to know I'm not blanking this thread without good reason, and I'll still comment if I'm allowed.

 

: o )

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Not all of the ideas generated below are ones I necessarily had after the release of the podcast prompt, but they fulfilled the criteria. And just keeping sort of very brief descriptions of what it might entail, I'll just go through them.

-From an interview or conversation you've had
-- Specifics withheld, because I eventually want to work a series of novellas with this idea, but basically a workplace comedy with light fantasy elements as the protagonist does his best to avoid legit work in a workplace full nonsensical locations, rumors, fables, etc..

 

-From research you've done (reading science news, military history, etc)
--Permit Required Confined Spaces, except instead of hazardous, tight locations, the 'space' is another dimension mankind has discovered. A Sci-fi adventure that follows a company whose main purpose is to go on these dimensional dives on behalf of clients for assorted reasons as the new dimension is being explored/studied.

 

-From observation (go for a walk!)
-- 'Love bugs' are actually a sentient species trying to kill oppressive humans, however due to size differences and their inability to actively harm humans, they've typically resorted to strategies such as mass suicide on car windshields in an attempt to run them off the road. One love bug is convinced that it can take over a human's body if they get into the human's brain.
 

-From a piece of media (watch a movie)
-- Not necessarily from anything recent, but I've read/watched a few things and I am genuinely interested in the whole, Battle Royale/Hunger Games etc. concept of a bunch of people being forced into an isolated area and forced to fight one another, but I haven't really felt any 'a-ha!' sparks of something in particular to introduce anything new on it. I'm mostly interested in the psychological elements associated with it and how the authors/directors/etc. attempt (if at all) to justify the assorted different reactions due to personality types, events in their life, and what not.

 

-From a piece of music (with or without lyrics)
--Mankind hasn't created true artificial intelligence, but it has developed 'learning programs' which does a good job of ''pretending' it's AI. The story would follow the reminiscing of an old man looking back on the events in his life that helped him become one of the people who effectively launched the 'psuedo-AI' generation and his thoughts on the culture that developed as robots started getting treated more and more as people. I have yet to read ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, I’m sure it’d probably touch on similar themes and subjects, but it wouldn’t be apocalyptic as at least one initial difference.

 

Writing Prompt 10.2: Using last week's five story ideas (or five new ones):

-Take two of them and combine them into one story.
--Using the five above…The easiest one would be combined Permit Required Confined Spaces and love bugs, with the love bugs being more prevalent and sentient in the other dimension. The invasion of the humans would prompt an inter-dimensional war.

-Take one and change the genre underneath it.
--I think they released a Starving Games or something as a parody of Hunger Games, which would take the drama, psychological aspect of it and I’m assuming turns it into a comedy, so I don't think I can use that. However, I don’t know if there’s a traditional fantasy setup with a Battle Royale concept however…

-Take one and change the ages and genders of everybody you had in mind for it
--That leaves with me the workplace comedy and reminiscing old man, and I feel like either could have a different age and gender, but I’d probably be more interested in the concept of a young woman at the forefront of development over the pseudo-AI generation, because I can definitely imagine the situations in line with more of a spy-esque novel.

-Take the last one and have a character make the opposite choice.
--And that means the last one is the workplace comedy, where the protagonist would be doing legitimate work (instead of choosing to try and go the 'easy' route), and the story could still work that way, but rather than say, seeking out the rumored notepad holding information on a project not unlike the protagonist’s new assignment, it’d be more in line with your workplace sitcom kind of deal, I feel.

I know I already have a small queue of novels I want to try writing to stretch my wings, so to speak, into different genres, but first I need to finish up at least a draft of my current piece, and I haven't actively gotten new material down on it in the past two~three weeks. I also need to get with my preliminary alpha-readers so I can start getting more chapters up here outside of just that first one. I do like the first two writing exercises of the new season, however, and I'm very interested in seeing how the writing prompts/exercises evolve throughout the year.

Edited by Lord Juugatsu
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Just some basic ideas I put together,

 

Ignorance is bliss, the less you know, the more magical power you have. But remember, knowledge is power...

 

Elf who for whatever reason, switches over to the orc army, and fights against  their own people.

 

Wizard who switches to dark magic to further his research, discovers council of wizards is using dark magic for evil, and decides to take matters into his own hands...

 

Superheroes who have a limited amount of energy they are born with, and when they use their power, part of it gets used up. When all your energy is gone, you die. Leads to lots of self sacraficial moments.

 

These are just some simple ideas I came up with. I have a few more, but I'm saving those for myself. *wicked grin.*

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those are some cool ideas, and welcome to Reading Excuses btw!

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Did I do the prompt wrong? I tried to keep all five ideas under 150 words. Oh well!

This is just from the first episode:

1. A world where you have to go to the gym to get fat.
2. Mankind's moral switch is flipped/reversed.
3. A man becomes the god/king of a particular animal (birds).
4. An endless "bus" trip through space.
5. A person who was created as currency.

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