Writing is a craft… obviously, and like any craft, you need skill, ergo you have to train if you want to be any good. I decided to come up with a few writing prompts on my own and yes, I’m going to do them myself. This won’t be me just giving you guys homework. There are three different prompts here, two of which I have created. I’ll start with the one that many of you probably already know of.
1. The story in the picture.
It’s simple: Look at the image and write a story based on what you see in the picture. Now remember this is supposed to be a fun exercise. Honestly I put too much pressure on myself whenever I run into a picture prompt so if you’re like me, relax, get some tea or coffee and make things up as you go.
Side note: There’s a similar exercise where you empty your purse or backpack or whatever you carry around in your pocket, you put it all in front of you, and write a story based on the items. I recall reading something amazing in result of that exercise in The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton; it’s been over five years since I read it, though, so I’ll show it to you guys another time.
Anyway, here are some pictures for you guys:
Anna Verlet Shelton on Flickr.
Found on “Things end but memories last forever” tumblr.
Found on “Things end but memories last forever” tumblr.
Frances Colt (elkking tumblr).
“Distance” by Regret the Hour; Found on “Things end but memories last forever” tumblr.
2. Metaphors for Life.
Over a month ago, I saw this list of metaphors for life on Futility Closet. I think a friend of mine posted it on Facebook, or maybe it was one of the writing FB pages I follow. Here are some examples:
“A theater in which the worst people often have the best seats.” — Aristonymus
“A hospital in which every patient is possessed by the desire to change his bed.” — Charles Baudelaire
“Like eating artichokes — you’ve got to go through so much to get so little.” — Tad Dorgan
Pretty neat, isn’t it? I think you can create a story out of any of these metaphors. Perhaps it ends up being the foundation for a novel; who knows! You gotta try it out for yourself. At the moment, I have trouble deciding between these two:
“A foreign language: all men mispronounce it.” — Christopher Morley
“A party: one arrives long after it’s started, and one’s going to leave long before it’s over.” — Robert Morley
3. The hidden evil… The SCP Anomalies.
Saved the best for last. This week I watched this video called “Top 22 Scariest SCPS,” which introduced a range of humanoid creatures, monsters, and strange, mysterious objects. For you who don’t know, SCP is an indie horror video game series and the acronym stands for “Secure. Contain. Protect.” The idea I got from this video is that you choose any or several of these anomalies and create a story surrounding that SCP.
By the way, if you check out the game’s website, SCP Foundation accepts SCP article submissions. You can create your own alien anomaly! Man, it would be cool if they accepted your SCP and put it in a game. They ask you to include “reasonable containment procedures and a clear description” that draws in the reader immediately and apparently they look for a specific style in the writing.
In the beginning, the speaker explains that these anomalies are sectioned into three categories: safe, euclid and keter.
Safe means either that the object is “sufficiently understood that they are now completely and reliably contained on a permanent basis, or they don’t trigger their anomalous effects unless intentionally activated.” Euclid is when the object is insufficiently understood or inherently unpredictable, but don’t pose sufficient threat to qualify for Keter classification; they add that “reliable containment is not always possible.” Keter is the worst scenario: “they pose an inimical threat to the safety of the [SCP] Foundation personnel and the rest of mankind and either require extensive and complex procedures to contain, or they cannot be fully contained by the Foundation’s current technology and knowledge.”
Since there are twenty-two of these bad boys I won’t write about all of them, but the ones that stood out to me (and that I will most likely pick for my exercise) are the following:
* SCP – 1382 (Euclid) [#20 and time 7:58]: the read sea mark water buoy floating in Lake Michigan. It’s anchored to a downed airliner called Flight 441, sending out an SOS in Morse code. This airliner contains the skeletal remains of the 56 passengers and crew members who move around during the periods when the signal is active. Thermal imagining scanners have shown that these bodies also give off the natural body temperature of 37 degrees Fahrenheit. When the signal ceases, the bodies collapse. Studies have hinted that these people are stuck in a time loop, re-experiencing the moments before the airliner crashed.
* SCP – 002 (Euclid) [#19 and time 9:48]: a fleshy sphere containing an apartment whose furniture are made out of biological matter such as human bone, hair and other…
* SCP – 610 (Keter) [#12 and time 22:03]: contagious virus… (seriously, just watch the video for this one).
* SCP – 439 (Euclid) [#8 and time 32:43]: “an insect of unknown origin that uses the human body as a habitat for its colony…” This one creeps me out and if/when you watch the video, you’ll understand why. Actually, towards the end they say that when the doctor opened the eyes during the autopsy and shone a light in them, those eyes would follow the beam.
* SCP – 895 (Euclid) [#7 and time 35:06]: an oak wood coffin… (really clever concept so I recommend watching the video; they explain it beautifully).
* SCP – 087 (Euclid) (and SCP – 087-1) [#1 and 53:11]: an unlit platform staircase on a campus (name of school withheld) which appears to have no end regardless how deep down the stairs travel. A child’s pleading cries can be heard after descending the stairs for a while, but it’s impossible to find the source for the cries. Additionally there is another SCP present on the platform, described as being a floating face without eyes, mouth and nostrils. Anyone who sees the face suffers from paranoia and nausea. Some have fallen in a blind panic and disappeared.
Pretty images, metaphors for life and good material for horror stories. I hope you enjoyed that. Thank you!