Archive | October, 2013

Happy Halloween!

30 Oct

Some Halloween-y themed prompts. Each one is meant to be a quick brainstorm, but if you want to expand on one, go for it!

  • Masquerade: The kind of costumes we chose and the characters we aspire to be say a lot about us. Choose a character and describe their halloween costume (this year, or a significant year in their life.) Why did you choose it? What does it say about them?
  • Twi-Please-No: Teen Paranormal Romance. Like it or not, it’s a thing, and it has it’s own formal section heading in Barnes and Noble. Now it’s your turn! Brainstorm/write a pitch for the newest TPR craze. It can be as tacky as you like — cashing in on the craze, as it were — or, if you’re feeling brave, you can pitch a good one and attempt to rectify the genre.
  • Mask-over: Halloween costumes originated as a way to scare off and confuse malevolent spirits. Brainstorms a culture that has a slightly different take on a Halloween-like holiday. The culture can be as small as a family or as large as a planet. It can be realistic/ rooted in an actual culture, but shouldn’t be something you already know a lot about.
  • Spelling Bee: Many magic-related stories involve spell words, all the way from “Double double toil and trouble” to “Wingardium Leviosa” (And that’s levi-o-sa not levio-sa). Make up some magic words for your own witchy character. How would they function? What would be their purpose? What would they do?
    • Ex. Children of the Lamp series by P.B. Kerr.  “Focus words.”
  • Chocolate Froglings: (By now I hope you’ve all just accepted my constant Harry Potter references). One of the many things the Harry Potter series gave the world was a whole new heap of candies. From their first introduction on the Hogwarts Express, Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans etc. helped to solidify the Wizarding World as its own “real” and unique culture. Its time for trick-or-treating, but M&Ms are off the menu. Fill your mental candy bucket with new and tantalizing treats.

Prompt #5

23 Oct

“Not Me, Not Hermione, You!”: (And yes, you have to say it with the accent). Choose a favorite supporting character. What would happen if they had been the hero? Write a scene, sketch, or summary of the story with the supporting character as the protagonist.

What would it be like to read Ron Weasley and the Sorcerer’s Stone? The Neville Longbottom series? Toph: The First Metalbender? Volstagg: The Dark World?  Disney’s Prince [Take-Your Pick]?  For example, think about how the story changed  when the focus shifted from Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz to Elphaba in Wicked.

Prompt #4 Lost and Found

9 Oct

Create or select a character and write a scene in which they loose an object important to them. Then write a second scene in which a second character (they can know the first or not, but don’t know the significance of the object) finds the object. How does the object’s meaning change?

Prompt #3

7 Oct

I really didn’t get very far on this, and I’m hoping to go back and finish it/work on it some more.


Horror: The dingy brass bell jangled as the door to Miss Madeline’s Curio Shop jerked open beneath a patchwork gray sky.

Western: The last train to Smuggler’s Fall departed at noon.


Steampunk: I love the way the sunlight shines down on the boiler, ricocheting between the nest of copper pipes, and making all the dials and steam jets glow bright even here in the basement.


Fantasy: Kado’s steps bounced lightly on the water’s azure surface as he streaked around the auburn tree trunks.

Rom-Com: Kelly perked her head up behind the massive bouquet, with soft pink lilies tangled in her hair.



Spy Fic: I can’t remember the last time my footsteps made noise. I miss that.


Fairy Tale:

Prompt #2 — The Fire Princess

7 Oct

I chose Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender as my villain. I didn’t get to finish, so I left my little outline. Also, this theoretically takes place before and during “The Promise” comic, when Zuko comes to ask for her help and let her out, but I haven’t actually read that, so I’m just winging it.


Character: Azula


Sketch: Azula is in the fire nation mental hospital. She overhears the guards/orderlies conversations and begins to identify with one of them because of some psychological thing. Pressure maybe? When Zuko comes to free her for to help search for their mother, she does something nice for the guard in question. As she’s leaving, Ursa appears in the reflection on the metal walls and tells Azula she’s proud of her. Azula hangs her head and replies “Look how far I’ve fallen.” Ursa: “Look how far you’ve come.”


The same dull metal walls surround everything. They say they’re to keep us safe, keep us from hurting ourselves or burning the place to the ground. But they aren’t forced to look at their dull distorted reflections for hours every day. They don’t have to see the wreckage of their former greatness bound up in white sleeves and course canvas straps.

And white was never my color.

“How are you feeling today Azula?” asks one of the orderlies, a plump little fire nation brat who couldn’t tough it at University so she wound up as one of my many babysitters.

I don’t dignify her with a reply.

“Azula?” she asks again in a soothing little chirp that tears on my nerves every day.

I whip my head toward her. “Princess! I have told you a million times that I will respond only to my proper title.”

“The doctor believes putting you in a less formal setting away from the pressures of the high court will aid in your recovery.”

“I don’t care what he thinks! I am Princess Azula, daughter of Firelord Ozai and proper heir to the Fire Nations’s throne.”

The flames reach high in their torches as I scream. The flames flicker against the brushed metal walls, licking them with the brilliant glow of fire. That’s something else they don’t see. There metal wall, they’re supposed to keep us calm, help us reflect on what got us thrown in this miserable hole. But all I see is fire. The torches dance against the wall and when my chair is positioned just to I can see it, see the flames shooting from my bound hands, feel the glorious touch of fire in my veins. It’s torture, but it’s better than no sense of bending at all. For a while they tried using that crazy old Mechanist’s fireflies as an alternative lighting source. Imported all the way from the Norther Air Temple no less. Unfortunately, those little insects do not far well in the heat.

“That’s enough time in the common area today,” says the orderly and she briskly wheels me back to my cell. I’m sorry, my “luxuriously furnished chamber.”

With my time of “freedom” cut short, I resort to wiggling closer to one of the cold riveted walls. It is so unbecoming. But one of the other advantages of metal walls: they carry sound. And from here, I can listen in on the gossip in the break room on down the hall. Not that these beetleflies are worth a second of my time, but I’ve been reduced to having no other choice.

My orderly from this morning is harping on about some tedious drivel. Footsteps. Another woman’s voice. It’s Konya, one of the other orderlies. I like her. She’s terrible. She’s joined by more, heavier footfalls and a deep gruff voice. Morasai. Also terrible.

“Please! I’ll take all of your night-shifts!” May-Lin, my orderly from this morning pleaded. “I’ll take your sessions with Azula.” She is not one of my favorites.

The other’s laughed. “Like you could even handle that.”

“The Princess scares you like a turtleduck every time you’re in the room with her.” Konya added in a lower voice, “she scares us all.”

I smile. My day has not been a complete waste after all.”

“What are you even after May-Lin?”

“You’re after our shifts, our overtime. Why could you possibly need that money more than we do?”

“My mother, she’s  not well. She was a Captain in the Army; she served training the homeland forces. She was injured in the evacuation of the Imperial city and now that the war is over she’s . . . different. She used to love to travel, loved to paint. Her favorite thing in the world to go to see the fire lily bloom is Sorin Valley each year.”

I roll my eyes so forcefully I hope May-Lin can feel the effects down the hall. Maybe that will stop this horrid little sob story. I’m tempted to give up on eavesdropping

My Character for Prompt #1

7 Oct

Ok, so I guess it’s not really fair to ask you guys to share you stuff if I don’t go first, so . . .

I wasn’t really happy with my character. He didn’t seem compelling to me, and although I usually find character charts helpful for this kind of quick character exercise, this time I felt like it was holding me back.  I think I would have had more luck just thinking about the character, or jumping right into writing.

Anyway, this is what I ended up with:


Wise old man:


Name: Rupert Gerard Brighton

Ethnic background: English/Western European

Age: Old – 70s

Religion/ degree of practice: Grew up Protestant, non-practicing

Home: City, small apartment, lower middle neighborhood.

Lives with? No one. Has a cleaning lady once every two weeks-ish.

Decor: Cluttered, things out of place, fallen into a bit of disrepair

Family: Three children, none close to him

Physical Appearance: Short, round-faced. Blue eyes, wispy white hair.


General health: ok, could excersize more

Favorite food: the burgers? from this one little diner, and only then

Style of dress:

Vocabulary (educated, slang etc:) Educated with hints of lower-class slang

Where would they stop for lunch: Alone in a small cafe, in a window seat. Sandwich and a tea. Same order, the staff knows him.

Size of their comfort zone: small, creature of habit, used to be large and adventurous

Closest friend: Doesn’t really have one. The cleaning lady and the cafe waitresses are always nice, but he doesn’t really have a confidante. He has lost contact with his former best friend.

They are accused of breaking a rule, how do they respond:

Person they dislike the most:

Most prized possession:

Largest secret:

Prompt #3 Hook, Line and Genre

7 Oct

The opening line of a book or the opening image of a movie has to set the tone and draw the reader in.

Look at this list of genres (if you’re interested, you can find more here). For each one, create an opening line that establishes the tone and sets up a story. For added fun/challenge/time-wasting, once you’ve completed the list, choose your favorite opening line and write a few more paragraphs of that story.


Genre List:










Spy Fic:


Fairy Tale:

Prompt #2 Save the Cat!

7 Oct

Select a villain/antagonist/unlikable character, either from your own work or pop culture as a whole, and write a short scene in which they do something kind and heartfelt.

(For more info on the screenwriting book Save the Cat! check out its website.)


Prompt #1 Stereo-Twist

7 Oct

Begin with a stock chosen at random from this list.

This stereotype is what people might think of your character at first glance, but it only scratches the surface of who they really are. Use this as a starting point to create a unique and compelling character.

Fill out the character chart below.  If you’re interested, check out the longer character creation chart these items came from.


Ethnic background:


Religion/ degree of practice:


Lives with:



Physical Appearance:

General health:

Favorite food:

Style of dress:

Vocabulary (educated, slang etc:)

Where would they stop for lunch:

Size of their comfort zone:

Closest friend:

They are accused of breaking a rule, how do they respond:

Most prized possession:

Largest Secret: