26 May 2017 - 6:34 pm

Writing Spark #28

(Picture from HuTui6.com)

This week, let’s delve into the digital world:

A hacker creates a virtual currency that quickly becomes the dominant system of money on the entire planet.

Is this what the hacker intended, or is it a stunt gone wildly out of control? What’s really behind it, and where will it take those invested in it?

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19 May 2017 - 6:26 pm

Writing Spark #27

(Picture from HuTui6.com)

This week, I have something in a thriller/mystery vein to inspire you:

At a Chinese restaurant, you open a fortune cookie and read the following message: “Your life is in danger. Say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and never return. Repeat: say nothing.”

Who is warning you? Why? And, most importantly, how did they get the message inside a fortune cookie? You have the answers, so use them wisely!

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12 May 2017 - 6:16 pm

Writing Spark #26

(Picture from HuTui6.com)

Apologies for the slight gap in these writing prompts. I was flat out sorting the Writers’ Asylum! Now that’s done (for this year), we’re back to our regularly-scheduled Friday prompts.

Here’s our next prompt:

You find out you’re a DNA experiment combining as many recessive genes into one person as possible. That’s why you’ve always felt so different from everyone else.

What recessive genes will you choose? Red hair, blue eyes, an unusual immunity? What happens if they’re all put together? Is it evolution or throwback?

It’s all up to you, so have fun!

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6 May 2017 - 5:20 pm

Writers’ Asylum: Murder in Mind: Epilogue

The party is over. It’s time to clean up the mess and try not to notice how sticky the floor is.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our party, and solved a mystery while you were here. You now have a bunch of stories, to do with as you please!

Thank you for coming along and taking part. The Asylum wouldn’t exist without its inmates. If you have any suggestions about things we could try or improve, let me know!

In the meantime, don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out. You are released!

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6 May 2017 - 4:20 pm

Murder in Mind: Challenge #5

(New to Murder in Mind? Head back to our first post to get started!)

It’s getting late when, deep in the hubbub of the party, someone screams.

The music stops abruptly. The lights come up. The faces you have already written about look around the room.

There is an announcement that silences the room for a moment: the host has been killed. No-one is allowed to leave.

What has really happened? How many of the events of the evening were exactly what they seemed? Now is the time to tell us.

Challenge #5: The Final End

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6 May 2017 - 3:10 pm

Murder in Mind: Challenge #4

(New to Murder in Mind? Head back to our first post to get started!)

With so many people and so much going on, it’s inevitable that something will go missing. And now, something has. It’s an absence that someone notices, and cares about. An absence that someone mentions and will try to rectify.

The thing is, this something is not just missing: it has been taken.

Consider what this something is. Is it big or small? Precious to anyone, or only to specific people? What defines its value, and to whom? What is it and who does it truly belong to?

Why might someone take it? Revenge, greed, opportunity, justice, or a joke? Some other reason?

When the item’s absence is discovered, where is it? Has it already left the party, or is it secreted somewhere close by? Is it still in the thief’s possession? What happens when its owner starts to search for it? Who joins in to help, or steps aside?

Tell us the story of this theft, from the missing item’s perspective. What will its final fate be?

Challenge #4: Taken

Go to the next challenge!

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6 May 2017 - 2:00 pm

Murder in Mind: Challenge #3

(New to Murder in Mind? Head back to our first post to get started!)

We’ve seen what happens when things get testy between partygoers, but not all clashes at this party are angry. It has brought together people from many parts of the host’s life, including his or her past. Some bonds are remembered, some reforged. Some sparks are rekindled, while others are new.

The party rolls onwards. Food and drink are consumed. There might be dancing, perhaps some singing.

Two people are definitely feeling the less violent and more salacious sparks. (Or more than two, if you’re feeling adventurous!) Think about who they might be, and why it took this party to push them together in this way. Think about why it is they’re drawn to each other. A shared history? An animal chemistry? Chance and proximity?

Tell us about the sparks between these two, and how they go off to find somewhere to indulge in their passion. What happens when they get there?

Challenge #3: Rendezvous

Go to the next challenge!

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6 May 2017 - 12:20 pm

Murder in Mind: Challenge #2

(New to Murder in Mind? Head back to our first post to get started!)

The speech has been given and the party rolls on. Let’s think about some of the attendees to this little shindig now. There are the host’s family, friends, and work colleagues. There are possibly school friends, and people who share the host’s hobbies, like the gym or a club. They might be exes, or people who have supported the host in the past.

These people from all the different parts of the host’s life mix, likely with varying degrees of success and smoothness. Some of these people may have crossed paths before; some may not have. For some, they may only know what the host has told them of the others.

Inevitably, at some point, tensions flare into outright sparks. Think about those who might clash with each other. Focus in on two specific people, or three if you’re feeling ambitious. What might they clash about? Why would it come out here, at a public event? How enthusiastic will this clash get?

Show us the confrontation and how far it goes!

Challenge #2: Tete-a-tete

Go to the next challenge!

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6 May 2017 - 11:10 am

Murder in Mind: Challenge #1

It’s time to throw a party. So let’s get started!

Who is the host of this special event? This person has invited everyone in his or her life to the party, from family to work colleagues to friends. Give them a name, an identity.

What kind of place does this host live in: city, village or space station? What is their typical day like? Do they work? If so, what sort of work? Where are they in the hierarchies of their life? Manager or managed? Parent or child, or both? How successful do they consider themselves to be?

Do they have a family? Partner? Ex-partners? Who are the people they are closest to in their life?

What are their aspirations? What’s next for this person?

Now let’s think about why they are throwing this party. The host doesn’t usually call all of these people – from the private and professional sides of their life, and from all the different parts of those arenas – together at the same time, so why now? There must be a purpose. Is it a celebration, commemoration, or announcement? An anniversary of some kind?

Does everyone know why they’re there? Has the host been up-front about his or her reasons for the party? Or has it been shrouded in mystery, or even lies and misleading phrasings? Was everyone told the same thing about the event? What did the host have to do to get everyone here?

Now let’s consider the party itself. What kind of venue is it being held in? Is it indoors or outdoors? On a boat? In space? In a lighthouse on a remote island?

How does the venue feel – is it crowded or spacious? Dim or bright? Is there music playing, and if there is, is it too loud to talk?

What is the tone in the room? Are people talking, or drinking? Getting along, or clashing? Awkward? Are they glad to be there, excited, feeling forced, coerced, or just happy there’s an open bar? (Is there an open bar?)

Let’s go to the point of the night when everyone has arrived and the party is just getting going. The host has decided to give a little speech or presentation, to let everyone know why they have been gathered there.

Walk us into the party, right up to moment when it’s falling quiet. All eyes are turning to the host. Show us the speech and its impact on the room.

Challenge #1: Welcome to the Party

Go to the next challenge!

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6 May 2017 - 11:00 am

Writers’ Asylum: Murder in Mind: Prologue

Welcome to the Asylum. Today, we’re going to commit murder.

But first, we’re going to throw a party. We’re going to climb into the lives of the host and his or her guests, we’re going to see how they tick, and why. More interestingly, we’re going to see what happens when they’re mixed together.

I’m going to give you a series of instructions and prompts. You can take these instructions in any direction you wish: your imagination is encouraged to play. When each challenge is presented, you have an hour to write. Aim for 1,000 words and see where each challenge takes you!

So, get a drink, turn up the music, and settle in. It’s going to be a fun and perilous ride!

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