23 September 2022 - 6:00 pm

Writing Spark #91

A sparkling burning firework.

Here’s something for you to use to grow a new story!

****

You are in a terrible accident. Your injuries are severe and beyond the capabilities of regular medical technology to heal. Time is limited to decide how to save you and someone must make a choice. A deal is struck and paperwork is signed by your proxy.

You wake up in a very different body, more machine now than flesh. You are part of an experimental cybernetics program and you have a lot to learn about your new situation.

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9 September 2022 - 6:00 pm

Writing Spark #90

A sparkling burning firework.

Here’s something for you to use to grow a new story!

****

Blood and bone make great food for plants, particularly certain types of flowers. That’s why some appear in abundance on battlefields and over the graves of our departed. 

There is a patch of beautiful flowers growing in your back yard where no-one purposefully planted seeds. The size and shape of the patch is visible from your bedroom window, and it is suggestive of what lies beneath the surface. Just right for a body.

Perhaps you know who lies there; perhaps it is a mystery. The sight might give you comfort or make you wonder about what has happened here. 

Either way, you notice one day that the patch of flowers doesn’t seem to be in the same place it used to be. Maybe it’s your imagination but the flowers seem to be closer to the house than before. You start to track them and they do seem to be moving: the patch is the same size and shape as before, just closer, ever closer. 

Before long, they will reach the house. 

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26 August 2022 - 6:00 pm

Writing Spark #89

A sparkling burning firework.

A new bookish prompt. What would you like to read?

****

Your local librarian is known to be an odd person. They love their books and their library; they are very proud of all of it. There are many reading tables and nooks in the library where they encourage library users to stay and read or work, for as long as you like. They’ll even keep the library open late at night or early in the morning to allow people to spend time there. 

They are also protective of their books, to the extent where they disapprove of people checking them out and taking them home. You have a feeling they would prefer the books to stay inside the building, though they have never outright refused to check out a book before. 

Then you try to check out a particular book. 

“No,” they say, sliding the book behind the counter, out of your reach. “Not this one. Never this one.”

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12 August 2022 - 6:00 pm

Writing Spark #88

A sparkling burning firework.

Time for a new job! Where will this one take you?

****

You have moved to a new place and got a job in a museum. When you arrive for your first day, you realise your job is in the Monster Wing of the museum. 

What kinds of monsters do they have on display? Are any of them familiar to you? How does the content of the wing make you feel? Do you see yourself in any of the displays?

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29 July 2022 - 6:00 pm

Writing Spark #87

A sparkling burning firework.

Nefarious or beneficial acts? The choice is yours. 

****

A thief in the city is causing trouble. They’re stealthy, in and out without raising any alarms. They seem to be able to get in almost anywhere they want to, and their work is so subtle that opinions are divided on whether they truly exist.

This thief doesn’t touch art, jewels, or the usual valuable items: they only steal items that impose a minor inconvenience on others. The head off the mop. The plate from the microwave. The laces from a favourite pair of shoes. The handle from a door. The charging cable for a specific device. 

What could be their motive for taking the items? What are they hoping to achieve?

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15 July 2022 - 6:00 pm

Writing Spark #86

A sparkling burning firework.

A slice of natural inspiration for your next story?

****

Flowers love you. When you enter a space with live flowers, whether it’s a garden outside or pot plants in someone’s home, they turn to face you. 

Sometimes it’s hard to notice – flowers don’t move quickly – but if you linger long enough, the flowers face you instead of the sun. Walking through a field of sunflowers causes noticeable ripples of movement.

Other people in your life are starting to notice. At some point, someone’s going to start asking questions.

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1 July 2022 - 6:00 pm

Writing Spark #85

A sparkling burning firework.

Could this be the start of your next adventure?

****

There is a landline in your home, though you’re not sure why you bother; it came with your internet connection. It’s hooked up to an old phone that you tuck out of the way for emergencies. You’ve never given the number to anyone.

It rings one day, startling you. You answer it expecting a cold caller.

“The blackbird is over the wood,” a voice says hurriedly on the other end of the line. 

“What?” you ask.

“The blackbird is over the wood.” They sound out of breath. “And the fox is loose. Where are the horses?”

“Uh…” You would ask more, but the person has hung up. 

The next day, the phone rings again. More nonsense phrases are whispered down the line to you, and they hang up before you can say anything. You start to write the phrases down. You’re still half convinced that this is some kind of prank.

After the third call, you begin to suspect this is not a prank, but more likely your number has been mistaken for some kind of spy connection.

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18 June 2022 - 4:50 pm

Altered Dimensions: Epilogue

Just joined this Asylum? Start from the beginning!

Congratulations! You have travelled the multiverse and made it all the way home. Maybe it’s a different place from where you started, and that’s okay. 

I hope you had fun today and got to explore some different worlds. Thank you for letting us portal your imagination about! From here, like your character, you can take what you’ve gained today and carry it forward however you wish. 

Happy writing, everyone!

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18 June 2022 - 3:50 pm

Altered Dimensions: Challenge #5

Just joined this Asylum? Start from the beginning!

You and your character have experienced four different worlds today. So far, there has been no solid proof of why this is happening or how, though your character may have some theories. Perhaps it’s time they find out what’s really going on.

After spending some time in the world of wastelands, your character is transported again. This time when they arrive at the destination, they are in the centre of a room, surrounded by people all staring at them. None of these people seem to be surprised to see your character appear; in fact, they are quite businesslike about it. 

Your character can’t tell much about where they are, except that it’s futuristic compared to their original home world. There are no windows and the people present won’t answer any questions about the year or location of the facility. They refuse to answer any questions at all, but they do give reassurances that everything will be explained in good time while they hurry your character off to decontamination.

After a fresh change of clothes (whatever they were wearing in the last world probably had to be burned) and any medical treatment your character required, they are taken to an office with a person waiting to speak with them. 

This person begins with an apology. It seems that there was a critical malfunction in a complex, advanced system with an improbable name, which resulted in your character’s fractured journey across different dimensions and versions of Earth. Your character was not the only person affected; there were several others who were transported around the multiverse, and this facility has been tasked with cleaning up the mess they made. This includes scooping up those dimensionally-dislocated people and sending them back home again. 

There is a glitch, however. Because your character has spent time in multiple dimensions, the facility can no longer tell which one is their original home. They either don’t want to spend the time trying to figure it out or they don’t care; after all, they have a lot of other people to sort out after this minor (it probably wasn’t minor) dimensional disaster. Whatever their reasons, they leave your character with an important choice.

Of the worlds they have experienced, which one would they like to return to to live out the rest of their life? This is a final, irrevocable choice; there will be no way to take it back once it’s done. 

Is their home really the place they want to go back to? What is important to them now? What have they learned in their journeys that will influence their decision? Is there a place where they felt most comfortable or at home? Which world will they choose?

Tell us about your character’s decision and give us an insight into how it goes. 

Your extra challenge for this one is: branching paths. Put in as many references to paths branching and diverging as you can. Good luck!

Finishing up

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18 June 2022 - 2:40 pm

Altered Dimensions: Challenge #4

Just joined this Asylum? Start from the beginning!

Your character has spent between a week and a month in the future. Perhaps they’ve enjoyed the comfort and privilege of technology and the advancements that accompany it. Perhaps their stay has been less comfortable. 

Either way, their time in a science fiction world is about to end. The portal is coming for them again, snapping at their heels, and it whisks them away to a different time and place. It’s time for a whole new orientation.

In the next place your character finds themself, something terrible happened. Not recently; it has been a few years now, enough time for the initial dust to settle and for the breadth of the devastation to become clear to those who survived. That destruction covers all the known world; which, considering how difficult it is to communicate across large distances, is not that wide from where your character finds themself. 

The cataclysmic event – or series of events – left cities in ruins, infrastructure fractured and inoperable, and ordinary people forced to figure out how to survive. The land teems with problems and dangers for those wandering outside unprotected and alone.

It’s up to you what might have broken this world, and it’s up to you what kinds of challenges it presents for your character. What sort of situation do they arrive in? What type of people do they meet first? What do they notice first, and what do they do next? Do they try to band together with locals or strike out on their own?

What does their ability mean in this world? Does it help them deal with this place’s particular challenges, or is it useless to them as they figure out how to survive here? How hard is it for them to make their way here? What’s the biggest challenge before them when they’re facing the end of the world at they know it? Do they meet themself here or hear about their legacy?

Tell us the story of how they find their feet in a post-apocalyptic setting. Do they sink or swim? How do they scrape by or soar here? It’s up to you.

The bonus challenge for you this time is: hungry. Put in as many descriptions of hunger as possible.

Go to the next challenge!

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