Writing Prompts and Challenges posts

Writing Spark #96

A sparkling burning firework.

Will you let this story in and keep it?

****

You find a small, baby creature in your yard late one day. It’s tiny and its fur is sticky with mud, and it mewls piteously at you. It’s hard to tell what it is: you think it’s a kitten or possibly a baby squirrel. You scoop up the shivering animal and bring it inside, so you can get it warm and clean.

You’re going to take it to the vet, but after a night of a warm towel bed and a good meal of cut-up meat, it seems fine. It sets about exploring your home and you’re not keen to give it up. 

You ask around the neighbourhood in case anyone is missing a baby animal, but no-one seems to know anything about it. There’s no harm in keeping it, right? After all, it likes to climb up you and snuggle against your neck every chance it gets. 

It grows quickly and you begin to wonder exactly what it is. It doesn’t look like a regular cat or any other creature you’re familiar with. Its ears are the wrong shape and its tail is a little more useful than it probably should be. You swear its eyes change colour from one day to the next, and its fur seems to be shifting into a dark shade of purple. 

It does have the cutest face and loves to snuggle against your neck, though.

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Writing Spark #95

A sparkling burning firework.

Where do you see yourself taking this one?

****

You’re visiting your friend one evening and talk deep into the night. Its late and quiet outside when someone bangs on the front door. 

“Help! Let me in!” a voice calls. It sounds strangely familiar to you and your friend also looks puzzled.

“It sounds like you,” they say. 

“Don’t let it in,” you tell them, holding them back from answering the door. 

The person outside bangs again and then the noises stop.

The next night, you’re going to visit your friend when your car breaks down. You’re close, so you get out to walk to their place; you’ll call the breakdown service from there. 

You have just started walking when you sense someone following you. You feel the presence as a crawl between your shoulder blades and quicken your pace. Before you know it, you’re running, and so is the person behind you. 

You make it to your friend’s door and bang on it, frantic now, and call for them to let you in. 

“Don’t let it in,” you hear someone say from inside. The voice is strangely familiar to you; it sounds like yours. You bang again, but your pursuer is catching up with you. Terrified, you run down the street.

“Stop!” your pursuer shouts at you. The voice is strangely familiar to you; it sounds like yours. And it’s getting closer.

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Writing Spark #94

A sparkling burning firework.

What would you do if you could make your dreams anything you wanted?

****

“Just one more minute.”

You hear the request every night. Your child lies in bed, tucked in right at bedtime, looking up at you with wide eyes. They clutch a book, or a device, or the story you were telling, or the light glowing beside them. 

“Just one more minute, please.”

It’s such an innocent request at first, especially if you were telling them a story. Don’t go, stay with me. But as the nights roll on, the eyes get wider and more urgent, and the tone becomes more pleading. Then it becomes crying and begging. 

“Just one more minute, before you die again,” your child says.

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Writing Spark #93

A sparkling burning firework.

What would you do if you could make your dreams anything you wanted?

****

A tragedy is a hero in the wrong story. 

Create a hero. Then create the worst conflict for them to solve and make them the main protagonist.

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Writing Spark #92

A sparkling burning firework.

What would you do if you could make your dreams anything you wanted?

****

Lucid dreaming is the latest entertainment craze. Advertisements promise amazing adventures and journeys with unlimited potential, all while your body gets the good rest it needs every night, guaranteed. You can do anything, go anywhere, within your own mind and within your own control. You can have the dream you want. All with the help of a small device.

It’s easy and cheap. Consumer reactions are outstandingly positive. The sleep quality alone is changing people’s lives.

Some dreamers inevitably become addicted, though the statistics say they are a tiny fragment of those who try it. Others find themselves beset by their worst nightmares and are referred quickly on to therapy. A tiny portion experience echos of their lucid dreams during their waking hours.

You are about to try lucid dreaming for the first time. What will your dream be?

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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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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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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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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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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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