Writing Prompts and Challenges posts

Writing Spark #55

Eight murders have taken place in your character’s town: once a week, on the same day, at the same time. When your character gets abducted, they have only a few hours to discover why this is happening and how to get free.

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Writing Spark #54

Your character has gone through life believing that love is a choice and they have always chosen ‘no’. But an argument with a stranger changes this belief.

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Writing Spark #53

Your character has the ability to change how they look, and so they have always hidden their true appearance behind attractive facades. Now, their abilities aren’t working, exposing what they truly look like.

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Writing Spark #52

All food has to be manufactured in bulk and distributed. There is no flavor and it’s the same every day. Then a plant grows up through the cracks, bearing berries.

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Writing Spark #51

Magic exists in the world. Why does your character despise using it so much?

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Writing Spark #50

While on a hike, your character discovers a small tower buried beneath the ground.

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Time out of Mind: Epilogue

(New to this Asylum? Start at the beginning!)

Congratulations! You have made it through our time-twisted story and emerged from the other side, hopefully victorious. 

I hope you have had fun and created at least a little something unexpected. I would love to hear what you thought of the challenges, and the bonus challenges as well. 

For today, our challenge is done and the Asylum releases you. Go forth and be inspired! Spend your time wisely.

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Time out of Mind: Challenge #5

(New to this Asylum? Start at the beginning!)

Both teams now know there’s something strange going on with this pivotal person’s timeline. Now we have both agencies sending their teams to find the same person, to kill or to protect or simply to find out what’s going on. 

After all, it is not a simple thing to fake historical records. One of the first things that the manipulation of time did was to make historical records more reliable and enabled the agencies to be able to do thorough, accurate research. For someone to have changed those records to lay a false trail through history has a number of implications. 

More than that, it is possible that this person has changed more than their own personal history. They could also have changed the records around the pivotal moment itself, perhaps inflating its importance, or their role in it all. If history is not reliable, what can they truly believe in? 

The teams do find some breadcrumbs to follow, a hint here and a clue there, and the trail leads to a particular time and place. One team might be more efficient than the other, but thanks to time travel, they both arrive at the same moment to try to answer the same questions. 

The person in question is, in fact, there. Not only that, but they are ready for the teams’ arrival. Expected it, perhaps. 

Now is the time to decide what has really been driving all of this. What are this person’s goals? Why would they have set up such a trail, when they would have known that these agencies would send teams to meddle with the timeline? Was that their aim all along? Why is this particular place and time important? 

The trap is closing. Now it’s time to find out what it’s all about. Tell us what happens when all three parties are finally in the same place at the same time.

Bonus challenge: circles within circles. Put as many circles or circular images in as you can.

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Time out of Mind: Challenge #4

(New to this Asylum? Start at the beginning!)

The first team is not pleased to arrive home from their next mission to find their work undone. They worked hard to prevent that pivotal moment. It might have been undone, but they are not to be outdone. 

It’s time for some more drastic measures. After all, this is an important occurrence; if it was worth fixing once, it’s worth doing twice.

But they’re not quite reckless enough to risk encountering themselves or the competition that clearly interfered; that’s a risky business and it’s usually best to avoid running into another version of oneself. There are lots of stories about what happens to time travellers who do this and few of them end well. You are encouraged to use your imagination to think about what these stories might entail.

So this time, the team is seeking to go further back in time to solve the problem. They are focussing on the person responsible for the pivotal moment, and locate a particular spot in that person’s life where they can interfere. Perhaps it is a near-death experience that they want to make an actual death experience. Perhaps it is a formative moment that sent the person down a certain path, which is ripe for guidance in a different direction. Think about what they might look for and what they might do to this person, within the rules set down by their agency, though this might be classified as an ‘extreme case’. 

Now that your team has a plan, send them off on their new mission to prevent the pivotal moment from happening. 

Before we run off on this new adventure, it’s worth wondering what the competition is up to. After all, the timeline must be maintained, and that means that the person and their history leading up to that moment must protected. What are the timeline protectors doing to ensure this?

There is a wrinkle, though: the person is not where the records say they should be. Whether one team or both appears, this person is absent. In fact, they might find something else instead: a decoy or perhaps a trap waiting for them.

Tell us the story of what happens when one or both of these teams goes to find the younger version of our responsible person.

Bonus challenge: the grandfather paradox. Have a member of one of the teams encounter one of their ancestors.

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Time out of Mind: Challenge #3

(New to this Asylum? Start at the beginning!)

Your team has stopped the pivotal moment from happening and history has been changed. Ultimately, they believe, for the better. 

Enter their competition. After all, it would be infeasible for there to only be one agency tasked with making sure that history isn’t ruined. Perhaps this other agency was established at a different time or by a different governing body; whatever the cause, their perspective on the matter is a little different. To this agency, protecting the integrity of the timestream is paramount and time travellers must not make large changes. No-one has yet found time’s breaking point, after all, and this agency would prefer that we never did because it would suck if reality completely unravelled.

It’s possible that they have different information about the pivotal moment and its impact. It’s possible that they simply have a different perspective on the validity of this moment. Perhaps it is an important lesson for humanity to learn or a trial that must be endured, or a key to a future possibility that will better everyone’s lives. Or perhaps it is simply human nature expressing itself in the most fundamental way. 

Whatever the case, this agency believes that the original pivotal moment must be protected at all costs. Good or bad, the outcomes must come to pass. Even if this means constructing a new way for the person responsible to make that moment happen.

So this agency also tasks a team to go back to the pivotal moment. Again, take a moment to decide how big this team is, the type of persons that are tasked with protecting the timeline. Their skills, their personalities, their likely tactics. What are they allowed to do and what are they willing to do?

How the pivotal moment was averted is part of historical record now. As are the impacts of it not happening. Send your new team back to set things right and show us how they do it.

Bonus challenge: sounds good. Use as much alliteration and assonance as possible.

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