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Featuring everything new and experienced authors need to develop creative and technical skills. Check out writing development articles, our Word of the Day, writing prompts, anthology opportunities and more!

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Everybody's Irish on St. Paddy's Day!

We're just a couple of weeks away from drinking green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage, so let's celebrate all things St. Patrick's Day!    PT Prompt #207 HR calls you into their office based on a report of an unfortunate pinching incident on St. Patrick's Day.  Who made the report, why, and is it true?     PT Prompt #208 After a night of drinking too much green beer and Guinness, you wake up in a strange bed that's much too small for you.  Next to you,

Valkyrie

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Item Prompts

Last week, I looked in the basement for a pot for my new palm tree. You wouldn't believe how much crap I found there. Time for the next yard sale, but I digress.   PT#205 Tell the story of the forgotten rocking chair pushed into the corner of a basement and covered in dusty cobwebs.   PT#206 Three friends clear out the basement of an old house. One opens a rotting kitchen cabinet and finds a moldy box with a set of gleaming, pristine chef knives.  When he picks up t

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Fantasy Island

Ahhh!  The lovely idea of an island filled with magic, mystery, and love.  In the depths of winter, let's take a journey to a place with tropical drinks, grass huts, and warm breezes.   #203 - Use the following words in a story.  Daiquiri, husk, oar, coati, sanguine, furtive, umbrella, and turkey. #204 - You get up early in the morning.  The sun is just starting to ease upwards with brilliant rays bathing the palm trees and bougainvillea's growing against the seawall.  As you make your

Cole Matthews

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Home Prompts

These prompt ideas were inspired by a discussion on the site. Would people read stories that take place in a foreign country? How difficult is it to write these kinds of stories and still find readers on an international site like GA? Does an American want to read a story about characters falling in love in Denmark? On the other hand, what do we have to do to write a story taking place away from home, like space or for example, China, India, Africa, or wherever your muse takes you? Let’s t

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Let's Talk About the Weather!

What does conversation inevitably drift towards when all other topics are exhausted?  Whether you like it or not, it's usually the weather     PT Prompt #199: You're a weatherman who got the forecast completely wrong before a catastrophic storm hit.  What were the consequences?   PT Prompt #200: Because the weatherman was so colossally wrong, you were taken completely by surprise by this storm.  What kind of storm was it?   Where did you weather it?  What happened

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Time to Travel!

Winter decided it wanted to dump our annual snowfall on us all at once this week, so it's a perfect time to think about being somewhere where the air doesn't hurt your face.     PT Prompt #197 You decide to plan your next vacation by closing your eyes, spinning a globe, and going wherever your finger lands.  Where do you end up going on vacation?    PT Prompt #198 Plan a vacation that's the polar opposite of your dream trip.  Don't like cruises?  Go on a cruis

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Plain Prompts

Here is your weekly nudge or inspirational kick.    PT #195 Write a short story or vignette where a paper napkin takes on large emotional importance. PT #196 Invent a character who has a ‘Murphy’s Law' week. Please include the prompt number either in your story/chapter description or title to help readers who would like to search for specific prompts. Also, please remember that stories less than one thousand words must be posted as part of a collection. I

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Bits and Pieces

"Bits and pieces put together, to present a semblance of a whole" - Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN I've always been intrigued by the ideas suggested in this quotation.  It suggests, quite correctly, that art and artifice are simply representations, and parts of a story.  Narratives necessarily pick and choose the elements they want to reveal in order to make a coherent story.  The artist decides what things are presented to a consumer of their art and what things to leave out.  For

It's Resolution Time!

New Year's Resolutions - love them or hate them?  Some people thrive on resolutions and use them to make changes in their lives, at least for January   Others scoff at the idea and remain their fabulous selves without some arbitrary date telling them it's time to effect positive change.  Since New Year's is right around the corner, let's explore some resolutions!    PT Prompt #191: You've always been steadfastly against making any resolutions come January first and have trea

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Guest Prompt By Thirdly

This Friday I present a guest prompt by @Thirdly I know, I know lazy. Prompt #189 Holiday Hazard: The protagonist drank too much spiked eggnog while staying with his family over the holidays. His younger cousins somehow manage to convince him to go with them to a Winter-themed amusement park even though he has a hangover. There at the amusement park, he finds someone he manages to get along with more than anyone else he'd ever come across. They end up holding hands even while riding ro

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Happy Holidays?

The holidays aren't always the picture of perfection depicted in Hallmark movies or on holiday cards.  In fact, it's pretty safe to say that the opposite tends to be more true to reality for most people.  We all have that relative with opposite views who loves to start in at the dinner table, or a busybody who's all up in everyone's business and then proceeds to pass judgment on it.  Then there's making sure the food is perfect, the table is set, and the house is clean.  Planning for the holiday

Valkyrie

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Random Acts of Description

I've never been a writer who enjoyed using much description.  I never thought the color of the carpet, the shadows on the flocked wallpaper or the nuances of a woman's dress did much to drive a story.  At least, that's what I used to think. Lately I've been reading more gothic short stories where the effect of the light on objects, the influence of color on mood, and the idea of space shapes impressions of the scene. As a result, I've been trying to use a bit more description in my writing.

Cole Matthews

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Preparation Prompts

Soooo, the Holiday season is afoot. Some are already talking about Christmas parties and ‘oh my, what do I get whoever?’. I am the lucky Prompt Team member who throws their Santa hat in the ring. PT# 185 Someone finds an Advent calendar in a rusty box among the Christmas decorations. Twenty-four empty little paper bags are waiting for a small daily gift given from December 1st to 24th. What do they fill them with and who gets them?   PT# 186 Let yourself be i

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Forgotten Treasures

Have you ever started digging through an old box and found something you had forgotten about?  Is there a scrap of paper with a name of an old lover, and it makes you sigh?  The memories start flooding back into you as you rifle through ticket stubs and T-shirts at the bottom of your closet.  Things are so good at prompting our personal histories, and so let these prompts give your characters some thoughts about events from their past.  Let the remembrances flow!!!! Prompt #181 - After Than

Cole Matthews

Cole Matthews in Prompts

Oops! Prompts

I may or may not have remembered that the prompt blog is resuming this week...   So let's embrace the oops in our lives and see what writing treasures come from them.  A special thanks to my BFF's daughter for supplying #179, although thankfully this did not happen on our trip last weekend.    And another thank you to our own LBO for inspiring #180.   PT Prompt #179 You're on a trip with two of your friends and arrive at the hotel late at night.  You're exhausted and the only thing you

Valkyrie

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Horrible Prompts

Let’s squeeze some prompts in before the anthology takes over the blog. It’s the time for creaking doors, flickering lights, and whispered words in the dark. Don’t forget everything orange. PT #171 How about we play with tropes: wide open mawing jaws, saliva drips, and then set a sweet counterpoint? PT #172 Write about a most unlikely person who hates orange and everything it implies.   Please include the prompt number either in your story/chapter description

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The Bad Man - Fleshing Out a Villain

I've always approached prompts as more than just stimuli for new stories.  I've seen them as practice, play, more like working out the kinks without worrying about perfection.  Prompts can help us build setting, time, place, mood, and characters.  But, prompts can also help us fine-tune and flesh out things as well.  Sometimes we build a character and they are too perfect, or too evil.  As a result, the reader begins to lose that all important "suspension of disbelief" so inherent in good s

Cole Matthews

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Why not?

Do you know those situations where you ask yourself, “What would happen if...?” Or, “Should I do it?”  This Friday’s prompts are about doing something crazy, spontaneous, and daring. PT #167 Write about a person who sees a phone number scratched in the wood of a bench in the park. Spontaneously they dial it. What does your character feel when the phone rings?   PT #168 First line: Boom! Did I do this? Please include the prompt number either in your story/chapte

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Last Minute Prompts

I am the Queen of Procrastination.  I tend to work best under pressure; sometimes I need a deadline in order to get anything accomplished.  Sometimes I leave things to the last minute because I have no choice.  I have so much on my plate, I need to prioritize what needs to be done first.  Kind of like a triage of my schedule.  I do this at work all the time, since I am the only person currently in my department (not from lack of trying to get more help, but that's a completely different topic).

Valkyrie

Valkyrie in Prompts

Going to the Fair!

We love fairs.  State fairs, county fairs, Renaissance Fairs, little neighborhood fetes, and any other get-togethers that feature foods on a stick, or a turkey bone, deep-fried, that make you a little queasy when you sit on swirling, spinning, acrobatic carnival rides and offer something fleeting and fun.  Fairs offer face painting, the biggest pig, high stepping marching bands, and blinding lights mixed with colors and music that overwhelm.  All these are things that provide a backdrop for an s

Cole Matthews

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A Typical Monday

What’s a typical Monday for you? For example, heart attacks occur most often on Mondays. PT #161, Write about being late for work on a Monday. Describe what else happens. The bus is late, you forgot important papers at home, or the elevator doesn’t work and your office is on the fifth floor. Play around with minor catastrophes. PT #162 Write about a normal, mundane Monday with a twist. Maybe let your protagonist meet a special person.   Please include the prom

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Once in a Blue Moon

This month a rare astronomical occurrence is taking place... a blue moon!  Not only is it a blue moon, but also a supermoon.  So what is a blue moon?  While it is possible for the moon to appear blue under certain conditions, a blue moon is actually an extra full moon that occurs within a season.  Generally two full moons in one month.  A supermoon happens when the moon is close to earth and appears larger than normal.  Now that we're all educated on lunar occurrences, let's go howl at the moon

Valkyrie

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A Picnic of Prompts

The lazy days of summer are nearing their end.  With it go the sunny mornings at the beach,  a hamper filled with cold, refreshing food and drink.  Slipping away are the baskets with containers of fried chicken, potato salad, and a bottle of chilled sauvignon blanc.  Before you know it, the hot dogs and ice cream from the back of a food truck are driving down the dusty road away from you.   In the meantime, let's practice writing about some food and crafting scenes around the sight, smell,

Cole Matthews

Cole Matthews in Prompts

Argumentative Arguments

Argumentative Arguments The word argument has many different meanings: debate, dispute, statement, reasoning, or you can even view it from a mathematical point of view. Feel free to pick an interpretation of your liking and twist it into a prompt answer. PT #155 Write an argument that starts in bed. PT#156 Write a heated argument with an internet troll where you have to stay polite on the surface.   Please include the prompt number either in your story/ch

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The Plot Genie! - Pulp Fiction Prompts #153 and #154

I've been enjoying some especially bad pulp fiction books, gay features with racy, but certainly not graphic, stories like: 'To Want a Boy', 'Summer in Sodom', and 'Queer Pen.'  These are the pulp fiction books ordinary gay men would buy for stories about other gay men.  Most had a kind of morality tale embedded within the story where despite the main character's best efforts, he couldn't resist his urges.  Or, conversely, blameless, innocent men were lured to their destruction by vice and weakn

Cole Matthews

Cole Matthews in Prompts

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