Today’s prompt is exactly what it says on the tin: lost and found.
Write about something that has been lost and then found.
- What has been lost? It could be something concrete, like a set of keys, a city, or a murder weapon. It could be a person, maybe a husband or a baby. Or maybe it’s something intangible: dignity, love, a sense or purpose, or the feeling of safety.
- In what sense has this thing been lost? Has it simply been missing? Has it been driven away? Stolen?
- What are the consequences of losing this thing?
- How long was this thing lost? Five minutes, five months, five years?
- How has it been found? Was it found in the same state as when it was lost, or was it changed? Perhaps the lost thing did not change, but your protagonist’s relationship to it did.
- Think about the feelings that loss provokes. Sadness, disappointment, anger, panic? Or, on the flip side, maybe it’s relief.
- And how does your character feel about finding what was missing? Joy, comfort, hope? Consternation, annoyance, shock?
- This prompt can be as dramatic or as subtle as you want to make it.
Go and create some reunions!
I hope everyone has been finding these prompts productive. Best wishes for the rest of Story a Day September – you’re almost there!
Today’s prompt is meant to propel you out of your comfort zone. Most writers have a particular set of themes that they write about or a certain kind of mood that they tend to favor. Some writers keep very strictly within the realm of individual literary genres. Many writers don’t write genre fiction: they write in-between genres, or they mix genres, or they create their own. Today’s prompt will force you to pick a genre and think about its conventions, challenging you to change your typical writing perspective.
Write a story in a genre that you wouldn’t normally write. If you’re a squeamish sort of person, try writing a gory horror story. Or if you hate everything mushy and lovey-dovey, try a tender romance. If you don’t normally write within a genre, pick one and try it out!
- You can write a new story in a new genre, or re-write an old story in a different genre
- You could even re-write a fairy tale in a particular genre (like a hardboiled noir version of Little Red Hood, or Goldilocks in the Wild West)
- Some common fiction genres include: Mystery, Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Humor, Romance, Historical Fiction, Epic, and Folktale
- Think about what you have come to expect from different genres. You can stretch, challenge, or change those expectations in your story, but you do need to be aware of them.
Go forth and make yourself uncomfortable!
Please feel free to share your thoughts and stories in the comments below, and remember to check back every day for more guest prompts.
There’s nothing that spices up a story quite like a dynamic relationship between characters. If your creations are too similar and want the same things, your story loses a lot of potential conflict and momentum. But if characters are opposites forced to work together, your story suddenly has the potential for fireworks.
Write about an odd couple. No, your characters don’t have to be an actual romantic couple. They can be siblings, classmates, friends, enemies, or anything in-between. But you do need to have a couple (two people), and they do need to be at odds. Their personalities and their motivations should be dramatically divergent. Try to exaggerate their differences and see what action transpires.
- Your story doesn’t have to focus heavily on conflict. It can just take a look at your characters’ relationship, and how their differences cause them to interact with each other.
- If you do choose to go for conflict, it doesn’t have to be violent or angry. It can be a gentle disagreement between best friends, or the quiet break-up of a long marriage. There should, however, be enough conflict to make the story interesting.
- What makes your characters different? Is it age? Wealth? Ability? Religion? Personality? Make sure to clearly define your characters’ differences and use them to shape your story’s plot, including motivation and resolution.
- Do these characters hate each other? Love each other unconditionally? Are they ambivalent towards each other? Do they need each other? They shouldn’t be neutral. If their emotions are dynamic, their relationship will also be dynamic.
- Does your couple have a fraught history? Or maybe they’ve just met each other and already regret it. Think about the story of their past together. How did they get to this point?
- How about a punk rock father and his conservative bookworm daughter? Or a pair of criminals that can never agree on how to execute their crimes? Or a husband who desperately wants a child pleading with his wife who doesn’t even want a goldfish?
Go challenge some reader expectations, really work those differences, and have fun!
If you used this prompt, please comment below with your stories and your thoughts. There are many more guest prompts to come.
Today’s prompt is a look at location. Location can define characters, shape plots, and create conflict. So what happens if your location is a place that has been abandoned, or seems to be abandoned? Who lived there? Who left it? Why?
Write a story set in an abandoned location. It could be a foreclosed house, a closed-down theme park, a ghost town, or anything else. Think about the location’s past and its story, and use those ideas to fuel your plot.
- You can focus on how your location came to be abandoned, or you can focus on the consequences of abandonment, or how your characters ended up there.
- Write about the atmosphere of the location. An abandoned place has a very different feel compared to a crowded city block, or even a lived-in home.
- Maybe your characters are tied to this location. Why? Did they live there, work there, get hurt there?
- Maybe you want to go for an unexpected mood. Not one of sadness, but one of excitement or romance.
Enough of my blabber. Go for it!
If you found this prompt helpful, please share your story and comments below! Stay tuned for more guest prompts.