13 September 2017


It’s half past dead. Your character walks tentatively toward a creepy old mansion. A talking cat jumps out of the bushes and says, “Cure the puppies in under a week. If you fail, you will never capture the wolf that slew your siblings.”

This sounded so werewolf-y.  And I didn’t want to write a werewolf story.  So instead I came up with a story where old witches’ familiars live in the creepy mansion (hence the talking cat).  Two dogs (also talking, of course) have had puppies–and are aghast to discover that they are just normal dogs, not intelligent or talking.  So they need to assure all the puppies acquire patrons before they are too old to become familiars.  That’s where the protagonist comes in.

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12 September 2017

Today’s prompt:

An ineffective telepath maims a vulgar grocer using a side of beef during a sword fight at an elementary school.

Another busy day.  I did get so far as to figure out that the reason the telepath is ineffective is that if she’s stressed or upset her telepathy doesn’t work at all.  And it’s more like empathy anyway.  A contemporary story, where no one really knows telepathy works.  The telepath is the school counselor, detects the “grocer” who wants to bomb the school, and is in the lunch room getting the MESA kids who are there for an after-school activity out to safety.  That’s as far as I got.  No sword fight or side of beef yet!

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11 September 2017

The prompt is:

This is a tale about independence and the human trait of avoiding death. The story is about a cartographer. It takes place on a world of magic. The crux of the story involves miscommunication.

I had a very busy day today, and all I did was brainstorm a magic system that the cartographer could map.  I didn’t even get a plot!  But I’m loving the magic system, and once I’ve worked out the details, it could be very useful in future stories (short and novel-length).

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10 September 2017


A wise robotic boy accidentally invokes the wrath of another dimension and swallows an item that the bad guys are after.

I had a fun time with the robot boy (and his doppelganger from the other dimension) being the only creatures who can control the dimensional portal.  Hint:  It’s because of the item that he swallows.

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9 September 2017

The prompt was:

“Belittling them was one of my only pleasures.” A dashing robber bridegroom is given a magic ring by a woman who can turn into a seal. The story begins with violence, climaxes with someone reading a book, and ends with a murder. An ancient prophecy plays an important role.

As this prompt sounded quite fairy tale, I tried to break some of the fairy tale tropes a bit.  Everyone who tries to manipulate another character has their attempts fail–sometimes hilariously.  Wizards, selkies, robbers, and strong female characters.

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8 September 2017

Today’s prompt:

A lift is the location, self-preservation is the theme. A television is an object that plays a part in the story. One of the characters is trusting and impulsive but can be outspoken and is scared of bees, another is humble and self-assured but can be loud and is scared of failure.

Most of what I write is science fiction and fantasy, but this one came out in brainstorming as contemporary fiction featuring a serial killer . . . because I watch too much Forensic Files.  I sort of finished the outline of the story . . . although some of what happens will depend on some research I need to do.

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7 September 2017

Prompts for the day:

After You

The Passage

Admission to this theater is not open to any existing spirit.

Photo prompts today.  I started brainstorming a nice creepy fantasy story about gods and sacrifices, which turned into a sort of science fiction story, which looked like it could quite nicely become a novel. . . .  No! This is short story month!  No novels!  I have too many of those to work on already.  So this one was back burnered because I didn’t want to waste all that cool worldbuilding, but also didn’t want to write a novel, and couldn’t think of a “short idea.”

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6 September 2017

Today’s prompt:

An obese ventriloquist took pictures near a ship to find a rare stamp for an architect.

After thrashing around a bit in brainstorming, I came up with a science fiction scenario on another planet (the ship being a starship).  However, I need to do research on ventriloquists before I can really finish this one, because I honestly don’t know enough about them to use a ventriloquist’s strengths and weaknesses in try/fail cycles.  I did figure the whole rare stamp bit out, though.

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5 September 2017

Prompt for today:

In a tattoo parlor, during a landslide, a cruel exterminator reveals the secret identity of a plucky counterfeiter using a toothbrush.

I brainstormed an entire Wild West rather steampunky story from this one, which I really want to get started on, but I simply don’t have the time.  It will require some research on period things such as exterminators and toothbrushes, to say nothing of mining, mountain towns, and counterfeiting.  Of course if one is writing fantasy one can take some liberties with the material, but not much.

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4 September 2017

Prompt for today:

A police officer who is shipwrecked on a desert island finds a cell phone when it starts ringing. When a mirror drifts in on the tide he knows something very unnerving is happening.

Brainstormed the first of a rather creepy story before I simply ran out of time.  My husband’s stroke and other Interesting Times have made it difficult to carve out writing time.  I mostly have time to brainstorm . . . and then have to go back to my chore of getting EVERYTHING out of the living room so we can rip out the carpet and replace it, and replace the picture window while we’re at it.  The pod container we rented to put everything from the living room in costs us more every month, so I want to get it filled ASAP so we can take everything out again!

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