Inspired By Real Events

There’s nothing quite like real life for providing weird and wonderful story ideas.

The prompt

Write a story ripped from the headlines

  • You can use your favorite new source or go to the front page of Wikipedia to grab a headline from the modern-day or from this day in history
  • Media outlets often have that little “duck on a skateboard” moment at the end of newscasts or sometimes they call it Also In The News. These are wonderful sources for wacky, quirky stories.
  • Remember, however: fiction has to make more sense than real life!
  • Read for 5 to 10 minutes, until you find something that piques your interest even a little. Imagine how that would play out in fiction.
  • Resist the temptation to spend too long reading.
  • Try to pick a story that touches on issues you already care about. If you can imagine yourself getting into a Facebook fight with semi-friends over an issue, that’s a good sign that you could sustain your interest for the length of a short story. (In fact, why not plan to write a story specifically to annoy That Guy In Your Facebook Feed? You don’t have to post it anywhere!)

Leave a comment letting us know what you wrote about today. Did you find a fun headline or topic. Share it below! If you didn’t write to this prompt, what did you write and how is it going?

[Write On Wednesday] Change A Headline

Did you ever, as a child, say a word so often that it lost its meaning? (“Basin”, anyone?)
Today I want you to stare at a news headline until it loses its original meaning and lets you play with it.

The Prompt

Take A News Headline And Change A Word Or Two, Sparking A Fictional Story.


For some reason, to me, this headline suggested some kind of epic fantasy with heroic quests, tasks the hero have been assigned. Continue reading “[Write On Wednesday] Change A Headline”

May 6 – Ripped From The Headlines

The Prompt

Steal a story from another source, and use it as inspiration


Great places to look for stories like this include:

  • News sites. Subjective sites like TMZ and Unworthy give you more editorial and emotion to work with. Harder news sites like The New York Times or the BBC, or the front page of Wikipedia, will give you more facts and less interpretation. Depending on your personality, one or other approach might be more inspiring to you.
  • Obituaries and alumni magazines are great places to find character studies. Obits give you a person’s life, summed up and including the one or two personal details someone else thought were the most interesting. Alumni magazines offer an insight into character in a different way: what kind of person updates their alumni magazine on ‘what I’ve been up to’? What kinds of things do these people think are worthy of report. What does that say about them?


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