[Writing Prompt] Future (Im)Perfect

I get mad sometimes. I mean, properly fuming about things. I won’t tell you which things, because that doesn’t matter, but I’m betting you do too.

Neighbors’ dogs barking too much? People in the street being inconsiderate? Politicians doing nothing (or the wrong thing) about an issue you care about?

Take that energy and use it in a story.

The Prompt

Mentally travel ten years into the future. What if [a hot-button issue for you really care about] has come to pass/been squelched. What does that mean for everyday life? What will your hero face/do about it?


  • Use an issue you really, really get annoyed about.
  • Promise yourself you won’t post/publish this anywhere if the idea of being ‘outed’ on this issue makes you uncomfortable.
  • You don’t need to set the whole story in the future. You can set it in the past or in an altered present where this issue is different (examples: what if gun laws had been radically changed ten years ago? What if catastrophic climate change was already being played out in a way that no-one could ignore? What if, ten years ago, your government had decreed girls could no longer go to school? What if aliens had arrived a decade ago and imposed world peace?)
  • You can go all dystopian as Margaret Atwood did in “The Handmaid’s Tale” or positive as in the Star Trek universe created by Gene Rodenberry.
  • You can use satire if you don’t want to go too dark, but still get enraged on an issue. See: Terry Pratchett, Jonathan Swift, South Park…
  • It doesn’t need to be a ‘world’ issue. If it really is ‘dogs barking incessantly’, just channel your rage about that and set a protagonist loose on the problem. Go where ever your story takes you. Then go a little further.



7 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Future (Im)Perfect”

  1. Saturday, May 11, 2013
    A pair of white couple along with a baby hanging on back of her mother was passing through a muddy pass approaching a nearby village of ISCON Mayapur. Ms Hudson the young enthusiast accompanying the couple was talking on greatness of His Holiness the father of Vaishnaba community, Shri Chaitanya. All three Americans wearing rural primitive dresses as per Indian holy custom greeted me chanting with “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna”. I bowed down my head with respect.

    It was post winter days in the last year. The merry-go-round pulled the visitors to flock over the intersection of two rivers known as Ganga and Jalanghee, over which the Chaitanya Temple existed. A million local residents living the adjacent area survived from the earning from small business enterprises connected to worshiping Gods and serving visitors.

    Good afternoon Ma’m. You looked so beautiful !

    She reciprocated with a smile and cordially invited me to join the evening prayer in the temple. I accepted gladly.

    Well! Why you all moving towards the remote village being foreigners and for what?

    We don’t consider ourselves foreigners and love this land as much as the locals and we live together the way poorest of the poor leads their lives, countered Hudson.

    The lady informed, ‘we buy 10 kgs of cow milk from the village folks for selling it to the local confectionery shops. The profit accrued would be ploughed back to our family needs. If that falls short, we move here and there with a begging bowl as per wishes of Krishna. We’re not ashamed and don’t have any regret.

    I remained speechless for sometime.

    In anticipation of further query, she went on saying, ‘I’m a doctor served in New Jersey Hospital but now renamed as Shanti. They are Arnold and Ema both worked in Boston as software engineers now married as per Vaishnaba custom and leading life in absolute freedom in this small but beautiful part of the globe devoid of any greed for modern way of life that was left aside in far west.’

    I wondered but asked myself,’how was that possible’?

    The western world perceived India a country of beggars and fakirs meant most backward people. What they slowly realized of a great civilization and an enlightened way of life hide in the conscious begging. The socalled beggars or vikshukhs in Buddhism leave all human passions, desires, greed, good and bad at the feet of the Almighty. They don’t live for immediate gains of life but pray for absolute freedom of soul after permanent departure.

    We were hand in hand dancing on the floor of the temple chanting singing songs in chorus following Ms. Hudson and her friends. The dancing disciples adorned with flowers devoted their heart for love of Krishna that made the visiting guests forget everything they left in homes for the time being.

    To everyones surprise Ms. Hudson suddenly fell on the floor. Everything stopped and the crowd flocked over the laying lady. The house physician rushed to check up the patient on the spot and diagnosed the lady suffered a cerebral stroke and lost her voice. Her painstaking eyes wanted to say something with tears that she couldn’t. Yet I touched her forehead to reply not to leave her.

    The priest had the ultimate say, ‘the child was punished by God for sin committed by her father who was an atheist in America.’

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