30 Day SFFH Writing Challenge

il_570xN_858552710_ik89The following is a list of 30 custom-made writing prompts, designed to invoke principles of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror in their creation.  There is no hard and fast length requirement, but I recommend a minimum of 300 words per entry.  Any prompt designating “you” as the protagonist is not necessarily restricted to the first-person and can be headed by any character of your choice.  Preferably one of your own design, of course.

  1. Write a story in which horticulture could be destructive or abused on a global or personal level.
  2. You wake up and suddenly you have a new twin!  Umm…where did they come from?  Also, why are they so angry?
  3. Using omniscient POV, write a story in which you must escape from the Roman Space Coliseum.
  4. A new culture of people is discovered hidden literally underneath America.  Facial hair is a big deal to them.  Why?  What does it mean for the women?
  5. What is that thing looking at you from the bottom of the basement stairs?
  6. A powerful mage has caused it to rain acid.  In a medieval setting, you must talk down a character who has lost hope and is threatening to take their own life.
  7. Three (in)famous writers will grant your wish to bring their characters into your world for the day.  Write the conversation you have with the writers, detailing the vehicle of your decision-making.  Use dialogue to navigate most of the story.
  8. A woman with full control over her mental faculties decides to kill her daughter.  You must write why we should empathize with this person, post-offense.
  9. The main character of your last story (whether from #8 or something else altogether) is now a witch/wizard.  They want to save the world, but should they?  Run them through a strict Q&A about their aptitude for world-saving.
  10. The world was legitimately supposed to end yesterday.  It didn’t.  Write the aftermath of people now acclimating to the fact that their lives are not over and that they must now return to their usual work day.
  11. You’ve inherited Tony Stark’s standard “Ironman” suit.  What’s the first thing you do with your newfound abilities?
  12. Oh my god, you’re in a hotel and something wants to kill you.
  13. You might have just stolen the Philosopher’s Stone from the tomb of Nicholas Flamel.  Now, with immortality in your hands, you are able to live forever.  Describe what you are doing four hundred years from now.
  14. Camping with your friends in the woods, your sleep is interrupted by the sound of someone or something trying to unzip your tent.  Who/what is trying to get inside, and why?
  15. You witness the destruction of an internationally renown zeppelin.  The next day, you are arrested as primary suspect in the crime.  How do you plead?  Do you even stick around to find out, or do you try to run?
  16. Onboard a space voyaging ship, your crew prepares to celebrate the birthday of the captain.  You’re in the void of the universe and haven’t made a stop in weeks, but he’s disappeared and there’s no sign of him on the ship.  What happened to him?
  17. You’ve been invited to Mt. Olympus to cheer up Zeus, who has officially been friend-zoned by all of the goddesses.  Can you help him set up a date, or will you take another course of action?
  18. In a city of perpetual night, you are assigned by your team leader to do a dead drop for the new recruit.  You must decide what goes wrong and how it plays out accordingly.
  19. Congratulations!  For whatever reason, you’re in the crowd when Oprah decides to give everybody a pet dragon.  Write about your first day together.
  20. You know that one celebrity you have a huge crush on?  Well, they died.  Except now their soul lives on as a sentient app for your cellphone.  In 30 days, they will disappear forever.  What do you do with this time?
  21. It has been scientifically, spiritually, and physically proven that our reality is a simulation and is going to shut down at the end of the year.  What happens to the world now that the masses are aware of this approaching, ultimate conclusion?
  22. You broke up with your boyfriend/girlfriend.  They took it pretty hard.  Sucks for you, because they are a ninja and you must figure out some way to resolve this problem before they take you out.
  23. You are locked in a toy store for the night.  The toys are alive.  Write a story about what happens until the sun rises.
  24. A professional, virtual-reality, video game team has recruited you.  Describe your first tournament match in the virtual-reality arena.  How do you feel?  How do you perform?  What opinions do others form of you?
  25. Cupid needs a day off and you’re the fill-in.  You need to make at least three new couples by the end of the day, or by the time you’re done you will never be able to fall in love again.
  26. You’re running a daycare when seven new kids are dropped off into your care.  Each of them represents and perpetuates the characteristics of one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  You already have five kids in your care before this development and you are entirely on your own.  Survive.
  27. A supernatural virus has doomed your body.  Describe its influence on your mind and flesh as you slowly become consumed by its corrupting power.  Bonus points if the entire story takes place in one room.
  28. North Korea has created a giant robot (science-fiction for multiple reasons, clearly).  How does the world respond to this?
  29. You possess a special kind of magic in which whomever you paint a portrait of, you trap their soul inside of it.  Addicted to your power, you’ve become a novelty-person’s collector.  Who do you collect?  Write a story in which you explore this idea.
  30. Begin a story with the words “I will not die the monster.”
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Challenge Month, Day 5

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Day 5: Write a conversation (in tumblr “chat format”) about a man who calls a wrong number, and ends up talking to an angry woman.  Go through the conversation, ending with the line: “Well, I suppose so.”

Note: I will not be doing this in Tumblr format, as that seems like nothing more than an infuriating gimmick.

“Hello?”

“Yeah, is this Sauce n’ Toss Pizza and do you still deliver?”

“No.  You have the wrong number.”

“I must have called Uncle Ben’s Pizza Parlor on accident.  Oh well.”

“No, boy.  This is Margaret Taylor.  You have the wrong number.”

“Margaret Taylor?  Never heard of you guys.  Oh well, I’m adaptable.  How much is your medium pepperoni?”

“Did your mom drop you as a child?”

“Weirdly personal question, but yes.  I’ll take two medium pepperonis, a twelve-piece breadstick, and some marinara on the side  How long does it take for you to make it to 1239 Penny Drive?”

“What’s your name?  I want to know your name.”

“My name is Donald, ma’am.”

“I am not a ma’am.”

“Sorry, didn’t realize Margaret had become a dude’s name.”

“I am a woman, you brat!”

“Sorry, but could we get back on track, mister Taylor?  I’m looking at your website and it says you have a special where I can get a personal dessert pizza with your two-for-one medium pizza deal.  That offer hasn’t expired, has it?”

“I don’t have a website.  You need to stop now.”

“Sorry, I lost you there for a second.  What was that last part?  I was driving through a tunnel.”

“Driving and talking on the phone?  Now you are threatening the lives of others.  Shame on your parents for not spanking these habits out of you as a kid.”

“My parents were good parents, mister Taylor.  They did not beat me.  Believed that it was a tranference of bad energies from one person to another.”

“That’s nonsense.  My parents spanked me all of the time.”

“And look how remarkably polite you turned out.  Can we return to my order?”

“We may not!  You must put away that phone right away before you get into an accident and kill somebody!”

“What about the laptop?”

“Laptop?”

“Yeah, it’s sitting right here in front of me.  How else do you think I was talking to you and on your website at the same time?  I’m not a wizard.”

“Put them both away!”

“Look, I’m cruising South on Highway 1 right now.  Haulin’ around 75 miles an hour so I can make it home in time for the game.  I’d really appreciate if we could minimize the distractions and get back to my order.”

“Oh my god.  Okay okay, what do you want?”

“Ha! I knew you were a pizza place, mister Taylor.  Playing coy with me.”

I am a woman.  Margaret it a woman’s name.

“Alright, I want the chicken parmesan for eight, with three Dr. Pepper’s and-”

“I thought you wanted pizza!”

“What good pizza place doesn’t double as an Italian restaurant?  Ask Subway, they know what’s up.  They started with sandwiches and now they’re getting pizza.  What a time to be alive.”

“Fine, fine!  Just keep your eyes on the road.  That’ll be a chicken parmesan for eight, three Dr. Pepper’s.  Anything else?”

“Fries and a taco.”

“Okay.  Fries and a taco.”

“What’s my total?”

“29.99 plus tax.”

“What kind of criminal price is that?  Your website says that if I get a taco the whole order is fifty-percent off.  That was the point of the taco.”

Fine.  14.99 plus tax.”

“See, was that so hard mister Taylor?  I look forward to picking up my order.”

“No problem, Don.  What was that address again?”

“Um, it was 1616 Quarter Avenue.  The house on the corner.”

“Thank you for your cooperation, Donald. I’m going to call the police and have them meet you at your house.  I’ll let them know all about what you’ve been doing here and how you’ve compromised the safety of our roads.”

“That’s fine, as long as they bring me my pizza.”

“You ordered chicken parmesan!”

“You know, Margaret.  The correct thing to do in this situation would have been to just hang up like, three minutes ago.  Instead, you’ve enabled me to be a potentially dangerous driver.”

*click*

    “Actually, the polite response would have been ‘I suppose so, mister Donald.  Well, I suppose so.’  But my parents didn’t spank me, so what do I know.”

Challenge Month, Day 4

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Day 4: Write 250 words starting with the next piece of dialogue you hear.

“I hear ya,” Jordan ran his hand over his face, sweat sliding against oil.  “Chief was last in B-wing helping one of the scrubs.”

Trista licked her lips and set the procedural ledger on the counter.  She shuffled in place and smoothed out her pink nursing uniform.  “I don’t know how to help this guy, then.  I’ve never set a femur.”

“I don’t think you can just set a femur.  Isn’t that a little outside our weight class?”

Trista looked away.

“Sorry,” Jordan apologized.  With deftness he’d only barely learned to control, he slid a needle into the soft notch of Miss Ortega’s arm.  He landed the vein on his first try in spite of himself.  He only learned how to do it last week.  “Look, it’s not like anybody is making it your responsibility.  That’s the perk of being interns.”

“But everyone else is preoccupied,” Trista snapped.

“Make one of them preoccupied,” Jordan took the lash in stride, “I don’t know.  It’s not our job.”

“It is our job.”

“It will be our job,” Jordan lassoed the IV cord around the backside of Miss Ortega’s bed and flicked the apparatus a few times until he was certain no wandering air bubbles would compromise his patient’s safety.  “I can’t help you.  I want to, but I can’t.”

But Trista didn’t seem to receive Jordan’s rebuffing very well.  She did not leer at him, but the look cutting through her eyes definitely meant something.  Without further discussion, she yanked her ledger off the counter and hiked down the hall towards B-wing, evading orderlies and otherwise doing a fine job of showing how panicked she’d become.

“Sorry girl,” Jordan said beneath his tongue, “I’m not a hero.  Doubt I ever will be.”

Challenge Month, Day 3

procrastinate

Write a 15-step list titled “How to be____”

How to be an expert procrastinator:

  1. Determine the thing which has both the most importance and least personal appeal on your schedule.
  2. Figure out a formulaic approach on how said thing will be accomplished.
  3. Build a timeline for its completion, include pie graphs if necessary.
  4. Return every single call and message you’ve neglected for the past two weeks.
  5. Begin working on thing.  Stop after twenty seconds.  You need to do laundry, remember?
  6. Dang.  Now you have to wait twelve minutes for the washer to be done.  No point continuing work on the thing with so little time to dedicate.
  7. Facebook hasn’t been checked in seven minutes.  Get on that.
  8. We need food to survive.  Only one cupboard is full of stuff.  Time to go to the store.
  9. And the bank, and the gas station and everything else you can think of for the love of god.
  10. Think about how you’re really going to buckle down on the thing when you get home.
  11. None of the food you bought sounds good.  Stop at Arby’s.
  12. Okay, time to get to work.  Frick, forgot about laundry.  Need to switch that over.
  13. Your productivity mojo just got axed.  Might as well take a nap to recalibrate your energies.
  14. Nap lasted seven-and-a-half hours.  No point doing the thing now.  It’s okay, we’ll compensate by being productive in every other conceivable way.
  15. Write a 15-step list because there’s nothing better to do.

Challenge Month, Day 2

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Day 2: Write 250 words inspired by the color of the walls of the room that you’re in.

 

It was in that box Danny first heard the words of the voice she’d later come to call “Itsy.”  Itsy, because the prompts and suggestions were small, only noticeable if she were looking to find them, and the voice had a spindly quality, like a spider.  Friendly, composed, welcoming like a nursery rhyme, but a spider all the same.  Not many stories cast spiders in a very good light.  Charlotte’s Web did, but then that maternal arachnid didn’t even make it to the end, so she doesn’t count.

The box was just that, a box.  Danny could not leave the box, because The Tall Man told her she must stay until he got back.  The box had walls like a banana’s dream of maturity, a perfectly ripened, earthy color.  A stiff wind could compromise the box’s durability, but as long as Danny stayed inside like The Tall Man said, it wouldn’t blow away.  It was her responsibility to keep the box safe.  Itsy thought so, too.

Itsy thought The Tall Man was a liar.  Itsy was young, but she seemed smart enough.  Danny believed Itsy when she said The Tall Man would not be coming back.  This was Danny’s box now, she didn’t need to share.  It was only big enough for her and Itsy, anyways.

That’s it.  Screw The Tall Man.  Danny figured he’d be gone a while, but hours.  He could find his own box.

He’d better hurry, too, Danny snickered to herself.  A grey storm was stirring over the city pillars, high-fiving the sky.  He’d want a box before it started to rain.  Rain?  Danny grimaced.  She’d have to make sure Itsy didn’t get washed away.

If that happened, then she’d only have the box left for company.

    Boxes weren’t very talkative.

Challenge Month, Day 1

character-names

Day 1: Put your iPod or iTunes on shuffle.  Write 250 words inspired by the first and last lines of the very next song that plays.

“You were just a small bump unborn, four months then brought to life.–Maybe you were needed up there, but we’re still unaware of why” – “Small Bump” by Ed Sheeran

We’d only just learned your name.  Mmm.  “Learned” might be the wrong word.  Maybe not.  We gave it to you, I suppose, but it was more like we discovered the sounds which were made to fit your soul.  Letters and noises which had always been paired to who you are, but were unknown to us until some wandering thought deceived us into believing we came up with them on our own.

I don’t know about your mother, but I dreamed about the day you’d arrive long before we had that word.  In my quest and ache to shovel up the correct name, I carved my way through most others. Maria, Priscilla, Anne, Roxie, Sarah, Margaret, Amanda, Victoria, Carol.  Not that any of those were bad, of course.  They just weren’t you.  I couldn’t bare to give you a name which wasn’t yours.

See, she knew, your mother.  Every time I’d throw something new at the wall, she would shoot it down immediately.  I’d think I finally had it, then in one burning sweep, I’d realize I wasn’t even close.  You were quickly approaching and still neither of us could give you the inheritance which God had commissioned us to give.

How were we to prepare your room without such a vital detail of its resident?  The name of somebody says a lot.  Were pink or blue walls more appropriate, or should we go with something a little more neutral?  Would you like a white crib, or one of polished wood?  When the lights were out, would you want space ships overhead, or a stuffed birdie by your side?

I suppose it does not matter much.  When finally we excavated that part of your soul, that testament of who you were supposed to be remembered as to the world, we learned the truth in the form of a doctor’s reluctant, clearing throat.

You would not be here any time soon.  Actually, you would not be here at all.  Common enough complication, sure.  I suppose God gave us the name only for the stone which would substitute for your pillow.

Well, I look forward to the day I might be able to say it to your face in the heavenlies.  I’m not a patient man, but I’ll do my best not to go mad before I meet you.  In the meantime, please wait and please smile.  That’s what you would have done best.