Let's All Write Short Fiction! Now with new, disastrous prompts

writing

#121

Frogpocalypse.

The world wakes up one day to find that the vast majority of its human population has vanished without a trace

Wizards destroy the world while fighting for control of it

… I cant think of any more right now, someone hit bearpigman up with one. Oh, and me while you’re at it!


#122

Finally, it’s my time to shine as a giver of bad ideas.

@Bearpigman, your prompt for the end of the world is that everything has started turning into sand.

@NoodlyVampireQueen, your prompt is that the end of the world was caused when a certain actor took the stage at the Globe Theater.

I’ll be around to give out some other prompts later.


#123

Ooo, that could be fun. I’ve actually been to the Globe Theatre so that’ll help I guess? I’ll try to take advantage of how vague this one is.

Also I finally finished my round 1 story, here it is:

1,536 words. I have comments enabled, so feel free to give me feedback either here or in the document itself. I ended up getting more personal than I originally thought I would with this one… Maybe that’s a good thing? I just hope I’ve done this justice, and it’s not a trash fire. If it is, please be gentle


#124

Oooh, two sand-esque prompts in a row

you know what this calls for


#125

I’m not done with my redemption story but I can start on an end of the world story as soon as I’m done with my magical realism story.

Hit me up with something straight out of the Book of Revelations.


#126

See, you’re in luck @Jenner. Not only am I still up at this late hour, but when I was young and sitting around bored during church sermons, I would read and re-read the Book of Revelations, because it was the most exciting part of the bible to a young me. I mean, what other part of the bible had a massive natural disasters, ten-headed kaiju and a lake of fire? So I am at least vaguely prepared to make this prompt.

Anyway, your revelatory prompt is that the end of the world was caused by a set of dinnerware-by cutlery, dishes, and bowls.

yes this is technically out of the book of revelations, technicalities are the best


#127

A Disturbing Lack of Children
Word Count: 1,111
Writing Prompt: “People have lost their fertility. We’re all getting older without any new kids.”

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-M3KMOVZC2lBz_5ujamuh2LDzBEl2S9IFF-Sh_Iqur8/edit?usp=sharing

I decided to make a short little thing about a gay trans man in a world where some people really want fertile women. It kinda ended up being a bit of a micro-romance story set in an apocalyptic world. I dunno if this is any good or not considering I’ve stayed up pretty late, but I think I’m just lucid enough for this to work? I dunno shrug y’all tell me.

I pictured Francis as a Latino and Bruce as a Native American in my head, in case anyone was curious.


#128

Ahh, new prompt week! I’m excited to see what gets cooked up for me, so count me in!


#129

Just read Candle, so here’s some thoughts.

The opening couple lines caught my attention, with the energy of that back-and-forth, but left me expecting more of an obligated politeness situation as opposed to a date. (Then again, I’m American, so instead of fake politeness I have fake enthusiasm.) It also slows down a lot once it gets into the date.

There’s a lot here about how good a poet she is, but it’s always a risky endeavor when you praise art in a story without really describing it. Plus, she seems to vary between “oh, I’ve been published, no big deal” and “my parents say I should live off my royalties forever”. I don’t quite know if modern poets can live entirely off of royalties? Then again, I don’t know any popular modern poets. She just comes off as a bit too good, especially when most of that first half feels like it’s just fanning her ego.

As a whole, I get the story’s progression, but I don’t think it builds quite the way it should. In the beginning half, it’s a lot more about the protagonist’s anxiety around her and their struggle to stay cool on this date. The gender thing comes up, but that’s more than halfway through, and it feels like it’s dismissed as, oh, she’s just flexible, but then it comes back again at the end.

I feel kind of like the first two pages could be trimmed, and you wouldn’t lose anything that relevant to the story. If the gender stuff is the point, then I think it’d flow better if it built throughout the story instead of coming in once the story is more than halfway done. It would even give you a little extra time to explore the effects of the candle, too. Then you’d have more room to explore the concept of the candle, so it does more than just show people their true gender identity. Like, what happens if I hold it near a cat? Or a fridge? What hidden truths lie inside my shoes? That could be cool and interesting and give you more of a build-up before the protagonist sees themselves in the mirror.


#130

Just took a look at A Disturbing Lack of Children too.

First, Bill. He’s a jerk, which is fine, because jerks exist, but he’s not really anything but a jerk. In his first three lines he calls Francis by the wrong name and tries to talk him into having a kid. And he’s been hiding hormone pills, but…it still feels like his death is really gratuitous. Especially because it’s followed by Francis thinking about the guy he’s got a crush on and dreaming about being cuddled. It’s intense tonal whiplash and made me think that Francis is incredibly callous. Even if Bill is a jerk, Francis just killed him, and then the very next paragraph talks about buff hunks.

There’s a number of ways you could try to fix that whiplash. First thing that came to my mind (and I’m not saying this is the only way to do it or anything, just an option that would keep me from losing sympathy for Francis): Francis doesn’t kill Bill, he makes him walk off into the wastes and says if he comes back, he’ll treat him like one of the marauders, and then instead of seeming eager and horny when he sees Bruce, he’s emotionally drained and Bruce comforts him.

Some smaller stuff stuck out at me too. ‘My big, buff hunk’ definitely sounds more like the way you’d talk about a boyfriend than someone you like. That whole chunk feels a little bit too cutesy for someone who was just doing the gritty post-apocalyptic protagonist thing at the beginning of the story. You can totally do someone who’s outwardly tough but emotionally shy, but it feels like two entirely different characters, not someone with a tough exterior and a sensitive heart. Also, it’s hard to tell who’s talking in those long dialogue chunks without dialogue attribution.

The last paragraph’s tone is weird, because at one point he’s saying it’s not so bad, and near the end of the sentence it mentions killing marauders again and like…is constant killing really ‘not so bad’? That phrase makes it seem like he’s fine with the world the way it is, but it seems more like ‘best of a bad situation’ than ‘not so bad’.

On the whole, the conflict felt pretty loose and free of consequence for the protagonist, and once the conflict ends there’s a whole flirting and date scene still to go that doesn’t really reflect or add to it. A good story’s going to have a conflict, the protagonist is going to struggle to overcome that conflict, and then by beating it (or failing) they come away changed.

Anyway I’ve stayed up way too late but hopefully some of that will be helpful for you (and maybe others too???)


#131

thanks for this! Someone else said they wanted to see more examples of the candle in action, so I think I’ll rework that last scene. More show, less tell. Also, I guess I could trim the beginning, but I didn’t want to jump straight into the later stuff without any characterization. I think I could streamline it by moving most of the characterization to when they’re already at her house? Although I was kind of going for more of a slow burn, with the revelation the protagonist discovers coming somewhat unexpectedly. Speaking of that, I originally planned on the ending to be a lot more subtle, but I was worried people might not get what it was about. Do you think that was a foolish worry? I think it might be more effective if it were a little less direct.

Maybe I should have just written it how I wanted and not worried about if people would get it or not. Open question- the story isn’t subtle enough, is it?


#132

Oh, while I’m here, Babs you can have the concept of mad max style weird loud car stuff, only everyone lives in peaceful sleepy little fishing village and there are no bandits. i got this idea from something a friend of mine tweeted


#133

I can say that I knew where the story was going with Alex’s identity almost immediately, so you can probably afford to be more subtle. Some of that could be attributed to shared experiences though.

Also, I agree with Djeser that a lot of the first part of the story feels like its unnecessary, but I think that could be helped by making the poetry more concrete. Alex talks a lot about how good the poetry is and how it shaped her own understanding of Mia and her sexuality, but the poetry itself doesn’t feel real because it’s just talked about, and the conversations about the poetry feel pointless because of it.

I don’t know if you’re confident about your own poetry writing abilities, but having snippets of Mia’s poetry show up in the story would enhance the effectiveness of these conversations a great deal.


#134

‘Al’ is a terrible enough name that anyone would hate it, but the way Alex reacts to it made me immediately think ‘oh, she’s trans, isn’t she?’. It felt really signposted because everything we get to learn about the narrator is driving home the fact that she’s not comfortable as a guy. (And even some of the stuff we learn about Mia drives the point further–the whole ‘I’m lesbian but you’re different’. I actually kinda wish that it hadn’t been a secret trans thing, and she was just a girl who identified as lesbian but wasn’t strict about it, since that’s a neat modern attitude I haven’t seen much of.)

The difference between character knowledge and reader knowledge is always a hard thing to manage, because if the viewpoint character knows more than the reader, the reader feels left behind or condescended to, but if they know less than the reader, the reader feels frustrated and wants to just shake them and yell at them until they get it.

(You might say that tragic irony works on the reader knowing more than the character, like Romeo killing himself while Juliet still lives; or that mystery stories work on the character knowing more than the reader, like when Sherlock explains how he solved a case. But in the former, there’s no way Romeo could know that Juliet is alive; the audience wants him to know, but it follows from the plot that he doesn’t. And in the latter, Sherlock explains the details as they become relevant, so while he knows more than the reader, that information is shared.)

When I get to the end, and the whole ‘point’ of the story is that Alex is trans, I’m not like ‘oh, that makes sense’, I’m like ‘finally’. So yeah, you could stand to make it more subtle. Maybe make it clear that Alex has some sort of issue like anxiety, and she’s trying to get over it in order to have this date. Then at the end, she realizes that she’s trans, which is a vulnerable moment, but opens her up to Mia and to dealing with her anxiety more fully.

Maybe that’s not the story you want to write and that’s totally fine, it’s just one thought on how to weave it in more subtly and lend it a little more weight than just being magically told that she’s trans.


#135

Awww, thanks for using my idea! I’m gonna be terrible greedy and use a prompt of my own creation, which is “an oncoming storm threatens to destroy the world as you know it” because I have an idea in mind for that. Tho I’m happy letting anyone else use that prompt!


#136

Since my first post here was about causing the apocalypse I’m not sure if it’s cheating to sign up again. But fuck it. Give me a shit scene.


#137

Ah, my specialty.

@SethSlimyRollins , your prompt is that the end of world was caused by two idiots having a swordfight.


#138

I kinda skimmed through the paragraphs of criticism on my story up there since it was the first bit that kinda hit me hard. I normally don’t write one-note characters. I need to go have a training montage or something. I’m writing to try and impress people instead of writing for myself. I’m also letting recent events get to me, since I usually don’t write such mean-spirited characters. So yeah, if I disappear for a bit in this thread don’t worry about me, I just got some issues I gotta cope with. It took me a little bit to examine why the SU fanfic I’m writing is far more fleshed out than the ideas I’ve expanded upon here. I honestly think it just comes down to the fact that I’m writing that for myself and my friends, and I have to be invested in a story to really do a good job with it. There has to be passion and care involved with a story, otherwise what’s the point?

Edit to make a point: I created an entire subdivision of Gem soldiers and a suite of OCs to make the story meatier. I thought a whole lot about how they’d all interact with each other and gave them all pretty clear weaknesses. I constructed what was basically the hero of another story without making Steven irrelevant. It’s far more than I did for the stories here and I should’ve known better than to let my anger guide the hand that writes.


#139

I’m literally terrible at poetry and I also am not a poetry fan. That’s why I only talked about it indirectly, i dont think I could possibly accomplish any level of Realness regarding Mia’s poems. Oh well I guess.

Thanks people for the feedback. I’m glad that I was being too obvious actually, it means I can let myself get away with being way more subtle, which is actually kind of what I wanted to do in the first place. I’ve never actually written about this before, even though it’s important to me. This is going to help me a lot going forward, especially if I write another story about transness some time (which is likely, knowing me). Not to get too personal, but I think the reason I felt that I had to be so obvious about it is because I live surrounded by oblivious cis people. It’s refreshing to be reminded that the whole world isn’t like that.

Also, even though it doesn’t mean as much when it’s just me saying this, I did intend Mia to actually be a lesbian who isn’t super strict about it, like you said Djeser. It just doesn’t end up happening in this story I guess.

Also I’m just like, incredibly rusty. I hope I manage to write something particularly good for this thread one day, but it probably won’t happen for a few months


#140

Crap, this prompt is interesting too. Might as well work on two I suppose.