Story Prompt #24

Character prompt:

Write about a warrior who is tired of fighting, but ends up getting pulled into a fight regardless. It could be something as simple as bar fight and they step in because they don’t want the place that serves the best beer to be ruined, to something as large as war where they feel honor-bound to fight, to being ambushed and simply needing to fight to survive.

Think about your character’s motivations and needs, and what would push them into doing something they otherwise would take pains not to do.

Feel free to post anything you come up with in the comments or let me know if you have any questions.

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No New Plots in Stories

Hello Fiction Lovers!

So this past week I’ve come across the idea that there are no new stories and everything that is being written is some variation on a story that’s already been told once again. I will admit that I believe this to be true in that certain types of stories are going to have similar elements–the hero’s journey, for example–but I also have a couple of issues with it.

The first is that when people mention this, in my experience, it’s typically with a tone of “why bother?” when it comes to writing. After all, if everything has already been written why bother writing more? But just because two or more things have the same foundation doesn’t mean they will look anything alike by the time the construction is finished. Let’s use the example of two identical rooms and only one thing is changed: the paint. One room is painted blood red and the other a bright pink. The paint might be shades of the same color but a visitor is going to have a different experience/expectations depending on what room they enter, and all just because the color of the paint changed. Stories work the same way; they might start with the same foundation–a story prompt or a genre–but based on the different variations they use, however slight, they can be very different by the end and thus give a different experience/expectations to the reader. Writing is worth bothering because of those variations and the entertainment they can give to both reader and writer.

The second issue is the extreme distillation of a story that one needs to employ to encompass them as broadly as the basic plots do. Rags to Riches, Comedy, Tragedy, Voyage and Return are the names of some of those plots. But those aren’t stories, not really. They’re ideas, ideas so broad and vague that there’s barely anything to them and that doesn’t make a story. Even the idea that they are called “plots” drives the point home. Plots aren’t stories but rather the foundations they are built upon. Stories are made up of characters and their decisions, the writer’s voice and style, the emotional journey they–hopefully–take the reader on, and a hundred other little things that people use and play with to make their stories unique. Another way to think about it, to go back to the earlier example, is that plots are the functional parts of the house–the walls, windows, doors, sinks, etc.–that help the people do what they need to do and stories are the lives of the people who live in that house and the personal touches they add to it. It’s why we can read so many books of a farmer boy becoming a king or a person going on a journey or people falling in love and still want more. Those were the plots and we wanted to see what the new story would bring, what variation we never expected would happen.

So there might not be new plots, but there are definitely new stories being written and read every day.

I hope this made sense and feel free to post your own thoughts on this topic in the comments or let me know if you have any questions. I’d be interested in what you all think about this prevalent idea in writing.

Story Prompt #22

Dialogue Prompt:

“Why do you get mad every time I call you a ‘friend’?”

“We might of stopped the Evil Overlord together but that doesn’t mean I like you.”

“I have Nana’s homemade apple tarts.”

“Give me five and you’ll have the privilege of calling me ‘friend’ for a day.”

“Deal.”

Story Prompt Benefits

Hello Fiction Lovers!

First of all, I would like to apologize for not getting this (and the story prompt) posted yesterday. Things got a little hectic and I somehow managed to forget it was Monday.

This week I wanted to talk about the benefits of story prompts/writing prompts since I post them every week. There are, of course, the obvious benefits of having an idea to write from when you seem to can’t think of anything yourself and to help get the writing flowing when your muse is being particularly uncooperative. The nice thing about story prompts is that they can prompt your own ideas as well. You don’t have to take every prompt at face value, but can change it if it sparks a different idea (i.e. if the MC of prompt is a female you could change it to a male or lizard-person that doesn’t have a set gender).

Another thing story prompts can help with is getting to you writing things outside your comfort zone, trying something new. I’ve writing stories I never would have thought of writing because of story prompts and now I’m glad I wrote them. It helped broaden my understanding of the situations and types of characters the story prompts promoted. Perhaps they will do the same for you.

A last benefit to story prompts is that they can be fun and without the pressure of writing a larger work. Sure, they can develop into that but I don’t think I’ve ever looked for a story prompt with the intent to turn it into a novel. They can help remind you that writing is fun when you when you need to take a break from your work in progress because of a difficult scene, but still want to write.

So I do suggest using a story prompt every now and then, and making it your own. No one every seems to come up with the same story despite using the same prompt and I always think that’s wonderful and amazing. Perhaps, too, you’ll get a new interesting character, scene, or plot line to expand upon or use in another work.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything you think I missed. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a fun time reading and writing!

Story Prompt #21

Scenario Prompt:

Take two characters from two of your favorite books and have them have a conversation. It could be anything from them meeting in an inn and talking about their adventures to bickering about the best way to make rabbit stew in a cooking competition.

Have fun with it and if you wish to share anything this prompt generates feel free to do so in the comments.

Music Recommendation

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Today I thought I’d recommend my favorite band that I listen to while writing. The band is called Two Steps From Hell (sometimes the songs are also under Thomas Bergersen–he composes a lot of the songs) and I’ve listened to some of the songs so much that I’ll recognize them when they are played in a movie trailer. I like listening to TSFH’s songs because there always seems to be multiple songs that fit the tone of the scene I’m trying to write and the instrumentals/choir are always beautiful. You can find the songs on YouTube and iTunes.

Below I’ll list different types of scenes and the songs I like to listen to when I’m writing them. Please keep in mind though that this is just a very narrow example of what TSFH has to offer and I encourage you to go listen to their other songs as well because, chances are, you’ll find one you like just as much as I like these.

Battle Scenes: Sons of War, Moving Mountains, Strength of a Thousand Men, Black Blade

Emotional Scenes: Promise, The Ancients, My Freedom, Homecoming

Romantic Scenes: Starfall, Meant to Be, Remember Me, Undying Love

Scenes with building tension: Magnan Imus, Earth Rising, Starvation, False King

Songs by TSFH are also good at making anything you do seem epic so if you need an extra boost to do housework/homework, or want to make a board game extra dramatic I would also recommend their songs for that.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there are other things you would like me to post about (relating to fiction and writing). If you have any music recommendations feel free to post them in the comments. I hope you all have a good week!

 

 

 

Story Prompt #18

Scenario Prompt:

It’s the first time a witch has ever summoned a familiar. She’s worried because all the spells she’s cast have never quite turned out the way they’re supposed to. For instance when she tried to call a thunderstorm to help with the drought last summer it lasted three weeks, not the prescribed three hours, and when she mixed a truth potion the recipient had to tell the truth through a bout of sneezes.