Training with Speculative Writing Prompts

Last week I began writing some speculative fiction writing prompts. Someone might wonder who I am to be creating writing prompts. I have explained previously that I struggle with writing fiction. Nevertheless, a part of me still wants to do it. On may occasions I have thought about someone who did successfully write and publish some fiction. I wished I could do that, but I felt unable. I struggle just to write a short story. How in the world did this person write an entire novel? I have ideas, but it feels like the ideas are trapped inside me. On the one hand, I could say they nag me because they want me to write them, but I do not know how to bring them out. On the other hand, I could also say that they tease me and hide from me. It is as if my cat was teasing me while hiding behind the couch. I picture her flicking her tail out from behind the couch, or occasionally swiping a toy mouse that I dangle near the couch to entice her to come out. I can see pieces of her but not all of her. It is the same way with writing fiction. I can see some of an idea but not the full picture.

So, why am I writing the prompts? It started as just something to write when I did not have anything longer to work on. Then I decided they may be a good way to get those creative juices flowing. Maybe working on these will help me to clear that block in my head. Maybe I can find a way to pry those ideas out of my head. I do not want to leave them on there forever. They need to come out.

Sometimes I have struggled to think of an initial idea for a story, but these have not been difficult. Some simply came to me. Some others took a little effort, but they were still close at hand. In Wonderbook, Jeff Vandermeer writes, “Even the most mundane moments of our existence can be inhabited by hidden complexity and with wonder. Some of my favorite books on creative writing acknowledge that fiction is one way of making sense of a complex, often mysterious world, and that stories exist in every part of that world” (xi) When thinking of many of these prompts, I do nothing more than look at my immediate surroundings (the objects, trees, buildings, and the people going forward with their everyday lives), find something that catches my eye, and then give it a twist or ask, “What if . . .” I suppose I could call this an application of the principle that writers do not wait for inspiration; they chase it.

I have tried to be unique in each of these posts. Sometimes I rejected one because it sounded too much like someone else’s story. I want these to be my ideas

In each of these posts I will begin with the prompt followed by possible story elements. I plan to post the first one this weekend.

By the way, I have not forgotten my next theological themes movie review. Those posts take a long time to write, and so sometimes I get sidetracked by quicker posts so that I can keep my quota of posting each week. Sometimes I also think of an idea that takes priority because the time is right for it. My recent move to another house also delayed the movie post. Anyone who has moved will know how much work that requires. Despite all of this, I have not forgotten or abandoned that post. I have finished the first draft of the plot summary and have begun my commentary on the theological themes. I hope to post it before too long.

You are free to use these prompts in your own writing. If you print one of those stories or post it online, however, please credit the post in which you found the prompt.

About henrywm

I am interested in Christian theology and church history. I also enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and stories which wrestle with deep questions.
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1 Response to Training with Speculative Writing Prompts

  1. henrywm says:

    The first prompt will be posted at 7am Eastern tomorrow morning.


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