fishstories's Journal

Newton's Fish Stories
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Writing workshop, founded by mootpoint,myid8myego andscottobear.

Here is a list of prompts:

Write a piece in which the main character discovers a bottle of water which is suppose to have come from the fountain of youth.

Conspiracy theories have abounded for a long time. Write a piece in which the main character writes about a conspiracy theory that they believe they have made up. What happens when it turns out to be real?

In this culture we tend to give flowers, candy and cards to those who we love. Think of three unlikely items to replace these three with and write a piece about Valentine’s Day.

Write a piece about a nanotech product which can read a person’s mind and become what they see in their mind. What happens if they have a nightmare?

Write a short piece in which a Stage Magician discovers that he or she is really doing magic.

Write a short piece in which nano-technology has allowed people to change their appearance, hair color, skin color, tattoos and make-up, with a thought.

Write a short piece about a red rose being delivered to someone. Use the rose as a narrator.

Write a short piece in which the custom is to insult a person upon any special occasion. You might even want to make the main character a greeting card author.

Write a short piece in which gladiatorial combat becomes a reality television show.

I’m certain that some of you, if not all, have heard of the comic book title X-men. The idea of it is simply that at some point in time humans begin to mutate. Write a short piece with a mutant as either the protagonist or the antagonist.

Sometimes legends can give us a good story idea if we just twist the original in some way. Write a short piece about a person who a develops talent of causing anyone who makes eye contact with them to turn into stone.

Emotions are one of the greatest sources of contention among human beings, actually it might be the mis-reading of emotions. Either-way, write a short piece in which all humans have a small screen on their foreheads which shows different emoticons.

Guns are a constant source of contention in America. Write a short piece in which they were never invented.

Sleep deprivation can radically change a person’s attitude and their ability to function in society. Write a short piece in which the protagonist’s goal is to be able to sleep. Feel free to cause the to lose sleep in any way you can think of.

We’ve all read stories like Rip Van Winkle. In his story he falls asleep and wakes up in the future. Instead write a short piece in which the protagonist goes to sleep and wakes up with only a few small changes n the culture they live in.

Your protagonist is a Union sniper in the American Civil War. Write his internal dialog as he prepares to fire his first sniper shot, aiming to kill a Confederate officer on horseback.

Describe your feelings the first time you rode a horse.

Write a scene or a poem about a prisoner on death row being executed found innocent and released.

You are a female hawk with a nest full of always hungry chicks you must feed, but prey is scarce. Describe your feelings as you soar over the plains searching for small rodents and other tasty morsels.

Imagine your soul transported into the brain of a lion roaming the Serengeti. You come upon a group of people traveling on foot, several tough-looking men and one frightened woman. With your human intelligence, you understand she has been kidnapped.

Your protagonist is making a long-distance swim, France to England. Describe his/her feelings as he/she becomes exhausted with England in sight.

You have been estranged from your parents for 20 years, and now at the age of 45, you are going to visit them. Describe how the meeting goes.

Undefeated after 25 amateur bouts, you are about to enter the boxing ring for your first pro fight. Write a scene describing your feelings.

Write a scene in which the narrator’s main squeeze is in surgery after a serious auto-accident.

Think of yourself as being the third-ranked tennis player in the world. You won a 5-setter in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, but now you’re mentally and physically exhausted. Write a scene of how you will get yourself up for the semifinal match.

Imagine yourself being tossed overboard from a cruise ship. Write s short piece about your rescue.

Write a scene of two people meeting for the first time on a ski lift.

Write a scene of an argument entirely in dialog except for one initial he said to denote who was speaking.

Pick someone of your gender and write a scene in which you settle a long-lasting quarrel with that person.

Describe an extremely attractive person and write a scene showing you unexpectedly becoming his or her lover.

Picture someone of the opposite sex whom you don’t find at all attractive ad write a scene showing you being romantically involved with him/her.

You just got a new toy. What is it and what makes it so special?

Think of a gender biased job such as sewing, taking out the trash, etc., and write s short piece in which that job is reversed in gender. Such as sewing being only something a man should do.

Think of a trip you have been on which was wonderful. Write the story of that trip as a short piece but add as many frustrating events as you can and see if you can still make it a happy story.

Write about a situation in which the main character is approached while around town by a person from some delivery service. This person delivers a small package which is addressed to the main character.

Write about a situation in which the main character finds a note in their locked car after work. What is the note? Who could have left it? Answer every question that you can think of within the lines of the piece.

The nest time you go out of the house or office, take a moment to watch someone you have never seen before. Write a short piece about them based on your observations.

Think of a daydream you used to have as a child and write a piece in which it actually happened.

Think about the place you like to write, then randomly pick an object that would be out of place in your workspace and write a short piece about finding it there and what it would cause you to think, feel or do.

On a piece of paper write the words: problem, crisis and solution. Then open a dictionary at random and write the first word you see under the problem category. Do the same for crisis and solution. Go to town.

Find a story that happened over 50 years ago. Rewrite that story as if it were today. Here you are working on looking as he details that must be changed in order to make the story plausible an keep it close to the original.

Write a short piece of no more than two pages with any random plot of your choosing. Come back and finish the rest of this exercise. Do not read ahead. Now, go back and remove every descriptive word. Once that is done, go through the story and place new descriptors only as required to make the sentences understandable. Look at how the piece changed.

Find an item in the newspaper or on the news ad use the basic facts to write a story of your own. The point here is to practice pulling plot points out of the original story, so be certain to change such things as the names and locations.

Think of something which is comforting to many people, ie, a protective dog, a blanket or whatever. Now write a short piece or poem in which that comforting thing becomes an object of terror.

Write your most favorite memory of your childhood as a short piece or poem.

Take your favorite family legend and write it as a short piece or poem.

Find a novel you enjoy reading and write a scene which is not in it but which would fit in it.

Close your eyes or sit at the window behind drawn curtains. Listen for and identify the sounds you hear. Describe the tone and mood of those sounds and explain how they might help to create atmosphere for your scene.

If you had to write a review of your short story (or novel, etc.), what would you say? Write a 1-page review of your story.

Describe a setting using 2-3 similes.

Write a story for any tabloid of your choice. Develop and write the entire story to reflect the ones you’ve seen in that tabloid.

Think of an important event in your life. Give it to a character completely unlike yourself.

Your character has the opportunity to have dinner with any famous person of their choice. Who would it be? What would he do, say and ask? How would he act?

Describe a scene of a visually impaired person in an antique shop. Narrate it in first person.

Your character is assigned a difficult task. When he reaches his goal he discovers it was a prank. Describe his reaction.

There is a theft in the neighborhood. Describe the events leading up to it and how the thief is apprehended (or not).

Your character finds himself back in the year 1910 in the United States. Go.

Pick a feeling (love, hate, fear, shame, disgust, agitation, apprehension, embarrassment) Using that feeling write a 2-page description of what your character is experiencing.

Write a script for your favorite show on television. If you’ve never written scripts before, prepare character sketches and a plot outline for the episode.

Write a personal essay about a childhood friend. Use as much detail as possible. Would you mail this essay to your friend?

Your character is locked inside a building over the weekend. The building is locked tight and will remain closed over the weekend. How does she get out? List 3 ideas – one conventional or obvious, one supernatural or magical and another unexpected.

If your character (or you) could swap jobs with anyone else in the world for one week, who would it bee and why? What would he/you do? Do you thing that would change him/you?

Write a scene in which a character is asking for a promotion and gets it. The rewrite the scene, or write it as a poem, and this time put every obstacle in the main characters way that you can think of.

Write a scene or poem about an important event in your life but write it as someone looking on. See if you can get the emotions you were feeling described by your actions.

Write a scene or poem about a human soul trapped in a cat or dog that must communicate their problem to the nearby humans in order to be returned to their body.

Write a scene or poem in which the narrator is a bird watching the actions of humans. Try to think about how would the bird’s point of view effect their interpretation of those actions.

Write a scene or a poem about the loneliness of someone who works in a busy or crowded venue.

Write a piece in which the main character goes to a deserted island and upon arriving discovers a letter addressed to them in a bottle.

Take a piece of work you really enjoy and read a random scene from it. Put down that work and write the next scene as you would have written it.

Think of a major fight you have had with someone. Remember the details of it and then write it as a scene form the other person’s perspective. Attempt to think of what emotions would have prompted you to act and talk as they did.

Think of a tree that is one of your current works, or in your neighborhood and write some scenes or poems, with it as the narrator.

Write a scene or poem with a deaf person as the narrator.

On a piece of paper mark our a grid 5 spaces by 5 spaces. Now fill the grid using only five words varying the order on each line so that it may be read in and make sense if read in any direction.

Write the autobiography of a house fly. Remember that they do not live but three or four days.

Write a short piece in which you travel to a distant planet. When you get there you find a letter addressed to you.

We all know when we are depressed it is called blue. So write a scene or poem explaining how the sky feels in order to be the color it is.

Pick your favorite pet and write a scene or poem from their point of view.

You are in the dentist’s waiting room. Describe the patients as they leave the dentist’s office.

Go to the comic’s page of your newspaper. Select the comic you like best (or least) and write the copy for your version of tomorrow’s script.

Imagine you are suddenly floating in the air. You drift over a part of town you haven’t been in for a while. Describe what you see.

You have been given 5 minutes of airtime on a local radio station to have your work read. Prepare a script for this event.

Humorously describe your first encounter with the computer.

Observe and describe 3 people with descriptions not exceeding 50 words each.

Pick your least favorite antagonist from any literary work. What is it about him that makes you like him the least? What would you
change about him to make him more likeable to you.

Observe your mailman today. Describe his/her appearance, actions, behavior. What do you think he/she is thinking?

Your character is throwing out the garbage when he gets knocked unconscious by an errant flying object.

Part I – using all 5 senses describe a roller coaster ride.

Part II – describe your character’s emotional state using the above exercises as a metaphor.

You are in a chemistry laboratory and suddenly things go very wrong. Describe what happens with at least three colors.

Watch the sun set tonight. Describe it using 3 metaphors or similes.

Write a scene or a short story in a genera not normally your own.

Pick a copy of a magazine not normally your own. Open it to a page with a picture. Without reading the caption, describe what is going on.

Take a journey into your alternate life. What is the other you like?

Pick any object in your house, apartment or office. Examine it for ten minutes. After ten minutes, write a complete description about the object.

Examine the last book you read. Joy down a synopsis of the novel’s plot, characters and significant events.

Check your local newspaper or a magazine. Clip any article you like. Choose one sentence in the article and use it to base your story on.

Have you fleshed out your characters? Really fleshed them out? Do you know what they look like in the morning? What their favorite song is? How they like their coffee?

Use one of your existing characters or create a new on. Write a pivotal scene in which your character dies.

Create a word basket and fill it with random words that come to mind. Pull out one of your words and construct a story from it.

Take a step back from your characters. Pretend you’re an observer in their conversation. You can’t hear what they’re saying but you can clearly see their actions.

Describe some of the places you’ve worked. Not just the job type but also the tools you used. What are some of the other tools your coworkers used.

Make a list of at least five story ideas. Could they tie-in to one main plot?

Do a little detective work in your on background. Answer these questions and see what you uncover: “I don’t have much time to do this, but I’d love to…”, “If it weren’t too late in life I’d…”, “If I could change one thing about my life, it would be…”, “When I take time out for myself, I like to…”, “If I’d have grown up differently I could have been…”

Take a look at one of your stories. Grab 2 different colors or highlighters. Any time you see a scene with dialog, highlight that one with color. When you read over a descriptive paragraph, highlight that with the other color. Is there an even mix?

Using a third-person point of view (he, she, they) write a description of your neighborhood as an outsider would see it.

Now’s your chance to complain. Make a list of the problem areas in your writing. Post your list where you can see it.

Describe your desk. Go for infinite detail.

Complete this sentence: I remember…

Tack a paragraph or two from a previous project and rewrite it from an entirely different perspective.

Make a list of everything you can remember about your first grade teacher, Mrs. Thomas.

Go to www.dictionary.com and find the word of the day. Write a bunch of sentences using that word.

Explain a bicycle to someone who has never seen one. Not even a picture of one.

Write a dialog of two people gossiping.

Write one question you would like to have asked your parents when you were six. Now describe it in detail.

Pretend you are the opposite sex. Take 10 minutes and describe yourself in that gender.

You won two return trip airline tickets to anywhere in the world. Now you've come back. Tell us where you went, what you did, and who you brought with you.

What is your favorite sport? Nobody excels in everything; what do you do best in (e.g., if your favorite sport is hockey, are you a quick skater, a solid defenseman, a sharp shooter?). What is your weakest area? What do you feel like while you play? How do you feel after you finish?

What is a favorite movie of yours? Place yourself in the role of a character in that movie. This may take some imagination. Imagine that your favorite movie is Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. You can opt to put yourself in the character of one of the humans in the movie, but a more interesting character might be one of the horses. Now place yourself in a specific place within that movie. Imagine that you are tied up to the post in the fort. In the movie, Spirit does not give voice to all of his thoughts and emotions, but you can. Do this with any movie; choose one character and a specific point in the movie that excites you or gets you thinking.

You are part of a "reality-based" T.V. show called "Solitary Confinement". You will be staying alone in a house for one year, and not be allowed outside for any length of time. You have one day to prepare for your ordeal, and to stock the house with what you need to last a year without going crazy. Except for furniture and appliances, the house is empty. The only things that will be delivered to your house (and that you do not have to stock yourself) is food and drink, and other necessities such as medicine and toilet paper. What else will you bring along with you?

It is the future, and you are 30 years old. The alarm rings, waking you up. Describe the morning of a typical day, as you might really experience it.

There is no electric power on Earth (it's not important how or why this has happened, it just has). How is your life changing as a result?

Happy 100th Birthday! Your grandchildren want you to talk about your life. Keep in mind that kids these days are bored easily, so you'll have to keep it moving along, chop chop. You can pretend it is the future, and you are writing a story about yourself. Or you can write from the perspective of someone else's 100th birthday.

Say goodbye to someone. Write about a teacher, someone who works at the school, or a student who is leaving the classroom soon. What is this person like? What do you like best about him or her? What are your favorite memories of him or her? What will you miss most when he or she leaves? Students can incorporate this writing into cards that can be given to the staff member before he or she leaves.

Newspaper reporters are about to interview you about your amazing new invention. People are saying that it may just change the world.
What will you say? Can you provide a picture of your invention?

Kidnapped by aliens! (That’s all you need to know).

You can choose to be pen pals with a child living anywhere in the world. What nationality will your pen pal be. Why? Write a letter to your imaginary pal.

You're 16 years old, and you've flunked your driver's test. Flunked is an understatement. You were probably the worst driver the examiner has ever seen! What happened? Describe your day. Have fun and treat this as a funny story. Make sure no one or nothing gets hurt, except your pride.

In one page, say everything important there is to say about the world. (If you had only one page to fill with everything vital, urgent and necessary that you know/feel/suspect, what would that page be? Of the world as you have experienced it, what is absolutely crucial to report?)

Write a story containing no living things.

Do a false expert piece, in which your narrator holds forth, incorrectly but with authority, on a subject of which you have little information.

Write a story with no use of metaphor, simile, or comparison. Attach no value or interpretation to any of your statements. Determine if there is a way to create meaning without naming it.

Describe a photograph (a frozen instant of time) and attempt to give it movement and tension. Don't mention that it is a photograph, simply treat the photo as if it's the fictional world you're developing. Most importantly, don't allow things to advance in time. Keep to a single moment.

Write 15 first sentences for potentially great stories.

Write a first person story from the perspective of someone entirely opposite from you. The idea here is to get out of yourself and empathise with a character foreign to you.

Write a story in a genre that you know nothing about, or that you don't much like (mystery, romance, sci-fi, etc.)

Inhabit the perspective of someone that you despise, and try to write a convincing fiction.

Write a short story that covers a great deal of time (many years in the life of one person, or hundreds of years in the life of a town, etc.).

Tell one story from several different points of view. Every perspective of the same event has its own dramatic and narrative possibilities. Make a fiction that explores these possibilities.