Category Archives: Story Challenges

You Can Tell the Future

We’re writers, and we make things up.  I think we can predict the future too, if we put our minds to it.  Pick one or more of the futures on this list and let us know how you see the future.

  • The future of bowling alleys
  • The future of carpools
  • The future of BBQ
  • The future of carnivals
  • The future of the courts
  • The future of pets
  • The future of magic.

Time Travel

1947
1959
1974
1992

Herb Explores the Attic

Herbert gave his lower lip a quick bite, ignoring the way his gum scraped against the braces in his mouth. Something was making a rustling noise behind the grungy old trunk with the elaborate clasps that sat in the corner of the attic. Flakes of dust floated in the one shaft of light coming in from the high ventilation window. He had just enough light to see. Now the rustle turned into a bump. Bump! Bump!

And then I….

“And I’m afraid that we can no longer use your services since they are not a good match for the responsibilities of this position.”

I sat stock still. Yes, these two women I’d worked with for four years were firing me. No wonder my IN box had gotten so empty; it wasn’t because I was suddenly super-efficient.

“We’re sorry that the promotion to manager didn’t work out. You have a lot to offer, but not here, not now. It just wasn’t a good fit for you.”

This was the moment I should….

Courtesy of Claude Monet

Claude Monet, the Impressionist painter, was famous in part because he decided that it might be interesting to try painting one scene over and over but on different days, at different times of day, in different weather, but always from the same perspective. You might try Googling Monet’s “series paintings” to see what I mean. He did many of Rouen Cathedral and many of some haystacks. I’ve seen these in exhibit, and they are fascinating!

So why don’t we try that? Set yourself the task of picking one thing and writing a paragraph about it on day one, then another on day two, and so on.

It might help to pick something that has some special meaning for you. Or, it might be intriguing to pick something that means absolutely nothing to you. Follow Monet’s lead in that it may help to pick a different time of day, different lighting, or even different moods. I’d leave it in the same place so that you can explore what subtle differences arise and why.

I like this idea and hope to try one too.

A Creation Myth

Without meaning to offend anyone, I do claim that we mere mortals can also come up with a meaningful creation myth. Well, “myth” might be the wrong word, but how about taking a stab at answer this question: How did we get here?

Were gods sitting somewhere up very high, waving wands and creating the cosmos and our planet? Did an egg crack open and give birth to a variety of demigods who continually battle with each other for supremacy, while we mortals struggle to stay alive amid forces we don’t understand? Did some feisty amoeba get a bunch of friends together to organize a larger being? Did the eternal forces of lightness and darkness crash into each other, creating matter and ultimately human beings? Does a trickster god lurk in dark matter, waiting to pounce when we discover his/her existence? Did a comet hit a cooling rock and let loose little gremlins? Who was watching all this?

I often think much of fiction is about writing a version of the fables of old. Try one!

A Plot Wants to Erupt

Celeste paused on the threshold of the log cabin that leaned to one side, ready to topple.

Ramon peered out of the woods at the woman who had just arrived.