Tag Archives: writing prompts

Sorcerers, Magicians, and Warlocks – What’s the Difference?

We are a bit spoiled for choice, in the English language. When we need a word, and another language has one that’ll do the job, we’re quite happy to appropriate it – words like schadenfreude, or (my personal favourite) l’espirit de escalier (“the spirit of the staircase”, which is the French term for that moment that you come up with a cunning riposte, moments (or hours) after it’s too late.

But, crucially for the discussion I’m about to have with myself, and that you can see right here, right now, on the screen of the device of your choice, is about synonyms. And then we’ll get into the cool stuff people should put into their fantasy novels bit. That’s coming, I promise. And this little bit about synonyms leads directly into it.

It’s not much of a tangent.

Now, the synonym group that I want to talk about in particular are words that are related to practitioners of magic.  Continue reading

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So, I’ve had an idea – been nursing it for a little while.

The idea is to try and put together a list, of things that I find interesting from history, things that I’d like to see in a New Weird or Steampunk or Fantasy setting. History is an interesting place, one that you can drop in and visit, but one that (fortunately) you cannot live in. For all those people out there who just started thinking about how swell it would be to live in a Steampunk setting, in Victorian London, I’ll just point you in the general direction of some history books, and this article I wrote a little while back about what I like to call Slumpunk. Some of them I’ve already seen in those settings, so, when we come to those, I’ll point you in that direction.


To give you an idea of what, exactly, it is I’m talking about, here’s the first in this little series of demi-articles:

Gustav Dore – “Over London”


The Whipping Toms

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Less than a Week to go!

Just a friendly reminder that the Lane of Unusual Traders is closing to submissions in less than a week! Get on it!

Seamstress - Inspiration from the Lane

Seamstress – Inspiration from the Lane

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Sunday Sketches

Sunday Sketch 7 - Terry Whidborne

Sunday Sketch 7 – Terry Whidborne

So my friend, and brilliant artist, Terry Whidborne (of the Unfettered Portfolio fame), has been releasing sketches onto the Twitterverse for almost a year, to serve as inspiration for writers. And, he has collected said sketches into a PDF, which is available, for free, right here.

If (I should say when, not if) you use these sketches, just be sure to let him know on Twitter (@Tezzbold) He’ll be delighted, I’m sure. If you don’t have Twitter, just let me know, send me a link, and I’ll be sure to tell him for you. Also, if that’s the case, get Twitter.


Sunday Sketch 64 - Terry Whidborne

Sunday Sketch 64 – Terry Whidborne

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Robert Heinlein, Giving Away Story Ideas

The bloke sells dreams, in pills. Euphoria, along with your fantasy, is guaranteed. The pills are not toxic, nor are they harmful the way narcotics are, but they are habit-forming as the euphoria dreams are much better than reality. Can the Pure Foods & Drugs people act?

This guy sells soap and cosmetics, door to door like the Fuller Brush man. She tries their beauty soap; she becomes beautiful. So she tries their vanishing cream…

A little cat ghost, padding patiently around in limbo, trying to find that familiar, friendly lap…


Robert Heinlein, of Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land fame, giving away a huge number of story ideas in a letter to Theodore Sturgeon, who wrote the science fiction masterpiece, More than Human.

Via Letters of Note.

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SciFriday #3

Octopad – Silikone

Another week goes by, and along it comes again!

It’s SciFriday!

Add your link to the collection below!

Remember ~100 words!

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SciFriday #2

Post Apocalyptic City – Peter Siegl

It’s SciFriday again!

I love this. I love sharing the cool images I come across, and the getting to read great science fiction, of course!

Remember, ~100 words!

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SciFriday #1

Tracks – Sandara

I did this once before.

Put up prompts – but not many people wrote.

Anyone interested in writing some science fiction?

Let’s make them drabbles (so, ~100 words.)

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Unfettered Project

Just your regular reminder that the

deadline for Tiny Owl Workshop & Terry Whidborne‘s

Unfettered project

is rapidly approaching!

April 14th!

Get scribbling!

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(Inter)National Flash Fiction Day II

So…it’s that time of the year again. What time of the year? National Flash Fiction Day coming back (in the UK) on June 22nd. Last year I put out a little magazine – Photocopier Press – that’s it, up the top of the page there, between “About the Blog” and “Published Works.” We (my wife and I) thought it was a bit unfair that the UK got all the fun. So why not put out a magazine in Brisbane? That’s exactly what we did. We put out a call to writers everywhere, and they responded in droves, so many that we had to put out two different editions of the magazine.

The magazine itself is crowd-sourced and crowd-distributed – everyone who submits a story prints out one or two (or three, or twenty, what ever you can afford.) And then you drop them off in cafes, give them to your friends, leave them unattended on the train…

Last year we managed to get the magazine handed out (or dropped off) in cities ranging from Brisbane, Manchester, Tokyo and London, New York and Sydney.

Which means this is (as you’ve probably guessed) a CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS.

What we’re looking for is flash fiction. Obviously. I love it, you love it.

It fits nicely on half a landscape A4 page. 200 words, please.

Email me right here —-> chriswhitewrites AT gmail DOT com.

Just put the word SUBMISSION in the subject line. No epic titles (ten words MAX. Really, I think ten is too many.)

DEADLINE: May 1st. May 1stMay 1st. And just because all American and British anthologies and websites make me use google (it’s a verb now!) to convert the time, so you guys can convert into MY time! 12pm, Brisbane Time (not Daylight Savings Time.)

12pm, Brisbane Time. May 1st.

200 WORDS!

Looking forward to reading some great flash fiction!


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Another Sky Press: Alien Sky

Alien Sky Cover


Alien Sky is out today, the anthology that features my short story The Promise of ExtinctionThe Promise of Extinction is a realist Science Fiction story – an Armageddon comes plunging from the skies. Humanity’s finest hour or the final, chaotic death throes of civilisation? The anthology is made of dead trees, you guys – I’m pretty excited to be in a real book. If you’re interested in buying a copy (you know you want one) then you should head over to either the Another Sky Press: Alien Sky page (we get paid more if you do it this way) or to The Book Depository (you don’t need to pay postage. If you live outside the US the prices can get ridiculous) and you’ll get a shiny new paperback with gorgeous cover art. Delivered to your door! Go on, click the link – you’ve got $5.46 (from Alien Sky) or $17.28 (Book Depository) Tell me what you think!


Also, if you are a BeKindRewrite writer you can go back through Steph’s InMon prompt history and try to find the InMon prompts scattered liberally through the story…

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SciFriday 04/01/13

So I recently decided to post a little Science Fiction themed picture out of the vast horde I’ve downloaded over the years. Henceforth, Fridays will be known as SciFridays. Go ahead, write a little something something – mine are only going to be of Twitter appropriate length (140 characters.) If you have a Twitter account, write along with the #SciFriday. If you’re not on Twitter, feel free to post in the comments section below or on your blog (but don’t forget to add your link!) If you “don’t write SciFi” then now is your chance. Try out a drabble or bit of flash! Anyway, without further ado, your SciFriday picture prompt:

Chinese propaganda poster

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ChrisWhiteWrites – A Year in Review


So, 2012, huh? There wasn’t some sort of Apocalypse/Rapture/Revolution that ended the world/cast the West backward into a new Dark Ages? No? Everyone’s fine and/or dandy?

Good. Glad to hear it! So, 2012…the first twelve months since I decided that maybe I should be a writer (Well, sixteen months, according to WordPress – I didn’t think it had been so long.) Anyway, sixteen months since I first decided that maybe I should write, because I read a lot, and they’re basically the same thing. Since I first decided to use my brain to try and earn some coin. 250 posts over the course of sixteen months, most of them fiction, with the occasional bit of poetry. 

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I Only Have Eyes for Her

They called me a genius, a creator, a madman. Each new day saw the next chapter of invention, the birth of something new. The crowds would flock to my windows, the streets flooded with the press of humanity, desperate to see, to look, to observe. The world has changed, and each plastic doll was a revelation, stretching my artistry to new horizons. Clockwork gave way to electronics and electronics gave birth to three dimensional printing, to the Democratisation of Design! Stuttering needles, jaggedly dancing above the chamber, the semi-viscous pools of resin, dully reflective.

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Twisters 4 (maybe)

The latest segment of this week’s Twisters (Twitter-length fiction.) If you’re not on Twitter, why not? If you are on Twitter, but don’t write Twisters for #artwiculate, #aLtwiculate, #lqw, #liblit or #15tt, why not? These #s are different word-of-the-day prompt feeds, with a huge following of contributors. Get on that!

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What am I doing Today?

Well, I was just trawling the Interwebs and writing *ahem, yes, that’s what we’ll call it* when I wiggled my way over to BeKindRewrite, hoping that this week’s InMon prompts were up. They weren’t, but I did find some inspiration over that way, namely Steph’s latest post 23 Ways to be Productive Despite Writer’s Block.

So here are the three that I’ll be doing this afternoon –

16: Pick a minor character (even one you haven’t named) and write a short story about them.

17: Add scents to two of your scenes (the sweaty corn chip smell of a teenager’s bedroom, the sharp blend of bleach and urine in a public restroom, etc.).


22: Pick one character and give them a nervous quirk, like biting their nails or smoothing their mustache. Comb your manuscript for good places to add it in.

I am also guilty of over-using and disabusing adverbs, so I’ll probably have to try my hand at 2: Find creative ways to eliminate five adverbs (seach “ly” using the Find tool to find them).

Which of these suggestions will you turn your hand to? Have you got any other ideas as to what you do to defeat writer’s block while still working on your WIP? I know I usually just start something new instead… Let me know in the comments below!

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The Writing Book – Challenge 3

It’s that time of the again when I write my response to The Writing Book’s writing challenges! Huzzah!
This ’s challenge is a little bit more personally involved than the previous two, which is to be expected, I suppose, as we are just warming up in the book, trying to encourage beginners to flex their fledgling’s wings and learn how to write.


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The Writing Book – Challenge II

It’s that time again, the time when I take The Writing Book’s challenges – and they are myriad, they promise glory to the victors – the time when I have randomly (although apparently no human can be truly random) chosen to schedule this. Maybe I’ll use a random number generator to select dates and times. Maybe not. Haven’t decided yet, and if I tell you I have, you’ll have no choice but to take my word for it…


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The Writing Book

Well, lookie what we have here…The Writing Book


Found while doing a touch of early-winter, early-morning cleaning (a distraction from all the editing and rewriting I’ve been doing lately; does anyone else get sick of reading their own prose over and over – repositioning an em-dash or semi-colon each read-through, changing a sentence or adding a paragraph?), a smallish book published in 1990. Say what you like about made-of-dead-trees books, I’m not sure you’ll find too much accessible data from twenty years ago – even if you had the proper device to read it on. I’ve been procrastinating from my editing and read-through duties not only through cleaning and singing my youngest (20mths) NINGNANGNONG but through reading a Mammoth book of Sci-Fi – I am now throwing Sci-Fi plotlines around in my skull, I’ve got a few new long stories I’m figuring out for some too-long-for-the-Interwebs “short stories” and in the meantime I think I’ll do some really quick flash (although I should be writing an article I’ve been asked to put together…)

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InMon Prompts: Feeding Like a Plague of Locusts

Hey wazzup my fellow InMonsters? In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s no InMon post up yet. So I thought I’d *ahem* take the initiative and post five prompts, just to help Steph out. If you notice an InMonsieur or InMadam who is not on the list below, give ’em a trackback in the comments section (please.)
And without further ado, here are our prompts:
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