Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What if? By Diana Flegal

I am a fan of the Food Network show CHOPPED. It amazes me that the chefs can take the “mystery basket” ingredients and prepare an actual tasty and presentable meal.

While watching the show recently, I wondered what a “mystery basket” of ingredients for a writer might contain? Which reminded me of when I participated in a writers group in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

At each meeting, we began our time with the setting of a timer in 5 minute, then 15 minute periods in which we were given a prompt, then wrote until the buzzer sounded.  

These prompts were like “mystery baskets”; our ingredients, a string of words.

Placing a character in an imaginary world in answer to the question of “what if?” is Speculative Fiction.

I thought it might be a fun exercise to offer you a couple “mystery baskets” in the speculative genre as writing prompts. Prompts are a great writers tool, especially helpful to stir inspiration when you are stuck, or in need of a recharge.

  1. What if?- a young man raised as an orphan, finds out he is a twin, and meets his sister when he is given an assignment on Tatatui.
  2. What if?- a conservative bible thumping dog reads his masters mind and feels compelled to foil a jewel heist his owner has planned.
  3. What if?- a fairy named Shitza embarks on a quest to find a schroom needed to brew a tea, that if drank by her fiancé, could release him from a spell.
  4. What if?- Eric’s name is drawn and he must engage in a war he is staunchly against.
  5. What if?- a toad and a kitten fall in love.

 May you be greatly inspired, and wildly imaginative in your writing endeavors.


Jean Wise said...

Love your imagination! What if is also a great question to use in discernment and spiritual growth. The idea of a mystery basket intrigues me and think I will use that at an upcoming local writers group as a prompt. Thanks for the idea! Happy New Year!

Linda Glaz said...

Mary Higgins Clark (magazine? I think) had a short story contest and you had to pick 3 or 4 words to incorporate into a short stoy. This was about 18 years ago...sigh! I did it, and it has since turned into a full novel. Lots of fun to see what comes out. I'm no good at timers, because my thoughts just don't jump at me like that. I need time like the old coffee pots. I have to percolate a bit.

Diana Flegal said...

You are welcome Jean. Linda, that is exactly the outcome we hope to come from prompts :-)

Ann McCauley said...

Chopped is one of my favorites! Wow--you have given food for thought. *excuse my pun* Couldn't help myself. Very fun blog. Thanks!

Susan DeBruin said...

What a fun idea!

Karen Robbins said...

I was an art teacher. One way to see who were the most creative students in my class was to draw a door on the chalkboard (yes, it was that long ago) and tell the class to draw what they would see if they opened the door. I always got at least 40% who drew the classroom on the other side of the wall. I think those kids turned out to be engineers or CPAs. The others were wildly creative.

My favorite writing prompt for mystery: A white Styrofoam cup sits on the table, a dark liquid inside and the imprint of pink lipstick on the rim.

Diana Flegal said...

Karen, I like that door prompt. I am going to ask my small group bible study that question. Isn't it cool how diverse we all are? And your mystery prompt? I want to read the book it inspires.
I am going to add these to my list :-)Thanks for sharing.