One more speculative fiction prompt to finish my monthly theme. What’s the story? Here’s mine.
The wyvern flapped its enormous wings, forcing the smaller draco into cartwheels. But the draco used its superior speed to fly behind the wyvern and shoot its hotter flame at the back of the wyvern’s head.
I grabbed the battle ax from the deck. What a homecoming.
How about a science fiction prompt to kick off your week? What’s the story for this photo? I chose this one because it is clearly a science fiction setting with the spaceship, but there’s also a castle in the background. I like the contrast, and that ignited my imagination. Here’s my story:
The rust bucket hit the planet with all the grace an ancient space shuttle.
“If our mission is so important,” I flipped switches to cut the steam billowing from a burst tube, “why didn’t the Government give us a decent ship?”
Haney stared at me. “You’re trying to make sense of the Government?”
“Sorry,” I said through clenched teeth. “Don’t know what came over me.” I stared out the window, past the iron formations to a castle straight out of a fairy tale. “This is a wasted trip. Senator Allus quit and came to the backend of the galaxy to build that thing and live by himself. He’s not going to help the Government, no matter what the crisis is.”
Haney lowered his eyebrows. “Do you know there’s a crisis?”
“No. But why else would the Government send us to get somebody who’s made it pretty clear he wants nothing to do with anybody?”
“Good question.” His voice was quiet as he gazed at the spires rising against the purple clouds of methane.
My featured author this week is Ronnel Kay Gibson, whose short story “Those Who Stayed” in Christmas fiction off the beaten path, is a drama centered around a life-changing question.
My prompt isn’t the same question, but I thought I’d choose one that had similar consequences. Your main characters is alone by a body of water and sees someone who looks like he’s drowning. What does she do?
If she’s a strong swimmer, does she try to rescue him? What if she isn’t? Does she still try? Should she try to get help? Or risk her life? The answers depend on your character, whether the incident is at the beginning, middle, or end of your plot, and what theme you are trying to explore. If the drowning or near-drowning kicks off a story, I’ll treat it differently than if it was the climax.
This prompt ties in with the short story guest blogger Sandra Merville Hart will be writing about on Thursday. “Not This Year” is a family drama, set in the 1980’s. But family drama is timeless.
This photo grabbed my attention because no one in it looks happy, and a few people look decidedly unhappy. What is story behind this family’s trip to the grocery store? Here’s my version.
What was I thinking? When has going shopping with the kids ever gone well? And I had the bright idea of bringing two nieces along. If one more kid complains, I am out of here, and I’ll give Mom and Dad a gift card for their anniversary instead of a party.
To prepare you for this week’s interview with Michelle L. Levigne, today’s prompt is a picture appropriate for steampunk. That’s the genre of Michelle’s short story, “Crystal Rose” in Christmas fiction off the beaten path.
If you are new to this genre, it’s a kind of speculative fiction. Usually set in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, it imagines our world as if it had been run by Jules Verne. All kinds of scientific advances that were made decades later in reality are made during this time period with steam.
I have a particular fondness for steampunk because one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid was The Wild, Wild West, an early example of steampunk. My sisters and I would sit down on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to watch reruns of how two government agents in the Old West protected our nation from steam-powered robots and other fantastic plots dreamed up by supervillains, bent on taking over our country and then the world.
What’s the story with this steampunk picture? Here’s my take:
As my grandfather steered our dirigible toward the city, I leaned on the rail.
Neuweschstein. The most advanced city in the German Empire. Their scientists were known all over the world for their breakthroughs in developing steam tech. Some of their inventions were on board.
The German government also had a less well-known reputation for stealing other nation’s ideas. And possibly their scientists.
The city sprawled below us. My heart sank. “Gramps, even if Papa is here, how can we find him?”
Gramps set his jaw as he gripped the helm. “If he’s there, we’ll find him.”
This is my last spark for YA fiction. I chose this photo because it can be used in any genre. Who is the girl and why is she hitchhiking? Is she hunting for a friend who disappeared after a murder was committed? Is she on the run from officials because she possesses special powers? Is she crossing the country to start her first year at college and her car has broken down in a remote area without cell reception?
I used this photo last year during my month on speculative fiction. I like it so much I’m using it again. Something about the girl’s pose intrigues me. And the sun setting on what looks like a steamy summer day in the city. Perfect for a techno noir, like Blade Runner.
Here’s what I wrote last year:
“A whisper of a breeze signaled the coming of night. As the police jets patrolled the city, the broiling sun slid to the horizon. In fifteen minutes, I’d be free. At least for a few hours, sneaking into the cracks and crevices in this city where the patrols either didn’t know about or didn’t go and no cameras watched. I checked my phone. Time to go. I got up and walked over to the street lamp. I wrenched aside a loose metal panel and set my phone inside. Now I was invisible in the city. I went to the door and ran down the steps.”
Now it’s your turn. What’s the story with the teen girl, the futuristic city, and the patrolling jets?
One of the perks of writing YA fiction is that you can write in any genre as along as your main character is a teen. This photo caught my attention because it looks like it was taken a hundred years ago, and about 1925, my grandfather severally injured his hand as a teenager. He was firing a muzzleloader that someone had overloaded with gunpowder, and it blew up. He lost the index finger on one hand. His father didn’t think he would be able to use his hand, which had serious consequences on a farm.
He should have know my grandfather better. He was the hardest working person I’ve ever known. The doctor told him the exercises he needed to do to regain strength and mobility in his hand. He did them no matter how much it hurt. As an adult, he ran a farm, mined coal, and eventually researched businesses for Dunn and Bradstreet.