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JPC Allen Writes

Inspiration for Beginning Writers

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Writing ideas for speculative fiction

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: On a dark, rainy night, someone is digging in a cemetery.

graveyardw-384604_1280This prompt is based on a real life incident a friend of mine told me about. Late on a summer night, in the pouring rain, my friend, her husband, and her sons drove home from a restaurant. She lives across from a cemetery. As they passed it, they noticed that someone had parked his car so the beams of the headlights fell on a grave. The person was digging.

There’s more to the story, but I don’t want to ruin your inspiration. You could use this first line for crime fiction, family drama, or speculative fiction. You could even use it for a humorous story. Let me hear where your imagination takes you!

On a dark, rainy night, a man digs in a cemetery and …

Writing Tip — Genres of Science Fiction & Fantasy

fantasyw-2801105_1280Since I just returned from vacation, my post today is short. If reading about speculative fiction this month has inspired you to give it a try, I recommend reading this article on genres and sub-genres from Inspired Prompt via Science Fiction & Fantasy.

What I like about this post is that the author list novels written in each style. That is so helpful in understanding what readers expect in each sub-genre,

But even if you haven’t read much in the area you want to write about, get writing! You can always revise your work as you learn about the rules of your chose sub-genre.

Since the name “speculative fiction” is an umbrella for so many different kinds of storytelling, the author of the post couldn’t cover them all. I noticed “steampunk” is missing. For examples of this, try Michelle Levigne’s series Guardians of the Time Stream.

What other sub-genres are missing?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts for Speculative Fiction

fantasyw-2704453_1280For my last prompt of the month, I chose this picture. I like the contrast between the girl who is dressed in clothes from our time and the setting, which looks futuristic. I also like the hazy sunset. It seems appropriate for a story set in July or August. How would you write this scene from the girl’s POV? Here’s mine:

“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.”

Monday Sparks: Writing Prompt for Speculative Fiction

whale-2722172_1280What if whales did live in the sky? How would that affect the weather? Flight patterns?

I can just hear an announcement at the airport: “All flights are cancelled from JFK today because the Cloud Humpbacks have begun their annual migration sooner than expected. We will resume flights as soon as it is safe.”

What if all the life in the sea was in the sky? Would we travel by sea? Weather reports would have to include what the animals were doing, unless I did a total reversal and had the sea act like the sky and have all weather originate there.

What “what if” questions does the picture spark for you?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompt for Speculative Fiction

travelw-3126602_1280Using as many senses as you can, how would describe this scene? Here’s mine:

“The mist crawled in and chilled me, even though I was wearing a jacket. The wind sighed over the treeless hills. That was the only sound except for an occasional creak from an overturned vehicle. The faint scent of gasoline mixed with the stagnant smell of still water from the half-frozen ponds lining the road.

“Behind the hill to my right, a shape stood dark against the fog. My heard revved, but I stopped. I pressed my lips together, swallowing hard, then called out with as much confidence as I could gather to keep my voice from shaking. “Dad?”

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