Archive for October, 2012

Flashathon 2012 Hour Nine

This hour for our prompt we turn to Matthew Hance aka Casper Pearl aka the editor of the Memory Eater anthology that you heard me talk about so often while we were going through our successful Kickstarter campaign. The book is now a real live thing, I have my copy sitting at home. If you don’t yet have a copy it’s available from Amazon. So grab a copy, won’t you? When approached for a prompt, I was told he is working on a new book about bullying, so he provided:

Getting revenge on an elementary school bully.

There you have it, your prompt for this hour. Do some writing, then if you’re on the east coast, go order a pizza so it’ll show up in time to eat it and get back to work. Flashathon stops for no man!

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Flashathon 2012 Hour Eight

This hour of Flashathon we turn to Linda Adams. First, I want to thank Linda, she has helped promote this event to several writing forums. If you’re here from one of those forums, if you saw her post, then thank you also for stopping by. Linda also gave me two prompts, so I’m going to throw them out as an option. Because I like options in hours.

Mad Clown Disease


Killer Kites

Linda can be found on her blog here. She’s a veteran of the Persian Gulf War and a damned fine writer with both fiction and non-fiction sales too numerous to mention. When you finish up your writing for the hour, check out her book and magazine publications, then look for her upcoming stories in the 2012 Forward Motion Anthology and The Darkness Within.


Flashathon 2012 Hour Seven

We’re really into the meat of Flashathon now. If you’re going for twelve hours, then you’re somewhere around here. You might be taking this hour off, but this is the latest you can start and still get twelve prompts in. While this event takes place here at Writerly Words, we’re cohosted by Unleaded — Fuel for Writers, my blog away from blog where I post…almost every Wednesday. It’s also our secret escape blog in case Flashathon traffic crashes Writerly Words. One of those good problems to have. So I asked one of the co-owners of Unleaded to give us some prompts, and here is number one. Want the second one? That’s going to bookend this event at 2am.

Stretch yourself. Write a story from a different point of view than your own. That can be disability, gender, race, or class. Highlight its impact on the character’s worldview.

I have this as the earlier of her two prompts as I see it as the harder of the two for most writers. So I wanted people to get it while they were nice and fresh. So crack the knuckles, get into someone else’s head, and get writing.


Flashathon 2012 Hour Six

It’s 2pm on the east coast, 11am on the west, and…various other times elsewhere in the world. We’re going to change up the prompt for this hour. One of my favorite prompts last year wasn’t a word or a phrase, it was a flower. So how about an animal.

The Tardigrade

Also known as the Water Bear or the Moss Piglet, this little creature is the hardiest of the hardy. From Wikipedia:

Tardigrades are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. Some can survive temperatures of close to absolute zero, or 0 Kelvin (−273 °C (−459 °F)), temperatures as high as 151 °C (304 °F), 1,000 times more radiation than other animals, and almost a decade without water. Since 2007, tardigrades have also returned alive from studies in which they have been exposed to the vacuum of space for a few days in low Earth orbit. Tardigrades are the first known animal to survive in space.

There you go. Use that as you will for inspiration.

Tardigrade picture by Bob Goldstein and Vicky Madden, UNC Chapel Hill, released under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Flashathon 2012 Hour Five

Some brief Roman history for this one. After successfully defeating Marcus Antonius, the new emperor Augustine had Antonius scrubbed from the records, even going so far as to dictate that the family could no longer name their sons Marcus. His goal, to make sure there never was, nor would again, be a Mark Anthony. After the fall of the Flavian dynasty, the Senate of Rome made a similar attempt to completely remove its last emperor, Domitian, from history.

Mark Anthony is the subject of a Shakespearean drama. Domitian, while not a household name, is well known and even the subject of several biographies. Clearly attempts to remove them from history didn’t work. But if they did…how would we know they had? And how do we know that someone else, perhaps even far more recent, wasn’t successfully scrubbed from the history books. And that leads to this hour’s prompt.

Why was someone removed from history?

Or, if not why, perhaps how. Or to what affect. And no claiming that your story was removed from history for revealing the truth. Because that’s totally my idea.


Flashathon 2012 Hour Four

It’s noon here in the DC area, this is when we started Flashathon last year. This year, we’re already rolling into hour four. Greetings for all who are just joining in, and hang in there for those who have been going since hour one. Don’t forget to get some lunch if you’re on the east coast, or some breakfast on the west, or some brunch if you’re in the midwest.

For this hour’s prompt, we’re taking a visit to one of my favorite websites, io9. If you’re a fan of science fiction or fantasy and don’t visit there regularly, you’re missing out. They also offer weekly writing prompt images. I’ve taken six headlines from recent io9 articles, and I present them now with no further context. Pick your favorite, and that’s what your story is about this hour.

  1. How do you explain the hummingbird’s bizarre tongue?
  2. How Will Humans Get to Alpha Centauri?
  3. The story of wine corks is a lot more complicated than you thought
  4. How much does a shadow weigh?
  5. An ancient mode of transportation that could work on other planets
  6. Why slime molds can solve mazes better than robots

No, I’m not going to link the articles, because then you’ll read them instead of writing. Go look them up later. For now, pick one, and have at it.


Flashathon 2012 Hour Three

Good morning west coast, you’re up early. East coast, get to thinking about what you’re going to do about lunch. We’re solidly into Flashathon, even though we’re an hour shy of when the event started last year. And that’s kinda cool. Now, I’m writing these posts ahead of time so I can participate with a little less stress, but I hope we’re getting some good participation even though it’s still early. This hour the inspiration comes right out of the week’s news. You’ve got three choices:

  1. Write a story about a penguin.
  2. Write a story about a man arriving at a random house.
  3. Merge these two ides.

So there we go. The big six will soon be the big five, and we’re into hour three of Flashathon. Go!


Flashathon 2012 Hour Two

So a little behind the scenes here at Flashathon HQ. This might be the second hour of the event, but it’s actually the last prompt that I’m setting up. I was talking to my wife about what to use, and she suggested an image. Trying to find something good, she further suggested I look for weird patent images. I did, and this is what I came up with. Click it for a larger version.

Yeah, I edited the title of the patent out. It’s not up to me to tell you what it is, you need to tell me.


Flashathon 2012 Hour One

Welcome to the opening hour of Flashathon 2012! It’s early here on the east coast, it’s still dark on the west coast, but nothing can stop Flashathon from rolling forward. Starting now and for the next eighteen hours, you’ll see your prompts come up here on the blog. Keep checking back, keep an eye on my Twitter account for when the new hours will start.

Alright, that’s enough prologue. You’re here for your prompt. As with last year, I’m going to take the first prompt myself. And, as with last year, I’m going to make it fitting to the start of the event:

As we started…

Is that your first three words, is that your theme, are you going to completely ignore it? Your choice! But it’s time to get started into Flashathon.


Flashathon Week Day #5

As we sit here on Flashathon Eve, under 24 hours until the first prompt posts, I’d like to take a break from pre-scheduling tomorrow’s posts to answer a question that I sometimes get about the event.

For God’s sake…why?

Why would we subject ourselves to such utter insanity, to a day of frying our brains writing 4000-8000 unconnected words, jumping from idea to idea, trying to form coherent sentences long after any spark of creativity has drained out of out brains? And then why, after doing that last year…would we do it again this year?

Holy crap, just why?

The primary intention behind Flashathon is not to rub ourselves down to a nub like an over sharpened pencil. Instead, it’s to force us to move outside of our comfort zones as writers and to embrace the sort of manic creativity that comes out of forcing your fingers to just keep moving. I don’t pretend everything I wrote last year is good, and I don’t expect everything I write this year to be good. But there were some nuggets of good that came out of last year, stories that I still want to go back and tell. I’m still sitting on a story about creatures that appear in the middle of the desert and are collected by a dark branch of the government.

There’s a frenetic excitement about not knowing what you’re writing next. At least for me there is. I understand it’s not for everyone, and I do tend to fall back on outlines for longer works, but I’ll have ideas and write stories I never knew I had in me if writing with a quick prompt and nothing in my mind except crazed desperation.

In the end you’ll have chunks. Bits and pieces. Openings, middles, outlines, extensions. Things that didn’t exist before. Some of them won’t be worth exploring, but for all the chaff, there will hopefully be some wheat. And that’s why I do it, to find the wheat that I didn’t even know was there.

So join us tomorrow. Have fun. Make wheat. And write like your life depended on it.

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