Writing Prompt – The Wendigalope

Okay, so the results of my poll are in, and the next big creature in urban fantasy is… a tie between the Jackalope and the Wendigo. So let’s have a writing prompt featuring these two fine fellows. Write a story that includes a jackalope and a wendigo. Bonus points if you make the jackalope into a wendigo. (If you’ve ever played D&D, just think of the wendigo as a template that you apply to the jackalope). Have fun!

Writing Prompt – Purpose of the Appendix

Gray’s Anatomy is an outstanding reference that every writer should own. When you’re regularly stabbing, shooting or otherwise maiming your characters, it makes your writing more realistic when you understand exactly what’s being damaged, the potential blood loss from such a wound, what muscles would be impaired, and so on. I bought a hardcover copy back when I was in college; it’s three inches thick and weighs about 5 lbs. But I recently found an edition for the iPad that has 3D versions of a lot of the images. This is great because you can rotate a picture of the heart and lungs and see what they look like from all sides.¬† That’s very handy when you’ve just shot your main character in the chest and need to know where the bullet would have to go to puncture a lung but not pierce the heart. I found a cool image of the intestines too, and that got me thinking about the appendix. The appendix is a completely useless organ that can cause a ton of trouble if it gets inflamed, but that’s about it. From what I’ve read, scientists agree that the appendix did something at one point, no one quite knows what that something was.

So let’s make something up. Write a story where the appendix’s purpose is explained. You can be benevolent (it’s an organ that generates luck or positive energy) or malicious (it’s a self-destruct button that can be triggered by hostile aliens).

Have fun, and happy writing!

Writing Prompt – Cuddly & Deadly

When Fall hits New England, you can usually find a ton of caterpillars crawling around. Some of them are covered in soft, brown and black¬† fur, earning them the nickname ‘wooly bear caterpillars.’ However, I found this link, which shows that the affable caterpillar that I’ve grown up with has some downright evil cousins.

So here’s a writing prompt for you. Take something that you’d normally think of as happy, cute or cuddly, and make it as deadly and vicious as possible. For inspiration, think of Monty Python’s Killer Rabbit, or Mr. Spock’s pet Sehlat (a teddy bear with 6-inch fangs).

Have fun!



Where ya been, Nick?

So I’ve been dark for a couple of weeks. I’d love to say this was because I was locked up in my Writing Cave, pounding out thousands upon thousands of words in the WIP. Or I’d love to say that it was because the Justice League had recruited me for a secret mission in an alternate dimension and I’ve been out saving the world. The truth of it though, is that I was horrifically sick. I had to be hospitalized twice due to a very high fever and the fact that I couldn’t keep fluids down. So it was an unpleasant experience in every possible way. It’s mostly over now though, and I’m slowly getting things back to normal.

So let’s celebrate my return with a writing prompt. Invent a sickness that does terrible things, but also provides one positive effect to someone who survives it. Maybe it’s a flu that destroys 90% of your lung tissue but gives you psychic powers, or something like that.

Happy writing, and everyone stay healthy!

Urban Fantasy Writing Prompt – Rare Minerals

One of the things I love about urban fantasy is how it can be used to explain conspiracy theories and other unexplained phenomenon. For example, Chris Farnsworth’s The President’s Vampire does a nice job of telling what happened both to JFK and John Wilkes Booth. But stories don’t have to deal with a national threat to be interesting. I came across this article about rare minerals on Wired.com, and found it to be a goldmine of writerly potential (yes, pun intended). It’s not because the article has any earth-shattering info; instead the article tosses out some interesting factoids about each mineral’s discovery (or disappearance). There are almost no properties listed for these minerals, or what they could be used for. That means it’s open season for someone with a little imagination.

So, here’s a little writing exercise for you – pick one of the minerals listed and use it as the focal point of a short story. It can be something like “Wawayandaite is 300% more deadly to fae than iron, and a group of renegade Druids is about to turn on their former fae allies” or “Tugtupite is the most powerful aphrodisiac for Chupacabras, and someone’s been dumping it in large quantities, causing the Chupacabra population to increase and they’re now openly attacking humans.”

Have fun, and if you’d like, feel free to throw your idea out in the comments to inspire others!