Saturday, March 14, 2015

Literary Ninjas | Writing Prompt #002: Fo-R-bidden


Ever find yourself struggling to find new ways to describe the same subject over again? Maybe you're giving the reader the run-down on the scene of the crime, and you find your brain isn't quite up to par when it comes to finding new ways to describe the color of the blood pooling on the pavement. (I mean, it's red, for Pete's sake, and there's only oh-so-many times you can use the word "crimson" before it starts sounding like the name of a stripper.) Maybe you pull out the ole' thesaurus and slot in synonyms like there's no tomorrow, leaving your scene like a hastily tacked-together version of Frankenstein's monster (and since he took his time and his creation was still ugly, heaven only knows what your rushed-through paragraph looks like).

 "But what do I do, Oh-Marvelous-Mikey?" You may ask, to which I giggle maniacally and hand you a prompt to test your boundaries.

The prompt in question. Choose from one of the following words to use as the central theme for a 500-word scene, be it through setting, mood, or whatnot:


  • Rain
  • Raw
  • Regret
  • Rejection
  • Remnant
  • Request
  • Retribution
  • Riddle
  • Ruin


So far, so easy, right? Wrong. While how many synonyms you choose to use is entirely up to you, you are not allowed to use the actual chosen word anywhere within the piece. So let's have an example, yes? Let's say that our very own Mikey chooses to use "rain" as her theme, so she writes a scene in which it is raining. She must describe the rainy setting without actually using the word "rain" or any of it's forms. So she can use as many "deluges" and "downpours" as she wishes, but no "rains".

What else to keep in mind:

  • You may have noticed that most, if not all, of the listed themes have a darker, maybe depressing feel. This is to add an extra challenge for those up to it; if you want to take that extra step, write and show the them in a positive or lighter aspect.
  • The purpose of this prompt is not to limit you to just flatly describing one of the words into a paragraph, because I don't want you to do that. Put your creative abilities to use with how you can still tell a story and/or completely hook a reader within such a short amount of time. What other ways can you enforce the meaning or action of a word, without the word itself?
Want to share your prompt ideas or completed prompts? Comment below with ideas or links to your finished pieces.

Look familiar? You may recognize these prompts from the late blog, Literary Ninjas, and DeviantART literature group, Writing-For-Fun. With my choice to close both, I still wanted to make the prompts available to those interested, and thus they will be posted here on Sleepy Hollow Street.


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