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SFC Prompt Archive and Story Index

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
SFC Prompt Archive and Story Index

alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 09:18 AM | #1
Since the Short Fic Weekly Challenge thread has grown so much over these past two years and now sits at 500+ pages, we've decided to put the Prompt Archive and Story Index in its own thread to make things easier to manage. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Elliotcat, who started the thread and its AU sister, and Brightephemera, Kabeone, and Striges, who've all worked to maintain the thread over the past two years as well as contribute their talented works. Lastly, I'd like to thank all those who have offered up their stories for all of us to read. This thread would be dead without you.

***I ask that people do not reply to this thread so we can keep it easy to maintain and use. If you see any errors, please send me a PM and I'll fix it as soon as I'm able.

alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 09:24 AM | #2
Prompt Archive

Week of 6/1/2012
Culture Shock - The galaxy is a big place, and it's home to a wide variety of different cultures and species. It's not easy working with someone who may look similar to you, but comes from a radically different culture - not to mention being friends or even spouses with them

Week of 6/8/2012
Allies - When something huge is going down, or just when you need a hand, who can you call that you know is going to have your back? Whether it's someone completely unlikely or exactly what you'd expect, who can you ultimately always rely on?

Week of 6/15/2012
Confessions - Everybody has things they don't like to admit. Sometimes it's big, sometimes it's just something small. Sometimes it's nice to finally let it out. What does your character need to admit - and to who?

Hidden Talents - All of our characters are good fighters, but people are good at more than one thing. What else are they good at - and how do their friends and family react to learning about this hidden skill?

Week of 6/22/2012
Rites of Passage - Sort of related to the cultural theme, there are tons of different rites of passage our characters go through. Some are common across cultures, like weddings. Some are specific to a culture, like coming-of-age ceremonies. And sometimes they are just an internal realization that your life has changed. Feel free to take this in any direction you would like.

Week of 6/29/2012
Health - Jet-setting around the galaxy means exposing yourself to a ton of different viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Let's go, biology nerds!

First Impressions - Our characters meet tons of people on their journeys. What are their first impressions of each other like? Are they accurate, or did someone put up a front? Write about it!

Week of 7/6/2012
Communication Breakdown - Trying to communicate with each other when things are going well is hard enough, but our characters have plenty of other things that can get in the way. Bad com channels, language barriers, broken holo feeds - all those can mess up a conversation. Not to mention people who just plain don't understand each other...

Week of 7/13/2012
Catching Up - Pretty much all of our characters have pasts that might catch up with them in the future. Sometimes that's not a good thing, like seeing an old enemy. Sometimes it's great, when an old friend comes to help you when you need it. Either way, it's bound to be interesting.

Mix It Up - For this challenge you can write anything you like. The catch? Someone else's character has to be in it along with yours. It can be your friend's or someone else in the thread as long as you have gotten their permission and as long as your story involves your character and another player character that you don't play - NPCs, companions, etc don't count. Get creative with this one and see what cool stuff you can come up with. We have some really talented minds in here and I'm sure people will come up with some awesome stories.

Week of 7/20/2012
Exploration - You could travel your whole life and not see all of Earth - so what about people who have an entire galaxy to explore? What new things have your characters uncovered along their journeys? Thank you bright_ephemera for this prompt.

Dreams and Nightmares - Sometimes these are literal - a horrible nightmare or a pleasant dream that you don't want to wake up from. Sometimes it's a metaphor - your desires for the future or your greatest fear. Either way, they're a part of everyone's lives. Thank you Striges for this prompt!

Week of 7/27/2012
Family - Dealing with a war sucks. It's already complicated enough, but family complicates things even more. Some of our characters' families are different species, or have different alligiances. How do they deal with the complications that family can bring? Suggested by Eanelinea.

Discovery - In our characters' journeys, we make some surprising discoveries. Sometimes they're things about ourselves or our friends, other times they're discoveries about the world around us. Either way, they usually take us by surprise. Suggested by Crezelle.

Canned Response - When we click on our companions, they give us one of a set of responses. Unfortunately, that's all the endgame interaction we get with them - but let's make the best of it! Pick a phrase (one or more) a favored companion says to you and write a fic around why they are saying it. Suggested by Morgani.

Week of 8/3/2012
Celebration - There are many things to celebrate in life: from weddings to birthdays to holidays. Write about a celebration your character has been a part of. Prompt suggested by SveinEternity.

Guilty Pleasures - We all have them. Does your bounty hunter love The Bachelor (or whatever the SW equivalent is)? Or your Jedi Consular love romance novels? What secret thing do they love - and would be mortified if anyone knew it?

Week of 8/10/2012
Mission Accomplished - Ever wonder what exactly goes down when you send your companions on those crew skill missions? How does Khem handle diplomacy missions, for example? Write about your character sending one of his or her crew members on an assignment - your character can only appear when giving the mission; focus on a companion. Suggested by Morgani!

What's In A Name - Names are special, they almost always have some meaning behind them. First names, family names, nicknames - none of them are ever arbitrary. Write a story explaining a name given to your character or a companion, whether it's their personal name, nickname, or alias.

Week of 8/17/2012
What If? - Most characters have some major event in their past that changed the entire course of their life. What if that event never happened? Would they even take part in their class stories, meet all their companions, or be the person you played? Suggested by Morgani.

My First - Firsts are usually special - first items, like Jedi and Sith's first lightsabers or an agent or smuggler's first gun. First times, like your first time connecting with the Force or your first time stepping onto your ship. Firsts can change a person and solidify who they are. Write about a special "first" in your character's life and how it shaped them.

What's in a Name 2 - Extended for the week because it was so popular. If it still inspires you, keep writing it! All the stories were just that good.

Week of 8/24/2012
Turning Point - Last week we wrote about what life would be like if major events didn't happen. This week, we're writing about major events that DID happen. Pick a particularly important moment for your character, one that solidified their path. Write about what they did and why that moment was crucial.

Worst Day Ever - Everybody has a bad day. So do our characters. Maybe it was in their class story - like getting your ship stolen on your birthday - or maybe it was something that happened before or after. Whether it genuinely was the worst day or your character was just in a bad mood and something happened to make it worse, write about a day that made them call it "the worst day ever".

Week of 9/1/2012
(Un)invited Guests - Things get complicated when you're visiting someone else, or have someone visiting you. Even if you want them there! Of course, things are extra complicated when your guest is someone you didn't want or expect to come around.

...Like No One's Watching - When we're alone we often indulge ourselves in things that might embarrass us if others knew. Bad music, bad dancing, whatever it is, we'd be pretty mortified if someone caught us. This time, write about your character's secret indulgences - and how they react when it's discovered.

Week of 9/7/2012
Changes/New Paths -

Week of 9/14/2012
Brotherhood/Sisterhood -

Ceremony -

Week of 9/21/2012
Parenthood - Many of our characters either have issues with their parents, are parents themselves, or both. Parents can make things complicated, whether it's simply the generational gap or the fact that they aren't great parents.

Affection - It's more than just a game mechanic. How do your characters show it, whether to their lover or their family or to their friends? Does it always have the intended effect, or do things get lost in translation?

Week of 9/28/2012
Fame - Your characters all end their class stories with a lot of newfound fame. How do they deal with it? Being recognized on the street, being on the news, finding themselves mentioned all over the HoloNet - it's got to be stressful. Alternatively, what if your characters met another famous person and had to deal with being starstruck?

Bad Timing - Sometimes, the worst thing about something is when it happens. Even a good thing can end up being not-so-great if the timing is wrong. Write about a time when your character had to deal with something that just plain came at the wrong time.

Week of 10/5/2012
Sacrifice - What are your characters willing to sacrifice to achieve their goals?

Good/Bad Memories - Sometimes good memories can get your characters through hard times, sometimes bad memories are the extra push they use to move forward. What memories move your characters?

Week of 10/10/2012
Teachers and Heroes - Everyone has someone they look up to, or someone who's taught them something important. Or a hero that they strive to be like. Who does your character admire and look toward when they're not sure what to do? Who has had an impact on making them the person they are today?

Week of 10/17/2012
Xenobiology - Different species means more than different skin colors. It means different entirely different physiologies. Having friends whose bodies work so differently from your own can make things complicated, as everything from how you relax to how you dress and what your beauty rituals are (what is "lekku buffing", anyway?). How do your characters deal with differing biologies that they encounter?

Best Day Ever - We've written about our characters' worst days; now write about their best days! A day when something wonderful happened, like finally beating your nemesis, or just a day when everything went really well for them, and how they reacted.

Week of 10/24/2012
Disguises - Sometimes our characters have to gain entry to places that it's not easy to get into. What's a good strategy? A disguise, of course! Write about a time in which your character had to pretend to be someone or something else, and how they dealt with trying to be convincing.

Worlds Colliding - Our characters fly all over the galaxy and meet people from many different worlds - metaphorically and literally. Relationships, friendships, and partnerships can develop, which often results in those two very different spheres of living coming together - which can be tough to navigate. Write about a time when your character's world met up with another's, and how they reacted.

Week of 10/31/2012
Food - Everyone has to eat, and food is a major part of many cultures. It's part of your heritage and the memories you have of your family and friends. In a diverse galaxy, there are thousands of different things to eat and ways to prepare them, as well as traditions and customs involving food. Write about your characters' experiences in those realms.

Loneliness and Solitude - Our characters end up with crews of interesting folks, but that doesn't mean they never feel lonely. When you're up against some of the biggest forces in the galaxy, it's hard not to feel alone. That said, sometimes being alone is a blessing - some well-deserved solitude is a wonderful thing when you need it. Write about a time in which your character felt lonely - or when they finally got some time to themselves.

Week of 11/7/2012
Seasons - In space there are no seasons. But in a galaxy of thousands of worlds, it's every possible season at once, and not just the four temperature-variation ones. Write about some of the seasons your characters have experienced.

Tools of the Trade - We all use tools in our everyday lives, whether it be a skill like one's persuasive powers, equipment like one's weaponry, or the right bit of knowhow to solve the problem without the need for that weaponry. Write about the tools that your characters depend on...or the ones they avoid using.

Week of 11/14/2012
Deadly Sins - Everyone struggles with one of them at some point: wrath, pride, envy, lust, gluttony, greed, and sloth. Sometimes they spur us on to do good things. Other times, they hurt us and others. Write about your characters' struggles with the worst sins of them all.

Seven Virtues - We're not just sinners, here. We all have our virtuous sides too, and many of our characters take one or more of the traditional "seven virtues" to heart: wisdom, justice, restraint, courage, faith, hope, and charity. Write about a time in which your characters embraced one or more of these virtues and how it affected them.

Week of 11/21/2012
Home Ec - Our ships and everyday living arrangements have to keep running somehow. Maybe a slave or ship's droid handles it all for you; maybe...not so much. How do your characters manage cooking, cleaning, budgeting, ship maintenance, appliance repair, and more?

Do the Math - On a more abstract level, tons of things in life can be reduced to, or perhaps just unhelpfully compared to, the math that rules our worlds. Write about your characters or things in their lives adding, subtracting, dividing, or multiplying. Or do they ever have to integrate? Or deal with binary logic? Or try to keep a limit on their eccentricity? Or handle something that's just...odd? Write about it! (Somewhat off-the-wall, but I hope y'all find something fun to play with in there, not necessarily strictly math-rigorous!)

Week of 11/30/2012
I Love This Bar - We all do our time in the watering holes of the galaxy. What's your character's favorite memory of things seen, heard, done, purchased, insinuated, shot, kissed, imbibed, discombobulated, or otherwise rendered memorable in a cantina?

Night of the Living Prompt - Remember all those ideas or half-finished scraps you had for earlier prompts? You know how it feels way too late to post it now? Resurrect your favorite prompt - let us know which it is! - and give us a story! (Kudos to kabeone for maintaining the master prompt list!)

Week of 12/7/2012
As Time Goes By - No matter where you are in your character's story they are probably quite different from when they started. Maybe some are ready to settle down and others are starting to feel the passage of time. (All that Force leaping can't be good for the knees!) Has your character noticed any changes or have they stayed the same while others changed around them? Tell us about it.

Week of 12/14/2012
First Day on the Job - Some of our characters have very long, very colorful employment histories. Others picked a job or had it picked for them when they were very young. Pick one of the jobs your character has held and describe the day they came to it.

Loyalty and Betrayal - Two loaded words that can have major impacts on a person's life. Which characters of yours always follow orders? Which never compromise in loyalty to their friends or cause? How do your companions (not just that one) deal with challenges to their loyalties?

Week of 12/21/2012
Laws and Governance - Our characters pass through a huge number of jurisdictions with a huge variety of regulations, forms of government, fine print, and - eek - legal penalties. Write about an interaction your character has had with government and/or the legal system.

Failure - Our characters have flaws. They have bad days. They do it wrong. And sometimes they don't win. What failures have your characters experienced? What, if anything, did they learn from it?

Week of 12/28/2012
Alternate Perspectives - Something a little different, most of the time we tell a story from a single character's perspective. But what were other characters thinking at the time? Rewrite one of your past pieces from another character's perspective or write a new fic from two characters perspectives. Use any prompt or just make something up.

Week of 1/4/2013
Stomping Grounds - Our characters all have favorite places. Somewhere they grew up, somewhere they spent a lot of time, someplace that feels like home or might as well be. Someplace they’d rather be any day of the week. Somewhere they dream of when things go wrong. Tell us about your character’s favorite stomping ground.

Week of 1/11/2013
Goals and Ambitions - Everybody has something they dream of, something they're working for in the future. For a lot of our characters it's a defining part of who they are. What are those goals? Who do our characters want to be?

Behind the Scenes - Things aren't always as they seem, some events never look obvious, and wherever there's a curtain there may well be a man behind it. Write about what's really going on behind the scenes of your character's story.

Week of 1/18/2013
The Story So Far - Let's step back for a moment to consider our universes. Write a summary for your characters, storyline, or entire universe as you would introduce them to a beginner.

Week of 1/25/2013
Legacy - Legacy is an important part of the game, and a running theme throughout several of the stories. Is your character a part of a particular legacy, be it of family or ideology? What does your character want to leave behind when they're gone?

Backfired Plans - ported from the AU thread. No good deed goes unpunished, and sometimes blessings come in disguise. What if something meant for good had bad effects, or vice versa?

Week of 2/1/2013
LF1M - Dating site profiles are full of the good, the bad, and the ugly. If your character got lonely and tired of his/her designated love interest, what profile would you write for them to submit to the HoloNet's matchmaking services?

Week of 2/8/2013
Climate - Our characters visit a dazzling array of planets, moons, and extremely large ships with a wide variety of climates and weather conditions. Write about a time when your character had reason to notice.

Week of 2/15/2013
Working Out the Kinks - When has any device, excuse, or plan ever worked on the first try? Write about a time your character's efforts met reality and didn't go as perfectly as intended.

Week of 2/22/2013
Enemies, Rivals, and Nemeses - Everyone has them. Each class story hands you a number of them, and we create more in our Legacies. So, how does your character deal with his or her enemies--quick death, public humiliation, something else? What about rivals, professional or otherwise? Does your character dream of destroying them or use them as motivation to exceed? Is there a nemesis lurking in the wings somewhere? Tell us about it!

Week of 3/1/2013
Mirror, Mirror - Images and reflections can tell you a lot. Sometimes they give an accurate perspective on what's going on. But sometimes they don't quite reflect the truth of things. Distorted or un-, write about mirrors, reflections, or echoes that your characters have encountered or left.

The Morning After - What seems like a good idea at night may turn out to be terrible in the morning. Or the other way around. Write about the morning after some event great or small that your character has experienced.

Week of 3/8/2013
Life and Death - Throughout our stories in the game, some NPCs (and some of our own OCs) died and others survived. When did a critical death - or survival - make a difference in your character's tale?

Your Song - Music is a tremendous force in many cultures, human and otherwise. Some people ignore it, some listen, some create, some sing really loud in the shower. Write something involving the music in your character's life.

Week of 3/15/2013
To Market, To Market - To tread close to a game mechanic, or perhaps just to enrich/contextualize what game stuff we see: The Cartel Market brings tons of unique weapons, speeders, pets, funny-looking gear, and more to our in-game characters. Do any of those items have a story?

Week of 3/22/2013
Myths, Legends, and Heroes - Everyone grows up with stories. Stories of fantastic people doing amazing things and having wondrous adventures. Our characters are well on their way to becoming heroes to the following generation. So who did your character look at as a role model? Whose footsteps did they want to follow? Whose stories did they read? Whose adventures did they follow on cheesy serialized animated holoprograms? Why are they so special to your character?

Oh, Well That's Awkward - The class stories are full of interesting coincidences, especially when you take all the companion stories into account. Legacies, as part of the game structure, encourage even more strange situations and relations. So, what’s something about your characters’ legacy or story that makes family get-togethers interesting. Or impossible. Or just really unlikely.

Week of 3/29/2013
Hide and Seek - Sometimes our characters need to find something they just don't have. Sometimes they need to keep something hidden from somebody else. Write about a time your character was hiding, seeking, hidden, or sought.

Week of 4/5/2013
April Fool! - Some of our characters and companions enjoy jokes more than others. Has your character ever played a prank or practical joke? Did it work or did it backfire? Perhaps your character is the eternal butt of someone else’s pranks. Do they get even? How? The galaxy isn’t all doom and gloom; write about about fools, jokes, and general silliness.

Week of 4/12/2013
Membership - Our characters grow into and out of all kinds of clubs, orders, cults, fellowships, schools, social circles, and professional organizations. Write about your character's membership in - or exclusion from - some group.

Week of 4/19/2013
Children - we've had Parenthood, now look at it from another perspective: your characters may have kids or want them. What kids do they meet? Do their kids play nice together? What do their kids want and how do your adult characters help or hinder?

Groomed - Presenting oneself to the world is a complicated thing. There are soap products to select, then hair to style, shaving to do, cosmetics to apply...alternately your characters might ignore some or all of the above. Write about your character's hair and/or grooming style.

Week of 4/26/2013
Head of the Class - Our characters have been to academies, universities, boot camps, and the universal school of hard knocks: as students, as teachers, or maybe as maintenance, assistant, or thief. Write about your character's education.

Week of 5/3/2013
Fashion - Most of our characters wear clothes. Do they follow fashion? Set it? Actively offend it? Are they more collars and cuffs or sweats and monkey-lizard slippers? What's their favorite thing to wear, what have they saved for years even if they don't fit into it, and what would they love to wear if they could just find the occasion for it? Write about your characters' clothing and how they relate to it. Prompt courtesy of iamthehoyden.

Week of 5/10/2013
Planes, Trains, and Thrantamobiles - It's a big galaxy out there and we all have to get around somehow. Our characters encounter ticketing, hyperspace calculations, docking fees, late-running rides and more on ships, banthas, landspeeders, thrantas, troop transports, tauntauns, and/or whatever improvised modes of transportation they can get. Write about your character's transportation experience.

Week of 5/17/2013
Cross My Heart - Honesty isn't exactly espoused by most organizations in the galaxy, but some individuals and groups still strive for it. Write about your characters encountering (or handing out) the right or wrong truth at the right or wrong time.

Week of 5/24/2013
The Droids You're Looking For - One of the hallmarks of the Star Wars universe is the presence of droids: astromech, protocol, combat, and more. Write about the droids that support (our hinder) your characters.

Week of 5/31/2013
Anniversaries - In honor of the SFC reaching the one-year mark, think about Anniversaries. Some dates are remembered and celebrated; others are remembered and reviled. From the fresh anniversary of something that happened just a year ago to the enduring remembrance of holidays for cultures and nations, people often mark the date and do something to observe the occasion. Write about an anniversary or significant holiday in your character's life.

Week of 6/7/2013
Defenses - Sometimes our characters defend what's theirs. Sometimes they defend the things they care about. Sometimes they're asked to defend things they really don't like. Whether in combat or conversation, write about your character's efforts to defend something or someone.

Week of 6/14/2013
Mea Culpa - Our characters have probably done a lot of wrong or perceived wrong, one way or another. Sometimes they think an apology is necessary. Sometimes they really don't. Sometimes they may want to apologize even when they didn't do anything. Sometimes the wronged party accepts it; sometimes they reject it; sometimes they're not there to hear it. Write about a time when your character or someone they know was prompted to apologize.

Week of 6/21/2013
Animal Kingdom - Animals are all over in Star Wars, be they beasts of burden, metal-devouring parasites, mounts, showcase pets or underfoot vermin. Write about the animals your character has encountered.

Week of 6/28/2013
Gifts - Gifts serve a multitude of functions, from hospitality, diplomacy, housewarming, affection, celebration, to manipulation or poison. They can be big or small, expensive or free, expected or surprising, public or private. Write about a gift your character has given or received.

Week of 7/5/2013
Navigation - Our characters often find themselves navigating toward a goal by means of maps, tracking signals, advisors, or instinct. Write about some guidance that pointed the way.

Week of 7/12/2013
Collections - This wide galaxy is a great place for hoarders...or definitely not hoarders, I don't know what you're talking about. Where would your character put all the random things you can accumulate, all the speeders, random pets, the copious crafting mats, countless outfits, armor sets, saber hilts.... or does your character only collect one thing in particular, a couple of things, or nothing at all? Prompt courtesy of Kitar.

Week of 7/19/2013
Vacation - Our characters have traveled hither and thither over a dozen or more planets for work, politics, personal vendettas, and more. But where do they go to relax and what do they do when they've got some time to unwind? Write about your character's vacation time. Prompt courtesy of alaurin.

Week of 7/26/2013
If I were a Rich Man - Our characters come from all walks of life. Were credits just a means to an end, or did they ever dream of wealth and how they might get it? Make it on their own (legal or otherwise), inherit from family, or play the Cartel Lotto and hope? In the course of their stories they become wealthy and powerful. What do they do with all those credits? Did money buy happiness? Did they fulfill their dreams, or was their monetary success empty and hollow? Prompt courtesy of Striges.

Week of 8/2/2013
Lurkers - This is your chance to get in on the fun. If you’ve been reading this thread but never posted or commented, take a chance and post something! Write on anything you like, any length, any character, original or established in game. For inspiration, visit the prompt archive, but don’t feel tied to it. Not brave enough to share? Let us know what story (or stories) or character (or characters) you liked. Page one of the thread has several indices to the stories to help you.

Out of the Limelight - his is the flip side of Fame. Through the course of their stories, our characters become famous. Household names, even. Would they have prefered to stay anonymous? What things are easier when no one knows your face? How do they deal with the need for privacy? Do they ever wish they hadn’t become heroes? What made them take the plunge instead of staying safely in the background?

Veteran Writers - Tell the lurkers why you chose to post. What gave you the confidence to share your fiction with the community?

Week of 8/9/2013
Wishes - Wherever our characters go, whatever they do, it's likely they have an eye on something more. Some people keep their fondest wishes a secret; others announce it to the world. Some wish on a star, a falling leaf, a found coin, or other totems. Some find a way to make it happen, and some haven't quite reached it yet. Write about your character's wish. (Prompt courtesy of Eversteam.)

Week of 8/16/2013
Play Within A Play - (alternately titled My Immortal) - In a world where there are people, there are stories. And where there are stories, fandoms are likely to follow. And where fandoms go...well. Do any of your characters or their companions write fiction? Imagine what they would write in the way of thinly (or not at all) veiled fanfic. What stories do your characters tell about each other? (Keep it forum friendly, of course!) (I blame this prompt on kabeone.)

Paying the Piper - There might be a couple different meanings to this, but in the end nothing comes for free, and one's choices have costs and consequences. Write about a time your character had to pony up the payment...or end up on the receiving end. (Prompt courtesy of Kitar.)

Week of 8/23/2013
Mysteries - There's a lot out there we don't know. There's a lot out there some of us do know and some of us don't. Our characters are faced with many mysteries, some perhaps explainable by science or the Force or another sentient's mind, some not. What mysteries have your characters come across? Are they comfortable with not knowing or do they insist on uncovering the truth? Prompt courtesy of frauzet.

Week of 8/30/2013
Competition - Life is full of competitions, formal and informal, friendly and unfriendly. Whether it's with siblings, neighbors, colleagues, or strangers met at the intergalactic traffic light, it's human (sentient?) nature to find something to try to be better at. Sometimes there's a clear goal, sometimes there's not. Sometimes there are rules, sometimes there aren't, sometimes there are but nobody follows them. Sometimes there's a prize at the end, and sometimes it's just about bragging rights. Write about a competition your character has participated in – or tried to avoid. Prompt courtesy of alaurin.

Week of 9/6/2013
Technology - One of the great things about sci-fi is the futuristic technology. Star Wars boasts all kinds of innovations, from droids, tracking beacons, tractor beams, super lasers, lightsabers, blasters, and omnipresent (or not?) links to the Holonet. Some technologies date from ancient races, and their secrets are forgotten; some new technologies are just in the prototyping and testing stage; some are deployed on every street corner. Write about your characters' experiences with the tech of Star Wars. Prompt courtesy of Kitar.

Week of 9/13/2013
The Sure Bet - Sometimes things just fall into place, and the goal is in easy reach just an action or two away. Sometimes there's a choice between long odds and a safe bet. Or sometimes a surefire proposition walks right up and make an offer. Write about your characters' experience with a sure bet. Did it turn out the way they expected?

Week of 9/20/2013
Fitness - Let's face it, the jobs and adventures our characters go through are physically punishing. How do your characters hold up? Do they specifically work out and train, or do they rely on natural prowess? Do they ever fall out of practice? How do they compare to others, or do they go out of their way to avoid comparison? Prompt courtesy of Kitar.

Week of 9/27/2013
Pimpin' Threads! - This week, a special one-time offer: Many of us have written additional SWTOR fic on this forum or elsewhere involving the characters that we've introduced or mentioned here on the SFC. Here's your chance to post a link and write a description about these extended stories! Please tag nsfw links as appropriate.

Week of 10/4/2013
Words, Words, Words - It’s a big galaxy, and the big galaxy hosts a lot of languages. Some people are polyglots, switching among languages easily; some have enough trouble mastering one. Sometimes whole conversations go on in a foreign language, and sometimes only critical words that resist translation are used. Write about a time that certain words proved critical for your character.

Week of 10/11/2013
Irresistible Urges - Cravings can happen for lots of reasons: addiction, pregnancy, a reminder of a favorite creature comfort, or it just being 2 AM right after all the takeout places have closed. What can’t your character do without? Write about a time when cravings struck. Suggested by irishfino, iirc.

Week of 10/18/2013
Advice - In a galaxy this big there are a lot of problems to solve and there’s plenty of wisdom, given and received, to help deal with it. Your character is experienced. What advice would she give a newcomer seeking to follow her footsteps? What would he tell his children? Did a mentor give good advice? A rival? Did your character follow it? Was it useful? Prompt courtesy of Striges.

Week of 10/25/2013
Superstition - Both cultures and individuals can hold superstitions, little practices and beliefs that are supposed to put some spin on reality, make good luck or ill. Then again, some people say it’s all nonsense, and some even tempt fate by crossing superstitious lines. What superstitions does your character hold to? Has any experience seemed to prove or disprove the rule?

Week of 11/1/2013
Goodbye - Would you believe we haven’t had this prompt yet? Goodbyes come in many forms, from the quick “see you later” of an everyday contact to permanent loss. Write about a time your character said goodbye…or couldn’t.

Week of 11/8/2013
Congratulations/Awards - Sometimes everything goes right, and sometimes our characters are recognized for it. Write about a time your character received an award or congratulations. Do they feel they earned it? Did it make a positive difference for others?

Week of 11/15/2013
House of Something - The many and various worlds of Star Wars have many and various buildings (or large vehicles) that reflect their builders’ culture. Sometimes the style of architecture is really striking. Sometimes it’s less interesting than the events transpiring all over it. Write something involving a building or monument your characters have encountered.

Week of 11/22/2013
Thank You - Gratitude is a big thing. People give thanks for gifts, social niceties, kind words, significant favors, for being offered company or for being left alone. Sometimes there are specific holidays or times dedicated to gratitude, and sometimes it just comes up on the way. What is your character grateful for? Do they admit it?

Week of 11/29/2013
Shopapalooza - Whether it’s clothes, supplies, trinkets, spaceships, or groceries, our characters shop for a lot of things. Sometimes it’s a spending spree; sometimes it’s just window-shopping for what they can’t afford. It may be in a big chain mall, a backwater planet’s marketplace, an artisan’s gallery, or the Holonet. Write about your character’s shopping experience.

Week of 12/6/2013
Heritage and Antiques - Star Wars is full of special things. Old things. Things with personal meaning, things revered as holy. The lightsaber your father wanted you to have when you were old enough. Your grandmother’s silver (or silver ship) you hope one day to give to your grandchildren. The insignia of your squad’s first commander, the one whose bravery won her (or him) a medal and gave your squad its reputation. The holocron that corrupted (or redeemed) your master. What things, places, or heirlooms are special to your character?

Week of 12/13/2013
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered - Our universes see a lot of contracts made, whether verbal gentlemen’s agreements, electronic documents, or witnessed formal pacts. Sometimes contracts are entered into willingly; sometimes they’re coerced. Sometimes they’re broken; sometimes they’re protected against outside challenges. Sometimes old agreements come back at an unexpected time. Write about a contract your character made or avoided.

Week of 12/20/2013
Snatched from the Jaws of Defeat - Our characters get into a lot of scrapes, a lot of desperate situations. Sometimes it may look like there’s no way to win…but a surprise might be in store. Write about a time your character had a success they weren’t expecting.

Week of 12/27/2013
Altered States of Mind - Unlike dreaming, some altered states of mind happen while you’re wide awake and definitely doing things that affect the real world. Lots of things may affect the consciousness, from aggression-inducing biological agents to hypnotic music to spice to plain old alcohol. Write about your character’s experience with an altered state of consciousness. Was it fun or scary? Did it lead them to do something they always wished they could? Or was it more regrettable?

Week of 1/3/2014
Why Are You Still Here? - Companions are bound to you in game but your head canon may be very different. Did a companion reach the breaking point with one of your characters? Did any of them leave or even subsequently rejoin your crew? Is there a particular reason an unlikely partnership is working, or a reason that a great-on-paper partnership gets badly strained? Prompt suggested by Striges.

Week of 1/10/2014
You're Invited - Last week we talked about the companions who don't make much sense on our crew. This week let's look at other characters. We meet many NPCs during the class stories, and only some of them get to join our crews. Who would you have brought if the game let you recruit anybody? What NPCs did your character connect with but had to leave behind? Did you headcanon them as companions anyway? These need not be from the class story. Pick anyone and write about why they’re on your personal version of your character’s crew. Prompt courtesy of Striges.

Week of 1/17/2014
Marketing - Somebody’s always trying to sell our characters something. Ads, promotions, coupons, flashy events, and more try to attract footsteps and wallets. Sometimes our characters are trying to sell something – be it services, unwanted equipment, or a cargo hold’s worth of hot merchandise. Besides all that, somebody’s got to be the face of advertising campaigns. Sometimes the advertising is right on and sometimes it’s…exaggerated. Write about your character’s experience with marketing.

Week of 1/24/2014
Synchronicity - Sometimes coincidences happen up close and sometimes they happen lightyears away. Sometimes it’s a plan clicking into place and sometimes it’s totally unintended. Sometimes it makes things seem like they’re meant to be…sometimes it makes it seem like they’re really not. Write about a time very similar events happened to your characters at the same time and possibly at a distance.

Week of 1/31/2014
Boring Conversation Anyway - Our characters talk to a lot of people. Sometimes these conversations end well. Sometimes they end...less well. Conversations may culminate in agreement, anger, happiness, thoughtfulness, kisses, or bloodshed…or get cut off before any satisfying conclusion is reached. Write about the way one of your characters' conversations ended.

Week of 2/7/2014
Achilles' Heel - Our characters are powerful combatants, talented tacticians, clever diplomats and all-around legendary figures. However, everybody has that one "thing" that gets to them, that hurts them, or that proves their vulnerability in some way. A fear of heights... a particularly sensitive spot or old injury... an intolerance for bright sunlight... an irrationally severe dislike of womp-rats... what's the one thing that gets to your character, even on a good day? Prompt courtesy of TrystanLaryssa.

Week of 2/14/2014
Love Letters and Secret Valentines - How do our characters stay in touch with the ones they love when they are far apart? Did they write romantic messages while they were courting? Has a new companion stumbled on some cherished correspondence with an old flame? Perhaps they never worked up the courage to express their feelings except in unsent letters or anonymous notes. In a romantic mood, what would your character write and to whom? Prompt courtesy of Alaurin.

Week of 2/21/2014
Where are they Now? -- As our characters move through their stories they change the lives of many others, most of whom we never see again. The Force-sensitive Flesh Raider on Tython. Seh-run, the Abyssin on Korriban. Zi’am on Hutta. Paul and his elderly parents on Ord Mantell. That's just a few examples. Whatever happened to them? Did they became stalwart allies or bitter rivals? If they died because of our character’s actions, do they have relatives looking for revenge? We often remark about how characters from early on in the stories show up later to help or hinder our characters, or how characters from different class stories make cameos in others. How about some of these forgotten ones?

*continued in the next post

alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 09:29 AM | #3
Prompt Archive, page 2

Week of 2/28/2014
Inheritance -- We’ve looked at antiques and heirlooms our characters possess. We’ve looked at legacies, both as a game mechanic and as something your character hopes to leave behind. But what about things they inherit? The things that follow them whether they like it or not. A noble or reviled name? Some nebulous family curse (mother never did say what it entailed). Maybe they’re heir to a throne they don’t want, or were passed over for one they desperately did. Perhaps it’s the family farm, the family business, or perhaps it’s literally nothing at all. What sorts of things or have your characters inherited, and how did they deal with them? Prompt courtesy of LaxKnight.

Week of 3/7/2014
Why They Fight--and Why They Don’t -- Characters manage to get into all kinds of altercations, large and small. Fights. But why? Not the easy answers: for the Empire, for the Republic, for family or the Force or bad luck any of the other reasons they might give to themselves or others. Why does your character choose to fight? Under what circumstances do they choose violence as a solution, and where do they draw the line? Even the cowards and the pacifists have reasons for their choices, and borders they will not cross. Explore it. Prompt and link courtesy of Kabeone.

For a more complete essay, read Why We Fight by Michi on tumblr.

Week of 3/14/2014
Life has no Reset Button -- Your character makes decisions every day, from minor ones, like what to wear, to vital important ones that change lives. Whether to capture or kill a prisoner. To stay with a partner or break up. To follow an order or disobey. They do the best they can under pressure and with limited information. What choices do they regret? Which ones might they do differently, now that they’ve had time to reflect? Would they make the same choice, knowing the consequences? Or are they even more sure now that they made the right decision?

Week of 3/21/2014
This week, another prompt in two parts:

Part One: Luminous Beings We Are -- Life is bound up, figuratively and literally, with light. Whether it's the physical study, the Light Side, or the dawning at the most unexpected times, we may find light altering the living space, illustrating the spirit, or showing the way. Write about your character's interaction with light. Prompt courtesy of BrightEphemera.

*Sneak preview for next week: Darkness!

Week of 3/28/2014
Forever Will It Dominate Your Destiny - On the other hand, darkness is the figurative and literal opposite and complement to light. Whether it's the physical state, the Dark Side, or some kind of ignorance, we may find darkness concealing what we need, dirtying what it touches, or hiding on the unexpected flip side of something. Write about your character's interaction with darkness. Thank you, BrightEphemera, for this pair of prompts.

Week of 4/4/14
Passing On - “How we face death is at least as important as how we face life.” No one is truly immortal. Even those who have conquered aging and disease still have to deal with the inevitable dangers of combat and the perils of an adventuring life. What happens when death finally catches up with your character? Maybe a near miss gives her pause, an unwelcome reminder of mortality. Does he go out with a bang, a whimper, or quietly in his sleep? What happens to the ones left behind? This prompt courtesy of Mirdthestrill. (Quote courtesy Star Trek 2, The Wrath of Khan, at the risk of crossing fandom streams and interrupting The Princess Bride. It seems I picked the wrong movie to quote this week.)

Week of 4/11/14
Laughing Fit- Humor is universal and yet also individual. What leaves one person in stitches falls flat for another for reasons of cultural or personal experience. Everyone’s funny bone is a little different. What about your characters? What makes them laugh? Do they have favorite comedians? Favorite parodies? Farce? Cat videos? There’s plenty of humor in everyday things as well. Maybe an amusing juxtaposition of events sets them off, a misspelled or misread sign, or a companion taking a pratfall. Write about a time when your character couldn’t stop laughing. Prompt suggested by Frauzet for Alaurin, who needs some laughter this week.

Week of 4/18/2014
...And Taxes- It’s said that death and taxes are the only certainties. We covered death in a recent prompt, so how about taxes? Both the Empire and Republic are huge, with countless fees, license requirements, and just plain old taxes. Hutt space is independant, but it still has to run. Does your character accept taxes as part of the cost of doing business, find ways to minimize the bill, or skip it altogether and hope no one notices? Write about your character’s encounters with taxes, fees, tariffs, and other means of government fund-raising.

Week of 4/25/2014
Bushido - The seven classic Western virtues--see this week’s NotLP--are very individual-oriented. By contrast, the Bushido code stresses community and interaction: Rectitude (gi, righteousness or justice), Courage (yuu), Benevolence (jin), Respect (rei), Honesty (makoto), Honor (meiyo), and Loyalty (chuugi). Write about the presence or absence of bushido virtues in your characters' lives. Thank you, BrightEphemera, for this prompt idea.

Week of 5/2/2014
Tests and Examinations - Tests are almost as pervasive as credits: Jedi or Sith trials, ship or vehicle operator’s license exams, weapons certifications, advanced intelligence analysis, basic maths. What kind of tests has your character taken? Did she prepare well or wing it? Pass or fail? What about retakes? Write about your character getting through some of the various testing and certifications he’s encountered.

Week of 5/9/2014
Miracles and Wondrous Things - Star Wars is a universe with amazing high technology and an equally amazing mystical Force. Is there room between these two for a miracle? How would your character explain what defies explanation? Has he ever had to? What would she say to someone who disagrees? This prompt courtesy of Frauzet. Thanks, Frauzet!

Week of 5/16/2014
Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be. Whether borrowing money, your sister's clothes, your mother’s starship, or living on borrowed time, everyone borrows things. What happened when your character did? Did he lose it? Break it? Have a heck of a time giving it back in one piece? Or was your character the lender? Was the item ever returned or the credits paid back? What kind of condition was it in? Write about a time your character borrowed or lent out something. Prompt courtesy of Mirdthestrill.

Week of 5/23/2014
Obsession: Everyone has interests. Occasionally, they devolve into fandom, or even obsession. What things obsess your character? Is it a favorite holoshow? A musical group? Perhaps swoop racing or huttball? Maybe something more esoteric--akk dog breeding, archaeology, perfume making, fine-tuning hyperdrive engines, or something else. Love feels a lot like obsession in the early infatuation stage. Or might it be a true obsession: intrusive thoughts or actions your character can’t ignore. Write about some of them and how they affect your character.

Week of 5/30/2014


Monuments: Beings everywhere create monuments. They can be statues or walls or great tomes or endowments to museums. Made to heroes, to wars, to governments, to benefactors, to saints, or even stupidity. They may be ancient or recent or forgotten. They may be revered or reviled, or maybe even both at once. Perhaps monuments to your character, desired or not, known or not. Write about your character’s interactions with monuments.


Serendipity: Merriam-Webster defines serendipity as “the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for; also : an instance of this.” For many, stumbling on this thread was an instance of serendipity. Not all surprises are bad, and sometimes good things happen when you least expect it. When has your character experienced serendipity?

Week of 6/6/2014
Something Borrowed-writers find inspiration everywhere, sometimes in other people’s fic. Not necessarily characters, though we had a prompt for that, too. Sometimes it’s a scene or a description, a side character or a setting. The name of a bureau, what the hyperspace vortex looks like, a slogan, or something else! We’ve been host to a number of collaborations recently, so let’s make it official. Write your story and be sure to note what you borrowed and from whom. Add a link to your inspiration if you can.

Week of 6/13/2014
The Sounds of Silence-Tell a story without dialogue. Perhaps the characters are cannot speak or choose not to. Maybe the characters are incapable of speech. Maybe communications are cut off. Thoughts don’t count unless they’re audible in some way, and while journal entries or written correspondence fit the letter, they miss the spirit. Challenge yourself!

Week of 6/20/2014
Background Music and Leitmotif: Imagine Darth Vader’s entrance without the Imperial March. It’s hard. His music is as much a part of his character as his black cloak and mask. Many writers have playlists for their stories, or at least particular songs that apply to certain characters or situations, or that help evoke a character or a sense of place as they write. This week’s challenge: Write a story and link the background music that goes with it, or a story centered on your character and link their leitmotif. Prompt courtesy of Mirdthestrill.

Week of 6/27/2014
A Punny Story:-Often derided as the lowest form of wit, some of our most respected writers --like Shakespeare and Alfred Hitchcock--adored puns. Making and understanding puns requires a large vocabulary, a vital thing for writers. This week’s challenge: write a pun story; a story that exists for the sole purpose of setting up a pun. See this TVTropes link for some examples (click at your own risk), a wonderful music related one here by Peter Schickele (the story begins at 4:48, but the intro is totally worth it).

Sadly, puns rarely translate well outside their native language. Regardless, if your story ends in a non-English pun, please include both the original and a translation/explanation.

Week of 7/4/2014
Dialect and Accent: Everyone has one whether you're aware of it or not. Your words and how you say them reveal a lot about where you were born, where you grew up, what you like to read, or where and how you learned another language. What do your character's word choices tell about them? Does it mark them as ruling class, streetwise, coreward, rimward, immigrant, outsider, insider, or something else? Do they try to hide their unique pronunciation or revel in it? A source of shame or pride? Are they right and everyone else talks funny? Explore it!

Week of 7/11/2014
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Pictures can also provide inspiration. A photograph, professional or otherwise, a scene in a movie, a well-known painting, a screenshot, a character portrait, if you’re lucky enough to have one. Write the “thousand words” (figuratively) behind the picture and share both if you can. Prompt courtesy of Jokad via the SWTOR forums.

Week of 7/18/2014
There's No "I" in Team: As you play you pick up companions aplenty, maybe make friends in groups, and head-canon a lot of NPC involvement in your personal story. Over time, you wind up developing a team of players who work together in some fashion. Without that team, your character would never have the level of success they've achieved. Write about either how your team learned to mesh with each other, how they function as a unit now, or how they bond in the aftermath of a mission. Prompt courtesy of SillyMonkey71 via Tumblr.

Week of 7/25/2014
Out of Time: Often, there seems not enough time in a day to get done what we need or want to do. Time management gurus to the contrary, sometimes there’s just too much going on. What about your characters? Everyone has to prioritize and has different reasons for setting priorities as they do. In fiction you can avoid all schedule conflicts, but where’s the fun in that? Write about a time your character had to make a choice about what gets done and what gets left for later, or not done at all. This prompt courtesy (in a roundabout way) of BrightEphemera.

Week of 8/1/2014
Missing Something: We have things we’re good at and things we’re not. What happens to your character when something they rely on is suddenly useless or unavailable? The obvious is if your Jedi or Sith cannot call on the Force for some reason. But what about a sniper without their trusty rifle, a smuggler without their contacts, or a trooper without their squad? How did it happen? What does your character do?

Week of 8/8/2014
Recurring Events: The rakghoul event is in full swing again. What other kinds of things happen to your character on a regular basis? Hyperdrive not working? Lightsaber lost? Ship stolen? Escape in the nick of time? Maybe something more prosaic, like problems with laundry. Give us a peek into one of those ongoing things your character deals with.

Week of 8/15/2014
A Matter of Public Record: Every character is a wealth of information, and it's probably to someone’s advantage to know it. Everything from basic information like name, species, and gender, to more specific things, like school records, close relatives, or their favorite snack food. So what do they know about your character? What's on their public record and is any of it accurate? Has it been changed, erased, or confused with someone else’s? Who might want to know? Why?

Week of 8/22/2014
Coming Home: With the advent of strongholds, what or where does your character consider home? Do they have an apartment on Coruscant, a stronghold in the wilds of Dromund Kaas, a sky palace on Nar Shaddaa? Is their ship their home, wherever it travels? Maybe home is more about the beings they’re with--their squad, their crew, their companions. We had a prompt for “Stomping Grounds,” which was more nostalgia, a childhood or imagined home. This is more at the present. At the end of the day, where does your character come home?

Week of 8/29/2014
Can’t Get There From Here: Travel--or any plan--doesn’t always go smoothly. There are delays, changes in schedules, barriers blocking the way. What does your character do when their usual route is impassable? Do they follow the detour signs? Do they know--or think they know--a much better alternative route? What happens? Thanks to Frauzet for this prompt.

Week of 9/5/2014
Downtime: Our characters have plenty of responsibilities. But what do they do when there’s nothing pressing? What fills those little spaces between committee meetings, the time between jobs or assignments, the days in hyperspace en route to the next big crisis? We’ve looked at both hobbies and vacations, let’s take a look at something a little less organized. How does your character fill their downtime? Prompt suggested by DoctorToDannyBoy.

Week of 9/12/2014
Another Day on the Job: Our characters lead pretty interesting lives. Things they consider routine are anything but. So what does one of those days look like? What’s a regular day in the life of a special-forces trooper or Dark Council member? What problems do they face on a day-to-day basis? What unique occupational hazards do they avoid--or what perks do they enjoy? Even an ordinary day for your character is bound to be extraordinary in some way. Write about it.

Week of 9/19/2014
Fish Out of Water: No one fits in everywhere. Even a well-travelled character, or one accustomed to shifting identities, can feel out of place. So how about yours? When has your character been in a truly alien, uncomfortable situation? Why were they so far out of their comfort zone? Did they wander into the wrong neighborhood? Did they miss important social cues or misinterpret what they saw? Write about a time when your character was the fish out of water.

Week of 9/26/2014
Words of Wisdom: We’ve explored mentors and teachers and learning and advice. Now specifically: what words of wisdom did your character take to heart? Was there a particular quote he or she remembers? Why was it important? Because it proved true or was so abjectly wrong? Was it an intentional statement, or an offhand remark they’d be surprised anyone remembers? Write about it and why it’s important to your character.

Week of 10/3/2014
Description: In the Short Fiction Weekly Challenge, we generally leap right into our characters, relying on quick sketches and familiarity to carry a reader. After all, that's how short stories usually work. How about we take a step back and really describe a character. How do they look? What kind of mannerisms do they have that a casual observer might notice? How do they dress? Go nuts giving a detailed description of what you'd see, looking at one or more of your characters.

Week of 10/10/2014
Crossovers and Mashups: Imagine Captain America in the Clone Wars (Captain Republic and the Howling Commandos! Captain Empire!). Or the adventures of Han Solo, dashing rogue, and his best friend Chewbacca the genius-inventor-gorilla in a steampunk galaxy far far away. Padmé as Sleeping Beauty. Star Wars, the soap opera. Star Wars itself is a hodgepodge of bits and influences from ancient mythology, old-time serials, modern sci-fi, and everything in between. Explore some crossovers with other properties or genres and either OCs or canon characters.

Week of 10/17/2014
Writer’s Revenge!: “Do not annoy a writer. They may put you in a book and kill you.” When looking for inspiration for a minor or background character, or even an important adversary, why not borrow the aggravating habits of someone familiar to you? The chatterbox co-worker who can’t stop telling stories--but none of them are interesting. The neighbor whose garage band meets daily--and loudly--at six in the morning. This week, take the best revenge on someone who irritates you: make them a character in a story. Death, of course, is optional. Have fun!

Week of 10/24/2014
Write a Theme: Star Wars is unusual in its almost universal appeal, and much of its success has been attributed to the Lucas’ incorporation of universal mythological themes in the story. Good stories (and modern myths) often have these kinds of themes tying the narrative together. The fall from grace, the epic journey, love conquers all, finding hidden treasures, discovering inner strength. What recurring themes weave through your characters’ stories? Sometimes these ideas aren’t obvious at the outset, but become so as you write or review previous stories. This week’s challenge: pick one specific to your character and write a story featuring it.

Week of 10/31/2014
Breaking the Fourth Wall:
Addressing the Audience
: Characters aren’t supposed to acknowledge their audience. Suppose they did? How would they speak to all those who’ve been reading and enjoying their adventures? What might they say to the complainers?

Addressing the Creator: If your character could say something about their writer, what would it be? Would they complain about something? Take the opportunity to give you a piece of their minds? Maybe ask for a favor? Or would they be grateful and thank you? This one’s a lot more meta than we usually explore; roll with it and have fun.

Week of 11/7/2014
That Didn’t Happen!: Or, alternately, It Didn’t Happen That Way! Whether you follow the class and planet stories in your fic or consider them more of a springboard, the dialogue wheel still helps tease out your character’s motivations and actions. And then, there are those other times. When none of the options are in-character. No matter how many times you exit out of a scene, what combination of responses you pick, there’s no way your character would act like that. This week’s challenge is to choose one of those moments and write what really happened. Inspired by Striges' own recent experience with a Bounty Hunter quest.

Week of 11/14/2014
Exactly as Planned: Last week, the challenge was to rewrite an in-game event that your character would never do. This week, it’s the opposite. Were there any quests--class or otherwise--that fit your character’s story perfectly? Maybe something happened during combat or while exploring. Flashpoints? Even a bug, glitch, or mistake can become part of your character’s story. How did that go down? Write a story about a canon event that really is part of your character’s personal canon.

Week of 11/21/2014
Weapon of Choice: Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster: What weapons does your character favor? Is she a traditionalist or does she prefer the new hotness? Does he choose something typical for his class, role, or species, or something wildly different and unexpected? Why? From Corso’s Torchy to Lord Zash’s first saber, weapons play an important role in your character's story. Take a moment and share it.

Week of 11/28/2014
Traditions: Everyone has traditions. Family, cultural, or personal. Some we keep out of habit or societal pressure, others because they hold special meaning. What about your characters? What traditions do they follow? Why? Something as complicated as an elaborate religious festival, or as simple as shredding every completed contract? Maybe your character specifically avoids certain traditions they grew up with. Or adopted new ones from an alien culture. Whatever the case, there's a story in it.

Week of 12/5/2014
First Impressions--of someone else: Our characters encounter many others during the course of their stories. Some become strong allies, loyal companions. Others implacable enemies. Some end up just plain useless. Still, it’s hard to size up someone in a glance. Write about your character’s initial encounter with someone who becomes important later in their story.

Week of 12/12/2014
Tall tales and exaggeration: Our characters’ adventures are exciting enough, but even the most entertaining true tale gets better with a little embellishment. Has your character ever improved on the original events for cantina entertainment? Or to impress someone? Enhanced their reputation by bending the facts a little? A lot? Or has someone else on their behalf? Is it odd overhearing someone else telling stories about them? Are the tales even a little bit true by the time they come back? This week, let’s have some boasting, aggrandizement, and hyperbole.

Week of 12/19/2014
A Good Villain: Every hero needs an antagonist, someone who thwarts them at every turn. This week’s challenge: write a story centered on your character’s main villain. This might be an enemy the game made for your character or one you invented in your character’s story, but either way, this is their time in the sun. Make it good. Or bad, as the case may be.

Week of 12/26/2014
Parties: Every culture has social functions. For celebrating holidays, for marking special occasions, for fun. What does your character think of them? Are they an avid participant or a wallflower? Throw their own party at the drop of a hat, or have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to a not-exactly-optional affair? Arrive early and stay late, or put in a brief appearance and slip away as soon as possible? Are the parties they host the place to be seen, the talk of the town, where anyone who is anyone simply has to be? Or are they low key, private, and invitation only? What about crashing a party--or dealing with the crashers? A combination of any and all these things? In this week of celebrations of various kinds, write about your character’s social scene.

Week of 1/2/2015
Resolutions: Has your character ever resolved to change a bad habit or start a better one? What prompted the impulse? Did they make a private vow or did they enlist the help of friends or family? Were they successful? Or did they slip back into old ways after a while? For this New Year Week, write about your character and resolutions.

Week of 1/9/2015
Baggage: “What’s in there?” “Only what you take with you.” What kind of baggage does your character carry with them from early experiences? Good or bad. Are they mistrustful because someone took advantage of them? Insecure because of past criticism? Confident because they've overcome obstacles? Sure of their destiny- or afraid of their fate? The past shapes your character's present. Tell a story about how or why.

Week of 1/16/2015
Colors: Republic Blue. Empire Red. Sith Black. Jedi Brown. We associate nations, religions, companies, families, and even emotions with certain colors. What about your character? Do they have a favorite color? Do colors mean much to them? Do they abide by the color conventions for their affiliations? Or do they choose something different because they prefer it? Why? This week, write about how your character navigates the visual spectrum.

Week of 1/23/2015
Lifespan: A human in the Star Wars universe might easily live to 100 standard years. Wookiees live four times as long. Chiss, on the other hand, typically reach only 80, and Talz are luck to get to fifty. In a galaxy where beings of such differing lifespan can meet, interact, become friends, enemies, partners, or more, how do they deal with the knowledge that one of the pair will outlive the other? Perhaps by a significant amount? Does your character accept their (or a loved one’s) natural span or desire more? Were they reckless in their youth and less so in age, or the reverse? The Force is known to prolong lives--perhaps even to immortality or near-immortality. How does a character plan for that? This week, write about how your character approaches differences in expected lifespan.

**Many thanks to Bright_ephemera for this handy Species Lifespan Chart!

Week of 1/30/2015
Pick-up lines: Use them? Been used on? Turned down? Accepted? Laughed at? Good ones, bad ones, sincere or stupid and everything in between. Write about how your character deals with a classic (if dubious) way to connect with someone else.

Week of 2/6/2015
Religious differences: Unlike most science fiction/space opera, Star Wars and SWTOR put religion and belief front and center. Jedi and Sith are the most obvious conflicting ideologies, but they are not alone. The Witches of Dathomir. The Trandoshan Scorekeeper. Voss' Mystics and the opposing Gormak Shaman. A quick perusal of Wookieepedia will find even more. How does your character view all these belief systems? Do they subscribe to any of them? None? How do they reconcile the differences among them? In a universe where the Force is undeniably real, where it inspires both hope and horror, what does your character think of those "hokey religions" and "sorcerer's ways"?

Week of 2/13/2015
Cupid’s Arrow: According to legend, any heart pierced by Cupid’s golden-tipped arrow--human or deity alike--filled with uncontrollable, all-consuming desire. Classic love at first sight. But Cupid’s quiver also contained lead-tipped arrows with the opposite effect: provoking disdain and aversion. Has either arrow ever wounded your character? Or perhaps one of their close associates? An object of affection? Cupid’s influence covers the gamut of passions--from the sensual to unrequited all the way to bitter animosity. Tell a story where your character experiences irrational love or irrational hate. Or both.

Week of 2/20/2015
Preparation: How does your character approach a competition, a blind date, or a delicate mission? Are they a meticulous planner? The one who has contingencies for the contingencies? Rehearsing their lines or moves until they can do them asleep? Or are they more of a “never tell me the odds” sort, walking in with an outline--if that--and winging it? Whether gathering intel and supplies or getting into the proper mental state, show your character getting ready.

Week of 2/27/2015
Good/Bad Habits- We're all creatures of habit, whether it be actions (speaking before thinking, gambling, looking for all exits whenever entering a room), rituals (sleeping in the buff, wearing a particular color/article of clothing for luck), or substance use (caf, stims, alcohol, spice). Write about a habit your character has. Thanks to Alaurin for this prompt!

Week of 3/6/2015
Propaganda: Regardless of their affiliations, it’s inevitable your character encountered propaganda or disinformation of some sort. Did they recognize it at the time? Later? Not at all? Did they challenge it or write it off as ridiculous? Were they offended? Shocked? Some classes--Agent and Trooper come to mind--might even be active participants. Write a story about your character and questionable official truth.

Week of 3/13/2015
Who?: Remember that character? That original character? You know the one. The one you wrote a story for or maybe several and then petered out? That one. This week, resurrect them. We had “Night of the Living Dead” for prompts, this time, it’s Night of the Living Dead character. Pick any prompt and give a patiently waiting character a story.

Week of 3/20/2015
What About That Guy?: Stories usually concern major characters. Sometimes the main plot is from the game, sometimes not. Regardless, stories also contain a number of incidental characters and minor plots as well. The guard at the door, the customs official who broke up the fight, a convenient corpse, the character (probably in a red shirt) who dies in the first scene to prove the situation is serious. Not to mention why was there a guard, how did the fight start, where did the corpse come from, what made the situation serious. Every story has places to explore behind the scenes. This week, pick one of your favorite works and fill in one or more of those spaces. (This prompt suggested by Feldraeth) (apologies to Galaxy Quest’s Crewman #6)

Week of 3/27/2015
Incongruity--A wookie with curlers, troopers in armor dancing to a popular tune, a toddler with a lightsaber. Some things just don’t seem to go together. The result may be funny or tragic. When has your character encountered incongruous things or odd juxtapositions?

Week of 4/3/2015
Japes, Satire, and Parody: Beings of every kind tell jokes, often about each other. What about your character? Do they delight in mocking those who desperately deserve it? Maybe they’ve been the butt of someone else’s spoof. Or perhaps they just enjoy seeing authority taken down a few pegs. This week, have a little fun at the expense of your character, their friends, or enemies.

Week of 4/10/2015
Mistaken Identity: A classic literary device employed in drama and comedy alike. Has your character ever been mistaken for someone else? Have they made an error about another’s identity? What happened? Did hilarity ensue, or was it a more serious situation?

Week of 4/17/2015
Paranoia: “Is it paranoia when they really are out to get you?”-- every Agent ever, and a healthy number of Sith besides. So how about your character? Are they reasonably cautious, just planning for the worst, or outright paranoid? Or is everyone really out to get them? Thanks to Frauzet for this prompt. (And credit to Joseph Heller for the paraphrased quote)

Week of 4/24/2015
Scent: Humans as a species aren’t known for having a particularly good sense of smell. Despite this, perfumes and scents are incredibly popular, either to hide, replace, or enhance natural odors on both their person and possessions. Does your character care? Do they have a favorite scent? A soap, a perfume, an incense? Do their species’ preferred fragrances turn off others--or smell really good? How do their companions (some of whom may have better olfactory abilities) deal with the profusion of clashing or complementing scents? Or do they prefer your character au naturel? Credit to Alaurin’s story for inspiring this prompt.

Week of 5/1/2015
Dance: We’ve had music prompts before, but what about dance? Whether formal or informal, group, alone, or in pairs, most cultures accompany music with dance. How does your character relate? Do they sit on the sidelines watching others or do they command the attention of all on the floor? It’s May Day! Write a story about your character and how they dance, even if it’s with two left feet.

Week of 5/8/2015
Over Your Head- Interesting stories happen when your character is least expecting it, and least prepared. Maybe they misread the situation. Maybe their information was incorrect or incomplete. Perhaps an enemy (or friend!) arranged the whole thing. Or maybe they stumbled into the villain's lair on accident. Maybe the villains stumbled into theirs! What do they do? How does your character handle being in over their head?

Week of 5/15/2015
Ships that Pass in the Night: Sometimes, two important characters miss each other completely. Perhaps they’re actively avoiding each other: hiding, in disguise, or incognito. They might notice one another, but without recognition. Perhaps their circles are so different they don’t realize who they've seen. Maybe they don't even do that much, passing like ships in the night. This week, write about the encounter that might have happened, but didn't.

Week of 5/22/2015
You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Every character wants something. It might be tangible: food, money, an ancient artifact. It could be intangible: respect, success, fame or infamy. Often, their entire story is the pursuit of their desire. But something always gets in the way. What happens when something or someone thwarts your character? Gets in between your character and what they want? How do they deal with it?

Week of 5/29/2015
Lost and Found--Characters lose things: keys, rings, treasures, friends, their way. They find things too: rings (again), companions, their courage. This week, write about what your character has lost, or what they found. Or both.

Week of 6/5/2015

Happy 3rd Birthday SFC!!!

Milestones:Milestones are more personal than Rites of Passage or Turning Points, both previous prompts. It's something significant for your character, something they might mark, independant of holidays, formal anniversaries, or rituals. The day your character finally paid off a loan--or the day they took one out to finance their dream. The first time your character felt like they belonged among their peers--or when they realized they never would. Their last drink, their first dance, moving out, moving on. Tell a story about your character reaching or remembering a personal milestone.

Mixed Doubles: Combine any two prompts you like and write a story! For added fun, choose randomly. Three years of prompts means more than 150 prompts to pick from.

Week of 6/12/2015
You Were The Chosen One! Or Were You?: Game stories often cast your character as The Chosen One, the One destined to Fix All The Problems. But not every character fits that trope, and not every one should. Does yours? Or not? Emphatically not? Or maybe they are, but not in the way anyone hoped. Bringing balance to the Force by reducing its practitioners to two Dark and Two Light certainly fulfils the prophecy, but probably wasn't what Yoda expected. Where does your character fall on the Chosen One continuum? Express it in a story.

Week of 6/19/2015
Best Buddies: Does your character have a best friend? The one they’d like to hang out with just for fun, whether fun is cross-country skiing on Hoth or downing shots in a Nar Shaddaa Huttball cantina? The person who completed their sentences long before they met their significant other? Maybe became their significant other? Did your character stay in touch? Have they grown apart or away, the friendship almost remembered, but not quite important enough to restart? This week, write about your character being with, losing, forgetting, or reconnecting with their best buddy.

Week of 6/26/2015
I Dare You!: Few phrases in the English language have gotten people into more trouble, except possibly “Hey watch this!” So how about your character? Do they feel obliged to accept any dare? Do they dare others? Or do they regard the whole concept as ridiculous, an excuse to overrule common sense in exchange for a fleeting moment of acceptance or popularity? I dare you to write about it.

Week of 7/3/2015
Sight: Humans are a visually-oriented species, so sight is one of the easiest senses to evoke in a story and most writers use it automatically. We describe how a room looks or our character’s physical appearance. We tell the reader what our character sees. It is the most basic scene setting tool. This week’s challenge: make the character’s vision a central part of your story. Having trouble? Take it away. Maybe it’s too dark to see. Maybe they’re temporarily blinded. Maybe they’ve always been blind. Experiment!

Week of 7/10/2015
Sound--Sound is the second most often used descriptor. At the most basic level there is spoken dialogue or ambient sounds. Beyond that, a character may have a distinctive quality to their voice: nasal, raspy, or with a peculiar accent. Maybe they yell. Maybe they whisper. Ambient sounds might be soothing--a waterfall, soft music, leaves fluttering in a gentle breeze. They might be loud--machinery, nearby traffic, raucous neighbors. Used well, sounds tell the reader about the setting and the characters without the writer spelling it out. This week, try to use sound in a creative way.

Week of 7/17/2015
What an Incredible Smell You’ve Discovered!-Sense of smell. In the real world, scent can conjure up some of the most vivid memories and strong associations. It adds a dimension of realism to descriptions. At the same time it’s a very difficult sense to evoke in text. This week’s challenge is to make a scent important in your story, as well as doing your best to help the reader imagine it. It might be a perfume; an aroma specific to a place, thing, or event (pleasant or otherwise); or something with significance to your character. Some species or characters might be more aware of or sensitive to smells than others. Experiment!

Week of 7/24/2015
Blech!--How you Get So Big Eating Food of This Kind? Sense of Taste: Taste is almost as difficult to evoke as smell, and just as subjective. A pleasant flavor for one character might be revolting to another. While this prompt ties to food, taste can also include medicine or even objects. Look beyond the obvious and try to use the sense of taste in a story this week.

Week of 7/31/2015
It Doesn’t Feel Like Rock: Sense of Touch: Touch is a bit easier to evoke than smell or taste, but it’s often overlooked when setting a scene. Touch is a basic sense and every part of the body can experience it. How things feel help immerse a reader in your world and make it more real. Does your character’s armor fit well or does it chafe? Is the furniture smooth and well-polished, soft and padded, or rough and splintery? What was the food like--crunchy, spongy, chewy, tough, or silken? Does your character have a means of sensing or interpreting touch that is different from human? Explore it!

Week of 8/7/2015
Followers, Companions and Hangers-on: Whether your character is The Chosen One or just charismatic, they’re bound to attract attention. How does this affect your character? Do they try to maintain their privacy, do they reach out to those interested in them like a group of not-very-close friends, or do they treat everyone like family? Maybe a particular follower (or group!) seeks to change the nature of their relationship with your character--wanting to become closer or move farther apart. This week, consider your character and the beings watching their adventures.

Week of 8/14/2015
But I won't do that-is there a line your character won't cross ever? Some act they would never do under any circumstances? Has it been tested? Have they been dragged to and over each line step by step? Or did they hold firm? Even the bad guys have standards. What are your character’s?

Week of 8/21/2015
Souvenirs: They’re everywhere. Especially at cultural or historical attractions. Models of famous buildings or statues, clothing with maps or slogans, super-slick guidebooks, posters or postcards. Things for visitors to take home. But at its heart, a souvenir is a physical reminder of another place or event. It might be Official or it might be something ordinary that reminds them of where they bought it. It might even be a scar or injury. What kind of souvenirs does your character have? How and where did they get them?

Week of 8/28/2015
Distractions- Some characters are more focused than others but everyone gets distracted sometimes. It might be the garden-variety distraction--an urgent message, children, colleagues, someone who desperately needs six pig’s livers while your character is on their way to save the world. Or your character might distract themselves--endlessly exploring Encyclopedia Galactica instead of completing their research paper, or obsessing over shoe details rather than exercising. This week, write about how your character--Ooo, shiny.

Week of 9/4/2015
Violence is the Only Option-When interests collide, some characters resort to violence to get what they want. Even if you want to avoid it, combat is inevitable. This week, write about a time your character has to fight with another in order to a to further their goal. Thanks to Oliverthefighter for this prompt.

continued in the next post

alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 09:33 AM | #4
Prompt Archive, page 3

Week of 9/11/2015
Change of Venue-Few characters--or stories--stay in one place. Your character moves from familiar places and things to new and strange ones. Does your character relish the excitement of change, or do they prefer the predictable? What do they do when they have to move, regardless of preference? This week, pick a new place for your character to be, or write about how they got there.

Week of 9/18/2015
Fasting or Going Hungry - A character may go without food for a number of reasons: poverty, crash dieting, disciplines of faith or duty, declining weird alien food, forgetting to restock, or even forgetting to eat. What about your character? When have they experienced hunger? Was it intentional or accidental? Why? We had prompts for taste as well as favorite foods. This week, consider the opposite.

Week of 9/25/2015
Looking Forward/Anticipation - There’s always something new on the horizon, be it an opportunity, an event, or even just a well-earned rest. What is your character looking forward to? What do they anticipate happening? Are they excited? Anxious? A little of both? Something else entirely? What future thing or event is your character eagerly awaiting?

Week of 10/2/2015
I’ve got a bad feeling about this - Last week our characters were looking forward to something good. This week, they’re just as sure it’s going to be bad. When has your character known something wasn’t going to work out? How did they know? Past experience, premonition, general pessimism? Did events turn out as bad as they expected, or were they better? Worse? How bad were those bad feelings, and was it justified?

Week of 10/9/2015
...and counting- We’ve had prompts for math, but how about plain old counting and numbers? Does your character worry about how many ration bars they have? How many days (or weeks...or months!) since their last contract? Whether they have more artifacts than their nearest rival? Does your character have a lucky number? How do they show it? Maybe they just count their credits--but not before they’re in hand.

Week of 10/16/2015
Promises - It seems like such a small social contract, but a promise can be a big deal. It might be a promise to a child for a treat, to communicate with a loved one on a regular basis, or to keep a secret--state or personal. How about your character? What promises have they made? Have they kept them? Did another character break a promise to your character? Some are quick to give their word and just as quick to break it. For others, their word is their bond and never given lightly.

Week of 10/23/2015
Missing You: Your character relies on friends and companions, but they can't be there all the time. A companion takes a vacation. Maybe they had an appointment, ran an errand, or stormed off in a huff. Maybe they grew apart, took a job or a post in a faraway place. Maybe they just went to work for the day. Sometimes you don't realize how much you depend on someone until they're not there. Who does your character miss when they're gone and why?

Week of 10/30/2015
Day of the Dead- celebrated in Mexico on the first and second of November, the modern Day of the Dead celebration has its roots in ancient Mesoamerican traditions. Returning spirits of the dead are welcomed and honored with food and stories. It is a happy festival, all about retaining and celebrating connections with family who have passed on and and less about mourning them. So who would your character remember and why? If, years after their death, your character’s spirit returned to their relatives for just one night, what would they find? There are story possibilities on either side of death’s gateway, find one this week.

Week of 11/6/2015
Cheering Up- Into every life a little rain must fall, and our characters are no different. Who or what cheers them up when they're down? How would they help a friend with the blues? Whether as the cheer-er or the cheer-ee, write about some happy characters this week.

Week of 11/13/2015
Strange Relations- Every character has an assortment of friends and companions. As writers, we usually pick types or occupations that fit logically with them. But what about an oddball? Obi-Wan Kenobi was friends with a smuggler-restaurant owner, hardly a likely pair. Who among your character's compatriots has unusual skills, occupations, or backgrounds? How did they meet and become friends? Why do they remain friendly despite obvious differences?

Week of 11/20/2015
The no-win scenario - Sometimes, every choice is bad. Every option has unacceptable consequences. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Has your character faced such a situation? How did they deal with it? Did they pick the lesser of two evils or try to find a better solution? Or did they, like Kirk, cheat their way out? Do they regret their choice?

Week of 11/27/2015
Insomnia - Everyone’s had a sleepless night. Maybe more than one. What about your character? Do concerns keep them awake? Are they too excited for sleep? Maybe they just chose the wrong time for a stimulant beverage. Perhaps they were so engrossed in an activity they only realized they stayed awake all night when the sun rose. A bout of insomnia could be a single event or a recurring problem. How does your character deal with being unable to sleep--assuming their species even needs to.

Week of 12/4/2015
That's Cheating! - Some characters are honest and trustworthy to a fault. Others less so. The vast majority are somewhere in between. Where does your character fall? Do they play by the rules or make up their own? Have they been the victim of a cheater? At cards, a merchant, or even a relationship? Do stakes or situation matter, or will your character cheat (or not) any time?

Week of 12/11/2015
The Mundane - Never mind flitting about the galaxy and fighting (or furthering) evil. How does your character handle buying supplies? Doing laundry? Repairing or replacing their gear? Homework? Housework? Reports? Letters? There's an awful lot of routine things in a hero's life that rarely make the big story. This week, pick one that should. Suggested by DoctortoDannyBoy.

Week of 12/18/2015
The Times, They are a-Changin' - Even in a galaxy far far away, things change. The world, the galaxy, doesn't look the same as it did when your character was younger. How does your character feel about it? Do they take it in stride, or are they more a 'back in my day' lecturer? Was the past as good-or bad-as they remember? Or are those rose-colored glasses blinders?

Week of 12/25/2015 Merry Christmas SFC!
The Gift of the Magi - not the biblical reference but the short story by author O. Henry, describes gifts given out of true love and at great personal cost to the giver. Has your character given such a gift? Did the recipient appreciate it? Was your character the recipient? Did they understand the value of what they were given?

Week of 1/1/2016 Happy New Year SFC!!
Starting Over - Rarely, your character may get the chance to start over. To try again. Do it right this time, or at least differently. What would your character do with such an opportunity? Would they take it or are they content with their current situation? What might they pay, give up, to start over? Or have they already done so? Did it work as well as they hoped? In most cultures the new year is a time to get a fresh start. What about your character?

Week of 1/8/2016
Return from Holiday - However nice the vacation, eventually your character comes back to their regular job. Is it a difficult change in mindset? Did your character leave the phone off the hook or did they check in all the time? What happened in their absence? Did everything fall apart? Did things hum along smoothly, no one noticing your character was gone? What do they find when they return? An emergency, a slow simmering crisis, or nothing at all out of the ordinary? This week, write about your character dealing with the transition from holiday to everyday.

Week of 1/15/2016
Under the Weather-everyone gets sick, even the most hale and hearty character. How does yours deal with illness? Tough it out and hope no one notices? Or do they turn into a baby at the first sign of a sniffle? Whether the treatments in your world are high-tech or top out at chicken soup and herbal tea, write about your character feeling poorly.

Week of 1/22/2016
Snappy Comebacks - in real life, people rarely have the perfect response to a rude question or comment. It usually occurs hours or even days after the conversation that prompted it. But fiction is different. Your character has the advantage of time-your time-to devise a fantastic zinger. This week, write about your character winning (or losing!) a verbal joust.

Week of 1/29/2016
Bad luck- Sometimes things go wrong. No reason. It just happens. For some characters it's an occasional annoyance. For others, well, without bad luck they'd have none at all. Or, like Obi-Wan, your character might believe “there's no such thing as luck.” Given that for a writer, it's fun when our characters get into trouble, write about a time when things didn't go quite right for them, how they dealt with it, or how they felt about it.

Week of 2/5/2016
Good Fortune- Last week we told stories about our character’s bad luck. This week, things are looking up. Maybe your character finally won the lottery, a game of poker or pazzak, or just won the flip and doesn’t have to do dishes. Maybe they found a parking meter with time left, or maybe they managed to catch the last transport off-world before the quarantine. Maybe something that looked bad on the surface turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Luck can be about big things or small. With Chinese New Year just around the corner, give your character some good fortune this week.

Week of 2/12/2016
Star-Crossed Lovers - Back when most marriages were arranged, falling in love with someone wasn't always wonderful. It caused all sorts of complications. Love can be an all-consuming fire, beautiful and terrible at the same time. People in love were prone to ridiculous acts-and that hasn't changed. Cupid's golden arrow doesn't always choose a wise or appropriate match. This week, write about a time when your character or someone they care about loved not wisely, but too well.

Week of 2/19/2016
Largess - A gift, usually of money, though in English the word retains its older connotations of generosity and charity. Characters often become wealthy over the course of their stories. Does yours spread the wealth or keep it for themselves? Do they make sure everyone knows all about their generosity, or are they quiet and anonymous? Maybe they were the recipient early in their careers. Did it help? Or do they see other's largess passing them by?

Week of 2/26/2016
Losing Confidence - everyone has a crisis of confidence at some point. For a character, it might be a minor setback early in their story, setting them off on their path. It could occur later, where overcoming the self-imposed obstacle is the dramatic moment. Or it could even be a recurring theme throughout their story. This week, write about a time your character lost confidence in their skills or abilities, and what they did about it.

Week of 3/4/2016
Theater - A movie, a play, a puppet show. A 3D holographic immersive experience. Their child's first school pageant. Your character's first school pageant. This week write about your character's experiences with the theater.

Week of 3/11/2016
Taboos - some things are off limits, be it for cultural, personal, or legal reasons. How do they relate to your character? Do they not even realize the restriction? Notice, but abide by the rules? Or do they flout society's conventions and laugh? Why? Does their attitude cause trouble for them, or does it grease the wheels?

Week of 3/18/2016
Pretty Things - They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and certainly people find beauty in different things. What about your character? Where do they find beauty? In artwork or song? Unusual landscapes? Stunning outfits? Well-crafted arguments, equations, or formulae? Animals, insects, or minerals? For this week's challenge, surround your character with pretty things, however conventional or strange they may be.

Week of 3/25/2016
Cross Purposes - some characters are allies, others indifferent. Then there are the adversaries. And sometimes two character are at cross purposes and don't' even know it. Protagonist- antagonist is one of the most basic story structures. Give it a twist with two main characters working against each other, knowingly or otherwise.

Week of 4/1/2016
Good Things Come in Small Packages: write a drabble, around 100 words, on any previous prompt or none at all. Some sources put drabbles at anywhere from 53 words on the low end to 500 at the upper end. While I don’t have BrightEphemera’s Massive Statistical Number Crunching Data of Awesomeness, I recall the majority of our stories being in the 500-1500 word range. Let’s push that lower limit. We had an unofficial drabble week a long time ago. This time it’s for real.

Week of 4/8/2016
Bigger is better- write something long. 2000+ words. Use any previous prompt or invent your own. Long works have a different set of challenges compared to short ones. In the former, every word counts. In the latter, it’s hooking the reader and keeping them entertained for the duration. Go for it!

Week of 4/15/2016
It Takes Two: Write a story in two parts. Use any previous prompt (or pair of prompts) or choose your own topic. The reason for the division is up to you. Switch perspectives, follow a different character, or leave the reader with a cliffhanger. Publish on successive days or in separate posts. Each section can be any length but they can’t stand alone! They must need each other to be complete.

Week of 4/22/2016
Menage a Trois: Brevity is the soul of wit. Tell a story in three sentences. Stop reading and write!

Week of 4/29/2016
Spring Cleaning: May Day is Sunday, time to clean out the WIP folder. Pick something and finish it, whether it’s old and cobwebby or just a few sheets down from the top. Even if you thought it solidified into a shale-like mass under the pressure of all the other WIPs. Crack it open and see. What’s inside that document you haven’t opened in ages? Sometimes pressure and long aging makes a diamond. All it needs is some polishing to shine.

Week of 5/6/2016
The Hard Way--No one is good at everything, even The Chosen One. What skills or subjects did your character have trouble with? Did they work hard and eventually master them, or did they bail as soon as possible? What happens when they need to rely on that skill? Is it still a struggle for them, or have they incorporated it into their repertoire even though it’s difficult? This week, consider something your character had trouble learning or still finds difficult, and how they deal with it.

Week of 5/13/2016
Nicknames--Does your character have an in-story nickname? How did they earn it? Was it accidentally bestowed or deliberately cultivated? Do they prefer it to their given name or hate it? Give it out or hope no one ever finds out? Do they even know they have one? Maybe their enemies (or friends!) only use it behind their back. Or is your character the one giving nicknames to everyone else?

Week of 5/20/2016
Current Events--Events in the larger fictional world shape your character’s little slice of it, whether they want it to or not. What things are in the news for your character? What do they hear about on the Holonet or from the town gossip, read about in the paper or posted on boards? How do these events affect them? Are they concerned about current events or blissfully unaware of anything outside their immediate experience? Maybe your character is the one making headlines. Write about it!

Week of 5/27/2016
Birthdays--Does your character celebrate their birthday? What do they do? Have a big party or an intimate gathering with a few close friends? Or do they hope no one notices? Perhaps they eternally claim some age they like the best, whether it’s a birthday past or one yet to come. Maybe they neither know nor care. Living another year might not mean much to them. Maybe they mark a day of different personal significance. Or maybe a significant other throws a surprise party whether your character wants it or not. Consider birthdays this week, and what they mean for your character.

Week of 6/3/2016

Happy 4th Birthday SFC!!!

Why Didn’t I Think of This Sooner? Character Version- Who hasn’t come up with a great idea well after it’s useful? Probably not your character, since they aren’t actually under real-world time constraints. What if they did? Characters can have regrets or second-guess themselves, too. Perhaps they come up with the perfect escape plan while fighting through guards they didn’t avoid. Maybe they wish they had bought the magical sword from the swordsmith. Maybe they remember the vital clue after setting off the trap. Consider this a chance to try some internal conflict for your character. What do they do when they realize they could have done something differently?

Why Didn’t I Think of This Sooner? Author Version- Who hasn’t come up with a great idea well after it’s useful? Every writer ever. Maybe it’s a better way to relate your character to your world, maybe it’s a background event, maybe it’s a change to the world itself. But you already established all of these events. It’s ok: there’s Retcon. Writers retcon all the time. Sometimes it’s major--a reboot of the universe--sometimes it’s not--rewriting or throwing out an episode or scene or adding foreshadowing where you didn’t before. This week, make a change to something in your story you wish you’d done from the beginning. The new timeline can become your new canon or you can keep it as an AU (we have a whole thread for that, too). Stories aren’t finished until the writer says they are.

Week of 6/10/2016
Scars--Reminders of old wounds. They might be visible--remnants of a childhood fall, a parent’s rage, an accident, a fire, a careless slip with a weapon or tool. The near miss that wasn’t quite a miss. But scars can be internal or emotional as well. A song that was a former lover’s favorite, a scent that summons a painful memory, a street or neighborhood your character refuses to travel. This week write a story about a scar your character bears. Consider how they acquired it, and how it affects them.

Week of 6/17/2016
Special Delivery--Has your character ever ordered or commissioned something? A weapon, an outfit, a portrait, or a story? Are they patient waiting for it to arrive or be completed or do they inquire every day? Do they micromanage? Track their package down to the minute? Or do they forget about it entirely until it shows up? Perhaps your character is the one doing the delivery. Do they get lost? Wonder what’s in the mysterious box? Write about your character’s encounters with deliveries and orders.

Week of 6/24/2016
Relaxing--When your character takes time off to kick back and relax, what do they do? Do they have to travel? Go somewhere where they can avoid pressure and constant requests for aid or advice? Do they escape into a good book or other entertainment? Perhaps they indulge in a hobby or visit a spa. What does your character do to relax? Or do they find it impossible?

Week of 7/1/2016
Deadlines--Time is running out. Your character has something to do, to complete, to finish, to arrange, and their time grows short. What were they doing? Was it something they put off until it was critical? Did they plan for a long time and only now the pieces are coming together? Did the situation arise suddenly and demand a quick response before the critical time? Was it self-imposed or did another character impose it? A deadline is nothing more than a date or time by which something must be ready or complete. Write about it this week.

Week of 7/8/2016
Overindulgence--It is possible to have too much of a good thing. The consequences vary, from a mere stomachache to a hangover to an arrest record or worse. Some characters are more prone to overindulgence than others. Has your character overindulged? Maybe they were the voice of reason while everyone around them consumed to excess. What happened? Did the incident become an embarrassing story? Tell it!

Week of 7/15/2016
Wrong Size--”one size fits all” rarely does. Anything can be the wrong size: clothes, armor, weapons, starship or computer components, backpacks or duffels, the bowl of soup your character ordered. The incident could be a minor inconvenience or a major problem. The reason behind it might be a simple mistake or deliberate sabotage. Write a story where something was the wrong size, and how your character coped.

Week of 7/22/2016
Lost in Translation--Some of our characters know many languages, some only one. Regardless, there will be times when a foreign concept is difficult or impossible to explain. Perhaps a term is untranslatable, words are insufficient, or maybe they’re using a bad dictionary. The results can be funny or tragic, or both in equal measures. This week’s challenge is to lose something in translation.

Week of 7/29/2016
Piercing the Veil--When has your character seen things for what they truly are? Seen past the plots and the machinations of other characters to what was really going on? That sudden flash of insight when the pieces come together and everything makes sense. Was it real? How do they deal with their new-found insight? Do others believe them, or are they alone with the truth? Explore a time when your character’s intuition guided their actions.

Week of 8/5/2016
Strength in Numbers: Some problems are too big for one person to deal with. Maybe your character needs specialized help; someone (or several someones) with particular skills to fill gaps in their own. They might want backup, or moral support, or someone to share the blame if everything goes south. Or perhaps they simply want confirmation that others believe they’re doing the right thing. This week, write about a time when your character found strength in numbers.

Week of 8/12/2016
Camouflage: There’s more to camouflage than the standard brown and green irregular blobs. Some visual camouflage is meant to deceive cameras or other electronic sensors, not organic eyes. Other types disguise not the presence of an object or person, but its apparent movement. Even ordinary clothing can be camouflage if it lets a person blend in when they would otherwise stand out. At its heart, camouflage is concealment. Consider a time when your character needed some, or was fooled.

Week of 8/19/2016
Sleeping Rough: Has your character ever been without a safe place to sleep? No money for a room, no one to share with, lost (urban or wilderness), or run away? Was it part of a training exercise, experiment, or mission and therefore only temporary? Was it indefinite, desperate, with no alternative and no end in sight? Was it voluntary and, despite the difficulties, still preferable to the situation they left behind? Have they been fortunate enough to never worry about housing, and how do they react toward another in poorer circumstances? This week, consider your character sleeping rough.

Week of 8/26/2016
Can’t Live Without: Everyone has something, whether literal or figurative. Is is a person? A loved one? A pet? A country, a job, or a purpose? A moral conviction. Is it a medicine that holds a disease or condition at bay? Something less serious, like a favorite book, delicacy, or entertainment. A special item. What one person perceives as necessary someone else might regard as silly--but try taking away a toddler’s Special Blanket. Everyone has something. What is it that your character can’t live without?

Week of 9/2/2016
Meeting Old Friends- Some old friends are nearly forgotten, others are close as ever. They might be separated by time and distance or right across the hall. This week, have your character meet with one of them. It could be a planned reunion, scheduled months in advance, as simple as knocking on a door for their daily tea together, or as accidental as running into them at the market. Write about a time when your character met with an old friend, however you choose to interpret it.

Week of 9/9/2016
Small Victories--Not every success has to be a big one. The world (or galaxy, or civilization) doesn’t need to be saved from certain destruction every day. Some days, it’s the little things that matter. Your character’s child, who’s been struggling with something, finally gets it. The friend who’s always late, isn’t. The minor repair really was minor. Maybe the toast landed butter-side up. This week, celebrate a small victory with your character. The big ones might be more dramatic, but it’s the little ones that keep them going.

Week of 9/16/2016
Promotions-- As characters advance through their stories, they often advance in their (fictional) organizations as well. Has your character gotten a promotion? Was it deserved? Did higher-ups pass over someone more qualified, or did your character work hard for their advancement? Additional responsibilities usually accompany a new position, how does your character handle them? Did they receive any extra training or were they thrown in the deep end? Did things work out for them? Are they pleased with their promotion or do they wish they could go back? Is it, as many things, a mixed bag? This week, give your character a promotion.

Week of 9/23/2016
Lawbreaker!--Some characters break laws on a regular basis, others are more law-abiding. But most every character has crossed the line on occasion, if only in a very minor way or on accident. What about yours? Did they know they were violating a law? Why did they do it? Because the law is ridiculous, because it is inconvenient, because the law is wrong, because they knew they wouldn’t get caught, or do they simply not care? What law did they break? Did they pay a penalty? Personal or legal? Write about it!

Week of 9/30/2016
Borders: In essence, borders are nothing more than imaginary lines between properties or political entities. Crossing the border might be little more than opening a gate or stamping a passport. It could be an all-day affair with questioning and bribery if the parties involved are hostile to each other. In space or a remote area, there are lots of opportunity for skirmishes. Someone thought the border was a light week over. The navicomp or maps are out of date and need calibrating. The patrol was supposed be gone by now. Those military exercises were planned for our side but someone got trigger happy. Transgressions could be real and deliberate, real and manufactured, or honest mistakes. This week, write about your character crossing a border, and what happened when they did.

Week of 10/7/2016
Changes in Appearance--People don’t keep the same appearance their whole lives. We cut or grow hair, change styles, choose different clothes, sometimes even consider surgery, tattoos, piercings, or other permanent alterations to our appearances. Yet written characters often stay the same. This week, make a change to your character’s appearance and write about why it happened. There’s always a reason, and it’s bound to be interesting.

Week of 10/14/2016
Coincidence--Coincidences that start or complicate a plot are often overlooked, but those that end it are not. Why? It feels fake. It breaks the suspension of disbelief. In an age of word processors, where adding foreshadowing is as easy as typing a new paragraph, it smacks of poor plotting. This week? Who cares. In a make-believe world where everything happens for a reason, this time the reason is because you need it to. Consider it an exercise in how not to tie up a story, or how to recognize what not to do. Sometimes it’s fun to write bad.

Week of 10/21/2016
Forgetting--No one’s memory is perfect. Everyone forgets, even your character. A date or name slips their mind, the password or combination to a lock, maybe they left something at home. It’s not always a bad thing. Painful memories are sometimes best forgotten, or at least put aside for a time. This week, write about a time your character forgot something, and what happened when they did.

Week of 11/4/2016
Burning the Candle at Both Ends--Too busy. There’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. Maybe it was bad scheduling or an accident or problems encountered along the way, but whatever the reason, your character has to work hard to do it. What was it? Why are they working so hard? What do they hope to gain? Is it temporary or a chronic issue for them? Can they prevent the situation, or will it happen again? This week, write about a time when your character burned a little too bright.

Week of 11/11/2016
Formal Occasion--No matter how informal a character and their story, at some point they’ll probably have to dress up. Maybe it’s a formal dinner, a wedding, a graduation or promotion, or a date at the opera. Different cultures have different etiquette for these kinds of events as well. How does your character fare? Are they as home in formalwear and surrounded by numerous forks as they are around a campfire? Are they uncomfortable? Or are they most at home in high society? This week, put your character in formalwear and at a special function and see what they do.

Week of 11/18/2016
Just Desserts--Everyone loves to see the villain get what’s coming to them. Maybe it’s your character who delivers justice. Maybe they’re on the receiving end. This week, hand out some just desserts in your story.

Week of 11/25/2016
In A Rut--Doing the same thing over and over. No one wantS to be stuck there. It could be your character, dissatisfied with where their career is going. It could just as well be the writer, bored with what feels like the same plots and situations. Shake it up. Throw in something unexpected. Put your character in a place you never thought they’d be. Try something different and see where it goes. Or, alternately, let your character complain about the sameness.

Week of 12/2/2016
Cooperation--Some characters are loners by nature but even so, they can’t do everything by themselves. They’ll have to cooperate with others. Whether it’s a willing partnership where they all gain or coerced and barely tolerated, there’s ample room for conflict. Maybe they plan to betray their partner at the first opportunity. Maybe they prefer to remain on good terms. Maybe it’s an alliance of necessity and they’ll part on neutral ground. Whatever the reason, whatever the outcome, this week write about your character cooperating with others to achieve a goal.

Week of 12/9/2016
Trigger Warning-- Everyone--every character--has strong feelings about something. The old standby is “don’t discuss politics or religion” but there are many other options. What sets off your character? What’s that one topic they have to argue about? What’s their position and why? Is it rational? Was it learned and never questioned? This week, push one or more of your character’s buttons.

Week of 12/16/2016
Limits-- No character is all-powerful, or at least interesting ones aren’t. There are limits to what they can do, be it legal, physical, mental, or self-imposed. What happens when they come up against them? Do they push past it, accept it, or back away? Limits are often there for a reason and breaking them can have consequences. Explore some this week.

Week of 12/23/2016
Making a Mountain out of a Molehill - Some characters are more prone to blowing things out of proportion than others. Maybe it’s just certain situations. Consider a time when something that seemed insurmountable turned out to be minor. Was your character’s preparation or anxiety unreasonable? Or did their actions make the difference between a mountain and a molehill?

Week of 12/30/2016
Not My Holiday - This week, most of the Western world is celebrating Christmas and the New Year but no holiday is universal, even on Earth. Are your character’s holidays in line with the culture they live in? Do they celebrate something different at a time no one else does? Do they feel left out on either occasion? Their reasons don’t have to be cultural; they might associate bad experiences with a popular holiday or good ones with something obscure. There are stories in any of the permutations. Write one.

Week of 1/6/2017
Luxuries - It’s easy to think in terms of expensive things: fine wine, silk, exquisite meals, and panoramic views. Luxuries don’t have be expensive, or even things. One character might consider time alone a luxury. For another, enough to eat and a safe place to live. Yet another may relish the privileges their wealth affords them. What does your character consider a luxury and how do they indulge?

Week of 1/13/2017
Omens and Portents - Whether being born under a Blood Moon or according to the signs in an ancient prophecy or just picking the winning lottery numbers two weeks in a row, our characters’ lives are filled with omens. Do they put any stock in the superstitions or consider it a bunch of baloney? Are the portents more important to their companions who expect them to be the hero? Is it a sign they should buy another lottery ticket? Omens can be good or bad, and the way your character deals with them likewise so. Explore it.

continued in the next post

alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 09:41 AM | #5
Prompt Archive, page 4

Week of 4/21/17
Constant Companions–Who’s with your character through all their adventures? Who’s their right hand, the one who’s always there? Who’s Samwise to your Frodo? Why are they there and why do they stay? This week write something featuring the person or people your character relies on most.

Week of 4/28/17
Food on the Go–Everyone enjoys a quick snack. What’s your character’s favorite? What food stall do they have to hit whenever they’re in town? What take-away meal do they always bring home? What munchies do they pack along for a journey? Far from meaningless detail, something as mundane as food can tell your readers a lot about your character.

Week of 5/5/17
Plants/Gardening–It’s hard to avoid plant life, even on a spaceship. In low-tech societies plants are recognized as sources of food and medicine. In more high-tech ones they provide breathable air as well as beauty. Whether your character has a green thumb or can’t tell a cabbage from a kitten, write some plants into their story this week.

Week of 5/12/17
Irritating Habits–Everyone has them. What about your character or one of their companions? Gum-chewing, whistling, smoking, a preference for odiferous delicacies? Who annoys who and how? Consider, too, that rude, irritating, or just plain gross behavior in one culture may be perfectly acceptable or even polite in another. The converse is true as well.

Week of 5/19/17
Forgotten Places–A ghost town, an ancient ruin, a hidden valley, an island settlement, now abandoned. Places where people were, but no longer are. What does your character think about them? When has your character encountered one? Did they stumble on it? Seek it out? Read or hear a tale about it? Does it, like El Dorado, exist only in stories?

Week of 5/26/17
Titles–Queen, Lord, Baron, Senator, President, Minister, Director, Sir or Madam. A title might be formal, bestowed in a ceremony. It might be a basic term of respect or polite discourse. Or it might be earned by appearance, action, or affiliation: Erik the Red, Catherine the Great, Jabba the Hutt. What titles does your character have?

Happy 5th Birthday SFC!!!!!!

Week of 6/2/17
History–Personal or World, history informs your character’s actions. What part of the past shapes their present? Are they aware of it? How so? This week, consider your character’s history and its influence.

Week of 6/9/17
Hope–Hope, the final thing in Pandora’s Box. Hope is what keeps people going when the night is dark and the journey is hard. Hope for a brighter day and a better way. Or just something different, some change. To fall in love, to find redemption, to find a purpose. Even a doomsday cult has hope, though outsiders don’t understand it. What does your character hope for?

Week of 6/16/17
Challenge–If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. What’s hard for your character? What challenges do they set for themselves and what ones do they face? Difficulty often reveals a character’s true self. How do they face a challenge?

Week of 6/23/17
Midsummer/Midwinter– It’s the turn of the seasons this week, the longest day for the northern hemisphere and the longest night for the southern hemisphere. What does midsummer or midwinter mean for your character? Alternately, write about your characters longest night or longest day.

Week of 6/30/17
Curve Ball–as writers we plan our characters’ encounters. This week, throw them into something new. Something they didn’t expect. Something they never saw coming. Who panics? Who takes it in stride? Who stumbles but runs with it?

Week of 7/7/17
Good News Everyone!: What would be good news for your character? Something personal? A promotion? A sale? A marriage, a child, a vacation? A divorce? Maybe something local: a tramway or road finishes construction, a botanical garden opens. Larger? Peace declared between warring factions or nations? War declared against an oppressive enemy? Is it something they expected or a complete surprise? Think of something your character considers good news and how they react to it.

Week of 7/14/17
And Now, the Bad News: Something happened, and your character’s not pleased about it. Did they lose a promotion or sale to a rival? Is a local landmark shutting or being torn down? Is a plant or animal they’re particularly fond of in decline? Does an event confirm their pessimistic outlook, or crush their optimism? How did they find out? Are they shocked or resigned? No good news to soften the blow this time. Write about your character dealing with bad news.

Week of 7/21/17
Looking Back: Whether it’s with fondness or relief, everyone thinks about their past sometimes. Something that held them back, or something that propelled them forward. They might consider time with a mentor, a formative event, or just a memorable vacation. Write about your character reminiscing.

Week of 7/28/17
Looking Forward: No one knows the future, but that doesn’t stop us from imagining what it might hold. What about your character? What do they see in their crystal ball? Good news? Bad news? What do they see as the result of today’s decisions? Or do they live in the moment and deal with the future as it arrives? We’ve done Hope and Goals, let’s look at the pragmatic.

Week of 8/4/17
Long-Distance connections – Your character’s friends, family, colleagues, or loved ones won’t always be close at hand. How do they maintain the relationship? Do they enjoy real-time, visual and audio transmissions? Is there a delay for distance – or surreptitious monitoring? Pre-recorded messages? Text messages? Letters? Maybe contact isn’t possible at all. What do they share? What do they hold back and why? Consider time as a separation, and how a character might stay connected to someone lost to them, or discover a connection to the past.

Week of 8/11/17
Temptation: It comes in all flavors, all kinds, all things. And it need not be a physical thing at all, but an experience or emotion. It’s usually, but not always, a vice. What tempts your character? What siren song do they find irresistible? Do they crash on the rocks following it, do their friends help them avoid it, or do they manage alone? Not all temptations are bad, of course, and not all can be neatly avoided.

Week of 8/18/17
Folk Tales: All cultures have folk tales–the stories people tell each other. The ones everyone knows, or knows a version of. They may be written down, or they may only be told around the campfire, the coffee pot, or in the chatroom. They may be cautionary tales, stories of heroism, or horror. Modern urban legends fall in this category. What ones does your character know? Where did they hear them? Which ones do they share and why? Let your character be the storyteller this week.

Week of 8/25/17
Phobia: From Phobos, the personification of fear in Greek mythology, in English a phobia is more than just being afraid. Phobias are rarely rational. The brain is often eager to label anything as a terrible threat regardless of whether it’s logical. A true phobia can be debilitating, where the sufferer avoids any situation that might trigger their fear. Does your character have such a disability? What about one of their companions or someone they meet? Is it a common or reasonable thing to fear? Something others sympathize with even if they don’t appreciate the severity? Or is it something rare or mundane? Some thing or condition, made all the worse by the fact that literally no one else understands why it provokes such a reaction. How does your character deal with it? How do they help a companion through an episode?

Week of 9/1/17
Windfall: Something good fell in your character’s lap, something they weren’t expecting. Does it come at an opportune time to fix a problem? Does it cause a headache (or heartache) down the road? Or do they make cider, as one does with windfall apples?

Week of 9/8/17
Hero Worship: Who does your character think of when they hear the word “hero”? Is it a specific person? A type of person, or a person in a specific occupation? Have they ever met their hero(es)? Who sees your character as a hero–no matter how venal they really are? How do they show it, and how does your character deal with it?

Week of 9/15/17
Flirting With Disaster: Even the most risk-averse character gets into sticky situations, or they should if you’re doing your job as a writer. Then there are others who live their entire lives on the edge. This week, write about a time when things were so, so close to going wrong. When the table shook beneath the house of cards but didn’t quite fall. Or maybe it did.

Week of 9/22/17
What Goes Around Comes Around: If the Golden Rule is “treat others how you wish to be treated” then this is what happens when you don’t. Cheaters will be cheated, liars lied to, and bullies bullied. Write about a time when your character’s behavior came back to bite them, or when they had an opportunity to visit retribution on someone who wronged them.

Week of 9/29/17
Frustration: Sometimes events (aka the writer) conspire to thwart your character. It might be a series of minor things–the coffee machine broke, the bus was late (so they caught it but were late anyway), and to top it off all the good donuts were gone at the meeting…where the project no one else wanted ended up in their lap. Yay. Maybe it’s a repeated error: the food stall never gets their order right, the clerk always mispronounces your character’s name. This week write about someone or something getting on your character’s last nerve.

Week of 10/6/17
Conversion or Proselytizing: You! Yes, you! Can we talk for a bit about…what? What ideas does your character hope to pass on to others? What ideology moves them? Did they convert to their current mindset from a different one? How and why did they make the change? While religion and politics are most obvious choices with this prompt, consider also scientific theories, dietary or exercise regimens, brand loyalty, or comic book heroes. Which version was better, the movie or the book? Why? Does your character have to win the debate, or are they most invested in the discussion itself?

Week of 10/13/17
Embarrassment: Everyone has that moment they’d rather forget. The time when every eye was on them, but not in a good way. What about your character? When has the glaring spotlight of public embarrassment shone on them and why? Is it a story they’ll never tell? Is it the hilarious tale told for laughs well after the fact? Or is it one of those things that slips out after too many intoxicants?

Week of 10/20/17
Practice Makes Perfect: No matter how skilled your character is, there’s always room for improvement. What does your character do to keep in practice? Are they building on existing accomplishments or learning something new? Is it a skill they need for their main occupation, or something they do for fun? Are they edging toward perfection, or always terrible but having a great time anyway? Practice your own writing this week.

Week of 10/27/17
Roadblock: Something’s in the way, physically or metaphorically. Something preventing your character from getting what they want. What is it? Why is it there? What does your character want and who wants to stop them? This week, throw a roadblock in your character’s path. Let’s see how they navigate it.

Week of 11/3/17
Goals: Your character is nothing without goals. Pursuing their goal is what propels the story forward. Step back for a moment and consider how and why they set that goal. Did they wake up one morning and know what they wanted to do? Did it grow organically out of life experience? Did they go through a modern, goal-setting exercise? Is theirs a reasonable goal, achievable with a stretch, or are they unlikely to ever achieve it? Do they keep moving the goalposts? Does someone move them for your character? Set a goal this week.

Week of 11/10/17
NO PANTS! Relaxing at home. Nothing planned, nothing going on, nothing pending, no crises. No pants. What’s that mean for your character? Is there any place or time when they can truly relax? Do they fantasize about relaxation while dashing between disasters? Are they stuck in the doldrums, praying for something–anything–to happen? Or do they take “no pants” more literally?

Week of 11/17/17
Don’t Stop Believing: Countless writers guides council you to include the moment when your character considers quitting. For some stories, it’s the centerpiece, if not the center. Somehow, they go on. Complete the quest, finish the journey, save the world, make a difference. This week, write about your character facing such a moment, and not giving up. Finding the strength to go on.

Week of 11/24/17
Success: It’s said that nothing worth doing is ever easy. Certainly your character’s journey shouldn’t be, or it wouldn’t have been interesting. And the writing of it might not be either, but now it’s done. Quest complete, journey over, book finished. How does it feel? Does your character celebrate? How? Is this success just a little one on a much longer road, or is it the big one they’ve been waiting for? If so, is there a bigger goal on the horizon, one they couldn’t even see until they got here? Let your character bask in success for a change, and think about whether their story is really over.

Week of 12/1/17
The right way, the wrong way, and my way: It’s said there are three ways to approach a task. What does your character think? Do they follow the rules, willingly break them, or choose their own path? Maybe all three at different times in their story? What about teaching someone else? Are they as inflexible as the saying suggests or will they entertain new solutions?

Week of 12/8/17
Accommodation: Does your character need something outside what’s considered typical for their species? Are they more at home in enclosed or darkened spaces–or the opposite? A special diet due to allergies or disease? Something more obvious, like ramps instead of stairs or fixtures and handles being at more convenient heights? What about something basic, like being left-handed in a right-handed world?

Week of 12/15/17
Recurring Nightmares: An actual nightmare, one that isn’t real? Or a real nightmare situation occurring over and over? Write your character in a recurring nightmare this week. Or a recurring dream, if you’d prefer. Interpret the prompt as literally or loosely as you like.

Week of 4/13/18
Smuggler’s Blues: Has your character trafficked in less-than-legal items? Even by accident or for personal use only? What was it? Drugs? Stolen merchandise? Banned books? People? Translated media that isn’t officially available in that language? Fruit, vegetables, plants, or animals that aren’t allowed to leave their country of origin, or aren’t allowed into the destination? Cheese? Maybe your character purchased smuggled items. Maybe they’re they’re the smuggler. There are plenty of reasons for someone to circumvent import restrictions here on Earth and at least as many elsewhere and when. Surely there’s a story in it.

Week of 4/20/18
Hurts so Good: Pain is supposed to be the body’s signal to stop. Humans (and fictional species) often ignore it or even seek it out. Sure, sure, BSDM; look beyond the obvious. Think of hot foods–temperature hot or spicy hot, where the heat is a critical part of the enjoyment. An exercise program, where short-term muscle pain means you’re doing it right. A good roller coaster, haunted house, or horror movie is supposed to cause anxiety or fear and all their attendant sensations, things we usually find unpleasant or painful. Write about your character seeking, enjoying, observing, declining, or railing against such an activity.

Week of 4/27/18
Reunited: Characters who spend time apart must come back together. Do they look forward to it? Dread it? Count every moment until they can reunite, or invent ways to prolong the separation? Do they have any special rituals? A particular knock or bell ring, a call to their partner, a hug or kiss? Furtively sneaking in and hope no one notices? How do they catch up? Long conversations? Bare mumbles? Did it matter for them how long they’ve been apart? Is a few hours separation as hard to bear as a month?

Week of 5/4/18
Ordinary Heroes: Your character might be a hero in their own right, and they probably had many others to look up to. So who in their lives was a hero to them by being nothing other than themselves? Who did they admire as a person? Whose example did they hope to follow? Was it a relative who always accepted them, no questions asked? A shopkeeper who always had a kind word for everyone they met? A teacher who expected the best and wouldn’t take less–and who also helped students discover what their best looked like? Write a story involving an influence on your character’s character. (inspired by This Post. May the Fourth Be With You)

Week of 5/11/18
Censored! [Redacted] Strikethrough! Restricted! Takedown!: When has your character encountered censorship? What was it? Something they wanted or needed but weren’t allowed? Why? Something they created that was blacked out, altered, or removed? Was it a report, a discovery, a work of art or fiction? Did they agree with the censor or fight the decision? What problems occured because of the restriction–or lack thereof?

Week of 5/18/18
Favorite drinks: Living things eat and drink, and sentient creatures with cultures have a variety of beverages to choose from. With variety comes favorites–so what is your character’s? Cocktails automatically come to mind, but a favorite drink can be any beverage. Your character could have different favorites for different parts of the day–their favorite wake-up drink won’t be the same as their go-to wind-down libation. It might be something they grew up with, or something a loved one recently introduced them to. Maybe it used to be a favorite but they grew out of it, associated it with painful memories, or relocated and simply can’t get it or the ingredients. Expensive or cheap, rare or common, mind-altering or otherwise, share one of your character’s favorite drinks.

Week of 5/27/18
Carry On: How does your character get back to “normal”? To recover from their injury, whether physical, mental, or emotional? Life goes on and so does your character. How do they do it? Some recover with barely a pause, others take longer. Not everyone has healthy coping strategies. Maybe they cope by moving through unhealthy or destructive habits before they can start to heal. Sometimes healing leaves scars that never go away. Write a story about your character carrying on. Keeping calm optional.

Week of 6/1/18

Happy 6th Birthday SFC!!!!!!

Mistakes Were Made: The perennial apology-not-apology. Someone made mistakes, frequently not the person making the statement. So what happened? Was your character the mistake-maker or the one wronged? Who is “apologizing” and for what? Will anything be resolved, or is this papering over a systemic problem? Again? Is it a way to give someone a well-deserved second chance, or a perpetual offender getting away?

Week of 6/8/18
Skeletons in the Closet: What’s that thing your character hopes no one ever finds? Some shameful Secret they’d just as soon remain a secret? Does anyone find out? What happens? What does your character imagine will happen? Is it reasonable, overblown, or conservative? While there are loads of things a character can be ashamed of, consider that shame is personal. What fatally embarasses your character might be no big deal to others or society at large. Alternately, it could be even worse now than when your character hid it in the first place. Rattle some skeletons in your character’s closet this week.

Week of 6/15/18
Tired: Sleepy? Overworked? Bored? Or really Done With This Sh*t? Everyone gets tired, physically and mentally. What is your character tired of or from? Why? Do they fix it? Can they, or is it out of their control? Just don’t be too tired to write it.

Week of 6/22/18
Kissing Frogs: Fandom often revolves around romantic pairs, especially finding “the one:” your character’s soulmate. Surely they don’t find their soulmate on the first try. They must have had other relationships. Ones that didn’t work out or didn’t last. What happened? This week, write a story about one of the frogs your character kissed on the way to finding their prince/princess.

Week of 6/29/18
Keep on Keeping on: Now that our characters have been on the job for quite some years, what keeps them going? What makes them do just one more job, instead of retiring, settling down, or doing something completely different? Tradition, momentum, habit, joy, satisfaction, can’t think of a reason to change or anything else they’re good at. Everyone’s reasons are their own. What’s your character’s? Prompt courtesy of frauzet.

Week of 7/6/18
Set the Standards: What’s the minimum your character will accept, be it service, the kinds of jobs they’ll take, or the places they’ll go or stay? What about the people they’ll work with or date? Do they have standards for decency or conduct? How do they define them? What’s their reasoning for their personal limits? Have they ever been tested? Are they reasonable, inflated, underrated, irrational?

Week of 7/13/18
Look Behind You: What’s behind your character, literally or figuratively? Where did they come from? What did they leave behind to get where they are now? A village, town, city, or planet? Family, lovers, friends, rivals, or enemies? Ideas or beliefs? Do any of them catch up or are they forever in the past? How does your character feel about that?

Week of 7/20/18
Once in a Lifetime: Some things only come around once. A show, a natural phenomena, an opportunity. Grab it, enjoy it, experience it while it’s here or available, because your character won’t ever have another chance. What is a once-in-a-lifetime event for your character? Are they able to take advantage of, appreciate, or participate in it? What happens afterwards?

Week of 7/27/18
Treat Yourself: Indulge! What’s a treat for your character? Food, a spa day, a movie/theater/holovid/musical? Surely they have something they love to do that they maybe don’t do often, something that makes them feel good about themselves. We torture our characters enough. This week do something nice for them.

Week of 8/3/18
Friends: Our characters collect any number of friends and helpers during their adventures. In fact, few characters can do without friends. They’re part of what makes a story vibrant and alive. Friends don’t have to be sycophants; they can (and probably should) disagree with your character about things. Things that matter, not easy things like favorite foods or colors. Friends and companions breathe life into your character’s story. This week, write something where one of your character’s friends has an important role as well.

Week of 8/10/18
Friends to Lovers: This one is almost a given in many stories. Many people enjoy reading (or writing) a story where the characters find their friendship growing into something more intimate. Whether it’s a coffee shop romance a super-slow-burn fic, write characters going from friends to lovers this week.

Week of 8/17/18
Lovers Back to Friends: Then again, love doesn’t always work out. It’s easy to take the hostile view of a breakup. Where both characters end up disliking or avoiding each other. This time try something harder: they remain friends despite their previous intimacy. It needn’t happen right away. Few people are so mature. This time, imagine it does or has to and how your character handles it anywhere along the timeline. Explore what it means to retain real friendship, not merely stating “we’re friends.”

Week of 8/24/18
Friends to Enemies: Hate is always easier to evoke than love or friendship, so easy prompt this week. Or is it? Imagine one of your character’s friends becoming an enemy. Why do they diverge when they obviously got along well? A slow drift or one inciting event? Losing a good friend hurts, and making one an enemy means the wound never really heals. How does your character live with it?

Week of 8/31/18
Enemies to Friends: Occasionally, your character and an enemy end up on the same side. And beyond sharing a common goal or working together just this once, they begin hanging out and relying on each other. Why? What converts their enemy to a friend? Note: this is not necessarily a heel-face turn. If your character is villainous their enemy might end up on the dark side. They have cookies, after all. Maybe both decide the struggle is futile and retire together. What about your character’s other friends?

Week of 9/7/18
How Hard Can It Be? Words usually uttered before discovering exactly how hard it can be. When has your character underestimated a situation? What thing looked easy then turned out to be less so? How did your character handle it? Did they rise to the occasion? Realize their error? Back out and try again? Fail completely? All of the above? Be as humorous or serious as you like, but this week have your character discover that the easy thing is, in fact, rather more difficult than they expected.

Week of 9/14/18
What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Inevitably, not what actually happens. In life the real result may more often be better, but as writers it’s far more fun to make it worse. This week, put your character in a situation they’re sure they can handle, and make it worse. What’s the worst that could happen? Just let me get started.

Week of 9/21/18
It’s All Downhill From Here! The situation is handled, crisis solved or averted, nothing left but the cleanup and a smooth glide to the end. On the other hand, maybe it’s more like a downhill slide into a swamp or off a cliff. It’s fun to shake up reader–and character–expectations. Throw up some roadblocks or dig some potholes in their easy ride. Make that smooth landing less so. Complete disaster optional.

Week of 9/28/18
Never Going There and That’s Final! Until, of course, they have to. What place does your character avoid? Is it a single, physical place? A city, county, or planet? A type of place: Zoos, spooky dark forests filled with snakes, buffet restaurants? Why do they hate it? There must be a reason, however irrational. Now put them there anyway. Tell the story of why and how they ended up someplace your character swore they’d never go to under any circumstances, and what happened after.

Week of 10/5/18
What Might Have Been: Almost everyone wonders how their life might have turned out if they’d made different choices, been born in different circumstances, or combination of both. How does your character answer this question? Suppose they were cast in a different role in your story or as another one of your characters? How would their lives be different? How would your story be different? Explore what might have been with your character this week, either as a dream, a discussion with another character, or a full-blown AU. Thanks to Lady_Thorne and Lord_Thorne on the SWTOR forums for this prompt. (Special message for the SWTOR crowd: thanks to everyone participating in what has to be the longest continually running forum thread in MMORPG history. Still going since 2012.)

Week of 10/12/18
Listen: More important than being able to act, perhaps, is the ability to listen. To hear someone voice their concerns or point of view without filtering through their own experience or opinion. When has your character really listened to another one in your story? They need not be converted, but they ought to gain understanding. Some characters don’t care; that’s fine and valid. This week, let your character be the quiet one and really listen to someone else in the story, then show what they do with their new perspective.

Week of 10/19/18
Oblivious: Not everyone is observant, and even the most vigilant character misses something on occasion. When did they miss something obvious? It could be a physical object or an idea. The proverbial elephant in the room or a solution that’s staring them in the face. Maybe your character just overlooks cues everyone else sees. What happens when someone else points it out?

Week of 10/26/18
Comfort Food: It might not be a favorite. It doesn’t have to be from childhood, though it often is. It might not always be the same thing, depending on circumstances. Sometimes, preparation is as much a part of the comfort as consuming. When all else fails to dispel your character’s demons, what food(s) do they turn to for comfort?

Week of 11/2/18
Voice of Reason: In every group, for every plan, there’s always one Voice of Reason, and their plan might be safest but not always best. Does your character listen? Do they plunge ahead anyway? Or are they the sane one trying to dissuade the rest from something reckless? Whose approach was right? What, in hindsight, might have been better?

Week of 11/9/18
Ship of Fools: The colloquial meaning is that of one wise person surrounded by idiots, but the original allegory has everyone on the ship unable to navigate it, all the while vying for the chance, or to influence the one currently botching the job. Regardless, the ship goes nowhere, often with recriminations all around. When has your character sailed on a ship of fools? Were they the wise one dealing with incompetence? Or just as clueless but putting up a better front than the rest?

Week of 11/16/18
Power! Given this blog started in a Star Wars fandom, it’s surprising this prompt never appeared before. What does your character consider power and how do they pursue it? Just as important: why? Some seek power for its own sake but most have an agenda. Are they a reformer? Do they want to change the system they’re part of to fit their vision? Do they want the ability to destroy whomever they view as enemies? A secure enough position to voice their opinions without backlash, or at least without fearing the consequences? Do they gain power despite not wanting it, because their fellows see them as a leader? Or are they seeking more mundane power? A ship fast enough to outrun the authorities? Superpowers: magic, reality-bending abilities, flight (if they can’t already), telepathy, or teleportation?

Week of 11/23/18
Butterfly Effect: In essence, tiny changes in starting conditions leading to wildly different results. Modern behavioral psychologists contribute the nudge: a small push toward a desired behavior or goal. Our lives are filled with examples. How about your character? Is there a slight difference in their backstory–or current story–that could change it entirely? When did they receive a nudge and how did it shape them? What events pushed their later actions? We had a prompt for turning points, which was more about large, obvious events that put your character on their path. A butterfly effect might be so small as to go unnoticed at the time but proved no less influential.

Week of 11/30/18
The Last Straw: Your character’s companions don’t rubber-stamp your decisions. They agree or disagree to a greater or lesser extent. And, sometimes, they leave. It’s unlikely to come as a complete surprise, but even so there was probably one incident, one particular choice, that drove them away. How does your character deal with it? Are they forgiving or vengeful? How does the companion make their exit? Do they confront your character or just leave without a goodbye? What are their reasons, and does your character consider them reasonable? What was the companion’s last straw?

Week of 12/7/18
Paralyzed: Literally unable to move. Is it a disease? An accident? Are they completely paralyzed or does the condition affect only part of their body? What happened to cause it? Is your character paralyzed with indecision; all options equally bad (or good?). Maybe they’re overwhelmed and terrified to make any choice. Maybe they’re paralyzed both physically and emotionally. Or one and not the other. Paralyze your character this week, and write how they deal with it.

Week of 12/14/18
Happy Together: Your character encounters numerous others in their story. Who’s special? Who is the one they just want to see happy, preferably with them? It could be their SO but it doesn’t have to be; happiness comes in all flavors and sizes and doesn’t have to involve romance. Or, for that matter, even being outwardly nice. There are lots of relationships (fictional or otherwise) where observers would never know how much the people involved respect and care for each other given how often they throw insults around. This week, write your character and another happy together, in whatever form that happiness takes.

Week of 12/21/18
Good Intentions: It’s said the road to hell is paved with them. Most characters, outside of the truly villainous, want to help and to make things better. Usually we let them. Good intentions can backfire or have unintended consequences, some of which might be worse than the original situation. They can also be far better! It’s our story; we do what we want, and things need not always be bad. This week, begin with your character’s good intentions and tell us what happens.

Week of 12/28/18
The Fine Print: Any Bounty Hunter knows better than to sign anything from Gault without reading it first, still there may have been contracts our OCs wish they hadn’t signed. What details did they miss? Was it something small and insignificant, even humorous? Something major and problematic? How did they inconvenience your character? Did they get back at the beings who made the contract and took advantage of them? Chalk it up to a learning experience and move on? Something else? Was the contract more akin to our familiar Terms of Service Agreements that no one reads deciphers anyway? Did they fulfill the contract or did they renege? Why? This week consider what may be hiding in the fine print and how it affects your character.

Week of 1/4/19
Keep Grandma Happy: Okay, okay, not necessarily Grandma. Every family (or other social unit) has that one person whom you simply appease. The one you don’t want flying off the handle because it’s such a bother and not worth the resulting tirade and calming down process. Surely your character’s circle has one. Who is it? Is it your character? What’s their hot button and why? What do the other characters do to avoid it? How do they settle them down when, inevitably, it gets pushed? Does someone push it on purpose for the fireworks? (note: while the intent of this prompt is humorous, feel free to make a more serious case, i.e. trigger or content warnings. Polite characters avoid the topic out of empathy or compassion and only dickish ones bring it up.)

Week of 1/11/19
If Wishes Were Horses: then beggars would ride. We often think of wishes as something for children, but everyone does it. Wishes can be for anything from a lucky chance through feasible-but-difficult to outright impossible. What things does your character wish for? Little wishes? Not much more than good luck? Middling-possible wishes? Things that could happen given some work and luck? Something that could never happen? Prohibited by the laws of physics or just wildly improbable? There’s nothing really wrong with wishes, however impractical or unlikely. Every so often, wishes come true.

Week of 1/18/19
To Sleep: perchance to dream? Humans spend, on average, one third of their lives asleep. We have rooms, furniture, phrases and clothing all dedicated to this biological necessity. What does your character do to sleep? Do they have special rituals? Do they need a sleep mask and soothing music or can they fall asleep anywhere, anytime? Do they prefer near silence and darkness? White noise and a night light? Are they always uncomfortable in a strange place? Does having a familiar object–pillow, blanket, childhood teddy bear–make it better? Pets? What about snoring or tossing and turning? Do they have a bedmate (or housemate) to annoy, or who annoys them? Maybe their sleep schedule is at odds with the rest of the world for some reason. Maybe they don’t have a sleep schedule–their days are too erratic. Perhaps they don’t require sleep themselves but find it an interesting trait in their companions.

Week of 1/25/19
Loyalty: True loyalty is a complex subject. Essentially, someone puts your character’s well-being equal to or exceeding their own. It doesn’t mean agreeing with everything your character says or does, but offering a different perspective when warranted. It contains elements of being a friend and a lover, without necessarily sharing the more intimate or personal components of those relationships. Though, one hopes that friends and lovers are also loyal. Perhaps this is why betrayal hurts so much; the one who had your character’s back had a knife all along. Other times we mistake a loyal character leaving for betrayal, when in fact they can no longer bear to watch someone they care about self destruct. Consider who’s loyal to your character this week, to whom your character owes loyalty, why, and what might happen to change those dynamics.

Week of 2/1/19
You’re Not the One I Was Looking For: It’s fun to set your character up with the perfect match. The One They’ve Been Dreaming of. Hold that thought–what about someone else? Someone close, maybe overlooked. Someone who’s right for your character in all the ways that matter, but not necessarily the ones your character thinks are important. Maybe they catch your character on the rebound; maybe they’ve been there all along but never thought about your character in a romantic way. Maybe a casual hookup turns into something more. This week, consider your character finding, not the one they were looking for, but The One just the same.

Week of 2/8/19
Bus Stop: How did your character meet their Love Interest? Blind date? Friend-of-a-friend? Co-worker? Professional matchmaker? Your world’s equivalent of a dating app? Chance meeting at a bus stop? This week, tell the story of how they met.

Week of 2/15/19
Kiss The Girl: or guy, or nonbinary person; whoever or whatever it is that your character is falling for (and, we hope, is falling for them as well) this is it. The Kiss. The Moment you’ve been waiting to write. So write it! Make it the end after a slow burn, or start with the Kiss and move forward.

Week of 2/22/19
Storybook Love: After it all, the meeting, the spark, and the kiss, how does the story go? What happens after? Or during? How does your character’s love become part of the rest of their story? Maybe their love is the whole story, the prime mover of the plot, but what else happens around them? How does their relationship affect the other characters and the larger story of their lives? Write some of the book around their storybook love

Week of 3/1/19
When I’m Sixty-Four: What happens when the infatuation wears off? When the rush of novelty and discovery fades? What do your characters still love about each other? Why do they choose to stay together? It is a choice, after all, and they could decide otherwise. Perhaps they do. That’s a story, too.

Week of 3/8/19
Forbidden Fruit: Something forbidden is often that much more desirable, a focus of obsession. What is something your character can’t have? Not something they’re not likely to get. Something they could have, or an activity they could engage in, but chose not to. What is it and why must they avoid it? What are the consequences if they indulge? Are they physical, social, or something else? Do they think about the forbidden thing constantly, desiring it even though they know they shouldn’t? Do they really not care about the thing? Have they tried it and discovered it wasn’t as good, as interesting, or as exciting as they thought it would be? Was it better than they ever imagined?

Week of 3/15/19
Insulting: Our characters often get into physical altercations, but what about verbal ones? When was a well-delivered quip or challenge just right to take down an opponent? Who did they insult and why? What was the response? Your character might have disrespected an authority figure who’s so far removed as to neither know nor care–though in some societies they might care very much and deal with it harshly. Maybe your character was the one insulted. Was it deserved? How do they react? Most of all: What did they say?

Week of 3/22/19
Injury: Since our characters do often get into physical altercations, what injuries have they suffered? In a cinematic world it might be limited to minor scrapes, or serious wounds that heal in no time and without a scar. More realistic stories may have more lasting repercussions. How are their injuries treated? Technology, magic, herbs and other ‘traditional’ remedies? Some of everything? How long is their recovery? How complete? Does it make a difference if they received aid right away or if it took time before they could do so? Do they avoid doctors? What are the doctors like in your world? Think about a time your character was physically hurt and the medical help they received.

Week of 3/29/19
Lasting Repercussions: Every battle leaves a mark, every injury a scar. They might not be visible, due to magic or high tech medicine. They might be psychological, but no less real or damaging. They might be social: new enemies or a change in class or status. The entire world may have changed. All your character’s conflicts, verbal or physical, have repercussions. Write about one.

continued in the next post

alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 09:49 AM | #6
Prompt Archive, page 5

Week of 4/5/19
Evil Twin: A subset of mistaken identity. Suppose there was another character, related or no, who looked so much like your character that everyone assumes they are the same person? Further suppose that this doppelganger has the opposite personality of your character. What happens? Do people trust them when they shouldn’t, or get surprised when they’re generous? How much trouble do they make for your character? Does your character even know they exist? Do they figure it out? What happens?

Week of 4/12/19
Idiot Helpers: your character has companions, friends, and underlings. No doubt most of them are competent, but even the most reliable companion messes up. Some of them might be constantly messing up, misinterpreting your character’s instructions, and running ridiculous (or even contradictory) side schemes of their own. How does this complicate your character’s life? How do they deal with that companion they can’t get rid of or can’t bear to part with, but who is laughably incompetent? What kind of harebrained schemes are they getting into and how do they complicate your character’s life?

Week of 4/19/19
Devil Boss: Our characters aren’t always independent. Sometime they have to take orders. And sometimes those orders, the one giving them, or both, are impossible. How does your character deal with a ridiculous situation? One they maybe aren’t meant to survive, complete, or would have to be insane to attempt? Suppose the orders they get are incompatible or in direct opposition. Maybe the orders aren’t so bad but their boss is just a pain to deal with. This week, imagine your character dealing with their boss, or at least someone around whom they should tread carefully, but who isn’t at all obliged to do the same.

Week of 4/26/19
Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Think Han Solo turning the corner into the stormtrooper barracks. When has your character done something that made the situation worse? Tried to roll with the situation, but ended up in hotter water instead? Stuck with the original plan even when events changed so as to render it useless? Maybe things didn’t get worse, but definitely didn’t improve at all and now there’s a different crisis. Write about an idea that seemed like a good one at the time, but turned out less so.

Week of 5/3/19
Compromise: insisting on having everything their way all the time is a sure way for your character to lose friends and alienate allies. When have they had to compromise? Accept less than everything in order to get some of it? Negotiate a deal where everyone wins and no one really loses? It could be any kind of situation–from sharing a meal to deciding how to run a government. There’s bound to be some things they can’t bend on and others they may, and they have to negotiate similar stances with others. Write about a time your character needed to compromise and did, or didn’t, and what happened.

Week of 5/10/19
Going Camping! Camp is everywhere this week. In its broadest definition, Camp is something so over-the-top, in poor taste, or ostentatiously awful it’s enjoyed as ridiculous or ironic. Ideally both at the same time. To say camp has no standards is to misunderstand its true nature: it’s not mainstream, doesn’t want to be, and is quite happy as it is thank you very much. This week’s challenge is to incorporate camp in your writing. Introduce (or bring back) a campy character. Include a campy setting. Tell a campy story. Write something campy!

Week of 5/17/19
What is your Quest: A staple of video games and stories alike. In the most epic versions your character must retrieve/destroy an incredible artefact, thus demonstrating their worth and saving the world. A more mundane quest might be to get herbs from the neighbor’s garden…who happens to be a witch. Perhaps enough pig livers to make a pie…strangely, not every pig has a liver. This week, send your character on a quest. What are they doing and how will they get there? A quest can be an entire book or only one small part. Likewise, your story could detail the full quest, beginning to end, or one small but significant event during it.

Week of 5/24/19
Under My Skin: Something latches on to your character and won’t let go. What is it? An idea they can’t stop thinking about? An offhand comment by another they keep mulling over? A slight, real or imagined, that wont quit ruining their day? A person who fascinates them–or drives them crazy? A literal parasite they picked up and really ought to have looked at?

Week of 5/31/19
Games: Cards? Dice? Board? Ball? Video? Games of chance, games of skill, physical games as individuals or teams. Quiet pastime games, crowd-entertainment spectacles. Coliseums, pitches, dining room tables. Games for all ages, games for children, games for adults. Sentient species everywhere play all kinds of games and for various reasons. There could be no lasting repercussions, or it could be deadly. This week, make a game or its outcome important in your story.

Happy 7th Birthday SFC!!!!!!

Week of 6/7/19
Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Our characters lead dangerous lives. They’re sent on missions they’re not expected to survive. They’re gone for long periods of time and no one hears from them. They may have alternate identities or roles they don’t want to (or can’t) let loved ones know about. Sometimes reporting agencies get events wrong. Sometimes people make assumptions. Comic books aren’t the only places where death isn’t necessarily permanent. Write about a time when your character was declared dead but wasn’t and the complications that ensued, or when a close associate (enemy? !!) comes back to life after everyone believed they were gone for good.

Week of 6/14/19
You’re My Only Hope: It is your character’s most desperate hour. They (and possibly their friends or organization) need help. The kind of help they can only get from one person, and they’re not at all certain they’ll get it. How do they convince the person to aid them? What kind of help is it? Why do they need it and why is this other person so special? What happens if your character fails to recruit them? Is their help really that crucial? Do they end up a liability afterward?

Week of 6/21/19
Bodies: Everybody has a body, your character included. How do they take care of themselves? Are there features they like and ones they don’t? Things they change regularly? Others they accept as permanent? Do they make allowances for their own unique issues and inform others of their requirements? Do they try to hide what they see as imperfections? Compensate for a lack, reasonable or otherwise? What about upgrades or other alterations? A cyborg might replace parts for any number of reasons. In a magical or biologically advanced setting they might regenerate, regrow, or augment what occurs naturally. Alternately, they might be stuck with what they were born with, good and bad alike. This week, give some thought to how your character relates to their physical form.

Week of 6/28/19
Vulnerable: Our characters aren’t always in charge of everything. Everyone has weak spots. Everyone gets In difficult situations. Consider a time when your character was vulnerable in some way. Physically– maybe they’re a prisoner. Emotionally–a loved one or dear friend took advantage of them. Spiritually–they discovered the universe doesn’t really work the way they were taught. Even the least introspective character has vulnerabilities. Peek through a gap in your character’s armor and find a story.

Week of 7/5/19
Liability: A disadvantage or debt: a liability is something your character is responsible for, or something that holds them back. It could be a literal, monetary debt. It might be something they inherited but don’t want. Perhaps another character, who really ought not to be in that situation. Maybe your character is the liability, endangering the mission because of inexpertise or some other qually. How does everyone deal with it?

Week of 7/12/19
Craving: Sometimes, you just gotta have it. What is “it”? We often think of craving in relation to food, but it can be anything: intoxicants, attention, validation, touch, or affection. Nearly anything can be desired intensely as to be craved. Write about a time your character craved something, how they went about getting it, and what happened after. Why was it so important, anyway?

Week of 7/19/19
Forced Arrangements: A marriage, an assigned partnership, dormmates, weekend conference roomies, seatmates for a long trip or event, even a blind date. Sometimes your character has to deal with another, with little say in the matter. How serious is the situation? How long does it last? How does your character handle it? What happens afterward? Do they part as friends and keep in touch or never speak again? If permanent, how do they make it work?

Week of 7/26/19
A Favor: Your character needs help, and someone owes them a favor. Perhaps your character is the one who owes a favor. These are social obligations with no clear monetary value, yet we seem to know instinctively when a request is reasonable. Even when it’s not, we may find ourselves honoring it. In some circles, a favor maybe more codified and ritualized. Yet while money may be involved, it’s never the real debt. Do your character a favor and write about them cashing in or fulfilling a social debt this week.

Week of 8/2/19
Dear Diary: A diary, a journal, a personal log. Whether it’s a way of summarizing the day, a method for working through problems, or an aid to memory, people and characters find writing in a diary to be a helpful tool. What about your character? Do they keep a diary? What do they write about? Perhaps they find one belonging to a relative, a lover, a mentor, or even a stranger. Do they read it or return it?

Week of 8/9/19
Dear John: before breaking up via text was a thing there was the “Dear John” letter. Has your character written one? Received one? Breakups are never easy. The letter (or text) means one person doesn’t have to face the raw emotions (and possibly violence) of the other. So what would your character write, or what did their letter say?

Week of 8/16/19
Dear Mum and Dad: letters from camp: It’s summer in the northern hemisphere, time for Vacations and Summer Camp. Does your character send their children to camp? Did they go as a child? What about boot camp, or postcards from a trip to a distant locale? Who do they write to and what do they say? Do friends or relatives send messages to your character from their vacations? Business trips? Write some camp letters or postcards this week.

Week of 8/23/19
Dear Editor: Prior to comment sections, there were Letters to the Editor, where newspaper or magazine readers made their opinions known, and sometimes were published. Has your character ever spoken their mind in this official way? What was the occasion? Do they troll everyone on every message board they can find? Disagree politely? Usually ignore it all but this..this cannot stand. Let your character rant in public this week.

Week of 8/30/19
Dearest Love: In worlds where instant communication is the norm, there’s still something special about a love letter. Where letter-writing is the only kind of long-distance messaging they’re even more treasured. Simultaneously raw and full of heartfelt emotion and meticulously edited. Every word considered and weighed. They embody the uniqueness of love. Who might your character write a love letter to? Have they ever received one? What did it say? Were the feelings reciprocated?

Week of 9/6/19
Playing for Keeps: A phrase originally from the game of marbles, if you played for funsies you went home with all the marbles you brought. When playing for keeps, you kept yours plus any you knocked out of the circle, even if they were your opponent’s favorites. You might even target those on purpose. Playing for keeps suggests a risk and a chance for genuine loss from which there is no recovery. An outcome which your character does not have full control over, and will likely change things for them. This time, someone loses. Things will not be the same in the aftermath. There’s no chance for de-escalation. This week, your character is Playing for Keeps.

Week of 9/13/19
Adventure Time!: Adventuring isn’t a typical career. Most people stay at home with ordinary jobs, taking care of the farm figuratively or literally. What was it that changed your character’s course? Were they always adventurous? The first one climbing the rock or jumping in the pool since toddlerhood? Were they pushed into it by circumstance or a timely visit by a wizard? Gradually funneled into an adventurous life one decision at a time until they hardly recognize their lives? Explore your character’s first step off the ordinary path for the one less taken. What was your character’s very first adventure?

Week of 9/20/19
Sole Survivor: Sometimes it’s a mission gone bad. Only one of the team made it back. Maybe no one was expected to return, but one did. Maybe it was a game, and they were the last one standing when everyone else got eliminated. If it wasn’t your character, perhaps it is a close associate or even a new contact. This week, consider a character who survived a situation when no one else did. How did they get there? Where do they go afterward? How do they deal with it? Has it happened before? Is the character considered Bad Luck personified? Are they Good Luck–guaranteed to win? Write about your character being the sole survivor, or encountering one.

Week of 9/27/19
Hypocrisy: We’ve covered lying before but this time it’s a special kind of lie: putting up a virtuous front for public accolade while not actually believing in those virtues or actively violating them in private. Nearly every character (and person) engages in some hypocrisy, overlapping with those insidious little white lies told to keep the peace. Have they ever encountered some whoppers? In themselves or others? What did they do? What could they do? Who was involved? What was the outcome? Did anything change? If your character, they might be in for some soul searching assuming they want to atone. They might just as easily fight the one who uncovered them. Write about your character encountering blatant hypocrisy.

Week of 10/4/19
Happy Place: When your character’s feeling down, frightened, or overwhelmed, where do they go? What’s their “happy place”? Is it a literal, physical location? An actual place they visit that never fails to ground them? Is it an object that brings soothing memories with it? A story, a book, or a piece of music? An activity that helps them refocus? Is their happy place a lie? A bar where they can drink away their feelings, a painful memory that crowds out the new one, a story, song, or activity that distracts but offers no real solace? This week, write about your character’s happy place.

Week of 10/11/19
Inappropriate Attire: When has your character arrived for an event in the wrong clothing? Why? Was it a social gaffe? Did they interpret “fancy dress” as a formal affair when what was intended was a costume party? Were they told it was casual but not, apparently, that casual? Maybe they prepared for the wrong conditions–it’s never this hot (or cold!) this time of year! Those shoes seemed like a good idea at the outset but now, not so much. Who would have thought they’d need a high-visibility vest? Or that going armed and armored was such a faux pas? This week write about your character being completely inappropriately attired for the occasion and what happened after.

Week of 10/18/19
Message in a Bottle: Has your character ever received a message from a stranger? Was it spam, and they decided to mess with the sender? Was it a misdirected communication, meant for someone else? Was it a blind message, sent without knowing who might receive it? What did it say? Maybe your character sent such a message. Did they hope for help? Were they seeking a random connection with someone else curious enough to answer? Open the bottle and write about the message inside.

Week of 10/25/19
Lost!: Really, really lost. So far off course that they don’t know where the course is, let alone how to get back on it. The compass is gone or broken. The sun or stars are hidden behind the clouds. The radio dead or not receiving signal. How did your character get into this situation? Is is real–as in they are physically lost? Is it metaphorical–they’re in a completely unfamiliar situation with no idea how to get out of it. Most importantly: how are they getting home?

Week of 11/1/19
A Matter of Life and Death: This week the stakes are high. Your character has to intercede or maybe they’re the one in the situation. It’s a matter of life and death. Whose? Why? How did the situation get this serious? Is there any way out? Is it really a Matter of Life and Death or did someone use the distress beacon to order pizza?

Week of 11/8/19
Wrong side of the Bed: Every character can have an incident that ruins an otherwise decent day. As an author, that’s fun to write. What about those times when they just wake up in a bad mood? No reason, no inciting incident, They’re annoyed from the get-go. Those are usually the days that go from bad to worse. Does someone try to get them out of their funk? Are they usually bright and sunny and this is a noticeable change in disposition? Maybe it’s only a matter of degree and their companions are walking on thinner eggshells. This week, write about a time when your character got up on the wrong side of the bed and what the rest of their day was like.

Week of 11/15/19
Love Language/Showing Affection: Every person, every character, has their own way of showing affection. There are culturally sanctioned ways, which often differ by gender and class. Everyone’s different, though, and how they show affection is often how they perceive their standing in another’s eyes. Write this week about your character showing affection in their own way, or recognizing another’s unique love language.

Week of 11/22/19
Beauty: In the eye of the beholder and only skin deep? Or is there in truth no beauty? It’s more common to make our characters physically attractive than not, but modern human (and especially Western) standards are not universal. How does this play in their unique cultures? What does your character consider beautiful? Does it align with their society? What does beauty mean to them in the context of their story? Do they see themselves as beautiful? What would they do to become so, or more so, or do they care?

Week of 11/29/19
Masks and True Faces: Some of our characters wear physical masks. Why? Do they protect their body against harm, their identity against retaliation, or hide something they are ashamed of? Some eschew protection and flaunt their identity, their face, their safety. Other characters take on new personalities and identities depending on who they’re with or the job they need to do. Not a physical mask, but protection just the same. Write about the masks your character wears and to whom, if anyone, they show their true face and self.

Week of 12/6/19
Infodump: Writers often need to give the reader information. A lot of it. A backstory, a history, a strange device, a motivation. You need a character to monologue. This week’s challenge is to create a scene around explaining something important about your character, their world, or their current situation. Infodumps don’t have to be boring! They can be funny, ridiculous, serious, or even deadpan, all while still being interesting. Your infodump doesn’t even have to match the tone of the rest of your story. This week: tell, don’t show.

Week of 12/13/19
Sweater Weather: It’s winter here in the northern hemisphere. Definitely time to break out the jackets, scarves, and long sleeves if you haven’t already. What does your character think of cold weather? Are they the ones wearing shorts in the snow, or are they always cold even wrapped in blankets? Do they come from a place with an actual winter, but now live elsewhere with different traditions or no seasons at all? Are they accustomed to an unchanging climate and the seasons always throw them off? What is this “winter” you speak of? Wait, there’s something besides cold? Of course, sweater weather also suggests cuddling, cups of hot chocolate, tea, cider, or even soup. Be romantic, dystopian, or anywhere in between this week.

Week of 12/20/19
Festive Food: Few human holidays are celebrated without food. Special cakes or cookies, the bread that only comes out for the holiday, roasts, stews, vegetarian, carnivore, and everything in between. Some of the special foods are cultural: everyone all around you is making the same things because of course everyone makes them. Sometimes it’s a special thing in your family alone: Grandma’s holiday bread, Dad’s special cookies, Auntie’s secret-recipe casserole. Sometimes the special thing is special because it is part of a culture otherwise left behind: the thing no one makes here, but does where you’re from. What special food does your character associate with holidays and why? Do they make and enjoy it and share with their friends? Who likes it and who hates it? Does your character hate it, but make it anyway because reasons?

Week of 12/27/19
Second Chances: Everyone screws up. Who gets a second chance? Under what circumstances will your character give another a second chance? Honest mistake? Unforeseen circumstances? Deliberate sabotage? Will some characters (main or otherwise) allow anyone a second chance? No one? Nobody is owed a second chance; no one can earn it. They don’t have to be forgiven for the initial wrong. Give someone in your character’s story a second chance this week. Or don’t. That’s a story too.

Week of 1/3/20
New Year, New You: Make a new character, or write for a character you haven’t before. It can be a completely new OC, a new character in your game or story, or an established character in a property you like but never wrote them before. Write anything from a short scene to a complete fic or story.

Week of 1/10/20
Face Your Fears: Write the kind of scene you find most difficult. Falling in love? Action? Smut? Exposition? Description and scene-setting? High emotions? Every writer has something they find hard to write. It’s only human to avoid including it. But at some point your story will need that kind of scene. Face your fear now.

Week of 1/17/20
Travel Without A Map: This one is easy for those habitual pantsers out there. Write a scene or a whole piece without having any (or as little as possible) preconceived idea of where it’s going. Let your characters tell the story they want to tell. They might surprise you! Write the whole thing, beginning to end. Don’t go back and change things! Not even typos! Or try not to fix typos–that’s hard. The goal this week is a word-vomit, totally unplanned draft that nevertheless is complete of itself. Travel without a map or GPS, but do make it home at the end.

Week of 1/24/20
Self Care: Write the kind of scene you need to write or read. Not necessarily the next one to finish your fic. The kind you need to write: fluffy happiness, cathartic violence, something silly, something deep and philosophical, something satirical and full of sharp cutting edges. This is for no one but you. There’s no obligation to share it with anyone, even SFWC. And if you prefer, take the week off and write nothing. Recharge. You have permission. Take care of yourself this week, however that looks to you.

Week of 1/31/20
Complete Something: Remember that word-vomit first draft from a couple weeks ago? Edit it to completeness. Alternately, pick something from your WIP pile and finish it, whether it’s the first draft or final, ready-to-be-posted version. Choose a work that’s not done, and finish it. Move it from the inbox to the outbox. There are few things that feel as nice as finally finishing something. Wrap up the Month of Meta with that feeling of accomplishment.

Week of 2/7/20
Right Person, Wrong Time: When has your character met another who could be a perfect fit…but not now? It might be a soulmate, a mentor, a social connection, or a patron. But your character isn’t ready for their help, guidance, friendship, or love yet. Maybe your character is, but the person they meet is the one at the wrong time. Why are “the stars wrong”? Does the relationship require a personal change on someone’s part, or are there social or cultural forces in play? Do they ever figure it out? Or do they remain out of sync for the whole story?

Week of 2/14/20
Chocolate! It’s Valentine’s Day here in the US and everything is red, white, and shades of pink. And chocolate! Does your character’s world have a day for romantic love? Is there a food or treat associated with it? Is it like chocolate: sweet, creamy, indulgent and yet ordinary any other time? Is it actual chocolate? Who would your character give it to, or who do they hope to receive it from? What does that person mean to them? They don’t have to be lovers, after all. Or does your character ignore the whole meaning thing and use it as an excuse to stock up? All of the above?

Week of 2/21/20
Found Family: Many of our characters collect a wide circle of friends and hangers-on. Do they have a closer inner circle that’s more than friends? A found family, a collection of characters that interact the way a tightly bonded family might but aren’t related? No one has to fall into stereotypical roles. There doesn’t have to be a “Mom” or “Dad,” “Kid Brother” or “Big Sister.” They don’t always get along, but they always support and care for each other. Write a story involving your character’s found family if they have one, or their adventure with someone who does.

Week of 2/28/20
Ride or Die: Who sticks with your character for all their adventures, good or bad, boring or exciting? The one they call for a spontaneous vacation, to get them out of jail, or to help them move to a second-story walkup apartment. Hopefully their love interest (if they have one) qualifies, but Ride or Die is neither exclusive nor necessarily romantic. It doesn’t even have to be reciprocated. Write something where this relationship is front and center. The story doesn’t work unless the characters absolutely, unequivocally, have each other’s back, no matter what happens.

Week of 3/6/20
Time Change: When has your character been out of sync with their surroundings? In space all planets have their own day-night cycles as well as years. Travel to a new place at light speed or more means having to adjust to a wildly different schedule upon landing. And what time does the crew keep in transit? Is there an agreed-upon standard or does every captain choose their own? Fantasy settings can still have abrupt time changes: long-distance teleports, extended sleep spells, world-altering magic. Does a place like Discworld have time zones? Maybe your character is the habitual early riser in a world or night owls, or the reverse.

Week of 3/13/20
Bad Advice: What’s the worst advice your character received? Something so patently wrong they disregarded it immediately and questioned the giver’s sanity or intelligence? Something they thought was valid but proved less so in practice? Something they fervently believed in until their own repeated experiences made them change their mind? Write about your character and some colossally bad advice.

Week of 3/20/20
Rock Your World: When has your character received unexpected, life-changing news? Was it good or bad? Both? Maybe they learned about an otherwise-unknown relative, received a large inheritance, or acquired a large debt. Perhaps they received medical news–positive or negative. A domestic animal showed up on their doorstep and decided it lived there. Whatever happened, their life is different from this day forward, and it isn’t their choice. What do they do?

Week of 3/27/20
Forbidden Knowledge: The secret technique, a hidden history, a coded text. What does the secret technique do and why is it secret? What was your character taught, what really happened, who hid the truth and why? Is the code unbreakable or was the key lost on purpose? Is it really a code or is it actually a lost language? What does the text say? Worlds abound in knowledge that’s forbidden to to learn or at least difficult to find. Have your character search for, find out about, or discover some this week.

Week of 4/3/20
Cooking: We’ve had several prompts about food, but how about its preparation? Does your character cook? Does their species prepare food at all? What counts as preparation--and how literally do they “gather” or “hunt down” ingredients? Do they like cooking but usually leave it to someone else? Are they terrible at it but clueless to that fact? Are they really quite good cooks, whether they enjoy it or not? Do they only ever prepare one certain dish? Or are they perfectly content to survive on their world’s equivalent of instant ramen, military ration packs, or cheap takeaway?

Week of 4/10/20
Auto/Biography: We often write backstories for our characters with no intention of using the information directly in their adventures. But suppose someone in their world did? Who would write your character’s biography? What would your character want in it? What would they write if they did it themselves? Is your character protective of their legacy or are they willing to authorize a warts-and-all tale? Would your character exaggerate their adventures for the sake of a good tale, or downplay them as irrelevant to their later work? Do they want to be venerated as saintly and good, or feared as a tyrant no one would dare cross? Something in between? And who would read or listen to the tale?

Week of 4/17/20
Won’t Get Fooled Again: Everyone’s been fooled sometime. When does your character notice a pattern? It is a similar scam, or the same person running a different one? What was it about the interaction that tipped off your character? Are they fooled, have they learned, or are they giving someone another chance? Is it worth it? Is the issue so minor that they don’t mind? Are they playing a game with a loved one or friend and fooling is the point? Is your character wrong and the exchange was on the level the whole time?

Week of 4/24/20
No!: Not just no, but hell no. Absolute refusal, you can’t make me, never gonna do it. When has your character outright refused another’s request? What about orders? Demands? Did they agree and then think better of it? Did they go along and quit when they reached their limit? Did the request seem reasonable on the surface but turn out less so? Was it just awful from the get-go? Did they say no just for spite? What were the consequences for refusal?

Week of 5/1/20
Relying on Technology: Regardless of setting, our characters rely on technological innovations. In a fantasy setting, those might be cunning spellwork or finely-crafted weapons. The far future could have memory-dubbing and cybernetics. In any setting, food production, travel, and medicine often employ technology we barely acknowledge. What technology in your character’s world do they absolutely rely on? What can they not get along without? Do they even realize how much they need it? What happens when something goes wrong in the way it functions? What if it breaks and can’t be repaired, or at least not easily or quickly? How much trouble do they have when the things they expect to work just...don't?

Week of 5/8/20
Ever Your Servant: Who serves your character? Not their friend, lover, or companion, characters or NPCs intended as equals, but someone of lower social station. Someone who’s hired for their skills and paid for their work. A butler (hello, Alfred), a maid, the barista at their favorite coffeeshop. Perhaps a slave in societies that allow it or a droid or a golem in those that don’t. This week write a story concerning your character and another who serves them.

Week of 5/15/20
Because I Can: When has your character done something just because? Was it a harmless act done on a whim? A luxury or trip they can finally afford? A crime they knew would go unpunished? A cruel act enabled by power? A heroic one, likewise enabled by power, lack of oversight, or cleverness? Something small that makes them happy? This week, write your character doing something just because they can.

Week of 5/22/20
Bored: Everyone gets bored. Some more easily than others. When has your character been bored? They could be snowbound at home, waiting for an appointment, or a passenger in a vehicle with nothing to do. Perhaps it’s boredom spiked with danger. They’ve sent their distress signal and there’s nothing to do but wait. How do they keep themselves occupied? Do they bother? Can they easily escape their situation but choose not to? Write about your character dealing with boredom.

Week of 5/29/20
Welcome Back/Welcome Home: Some people have fond memories of your character. Parents, old friends, or mentors. Others, perhaps, not so much: exes, enemies, people they've wronged. What kind of welcome does your character get when visiting them again? Is it what they expect or very different?

Happy 8th Birthday SFC!!!!!!!

Week of 6/5/20
Putting Up a Front: A character might feign bravery to convince themselves or inspire others. They might pretend a breakup doesn’t hurt. Putting up a front is performative; hiding vulnerability behind a mask a person hopes improves or maintains their status. Suppressing emotions comes naturally to some characters, less so for others. When--if ever--has your character put up a front and why did they do so?

Week of 6/12/20
Do I Have To?: There are bound to be tasks your character needs to complete that they’d really rather not do. It could be anything from routine chores to some major (or expensive) repairs to their ship, home, or estate. It might be putting up with ridiculous demands from a boss or overlord. It could be something that goes against their moral code--wherever their personal moral compass points--that they nevertheless feel they have to do. It might be something they personally find unpleasant and no one else understands why. Maybe it’s something they’ve been putting off, or something they’ve only just been assigned. This week, write a story where your character asks, literally or figuratively, do I have to?

Week of 6/19/20
Like a Child--No Inhibitions: We had the prompt Like No One’s Watching for your character indulging in some activity they liked but were embarrassed to engage in. This time, let them shed those inhibitions. Children do the things they love and don’t care who knows about it. Be it singing on the bus, wearing colors or patterns that “adults know” don’t match, eating the whole slice of cake because it tastes great, or making stories in their favorite make-believe world. This week, write a story where your character is going to have fun regardless of other’s opinions, or a time when they remembered being so free.

alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 10:01 AM | #7
Story Index by Universe > Character > Chronology

*Updated 6/24/20 as of post #6304.

Authors A











alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 10:18 AM | #8
Authors B-C










alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 10:22 AM | #9
Authors D-E













alaurin's Avatar

06.18.2014 , 10:38 AM | #10
Authors F-H