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Red Tide (Writing Prompts)

Writing Prompts

You know you don't have to use every word in these prompts, don't you? I mean unless you want to. Heck, you don't have to use any of them, they're here just to trigger, provoke, encourage.

To start your creative engine, as it were, to get something-something simmering in your head and out your hands, where you maybe share it with us here—yay! I love these stories with a teeth-clenching, jaw-bruising glee, beause that's a thing that is, and that I have, when you share your story here.

Red Tide (Writing Prompts)

Science Fiction Stories, Mysteries, Supernatural

I love all of those sorts of stories and for some reason these prompts bring those out in you. The eerie, the urban, the gritty, the strange. They're delights one and all and I hope they are air for you. A big breath. A release of writerly tension. I hope these writing prompts are pleasure and inspiration, the start of something beautiful, the letting go of something grim.

Whatever they are, thank you for each and every tale. And without further ado, a few fine quotes from last week's Oh, not again…

“Dear sir,” the email began, and he could already hear Armie’s snide tones dripping from every syllable. “I cannot believe that after the box of candy penises and the sample of elephant faeces, that you would escalate to shipping me THIS kind of filth.” Ben wriggled with delight.
“Oi, raven,” someone shouted and she picket at the wood again. “You’re back luck, ain’t you? On a ship? Shoo, off you go.”
I thought women were bad luck, now it’s ravens, too, she thought to herself and looked up at the man who wasn’t brave enough to go anywhere close to where her beak could reach. She decided that they had been sailing for long enough to risk a little magic.
I heard tell there’s this thing called worm charming. Where people can bring the worms up to the earth’s surface from their subterranean homes. Some little girl holds the title…I wish that kid would charm my worms. And by worms I mean brain cells. And by brain cells I mean this. 
Tala knows that Dev and Gaz will suffer the ignominious demise feared by all performers. They will die on stage, to the sound of metaphorical crickets, not a laugh to be had. From some quarters, the hostile glowering will make the silence furnace-hot. Dev and Gaz’s double act (misogyny-racism) will die and be buried and there won’t be enough good material in it to nourish the worms.
More Writing Prompts
Oh, not again...
Dirty Deeds 
Other Stuff
Where does respect stop and censorship begin?
The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
(Comments moderated to foil the spam bots.)

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  • Anarion on

    The newspapers have started calling him ‘The Red Tide’ after the third body was found.

    I was not amused by that. First, as far as nicknames go, this one is ridiculous because all it makes me think of is my period, and second, killing people is a trade you don’t call attention to.

    I collect all the newspaper clippings nonetheless and I harass the investigating officer as often as I can to learn everything about him. He is clever and cunning and his blade is sharp.

    The people in this city are scared. Streets remain empty after nightfall and no one walks alone.

    I read about him and the more I read, the more fascinated I become. I dream about meeting him and I wonder what he looks like. Is he handsome? Rugged? Does he have a beard? I imagine his hands to be soft and skilled, like a pianist. Or the surgeon that he is.

    He has dropped six bodies so far and the police will never catch him. He is far too good for that.

    I quietly scout alleys and dead ends and all his other favourite hunting grounds. One day I will find him and I’ll show him that my blade is as sharp as his.

  • Atlin Merrick on

    My favourite movie ever is about shrimp. No, sorry, that’s a lie on two counts. It’s not a movie and it’s not about a shrimp. Wait. No. That’s not right either. Let me start over.

    My favourite video clip on the intertubes is one where a bunch of wormy like eels are eating the dead body of something dead and out of nowhere a big ol’ albino shrimp floats into view.

    Right away she does this sick shrimp kick flip, then just crashes her whole face into the seabed because clearly she is not the sharpest shrimp in the cocktail.

    It gets better.

    New Scientist calls her a giant shrimp but she goes on to prove that moniker is about brawn not brain, because this faceplanting decapod then tries to join the dead feast but gets nowhere near the dead body so it looks like she starts trying to eat…rocks.

    Aaaaand, the pleasure of pebbles soon exhausted, our pale genius just floats off with another sick flip, until it’s just her silhouette waving its little feets at us as she floats off on a no-doubt gnarly tide.

    (Every word of this is true and it is based on de YouTubes called First video of living giant deep-sea ‘shrimp’. You’re welcome.)

  • The Honeyed Moon on

    Kel found work – unsurprisingly – at the bar with the nice bartender with the lopsided smile and the tattoo on his ring finger. He needed help and she needed to stick around a while. Boone’s Planet was as fine a place as anywhere to try something new.

    The bar was named Teip Lacha, and she still didn’t get the joke, or if there was even a joke there to get. Kl’yd was a good bartender and businessman. He was also not too shabby in the sack either. Kel made it a rule to never sleep with her business associates, but in this case she made an exception. And Kl’yd was exceptional.

    He was soft, but sharp at the same time. Built like a blockade runner, but shaggy like a Bantha. Not the kind of guy you’d want to run into in some dark alley, but the kind of guy you’d want to walk you down that dark alley. Kl’yd was Kel’s favorite kind of tough – he looked hard on the outside, but was all gooey-center when they were alone together.

    Like the time he took her to the beach. It was the night of the full moons, so the tide was up and the waves were breaking blue in the dark. Luminous and glowing from trillions of little creatures being tossed around in the cresting water.

    “It’s because of the red tide. I don’t know why they call it that, what with the blue glow an’ all. But, it’s real pretty, and I wanted to share it with you.” He hugged Kel tight and kissed the top of her head. “Thanks for stickin’ around.”

    “I’m so glad I did.” Boone’s Planet was just fine.

    (So, Kel, short for Kelar, needed another story. She was born from another writing prompt over at Improbable Press.)

  • Narrelle Harris on

    Red Letter Day.

    A favourite joke among Melburnians (well, it’s one of many) is that you know you’re Melburnian when you know the difference between street art and graffiti. (Melburnians are smugly pleased with themselves and their city. It’s the city, they say, where you have more prestige as a barista than a barrister.)

    The line, to be honest, is blurred. Tagging is a way for the invisible to declare that they, too, are of this city. Sanctioned street art is, some say, fundamentally against the spirit of art bombing capitalist walls with defiance and sharp socio-political commentary. The truth is, for Melburnians, there is no line, there is no real difference. Splash your paint however you will, you Artists of the Street, and we’ll deconstruct your meaning and its merits over coffee and tiramisu until the Yarra has emptied into the sea.

    One day, new unsanctioned paint appeared. A red tide of paint lapped first at the base of buildings, oozing wet onto the tarmac and concrete and cobbles of the side street. First one alley, then another, then the next.

    Unsanctioned as it was, the council tried to scrub it clean, but the red tide wouldn’t be scrubbed. Within an hour, the cheerful berry red was splashed over street and wall again, higher up this time. Artful arcs across windows; spirals dribbling upward over pipes and wiring.

    With a second attempt, the walls of the city reeked of paint stripper, but almost as fast rose the red tide again, but it smelled of cayenne and saffron; of cherry and pomegranate, each sharp scent individual and yet a harmony.

    The cafes and bars and restaurants made breakfasts and cocktails and light as air desserts in its honour.
    The red tide rose and spread, spilling out of alleys into the Little streets, and then the broad thoroughfares, the inexorable hue sploshing into tram tracks and splashing onto shoes.

    The next attempt to wash the tide was half hearted at best. The red splashed up to the second floor of the whitewash of the Myers Department store. This fresh flow held the texture of leather and satin, cotton and wool. The fashionistas were giddy with inspiration.

    By the time the red was defying gravity, running up the walls towards the third floor, towards rooftops, it sounded like rain on a tin roof, like the wind through the trees, like the ding of the tram bell. It was jazz club and busker and the chime in the Arts Centre when the second act is about to begin.

    In short, Melbourne had been woken, like a sleeping beauty, kissed into life by her adoring inhabitants.
    Washed in all that love, Melbourne awoke, and fell in love with itself.

    The town was painting itself red, and it was having one hell of a spree.

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