Writing Prompt #78

Writing Prompt #78

Flirty Merman

Her day had been way too long to have to deal with a merman hitting on her.

Your last prompt for the week is a bit of a fun one.  I always see prompts about mermaids but very few about mermen.  I believe somewhere in the wide world of the internet, I’ve read that most of the early depictions of mermen were rather ugly.  However, many modern adaptations that I’ve seen make mermen just as handsome as their female equivalents.  Stories with mermen at the center of them are still in short supply though.  Use this prompt to inspire your next story.  Is your merman the kind of creature that would drag an unsuspecting sailor to their doom?  What are his motives?  How did your heroine even come to be in a position to gain the attention of this flirty merman? Maybe your heroine’s long day began with falling off a ship at sea.  Perhaps she just finished up a terrible date.

Mermen not really your cup of tea?  Check out some of my other writing prompts in the archive for more ideas to give your writing a kickstart.  As always, anything you write belongs solely to you.  You don’t need to credit anyone.  However, if you want to share your writing with me I’d love to read it.  Put a link to it in the comments below or connect with me on Tumblr.

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Writing Prompt #77

Writing Prompt #77

The White Funeral Dress

She was the only one wearing white at the funeral.

Today’s writing prompt feels a bit ominous, bordering on the paranormal.    Usually, when I make my writing prompts, the picture that I use as a background for the prompt and the picture that initially inspires the prompt are completely different.  For this prompt, though, I couldn’t find a picture that worked as well as this one.  The way the people in the background seem to ignore the woman in the foreground and her fuzziness almost make it seem that she’s not really visible to anyone but the person holding the camera.  She smiles knowingly as if she has a secret.  Write that secret.  Tell us how she died.  Show us why she’s smiling at her own funeral.  Or take a completely different spin on this prompt.  Maybe she’s the wife or daughter of the deceased.  But why is she wearing white when everyone else wears black?

Spooky and paranormal not really what you’re looking for today?  Browse through my writing prompt archives for dozens of other prompts.  Remember!  Anything you write belongs solely to you with no need to credit.    However, if you want to share your writing with me I’d love to read it.  Drop me a link to your work in the comments below or send it to me via Tumblr.

Want to support my writing?  Consider donating to me for the price of a cup of coffee.  I’ll customize a prompt just for you.

Writing Prompt #76

Writing Prompt #76

New Apartment

Fluffy really enjoyed the view from their new apartment.  Then again, watching Jupiter rise and starships passing right outside the window was pretty impressive.

After a brief break, I’m back with a new set of writing prompts!  This Monday’s prompt is hard and fast science fiction.  I grew up watching movies such as Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century and Star Wars.  Two very different kinds of sci-fi movies but pretty hard and fast examples.  For a large part of my childhood, life on a space station or ship fascinated me.  The mysteries of space are vast and exciting.  With the wide majority of space unexplored, it’s a writer’s paradise and a galaxy of possibilities exists.

Science fiction not really your cup of tea or don’t feel like writing about space station life?  Check out some of my other writing prompts in the archives.  Remember!  Anything you write belongs solely to you with no credit necessary.  However, if you want to share your writing with me I’d love to see it.  Drop a link to it here in the comments or connect with me on Tumblr.

Interested in supporting me?  Consider donating to me for the price of a cup of coffee.  I’ll customize a prompt just for you.

Writing Prompt #75

Writing Prompt #75

Nervous

“Nervous?”
“Why would I be?”
“First time making a solo drop.  Kinda a big deal.”

Your final prompt for the week is a relatively open-ended one.  I think I actually based it on the same picture I based my “Desperately Needed” prompt.  However, this one has a slightly different tone behind it.  I can see the second of the two speakers being more confident.  It could all just be a front though.  What exactly is this unnamed individual dropping off and why is it a big deal?

If this prompt isn’t what you’re looking for today, take a look through my archive of writing prompts for inspiration.  Remember, everything you write belongs to you one hundred percent.  There’s no need to credit me at all.  However, if you use one of my prompts and want to share it with me, I’d love to see it.  You can post a link to your work below in the comments or send it to me via social media.

Want to show some appreciation for my prompts and articles in a monetary sense?  Consider donating to me for the price of a single hot beverage!  I’ll customize a prompt just for you!

Writing Prompt #74

Writing Prompt #74

A Fine Mess

“A fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into brother.”
He glared down at his sister, rattling the chains around his wrists.  “Just get me out of these already.”

Your prompt this Wednesday is inspired by the condescension that only a sibling can offer.  I find that I personally like writing about siblings more than  I like writing about romance.  I wrote this as an adventure prompt because the illustration I based it off of was very much a medieval fantasy picture.  Take some time and tell the story of how and why this sister has to bail her brother out of chains?  What exactly did he do to end up there?  Is this a usual occurrence for the two?

If this writing prompt isn’t what you’re looking for today then check out some of my other writing prompts!  I’ve got loads in my archives to get you into a writing mood.  Remember!  Anything you write belongs to you with no need to credit me.  However, if you want to share your work with me then go ahead and drop a link to it in the comment below!  Or, send it to me via social media.  I’d love to see it.

Want to support me, then please consider donating!  It only costs about the price of a hot beverage.  I’ll create a customized writing prompt just for you out of gratitude!

Writing Prompt #73

Writing Prompt #73

Desperately Needed

The watched the scenery pass underneath the transport as they got closer to the settlement.  The case of supplies weighed heavily in his hand.  The survivors desperately needed them.

Your prompt this morning is a versatile one.  When I wrote it, I originally had a sci-fi setting/genre story in mind.  However, you could probably spin this as a fantasy prompt of some sort or even a horror story.  You could tell the story of a simple medic or delivery man going into a wasteland only to discover that the survivors he’d hoped to bring aide to have vanished.  You could also tell the story of what prompted the need for aid in the first place.  What was the tragedy that befell these people?  How did they find themselves in such dire straits?  Let your imagination run wild and carry you on whatever adventure this prompt takes you on.

Not really what you’re looking for at the moment?  I have tons of writing prompts from the past that might fit your needs better.  Remember, no matter what prompt you use there’s no need to credit me.  Everything you write belongs solely to you.  If you’d like to share your writing me, however, I’d love to see it.  Drop a link to it in the comments below or on one of my social media sites!

Want to show some appreciation for my prompts and articles in a monetary sense?  Consider donating to me for the price of a single hot beverage!  I’ll customize a prompt just for you!

Character Building: Dungeons and Dragons Edition

About five months ago, I took the next logical progression into my nerdiness. I began playing Dungeons and Dragons.  Honestly, with as much as I enjoy all things nerdy it’s really a surprise that it took me nearly 27 years to get to this point in my life.  Thank you, Matthew Mercer and Critical Role.  I digress.  Since picking up the hobby, I’ve done a lot of thinking about storytelling and plotting from the lense of dice rolling and random encounters.  The place that I’ve been the most intrigued with is character building.  Since D&D is a role-playing game you have to know the character you play inside and out much like when you write a novel.  The main difference being that it is on a smaller scale.  In D&D, you only really need to have a firm grasp on the character you play.  So how do you do this and how can it help your writing?

Character Building with the Player’s Handbook

The first dungeon master (DM) that I played with told me I didn’t need the Player’s Handbook (PHB) to get started. I ran out about a day after my first session and bought the basic handbook because I seem to do everything “all in or not at all.”  However, the nice thing about D&D is that it’s been around enough time that there are a ton of resources online.  I’ll include a list of my favorite websites that I’ve used in the past at the end of my post.

If you’re using the PHB, there are four main steps to creating a character.  Choosing your race, choosing your class, determining your ability scores, and picking a background.  The PHB walks a newbie player through the steps and even gives helpful suggestions on how to build a character.  Pretty nice if you’re a writer on a time crunch.

Step 1: Choosing a Race

Since D&D is usually a high fantasy game, many of its races are what you’d expect to see in a high fantasy novel.  Dwarves, humans, elves, and halflings (also known as hobbits for the Tolkien fans out there) are a given.  There are a few others in the PHB and quite a few homebrewed, or player created, races too.  Each race has their own unique traits and abilities that come into play during character building.  For example, dwarves are hearty individuals and have lived underground for centuries.  This gives them buffs to their constitution ability score as well allowed them the ability to see in the dark.  We’ll get to ability scores in a moment, so put those on the back burner for now.

If you already have a good idea of what kind of setting your story will take place in, picking a character’s race might be fairly straightforward.  If you’re writing a historical murder mystery in 1920s New York then you’ll probably only have humans in your story.  The other races are there if you need them though.

Step 2: Choosing a class

This is probably my favorite step.  In D&D, your class determines all the cool things you can do.  Rogues are super sneaky and can deal extra damage if their allies are distracting their opponents.  Druids can turn into animals that essentially give them extra hit points.  Barbarians hit hard and can take down several opponents quickly.  One of my favorite things to do as of late is to take characters I’ve already created and fit them into a class.  It doesn’t always work perfectly but that’s okay.  Your 1920s private investigator might be a rough and tumble fighter who can take punch after punch without even blinking.  Your dazzling leading lady could be a bard known for her ability to make people listen to even the most farfetched ideas simply because of the way she smiles.

Get your hands on some class descriptions and read through the perks.  See what traits work best for your characters.  Each class also comes with a handy “quick build” guide that suggests how to place your ability score stats and what background to choose.  You don’t have to follow it word for word but it can definitely speed things up when working on character building.

Step 3: Ability score modifiers

The basis of all D&D characters are the core six stats.  Strength, dexterity, constitution, wisdom, intelligence, and charisma.  Since D&D is a game that has combat and roleplaying elements, each stat has a corresponding modifier that will be added (or in some cases subtracted) to things you can do.  These modifiers also determine how likely you are to be successful in whatever you’re attempting.  A smooth-talking pirate who hopes to get out of jail by persuading the guard that he’s innocent would use his charisma modifier to make that happen.  If that pirate’s charisma modifier is too low, well then they might need to think of another way out of the predicament.

Usually, ability scores and modifiers are determined by rolling a 20 sided die.  Since you’re mostly using the PHB as a character building tool, and not to play,  you might choose to skip on rolling the die.  Instead, you could make it up based preexisting ideas you might have for your character.  However, if you’re starting at square one then rolling a die could be kind of fun.  You always have the ability to tweak it if needed.

Should you chose to roll for ability scores, the PHB also gives some pretty helpful direction on how to use those scores to describe your character.

Take your character’s ability scores and race into account as you flesh out his or her personality.  A very strong character with low intelligence might think and behave very differently than a very smart character with low strength… high strength usually corresponds with a burly or atheletic body while a low strength might be scrawny or plump.

(PHB 14)

Again, pretty nice if you need some guidance on how to describe your characters.

Step 4: Backgrounds

This is the part of character building where things get interesting.  Remember how I said each class gives suggestions on backgrounds to choose?  Some of them make sense.  The fighter class recommends a soldier background since that allows you to optimize your character’s skills towards that class.  What if you have a “chosen one” trope though and your character is a fighter class but has the folk hero background that has a focus on a having a humble origin but meant for greater things?  Kind of sounds like the stereotypical farm boy pulls the magic sword of awesome out of the river set up to me!

Play around with the backgrounds and classes and see what you can come up with.  Each background also has some nifty personality traits, ideals, and flaws to help flesh your characters out.  However, you can, of course, use them as a jumping off point to come up with your own.  Personally, I’m not a big fan of the Outlander background traits but they serve as some cool inspirations.  Depending on your needs you can mix and match parts of some backgrounds to suit your needs.  When I built my first D&D character, I was surprised just how quickly my backstory came together just by using the ideas in the background.

Putting it all together

This is definitely a more time-consuming process than the ones I described in my Quick Character Creation Methods post.  Using the PHB is more of a labor of love that’s going to take some time.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend building all your characters this way.  Maybe just focus on two or three of the most important characters and go from there.

Note!
I also want to take a moment and point out that I would NOT mix and match backgrounds or tweak ability scores if you are designing a character that you plan on playing.  You can quickly throw the power balance out of whack by doing that.  Also, always discuss homebrew ideas with your DM before implementing them with a character you plan to use in a game.  It’s just good etiquette.

 

Sit down with a piece of paper, or even a D&D character sheet, and start making notes.  Take into consideration your setting and plot.  Exactly who do you need these characters to be?  How will certain races, classes, ability scores, and backgrounds allow them to fill those needs?  Free write and adjust when things don’t quite fit together.  Character building is supposed to be fun.  When you’re finished you should have a fairly well fleshed out character that is ready for whatever adventure you put them through.

Dungeons and Dragons Resources for Character Building

If you’re like me and not made of money, there are plenty of free resources available for use.  Here’s a list of my favorite websites!

  • Wizards of the Coast Abridged Players Handbook: The official rules from Wizards of the Coast.  It contains the basic races and classes for players (or writers).  Fairly straightforward and easy to comprehend.
  • Roll20 5th Edition Compendium:  A pretty nice basic overview of classes, races, backgrounds, and spells.  However, I’ve discovered that some of the details are missing such as certain class abilities.
  • D&D Homebrew Wiki: A community-edited and driven wikia with content that’s been created and customized for people who want something a bit different than what’s been developed by Wizards of the Coast.
  • Dungeon Masters Guild: A resource where players and DMs upload adventures, character creation guides, and companion guides for download.  Be sure to click on the “free” and “pay what you want” section to check out some interesting resources.

Need more?

Check out my writing prompt archive for some creative sparks for your next project.  You can also visit me on my Tumblr for more.  If you enjoy my work and want to show your appreciation, please consider donating to me!

Writing Prompt #72

Writing Prompt #72

Guardians

They live all over the world, from the deserts to the rainforests.  People call them guardians.  Nobody’s sure if they mean the girls themselves or the giant cats that follow them wherever they go.

Thank goodness it’s Friday!  First one of the new year.  Rounding off my latest rounds of prompts is one about guardians.  This happens to be inspired by a collection of pictures I’ve seen on Pinterest.  They all feature women of various ages with giant-sized tigers, lions, and panthers at their side.  With so many of these similar themed images, I speculated on a more connected storyline for them.  Maybe they’re chosen by some goddess to protect the world.  Although, I  could see the possibility of them being druids or rangers who protect magical artifacts.  Give me some more time and I will probably come up with two or three more ideas of my own.  If you’re looking for some worldbuilding ideas, this might be a cool one to develop!

Not what you’re looking for?  Go through my previous writing prompts here!  You’ll find dozens more from last year to spark some creativity.  Remember, anything you write belongs solely to you with absolutely no need to credit me whatsoever!  However, if you would like to share your work with me I’d love to read it.  Drop me a link to it either in the comments below or on social media.  I can always be found on Tumblr!  Hit me up!  I’ll probably do what I can to share it with some people.

Want to help support me while I continue to create content?  Consider donating!  It’s the cost of one small, hot beverage.  I’ll customize a prompt a prompt for you!

Writing Prompt #71

Writing Prompt #71

Average Student

You are an average high school student that falls into an alternative universe.  Okay, fine.  You just wish the prince assigned to protect you on your journey home didn’t need more protection than you.

Happy Tuesday!  One of my favorite fantasy subgenres is portal fantasy.  You’ve probably read, or more likely watched, one of these.  An average person by some way, shape, or form ends up in a world that is completely different from the one that they know.  Think Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Coraline, Chronicles of Narnia, Labyrinth.  The list is quite long once you think about it.  I personally love them and have dabbled in writing one or two.  Usually, the story has something to do with getting home or saving the alternative universe but what if your character got saddled with a guide character that was borderline useless and bumbling at best.  What would your character have to do keep themselves alive?  What skills would they have to learn?  Or better yet… what skills do they already have to keep themselves alive?

If this prompt doesn’t really fit your bill for the day, check out some of my previous writing prompts for a different one!  Remember, if you use one of my prompts all your writing belongs to you.  No credit necessary!  However, I’d love to read what you’ve written.  Post a link to in the comments below or send it to me via social media.

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Writing Prompt #70

Writing Prompt #70

Follow

You are hired by the king to follow his daughter.  She’s been slipping into the woods and he suspects she’s meeting a lover.  When you follow her, you discover it’s not a lover but a dragon she’s meeting.

Happy New Year!  It’s been awhile but that’s okay.  A new year means a fresh start, so why not have a new prompt to go along with it.  Your prompt on this bright and first Monday of 2018 is a fantasy prompt.  With dragons.  I love dragons.  I’ve done a few of them in the past but this one has a distinctly royal flavor with a princess thrown in.  Your intrepid character could be a knight, a jester, a maid, or a magician.  What makes them the perfect candidate for this task?  What drew the king’s eye to this character originally?

If this prompt isn’t exactly what you’re looking for today try looking through my archives to peruse my previous writing prompts!  Remember, anything you write belongs solely to you.  No need to give credit for using the prompt.  However, if you’d like to share it with me drop me a link to your writing in the comments or on social media.

Like my stuff?  All my writing prompts and articles?  Consider buying a small hot beverage to drink while I create them!  I’ll probably create a custom prompt just for you!