Author Topic: Writing Prompts!  (Read 20775 times)

Fellfrosch

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Writing Prompts!
« on: August 12, 2008, 06:55:48 PM »
This is the official thread (for now) for posting your work for the Writing Excuses writing prompts. Please include the prompt itself at the beginning of each post, and try to limit your writing excerpts to reasonable size.

By the way, while here in Time-Waster's Guide land, Brandon is called EUOL, Jordo the techmonkey is called Spriggan, and Dan is called Fellfrosch. Howard is also called but not, apparently, chosen.
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stanmanx

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008, 01:51:27 PM »
Hey, thanks for the sweet forum space. I've never actually posted on the Writing Excuses site before, so also, hello! Thanks for my favorite podcast.

Writing Prompt: Develop a religion where people worship something that no one would ever worship in our world. And it can’t be silly.

Note: Despite my best efforts, this is still borderline silly... just try to take off our world's glasses when you look.

Practitioners of this religion worship the coffee bean. This came about because, at some point, warriors from this particular culture discovered that consuming coffee beans allowed them to stave off the magic of the sleep god and remain on the battlefield longer than their enemies. This enabled them to conquer their neighbors and establish an empire.

Originally, only the warrior class was allowed to consume the coffee bean, as they were considered the true strength of the tribe However, as the centuries passed and the empire was solidified, art and philosophy began to flourish, and the power of the coffee god was slowly made available to everyone at evening rituals. Eventually these rituals became available at several times during the day. The people found that if they stopped attending regularly, they were assaulted by malignant servants of their enemy, the sleep god, who gave them terrible head pains and forced them to sleep long hours.


mbarker

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Re: the worship of coffee as a religion
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2008, 05:18:57 AM »
I know it's been a while since I took an anthropology or social sciences course, but I think we have quite a few undeclared religions around. I seem to remember that you needed to have a group, a common set of beliefs, some kind of practices, and the notion of some kind of sacred objects. It certainly seems to me that the lines of early morning devotees at Starbucks come pretty close to qualifying as a religion. Try getting between them and their coffee and you'll learn about heresy and excommunication.

I'm not quite sure why a religion including coffee as a sacred object is borderline silly? After all, tea was a gift to the Buddhists to help them stay awake. I think the story I've heard about that is that the first tea bushes sprang up where a devotee cut off his eyelids and threw them in the dirt. So coffee in support of another religion doesn't seem too surprising.

Although you might want to consider making it a cult of ecstasy? Several religions have had various kinds of intoxicants and stimulants as part of their religious celebrations.

Perhaps the real question is what coffee symbolizes in your religion. It sounds as if the world is threatened by the gods of sleep, and coffee (not unlike fire) was brought to man to help him fight back? So the world constantly is on the verge of falling asleep forever, but waking your neighbor and giving them coffee is a sacrament? Interesting, really.


stanmanx

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2008, 10:38:32 AM »
Well, it's borderline silly because I imagined pointing out the Starbucks connection and combining it with a "lol" or a "rofl", rather than actual insight (keep in mind I'm new to this forum, so I have no idea what to expect from people).

Those were really good questions/suggestions. Now I'm actually putting more thought into it. I might actually do something with it beyond this writing prompt...

CabbyHat

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2008, 09:06:53 PM »
OK, I never would have thought of coffee. That's pretty creative. Um... OK, here's the religion I came up with, it's kind of the only thing I could think of that wasn't actually silly.

This religion focuses on the worship of pain. Early on in this culture's development it was noticed that the sensation of pain always accompanied important, formative events, such as danger or significant injury; sometimes it even warned of worse injury, as in when someone had their hand in a fire without noticing - the pain would warn him to pull it out before badly burning it. Pain thus began to be regarded as a gift from the gods; an important part of human experience, to be cherished rather than avoided and sought after as much as any other feeling.

Any time one of this religion's followers gets a painful injury, he or she will try to hold onto it as long as possible; the wound will be cleaned to prevent infection, but left unbound and displayed as a badge of honor. Those who have earned the privelege will have their wounds perpetually reopened in a ceremony by the priests. These priests are those who have been honored with extreme pain - whether they were burned all over as children, mauled by wild animals, or have some sort of chronic illness that causes them to suffer, their frequent pain is believed to bring them closer to the mind of god. Women are more revered than men in this society because the pain of childbirth belongs to women. Lepers and those who suffer paralysis are seen as cursed and shunned, because they can't feel pain.
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Reaves

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2008, 10:30:31 PM »
there was a series of Star Wars books in which the galaxy was being invaded by a race of aliens who revered pain...They were ok but unless you are a fan of Star Wars i wouldn't read them.
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CabbyHat

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2008, 01:39:00 AM »
Eh, there really is nothing new under the sun! And no, I am not so much a fan of Star Wars. Trek, yes, but not Wars.
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Puck

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 01:56:22 AM »
are you kidding?! that's great! that opens up the way for other religions within the same system (making the one religion and the world more believable).
for example:
a protestant/heritic group could be one that still revered Pain as a god, but looked for ways to satiate her without experiencing it themselves. [enter human sacrifice-type degeneration.]
man, there are tons of possibilities! good stuff

jjb

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2008, 03:48:08 AM »
How about a religion that worships color? The people believe that there is a specific spirit within each type of color. If there is a blue cup and a blue flower, both would be inhabited by the same spirit, but if there was a blue shirt that was even slightly different in shade of blue, there would be a different spirit. The strength of the spirits is based upon how pure the color is.

The pure colors (red, blue, and yellow) are the most powerful of spirits while green, purple, and orange are next in power. As colors become more of a mix, the spirits inside of them get less and less powerful.
There are numerous factions within this religion that are at constant war with each other. The three main factions are obviously for the spirits of red, blue and yellow. The worshipers believe that the spirits have called on them to get rid of all opposing color.

So, the worshipers of the red spirit will wear all red and their temple is completely red... you get the idea. Part of ridding the world of opposing colors involves assassinating priests of opposing factions. If the red priests catch anyone, they will open all the veins, making a lot of blood come out, and then they will spread that blood all over the captured persons (naked) body.

The blue priests wear all blue, etc. They kill their captives by drowning them in ice cold water...

Right now I'm not quite sure how the yellow priests kill. One idea is that they put captives in a cage out in the desert, letting the (yellow) sun kill them. That doesn't follow the pattern of turning the body yellow, though. They could paint the bodies yellow, but that would be too easy.


This was a really weird religion idea, but it seemed to me that if people can find spirits in rocks and such, why not take it one step further and find spirits in the colors, themselves?

And I apologize for my poor writing style.

Necroben

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2008, 04:08:32 AM »
Writing prompt on religion.

My idea is set in more of a future time.  If the world as we know it were to end, we’d leave all kinds of artifacts just lyin’ around.  If one had never seen such things before and had no experiance with them they could be misconstrude as being Divine.


“O’ lord who stands before us.  Humbly do we ask you to forgive our trespass.  We will always come in peace and there shall be 'no' loitering.  All who violate the handicap shall be fined $200.  With these, 'your' commandments Lord, do we honor you.  Let us enter 'your' hallowed walls to shelter from the night, we beg of you.  Protect 'your' children from the darkness that dwells without, so that we may serve 'you' within O’ lord.  Amen”

Turning upon his heel the Shaman led the group of despondent refugees into the crumbling remains of a stone and steel building.
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SturmKrähe

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2008, 07:38:38 AM »
I came up with something similar to Necroben's
I submitted it on 365 tales, but its not up yet so here it is instead of a link.
I hope its not too long a post.


The days of my youth are full of fond memory.
Jumping over stones pretending they housed capture spirits screaming MINE! MINE!
Or running through the tall grass playing at ambushing eastern heretics with my cousins.
But my strongest memory is one of pride, my Naming Day.
This I remember.
"We remember with you."

With excitement filling us we sat around the Smokey fire,Thinking of the three who would not join us in adulthood.
A shadowy figure walked towards the fire light, stooped with age, his face wrinkled, hard and sun browned like old leather, 
his eyes glittering like blue gems as he walked around us chanting in the old tongue.

MEM SLASH SEE he spoke.
Return we solemnly replied.

UNLOCK SEE COLON he said.
Return.

Standing before each of us in turn, he looking into our eyes,
he painted arcane symbols of the past on our faces.
I felt envy when he painted the marks of the Great Silver Bird on shadow-eye’s face,
but then he stood before me.

I speak to the window of your soul he whispered.
I await the prompt. I eagerly replied.
Sis runs-free colon slash See colon.
"return" I said, and a great dizziness overcame me.
visions of the days searching "Greatsidy" for my adult name flashed before me.

walking with caution and reverence across the strange black rock of Greatsidy, I whispered
a prayer to honor the ancestors in there rows of metal Toombs, and asked Greatsidy
for guidance.
Cracking thunder sounded in the distance echoing doom, a capture spirit claiming one of my fellow searchers.
My heart filled with fear, but I did not show it.
I held my place until night fall, Greatsidy had shown me a sign.

My heart leapt with joy when the craggy faced Puter shaman painted my face in colors
of bravery,loyaty, and wisdom. Red, green and gold.
Rename See Colon Slash "runs-free"  Yields-to-God RETURN!

That night I took up the shamans robes as well as my name.
I Yields-to-god Remember.
"We remember with you"
ENDFILE!

MrPaperCamel

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2008, 08:29:28 AM »
I have run into a technical problem I think. I want to comment on responses posted before me, and I also want to post my own response. I know there is a no double posting rule but I am curious if this is random exception. I like to try and keep my thoughts very organized and together when I put them to paper so putting everything into one post seems counter to that. I can forgo that here if people feel I need to, but wanted to bring it up in case I can still adhere to that in some way I might not be seeing right now.

@jjb

Your idea of color worshipers intrigues me. I am very curious how this idea started in your world. Where did it start and how did it grow. Who started the assassinations  and the genocides?Might not be important topics, but those are the kinds of things I usually ask.

For the deaths from your Yellow worshipers, my first though went to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaundice. I am not sure how you would explain inflicting such a thing on a person, but not exactly my thing to research =p. If nothing else, hope that give you a place to start.



Writing Prompt:
Develop a religion where people worship something that no one would ever worship in our world. And it can’t be silly.

I envision an entire town that has been transported a few hundred years into the future. The town would be very small settlement of people in a pre-industrial society who are shifted to a time where electronic systems have been widely implemented and become more standardized. A highly technological society with patternized and highly recognizable systems.

The people from the time shifted town would begin to see entry systems as tools from the gods of access. Keypads and card readers would become holy objects to them. These objects would be how the gods spoke to them. Being able to pass into an area would be a sign of acceptance and great rejoice. Anytime you were able to enter would be a holy-ing experience. Anytime you were unable to access an area would be a sign that you have committed some sin. You would need to remove yourself from the group and cleanse yourself. You must purge yourself of whatever sin you have committed against the gods of access.

There also would be inhabitants from the current time period that begin to join this religion. All followers would be at first accepted, but soon a division of people from the original village and current time followers would emerge. The time shifted citizens would feel that they are the true chosen ones, and anyone from the current time period can never be as holy. Anytime a new time follower could not access an area, they would not be allowed the same leniency for cleansing. Since they were not of the chosen group, the could never be fully cleansed and would thereby be excommunicated.
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CabbyHat

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2008, 04:40:06 PM »
Thanks for the idea, Puck! I also thought of a faction that deliberately inflicts pain on themselves, rather than waiting for it to occur naturally and blessedly, and were excommunicated for it but were too addicted to pain to stop.

Jjb, you have a fantastic idea there; I love it. And I can't remember what they are right now, but there are certain poisons that cause the skin to take on a yellowish hue after death.
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Spriggan

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2008, 07:01:00 PM »
Our double posting rule is mostly to keep people from spamming to get levels.  If you think enough time has passed that people may not see an edit because they've already read the post then feel free to double post--especially in threads like this which are idea sharing based, we tend to be less strict on some forum rules on threads like these.
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mbarker

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2008, 03:54:08 AM »
Our double posting rule is mostly to keep people from spamming to get levels.  If you think enough time has passed that people may not see an edit because they've already read the post then feel free to double post--especially in threads like this which are idea sharing based, we tend to be less strict on some forum rules on threads like these.

Okay . . . um, where would one find these rules? I did a little poking around and didn't see a FAQ (well, I found one link to one that deadended in a broken link). Willing to read the rules, but I'm not sure where to find them? [Levels? We've got levels? Do we have ladders and snakes, too?]

And after another round of searching, by way of Brandon's intro, I found this http://www.timewastersguide.com/forum/index.php?topic=11.0

Still no ladders and snakes, though.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 04:01:36 AM by mbarker »