Author Topic: Writing Prompts!  (Read 28142 times)

Stony Creek

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #75 on: December 18, 2010, 11:41:09 PM »
Prompt: The Dialogue exercise

Thanks for the chance to join in.

Title: Not sure yet

“… out of here! Right now!”

“What? Huh? What’s that?”

“Hang on, I’m almost out.”

“Who’s there? I demand that you release me from this, this … whatever it is this instant.”

“Ok friend, let me see what I can do.”
“I’m not sure we’re communicating, I didn’t ask you to ‘see what you can do’, I’m telling you that you had better get me out of this thing or else.”

“Calm down mate, I’m working on it.”

“I wish you would work a little faster.”

“What’s that?”

“That’s my shoulder.”

“How did you get in there?”

“That’s real funny pal, now can we get on with this and get me the heck out of here.”

“Suit yourself, I’m just trying to be polite. Besides I don’t have anything other than this piece of drift wood. I was hoping you could help me out, I’d hate to accidentally hurt you or something.”

“Are you threatening me? I don’t think you know who I am, my father is …”

“You’re absolutely right, I have no idea who you are. I’m just trying to help out mate. If we could just work together this might go a lot easier.”

“Ok, what do you want me to do?”

“First of all it might help if I knew your name.”

“You really don’t know who I am?”

“Nope, I don’t.”

“My name is Kenneth Ronald Messman Jr., my father is …”

“That’s enough for now Ken. Move your hands so I can tell exactly where they are.”

“Alright I see them, now spread your arms apart.”

“That’s good, hold them right there. Now Ken I’m going to try and poke a hole in this pod with a piece of drift wood I have here. So you have to hold your arms still. Can you see this?”

“Kind of, I can feel it in my arms.”

“That’s where I’m going to try and punch a hole, ok?”

“Alright, but be careful.”

“Hey, don’t pound that thing into my chest.”

“That’s what I was afraid of, we’re going to have to try something different. How far can you push your arms away from your body?”

“That’s it ay? That’s some kind of strong material, I wonder what it is?”

“I have no idea, but I’m more interested in getting out of here than analyzing the freakishly strong wrapper I’m trapped in.”

“Ok, push your arms out again.”

“That’s good. Ready? Here I go.”

“Ow! Are you trying to kill me? I think I’m bleeding.”

“Sorry about that mate. That was a bit unexpected. But it worked. Now that there’s a little hole I can make it bigger. You’ll be out in just a minute.”

“There we go, can you stand up?”

“Are you alright? I don’t see much blood, is that where I nicked you?”

“It felt a lot worse than it looks. I’ll be fine, but remind me never to trust you again.”

“Any idea how we got here?”

“I was about to ask you the same question.”

“I’m guessing from your accent you’re from Australia.”

“Actually I’m from England. You from the states?”

“Boston, Massachusetts. How old are you?”

“I’m fifteen, how about you?”

“I’m sixteen.  So, you really don’t know why we’re here or what we’re supposed do? If you’re pranking me…”

“Not the foggiest. But this fabric we were in is intriguing. Did you notice water never came inside?”

“Of course I noticed that.”

“Whoever put us in these pods and threw us in the water didn’t intend to kill us. It looks like this material was designed to keep us alive. In addition to keeping the water out it had to allow air to flow in – otherwise we would have suffocated. And take a look at this, there are no seams. I wonder how we were sealed inside?”

“And one more thing, take a look right here. Almost the entire pod is flexible, except for this one spot. It’s very brittle, like an egg shell. See how easily it breaks?”

“I see. What does it mean?”

“Hey, look over there what’s that?”

“What? Where are you going? You didn’t answer my question, what does it mean?”

“I’m not sure. Come see this. It’s the fabric of another pod, same exact thing as the ones you and I were in – only this one’s empty. We’re not the only ones here.”

“I don’t see anyone around here, where did he go?”

“There are tracks leading up the beach into the jungle. I don’t see any other signs. Except! Look back past where we were, way over there. I think I see… 1… 2… 3… 4… there’s 5 more pods washed up in the surf over there. And they don’t look empty. We have to go see if we can help.”

“Does that look like the head to you?”

“I don’t know, maybe.”

“I have an idea. Let’s get all the pods up out of the water. Help me pick this one up, grab it down there.”

“Why? What’s that going to do?”

“I’m not sure but I have a hunch. You want to lend me a hand?”

“Hang tight in there mate, we’re going to get the others out of the water. We’ll be back to help you get out in a few minutes.”

“Come on, let’s go get the next one.”

“What are you doing to me? Where are you taking me? What is going on?”

“Umm, we’re trying to help you. We’re moving you out of the water. There are three others we need to get out of the water, then we’ll be back to help get you out of the pod.”

“Come on Ken, let’s keep moving. Pod number three is over there.”

“Did that sound like a girl to you?”

“Yeah, it did.”

“I’m waiting till that big wave passes.”

“Ok, let’s go.”

“Who’s there? Are you friend or foe?”

“We’re trying to help you. We think if we move you out of the water it’ll be easier to get you out of there.”

 “I suppose I have no other choice than to trust you.”

“We’ll be back in a few minutes, after we get the other pods out of the water.”

“This is pod number four.”

“Hello, anybody home?”

 “I think you scared him, or her, speechless.”

“Very funny. Let’s move on.”

“Last one. Now that’s done let’s sit down for a second.”

“So, why did we need to move all the pods out of the water? It’s hot out here, wouldn’t it be cooler for them in the water?”

“Yeah you’re right, that black fabric is going to heat up quickly – I’m counting on that; but I didn’t think about how hot it would be on the inside. We’d better hurry back to the first one and help him get out of the pod. Let’s go.”

“Why not start with this one, while we’re here?”

“You remember how hard the pod fabric was on your shoulder? When I tapped on it it made a loud, hollow sound, like it was made of thick plastic?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Well, that was the highest part of your pod out of the water. I think as the pod dries in the sun the fabric hardens, and therefore will be easier to break open. If we go back to the first one we’ll see if my theory is correct. In the meantime this one will have time to harden. Let’s go back to the first pod and see.”


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #76 on: December 19, 2010, 12:23:20 AM »
Like a few others, here's my first post ever! Be gentle...  ;-)

Brandon's Challenge: Dialogue

Literature, the RTS Edition    (817 words)
by Clifton Satterfield

“Bottom line, this is a terrible way to begin the story.”

“ was just a thought.”

“Well, it’s a bad one. No one like boardroom scenes; they’re boring.”

“A boardroom scene? But there’s no boardroom, it’s just people meeting in an alley.”

“Exactly! It’s a meeting. A meeting to discuss what the story is about. It’s completely unnecessary; a good story shouldn’t have to explain itself.”

“ what would you do?”

“Simple. Have your characters each receive written instructions. They’ll know what’s expected of them, and the audience will have to figure it out along the way.”

“Won’t that be confusing?”

“Only if you assume the audience isn’t intelligent. It’s always a good idea to think of your audience as being as competent as yourself….or me, in your case.”

“ we’ll have them get letters...maybe privately? That way they can be fiddling with them as the story plays out.”

“Now you’re thinking!”

“What if they don’t want to follow the directions?”

“Excuse me?”

“Maybe they’ll think they have a plan, and won’t want to do what we write.”

“This is your first evinxi, isn’t it?”


“Believe me, they’ll be compelled to follow written instructions just as much as the ones we send through the modulators. It’s only the details they can change.”

“Okay. So what should we write?”

“Well, that really depends on the person. Take the child, for example. How do you suppose she might add to the story?”

“She might slow them down, I guess. Probably need more explanations and time before getting anywhere.”

“Think with more subtleness. What can children do very well?”

“Eat, defecate, cry, complain…”

“They cry and complain. Exactly. Now tell me, how does the sound of a crying child make you feel?”

“Anxious. Maybe a little depressed...oh! You want to use her to demoralize the group!”

“Yes. If we simply tell her to ‘be sad’ more often, we can bring out excellent conflicts amongst the others. After a few days of hearing a depressed child complain, the characters will be very strained; all the things they feel will start bubbling to the surface. Some may begin to doubt themselves, some may go mad, others may plan ways to….silence….the child.”

“You’re right….that’s very subtle. Devious, too.”

“Now you try. Tell me a way to use your elder male character.”

“Well, he’s the oldest of the group, so he’ll have gone through several stories already. He may not be quite as susceptible to our influences on morale.”

“’s likely he’s already in a constant state of depression.”

“I’m thinking we should have him killed off early, then. Tossing in a murder so early in the story will add a bit of extra conflict; everyone will be trying to figure out who killed him.”

“That’s true, but unimaginative. You seem to be full of boring thoughts today. Again, try to be subtle. The whole point of these stories is to find out how the minutia of a character matters.”

“Let’s see, then. He’s an elderly man. Older people are slower, they seem wiser, they have experience, they…wait...they have a heritage to worry about. He’ll be the most selfish person there!”

“Doing well so far, keep it up!”

“If he’s selfish, he’ll want to survive the story in good condition.”

“And the best way to survive a story?”

“Eliminate the competition.”


“I’ll give his suspicion a boost then, make him think everyone is out for themselves.”

“Perfect. That way, we may even get a murder or two without direct influence. Think how exciting that would be to the audience! Not to mention how it would look on your resume.”

“What about the other characters?”

“Seeing as this is your first go at this, you shouldn’t try to manipulate too many factors. It’s probably best to put in a few broad strokes here. Be as simple as possible with the rest.”

“Let’s make the mother and father overprotective.”

“Excellent. A bit of whining from the little one should push their anxiety levels through the roof. Not to mention set the elder to worrying about the danger they might pose if anything untoward should happen to their young.”

“I feel like there should be an angry character. The woman, perhaps.”

“That works. It’s always a good idea to have some hate mixed into the story. It keeps the other characters on their toes. And for the last one? The young man?”

“It may seem a bit cliche, but I want him to think he’s the hero. I want him to try to save everyone.”

“Not really that cliche. I find it a good policy to have at least one character audiences can despise. Maybe this one will find a way to get them all to a happy ending.”

“Really? You think it’s possible?”

“Of course not. It would be much too boring.”


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #77 on: December 19, 2010, 01:01:50 AM »
Heh. Seems like this forum is getting a lot of new users from this dialogue exercise. :)
Here's mine. No title yet.
1133 words.

“Shh, be quiet! Don’t struggle. I’m going to let you go, just don’t scream!”
“Get off me! Who are you? How did you find me?”
“I am nobody important. And I’m not going to hurt you, so lower your voice. You don’t want to let the guards know you’re here, trust me.”
“There are no guards around here. And you didn’t answer my question!”
“For the love of…! If you don’t sit down and stop yelling I’m going to drop you off the wall.”
“Alright, alright, I’m calm.”
“Good. Now, how did you get up here? How did you avoid the guards?”
“Look, I already told you. There are no guards around here. I’ve been walking on this wall for days, and I haven’t seen a soul. Not until you showed up with that monkey at least.”
“You’ve been unbelievably lucky then. These people don’t treat trespassers with any mercy.”
“What people? Who are you? How did you find me?”
“I did not find you. I stumbled on you.”
“What? You mean you don’t know who I am?”
“No, and I don’t care. You’re going to have to come with me now. I can’t take the chance of you telling anyone about me.”
“Why? Where are you going?”
“To the castle. Lord Desney has got something I need.”
“Oh, no. You cannot go there sir. Nobody has ever come out of the tower alive.”
“I know that. But I have to. There is no other way. If you’ve really been walking around here for days, then I could use you.”
“Use me? Use me for what? I’m not lifting a finger for you before I know who you are and what you intend to do to me.”
“Fine, but once I tell you, you’re either in, or I will have to throw you off the wall. I can’t afford to let you run around knowing about my intentions. You sure you want to know?”
“Do I have a choice? Sounds to me like I’m damned either way. Hey! Keep that monkey away from my pack!”
“Come here, Abu! You’re not damned if you come with me. It sounds like your luck is in good shape. Let’s hope it stays that way. I’m going to the castle to steal the Lord’s crown.”
“The crown? Are you completely insane? Lord Desney keeps it with him at all times. You don’t have a chance. His minions will kill you before you get within a hundred feet of him.”
“No they won’t. Because they’ll never even know I was there. Look up at the sky.”
“What? The stars?”
“What about them? I don’t…”
“Haven’t you heard the legends? The stars have power beyond anything you can imagine. You just have to wish upon the correct one.”
“But how do you find the correct one?”
“I already found mine. It all depends on which star you were born under. It’s going to grant me one wish. Only one, but it should be enough.”
“I see. So you’re going to wish for all his minions to disappear or something?”
“No, that will alert the Lord that something is up. And the wish cannot be something that harms other people. It has to be something innocent and childlike. The stars aren’t evil; they are just helping those who need it.”
“So what are you going to wish for, then?”
“I don’t know yet. I need to see the castle first. Learn my way around it. I might even be so lucky that I won’t have to use my wish tonight. Do you know what star you’re born under?”
“Can’t say that I do. But now that you mention it, my father was awfully obsessed with the stars. He’s a carpenter you see, and one time he told me that he made a puppet that turned to life because he wished for it. I never believed him before. I mean really? A puppet? He even went on about how it later turned halfway into a donkey for goodness sake.”
“I never heard about that. But it makes sense. Lord Desney has powers that you and I can only dream about. If he wanted to turn people into donkeys, then he would.”
“Are you serious? You really believe that?”
“Listen kid. You’re young. I have seen things that would give you nightmares if I told you about them. There are things in this world that would turn your hair white. And all of them are the work of Lord Desney. He must be stopped.”
“And you’re going to do that by stealing his crown?”
“Yes. His crown is the source of all his powers. A wizard made it for him a long time ago while he worked as the wizard’s apprentice.”
“I’ve heard the legends sir. But I still think it’s impossible to steal the crown. His castle is crowded with his minions. Guards at every corner, ravens circling the towers, thunder and lightning all around the area. I’ve been there once. Me and a friend of mine watched from a distance. We saw the Lord himself, looking out a window in the tallest spire. Simply looking at him gave me the shivers.”
“You’ve been there? How long ago?”
“A couple of years I should think. Why?”
“Darn. That’s too long. I know he has expanded his castle a lot since then. He had his slaves dig a moat around the walls and filled it with hungry alligators.”
“There’s just no way then. Sir, please. He surely has the main gate guarded more heavily than any fortress in the history of the universe. Why don’t we just walk away?”
“Because it’s what must be done! Too long have I stood by and watched this tyrant enslave the lands. Somebody has to do something!”
“But, what can we possibly do to stop him? He lives in the middle of the most impenetrable fortress ever made.”
“Don’t you see, kid? Right now, we have the chance to do something great. All we need is to get into that fortress, steal his crown, and rid the world of his tyranny once and for all. We have the power to make a difference. So it is our duty to try. I didn’t want to get anyone else involved, sorry. But here you are, so maybe you can do some good after all.”
“But I don’t…”
“Forget it. Either you come with me, or I’ll tie you up in a sack and leave you here. Which is it going to be?”
“You really think I can help?”
“Sure you can. You just have to believe in yourself.”
“I…I guess I’ll give it a try. But what if we fail?”
“What if we succeed? Don’t think about failing. Let’s just go for it!”
“Good. Let’s go!”


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #78 on: December 19, 2010, 01:10:49 AM »
Only 334 words. It's my first time (That's my excuse).
Title: "I'm a Numb"
By Gene Ellis

“I’m a Numb”

“A what?”

“A Numb”

“What’s a Numb?”

“I don’t feel.”

“What like no emotions?”

“No. Like if I get cut, I don’t feel it.”


“Yes really. What are you doing?”

“I wanna see.”

“See what? Put your knife away.”

“I wanna see if you really don’t feel pain.”

“How about I stab you to see if you really do feel pain?”

“Well that’s not very nice.”

“And, stabbing me is just friendly?”

“I’m not going to cut deep. It won’t kill you.”

“Look at my bandages man. Doesn’t it look like I have enough trouble without you stabbing me for fun?”

“I wasn’t going to keep doing it for giggles. I’m not sadistic. I’m just curious.

“I don’t care. It’s rude. Hey, stop that!”

“What? I didn’t stab you.”

"I don’t like you touching me either, weirdo.”

“How do you know I touched you?”

“I have eyes dummy.”

“So, did you feel it?”

“I told you, I don’t feel.”

“So, it didn’t hurt?”

“I told you, I don’t… Why would it hurt?”

“No reason.”

“You pinched me didn’t you? You freak! You left a bruise. My wife is going to have fun with that one.”

“You have a wife?”

“Yea, and she likes to give me a hard time about bruises that look like hickies. Pinches always look like hickies. She
grins, points, and says, ‘Hey. Who’s the new woman?’”

“How do you…”


“You know, do married stuff?”

“Argue? Oh, we do that just fine.”

“No, I mean—“

“I know what you mean, and that’s none of your business!”

“Well, you can’t feel so… I was just curious.”

“Yes, you mentioned that. Do you know what I’m curious about?”


“How long are we going to stand here and talk? Let’s get out of here, so I can get back to my wife and kids.”

“You have kids? So, you can—“

“Shut up and walk Mr. Curious.”

“I can walk and talk at the same time.”



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Re: Writing Prompts! Dialogue
« Reply #79 on: December 19, 2010, 01:33:39 AM »
Dialogue Prompt:

“I think you did it wrong.”

“What do you mean? My dress turned blue, can't you see?”

“It did..., but so did your hair.”


“You better fix it or Master will know we borrowed his Book of Spells.”

“But I don't know how. It doesn't say it on this page.”

“Then keep looking. I told you not to do it.”

“No, you didn't. You said, 'I bet you can't do it.'”

“Same thing.”

“It is not.”

“Master won't care.”

“I aught to turn you blue, now that I know the spell.”

“You wouldn't.”

“Maybe I would.”

“If you do, I'll turn you into a newt.”

“You don't know how.”

“I turned someone into a newt, once.”

“Yeah, but that was before you knew you could do magic. You didn't even know what you were doing.”

“I can do it again.”

“I doubt it. Now, stop bothering me, I have to find a hair spell. I don't see any hair sections in the table of contents.”

“I can too turn you into a newt.”

“Prove it or be quiet. Who knows when Master Obern will be back.”


“Are you doing it? I don't hear any words.”

“Obviously. It's a silent spell. I do it by thinking, the way the masters do it.”




“Hrshh (It didn't work.)”


“Hrshrsh (What is it?)”

“Now you've done it, Furgin.”

Hrshrshhsh (Done what? I told you, it didn't work–did you grow taller?)”

“I think I can fix this. I saw something in the book.”

Hershrshrshrsh (Fix what, your hair?)”

“Ah, here it is.”

Hrshshshrsh (Stop pointing your finger at me like that. It's dangerous.)”


“How dare you cast a spell on me!”

“I thought you'd be more grateful.”

“Grateful? What did you do to me? Am I blue? No, red? I bet you made me red. You know I hate the color red.”

“I turned you back.”

“Turned me back? From what?”

“How could you not realize that you turned into a newt?”

“What are you talking about? That's ridicules.”

“You couldn't even tell the difference. I always knew you had a pea-sized brain.”

“I do not. You are such a liar, Tessabelle. I bet you just said nonsense words, trying to scare me.”

“I don't care if you believe me. Now, help me find the right spell. It's almost dark and Master Obern will be back soon.”

“What do you want me to do? You have the spell book.”

“It's a big book Furgs. Start from from the back. We can hold the middle pages up.”

“I told you not to call me that”

“Just do it!”

“Fine, fine. You don't need to cry about it. Always 'Furgin to the rescue.'”

“I wish you knew a spell of silence.”

“If I did, I'd cast it on you.”

“If I were only so lucky.”

“Find it yet?”

“Don't you think I would have said something if I found it?”

“I don't know. Maybe.”

“Don't be stupid.”

“You shouldn't call me stupid if you want my help.”

“You're right, I'm sorry. I'm just worried.”


“What if Master Obern sends me away?”

“He wouldn't do that, would he?”

“How many times did he tell us not to do magic when he wasn't here, and to 'Never touch my spell book.'”

“But you're the best apprentice he's ever had. He always says that when he thinks I'm not around.”

“You heard him?”


“I'm sorry, Furgs.”

“It's okay. If you were weak, I wouldn't like you.”


“And anyways, you're the strongest now, but just wait. I'm going to be the most powerful man in the land.”

“King of the newts?”

“King of the world.”

“That is powerful. Has the future King of the newts found the right spell yet?”

“No, not ye—Oh. I think I found something.”

“What is it?”

“Right here. It says it is a dispelling spell.”

“Let me see it? Ah. 'Whomever it is cast upon, will be disenchanted from any spells or curses laid upon them, but only  by those of an equal or lesser power.' Perfect.”

“Better hurry up. I think I hear Master on the stairs.”

“Right. Let's see. Scrubin-purita-unmagi!”


“Oh no. It didn't work? What do I—”

“Just kidding.”

“You—Quick, that's the door. Put the book back!”

“Why me? Oomph.”

“Hello Master Obern.”

“Good evening Tessabelle. Where is Furgin?”

“He's in the other room. He said I was distracted him.”

"Ah, there you are."

“Hello Master.”

“Good evening Furgin. Have you two been meditating the way I showed you?”

“Yes, Master.”

“Yes, Master Obern.”

“Very good. Now, run along to the kitchen and have your dinner. I know how hungry meditation always makes me.”

“Thank you, Master.”

“Thank you, Master Obern.”

“I'll see you both in the morning. We're going to learn a new spell, color changing. Very tricky stuff.”

“That sounds great, Master.”

“Very exciting, Master Obern.”

“Goodnight, Master.”

“Goodnight, Furgin.”

Goodnight, Master Obern.”

“Goodnight, Tessabelle.”

“We did it.”

“Shh. Did you close the door?”

“I'm not stupid.”

“I know. Thank you so much, Furgs. You saved me.”

“You're welcome, now stop hugging me.”

“I thought my heart was going to explode when he came in.”

“Mine too.”

"And tomorrow! You don't think he's fooling us, do you?"

"I don't know. I don't think so. He gets very angry about his rules."

"Yeah, you're right."

"Hey, smell that?”

“Mmm. Lamb.”

“Casting spells makes me hungry.”

“I'm hungry, too.”

“Probably from the newt spell.”

“The newt spell? Are you still trying trick me. I'm not that dumb, Tessabelle.”

“I guess not.”


Robert Davis
« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 05:03:29 AM by RDDK »


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #80 on: December 19, 2010, 03:38:34 AM »
Prompt: Brandon's Dialogue Exercise

   “Right or left?”


   “Why? Because you think left is lucky? That argument still doesn’t hold air. I say right.”

   “Right? Of course you say right. You can never admit you’re wrong.”

   “Ha ha. I took a class on Atmosphere Mechanics, and I remember a diagram of a proportional gas mixer like this. The switch needs to be set right for a human-compatible air mix. Not left.”

   “You mean Intro to Atmosphere Mechanics? Did you even pass that?”

   “I would have if…”

   “So you didn’t. And you expect me to believe you remember which way a switch needs to be set on a proportional gas mixer, one that might not even be similar to this mixer, from a diagram that you probably glanced at for three seconds two years ago. Are you breathing fumes? How much air’s left in that suit of yours?”

   “It’s better than your lucky hand. And I think I have five minutes worth left.”

   “You think? What, you can’t calculate how much air you have left with your Net Link down, but you expect me to risk my life on your memory?”

   “It’s not that simple. I’m trying to correct for my increased consumption rate, or do you not get that my life’s on the line here too.”

   “Oh, I get it. But in six minutes I’ll be out of air. So if we don’t get this mixer running, with the right gas mix, it won’t matter that we found an old emergency shelter hut, because we’ll both be dead.”

   “If I hadn’t remembered this hut, we’d still be out in that Sandstorm-“

   “Not this again. If we’d gone left back when I first said, we wouldn’t have needed a hut in the first place. We’d have been back on Base before the storm hit.”

   “It made just as much sense to go right.”

   “Not to anyone that can read a 3-d map, it didn’t.”

   “And if you could really have read that map without the aid of your Net Link, like you should have been able to, you would have been able to convince me to go left. Maps were, after all, your specialty. Navigator.”

   “Well, if you trust your own call so much, Commander, why haven’t you already flipped the switch right? Worried?”

   “Me? With you here to support me? How… Ow, that’s loud. Time’s up.”

   “No. It can’t be. I still had three minutes left.”

   “Now who can’t account for how much air they have left without their Net Link. We burn through air faster in panic situations.”

   “You should have just flipped the damn switch.”

   “Oh? And which way should I have flipped it?”

   “What do I care? A fifty-fifty chance beats zero. I can’t believe we failed the Survival Module. Oh wait. I was stuck with you as a partner. Never again.”

   “I second that.”



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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2010, 04:49:40 AM »
Prompt:  Writing Dialogue

Summary:  Evie and Rodger sneak into a newly opened pyramid.  Their steamtorch goes out.  (2000 words)

Title:  The Hysteria of Evie Carlson

“I don’t think this is a good idea.”

“It was your idea, Rodger.”

“I know.  But that was in the light of the day.”

“It’s still daylight out.”

“Don’t be stupid, Evie.  “It’s pitch black in here.”

“Fine.  Light the steamtorch.  Better?”

“Sort of.  Does this feel full to you?”

“Hmm, the coals are still hot.  I think the water level is low.  We’ll have to be quick.”

“How far do you reckon it is to the burial chamber, Evie?”

“I don’t know.  Father wasn’t specific.  They only just broke through.  He’s quieter these days.”

“Doesn’t it worry you?”

“What Rodger?”

“Well, it’s just that.  They say you’re just like your mother.  Aren’t you worried that you’ll?  You know…”

“Go crazy?”

“Don’t laugh, Evie.  I’m serious.  I’d be scared to death if I were you.  Thank God only women can have hysteria.”

“Mother told me I would have years before I’d have to worry.  Besides, laudanum helps.  She never believed in it, but Father says it keeps the madness at bay.”

“Can’t you stop it?”

“Not now.  It’s too late.  I extracted my first aether the day she died.  Once the aether enters, the hysteria begins.”

“You extracted her didn’t you?”

“Wouldn’t you want to speak with your mother?”

“I.  I reckon.”

“Hold the steamtorch up higher, Rodger.  It’s getting steeper.  We must be close.”

“Why’s it so cold?  I thought it’d be warmer.  I think it’s sapping the coals.”

“I’m not sure.  Look at my arms.  Gooseflesh.  Strange, this far beneath ground the temperatures should be relatively stable.”

“If you say so.  Look, Evie, maybe we should turn around.  This torch won’t last much longer.”

“Don’t be a baby.  We’re the only living things down here.  Besides, I’ve been in a dozen tombs.”

“Yeah, but never alone.  This is different.  Seven souls!  What’s that?”

“I don’t know.  Quit shaking, I can’t see.”

“Oh my God, is that?”

“A skeleton?  Yes.  Male, you can tell by the pelvis.  Probably just past puberty.  The pharaohs often had their bodyguards killed in the passages leading to their burial chambers.  To protect them in the afterlife.”

“Why’s his skull cracked?”

“I don’t know.  Maybe he didn’t want to guard his pharaoh.  Hmm, that’s strange.”

“What, Evie?”

“Well, it’s just that if he was put here to guard his pharaoh, then shouldn’t he be facing up the tunnel?  It almost looks as if he was running downhill.”

“Running?  From what?”

“Want me to ask him?”

“You mean use your hysteria?  I think I’ll pass.”

“Oh give over, Rodger.  I’m not sixteen yet.  Mother almost made it to forty.  If anything these are the years I should be enjoying my…gift.”

“Just the same, I think I’ll pass.  C’mon, the steamtorch is sputtering.  It’ll be rotten luck if we make it to the burial chamber only to have the light go out.”

“It’s good to know there’s something that scares you more than this tomb.  Honestly, how can we be friends if you think I’m crazy?”

“I like you, Evie.  I just don’t trust your hysteria.  It’s not natural.”

“It’s as natural as breathing.  Don’t be sexist.  Alright, alright.  No need to glare.  We’ll go.”

“Thanks.  And I’m not being sexist.  It’s not like this is a safe place.  My uncle said that there are still armed traps they haven’t found.  One of the workers hit one yesterday.”

“Yeah, but it only nicked him.  The poison’s what killed him.  Father said it was something exotic he’s never seen before.”

“Well that’s comforting.  Now all we need is for the torch to go out and this nightmare will be complete.  Dammit!”

“Brilliant, Rodger.  Name the Devil and he appears.  C’mon the water can’t all be used up.  Shake it harder.”

“I am shaking it.  It’s not the water, it’s the blasted coals.  I told you this air was sapping them.  Now what are we going to do?”

“We’ll have to turn around.”

“Thank God.  That’s the first sensible thing you’ve said.”

“Ouch!  What’s that?”

“I don’t—Ouch!  It’s a blasted wall.  How did a wall get here?”

“Stop shouting.  We must have gotten turned around when the torch went out.  These tombs are rotten with side passages.”

“Brilliant, we’re lost and no one knows we came down here.  “Got any other news you’d like to share?”

“Don’t be a brick, Rodger.  We’re not lost.  We’re…temporarily misplaced.”

“Yeah, where I’m from that’s called lost.  I can’t believe I let you talk me into coming down here.  Skeletons and traps.  Not to mention the dead pharaoh.”

“Well at least we don’t have to worry about the last.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Hmm?  Oh, Father said the sarcophagus was empty.  Another oddity to this place.”

“Empty?  My God.  You don’t think?  He’s not?”

“A Mummy?  Honestly, Rodger.  For a boarding school educated boy you can be really thick sometimes.  The mummies are a superstition meant to keep grave robbers at bay.  Next you’ll be telling me you believe in the Ageless One.”

“Don’t laugh, Evie.  It’s not funny.  You didn’t see that worker yesterday.  His face was black.  And twisted.  Like even in death he couldn’t stop screaming.  This was a stupid idea before.  Without the torch it’s completely ludicrous.”

“Rodger.  C’mon, I didn’t mean to tease.  Don’t pout.  We’ll get out of here.  I promise.”

“You promise?”

“Yes.  C’mon get up.  There you go.  We’re bound to find another skeleton.  When we do I’ll use my hysteria to extract its aether.  Stop moaning!  It’s the only way.  The aether will tell us the way out.  Watch your step, we’ll have to take this slowly.”

“I can walk on my own, thank you.  I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snap.  You’re wrong about the Ageless one, you know.  My uncle reckons that Cain is real.  He’s dead of course, no one lives forever.  But the story had to come from somewhere.”

“You’re probably right.  Mother told me once that she found a copy of the mark God put on his forehead in a tomb in Nepal.”

“No.  You’re blowing in my ear.”

“No, she wouldn’t lie.  Unfortunately she also triggered a trap that brought the place down around their ears.  Father said if they had been a few feet further from the entrance they never would have made it out.”

“Golly, I don’t think I’m cut out for this archaeology lark.  Mother was right.  I should’ve chosen to stay in London and work on photography.  Spirits can’t leave a picture frame.”

“I didn’t know you were a Spiritualist.”

“I’m not.  But there’s money to be made in spirit photography.”

“Will you take my picture?”

“Sure, if we get out of this hole alive.  Say, did the floor just level off?”

“I think it must have.  This darkness has me disoriented.  Hold on, let’s catch our breath.”

“Do you hear that?  It sounds like breathing.”

“You’re letting your imagination run away with you, Rodger.  That’s just a breeze.  Probably from the outside.  Must be what’s keeping it so cool down here.  Musty, too.”

“I still say it sounds like breathing.  Chuckle all you want to, you’re the one who said it was strange.”

“It is strange.  But then again, that’s what makes this tomb so interesting.  Skeletons facing the wrong direction, live traps, empty sarcophagus, the Glyph.”

“Glyph?  What Glyph?”

“Drat, I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone.”

“Well you did.  So tell me.  What Glyph?”
“It’s probably nothing.  I found a Glyph on the entrance stone.  Father thinks part of it was weathered away.”

“But you don’t?”

“I’m not sure.  If it wasn’t weathered away then this could be one of the most spectacular finds of the century.”

“Go on with you.”

“Seriously.  The Glyph is another name for Cain.”

“The Ageless One?”

“Oh, don’t fall apart on me again.  Yes, you ninny, the Ageless One.  Father doesn’t believe it.  He’s sure that it’s weathered.”

“But he’s been wrong before.  Just look at what happened with your mother.”

“Shut up!  That wasn’t Father’s fault.  You weren’t there.”

“Neither were you.”

“Rodger.  One more word about the accident and I’ll find my own way out.  You can rot for all I care.”

“Easy, Evie.  I didn’t mean anything.  I.  I’m sorry.”

“Well you still have both your parents, so you can be cheeky.  It’s not so fun when it happens to you.”

“But you extracted her aether.  She’s with you now.”

“If only it worked like that.  Don’t be a fool, Rodger.  She’s gone.”

“I didn’t know.  Look at the bright si—.  Hey!  I just stepped on something.”

“It’s a skeleton.”

“Huzzah!  We’re saved.”

“Maybe not.  This pelvis feels wrong.”

“Wrong?  How can a pelvis feel wrong?”

“It feels wide.  It might be female.”

“Male, female, who cares?  It’s got aether.”

“Rodger, laudanum was discovered less than a century ago.  Any female this old would’ve died insane.  My mother was bad enough.  A five thousand year old, crazy aether infused spirit raging with hysteria?  I’ll pass thank you.”


“Shh.  Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“It sounded like whispering.”

“You’re the one who said it was natural.”

“Yeah, before it was.  This was different.”

“We’re the only living things down here.  You said.”

“Rodger, I can’t see an inch in front of my face.  How do I know what’s out there?  You’d take the word of a hysteric girl?”

“Dammit.  Stop poking fun, Evie.”

“I’m not.  I’m just frustrated.  I know I heard something.”

“You’re scaring me, Evie.”

“Maybe we should be.  Alright, I’ll risk it.  We have to get out of here.  Something’s gone queer in this place.  Hand me the skull.”

“The skull?”

“It should be at your feet.”

“Oh.  It’s smooth.  Should it be that smooth?”

“Just give it to me.  Thanks.  Now, all I need is a tooth.  There we go.”

“I can’t believe it pulled out that easily.”

“If your teeth were five millennia old, they’d probably pull out too.  You ready?”

“As ready as I’m going to be.  Hysteria.  Ah, go on.  We need to get out of here.”

“Alright, here it goes.”

“Did you just put that it in your mouth?  Eww.”

“Rodger.  Shut up.  Gah!”

“Evie?  Evie?  I can’t understand you.  Stop shaking.  Evie!”

“It hurts, it hurts so bad.”

“What does?  Are you alright?”

“He didn’t want to die, Rodger.  Peustuth was born to serve his Pharaoh.  He did serve.  He didn’t deserve this.  They cut him.  It hurts, it hurts so bad.  For nothing.  The king wasn’t dead.  Why kill Peustuth?  Why?  The sacrifice shouldn’t have been performed!  Peustuth served!”

“Evie, lower your voice!  Something’s out there.  Shh, can’t you hear it?”

“Peustuth knew the way out.  It was his duty to know every entrance and exit.  The Death Guard.  But the king never came.”

“You know the way out?  Brilliant, let’s go.  Evie?  C’mon, let’s go.”

“Then he came.  The mark was so bright.  So bright.  And then the killing began.  They cut Peustuth.  It hurts, it hurts so bad.”

“What?  What are you talking about?  C’mon Evie, I’m telling you something’s out there.  I don’t care if you think I’m a coward, but we need to get out of here.”

“He’s coming.  And the Lord said to him, ‘Very well, if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.’  Then the Lord put a mark upon Cain.”

“Evie, you’re scaring me.  It’s not funny anymore.  Use the aether and get us out of here.”

“I’m sorry, Rodger.  It hurts, it hurts so bad.”

“I know it hurts, but the whispers are growing louder.  I think there’s more than one.  We need to go, Evie.  Take my hand.”

“He’s coming.”

“That’s what I’m saying.  Now take my hand and let’s get the hell out of here.”

“It’s too late, Rodger.”

“What’s that?  Who’s there?  Oh God, someone’s in here, Evie.  Someone’s in here.”

“Tell them Peustuth was faithful.”

“Who are you?”

“He served his king.”

“Answer me, damn you.”

“Until the Ageless One came.”

“Evie?  Evie?  Ouch!  Let go!”

“They cut him.”

“Evie, it’s got me!”

“It hurts, it hurts so bad.”

“Why are you doing this?  Please, stop!  Oh God, no.  No!”

“He’s here.  The mark is so bright.”
Follow my journey from aspiring author to published phenom.  Along the way we'll discover the dos and don'ts of successful writing!


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #82 on: December 19, 2010, 05:37:24 PM »
By Miranda Mann






“Accepted. Please continue.”




“Another error.”


“Accepted. Please continue.”

“Really? Why would it accept Delara but reject Lily?”

“I’m sure I don’t know.”

“But I don’t like Delara.”

“Then you really shouldn’t have said it. Please continue. Boys next.”

“Do you think…do you think I could see them?”

“I hardly see a point in that.”

“Curiosity, I guess.”

“There’s not much to see. We’re on this stack, fifth petri dish down.”

“How many cells are they?”

“Each is only 128 cells. We insert the identification DNA now so it will replicate throughout the body. This way no
one can impersonate a Free Person.”


“Please continue.”






“Accepted. Please continue.”

“I don’t know why I even need to be here. Can’t the algorithm just pick a name for me? It rejects all the names I like

“Pick for you? What kind of mother’s touch would that be? Besides, it violates your rights.”

“Does it? Then why can’t I have any name I like?”

“That really isn’t up to me. I think it has to do with other blastulas being named at the same time. Please continue.”


“Accepted. Please continue.”

“Hmmm. Rishab. I assumed it would reject that one. I need to be more careful.”

“As I said before.”

“I sometimes feel like this isn’t…natural.”

“That’s an acceptable feeling. But we can’t have the algorithm choosing for you. Please continue.”

“No, I mean this whole thing. I heard women used to grow one child at a time. I heard it was magical.”

“False. Women were once constrained to producing between one and eight offspring at a time, but it was never magical. The children often died, and the mother as well. Why run such a risk for a minimal payoff?”

“But I heard you could feel the baby moving. Inside you.”

“Much like a parasite. I guess there truly is a difference between Breeders and the rest of us. Now please continue.”


“Accepted. Please continue.”

“Hmph. First try that time.”

“Please continue.”






“Accepted. Please continue.”

“What about hair, eye and skin color? Do I get to choose those?”

“That is for the parents to decide. Don’t get greedy. Naming is within your rights. Please continue.”

“I heard that women used to be beautiful when they were growing their babies. That they used to glow.”

“Like radio-active waste? Women used to gain between ten and seventy pounds for only one offspring! They used to throw up and bleed and spend months in pain. You are lucky things aren’t that way anymore. And then you would have to find a way to take care of the thing yourself, which we all know is impossible for someone like you. Now will you please focus? And continue.”   






“Denied. Stop making things up.”


“Accepted. Hmmm.”

“Please continue?”


“Could I ever hold them?”


“When they come out of the final jars. Could I ever hold them? Just a little?”

“That is quite enough. Talking about glowing and growing them yourself is one thing. But the Free People aren’t going to stand for a Breeder holding their children. Now, I’m a tolerant woman, and you are lucky. But I suggest you never let anyone hear you talk like that again. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Good. Now please continue.”


“Accepted. That’s a good one.”

“Yeah, I guess.”


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #83 on: December 19, 2010, 05:39:14 PM »
I hope this is the right place to post this.  I completed a short story for the writing exercise of "Dialogue".  Since I can't link it from the file on my computer, I have posted it in its entirety here.

By: Colleen Jess

“I don’t think you understand the consequences of what you’re about to do.”
   “So what?  So Merrilyn dies and we’re short a pair of hands.  We can make do.”
   “My God you’re arrogant!  How long did you really think this would last?  I can only help you so much!”
   “Look, I’ve tolerated your speeches through all of this, but it’s been my vision from the beginning.  If you’d left two months ago like you wanted to I could have done all of this myself anyway.”
   “It’s not about the realm of possibility, Cannos.  I had no doubt you would do this on your own, but I stuck around to make sure you didn’t destroy this kingdom while you did it.”
   “Well I never knew you thought me so capable.”
   “Don’t be a fool.  You’re about to change the future of this kingdom and all you care about is your precious Mask.  You’re risking far too much for the sake of a reputation.”
   “And what exactly would you know about reputation?  You’ve never achieved a Mask, you have no idea what it means to use it, especially in this way.  I’m setting an example, securing my place here and cleaning up your messes.  If you want to turn all noble and go save the girl, then by all means, go!  The only thing that will change is the timing.”
   “Sure.  What are a couple more hours to you if it means you could kill me too?  I don’t want to try to thwart you, I know what that will get me.  I want you to see the big picture and change your own damn mind.”
   “Ah yes.  The big picture of a stagnant leader left on the throne until his teeth all fall out while no one has the guts to push him aside and bring this kingdom back to power.  I can see how you’d prefer that scenario as opposed to mine.”
   “No!  The scenario you’re attempting will disgrace us forever!  You think that pushing aside our father to make room for your ascent to the throne is a step forward?  Have you even considered the reaction of the people?  You’ll cause a civil war!”
   “Now you’re just being melodramatic.  The disgrace will be on our father, not me and most certainly not you.  The people will see him give the order for Merrilyn’s death, effectively ending his rule, and I step in to my rightful place on the throne.”
   “A Mask was never meant to be used in this way.  Once you use it for selfish reasons you’re doomed and you know that.”
   “Like I said, you have no idea what it means to use a Mask.”
   “Maybe I can see it more clearly than you because I don’t have one.  I see what using it does to you.  I know that it weakens you.”
   “I am not weak!”
   “I’m not arguing that.  But if you’re afraid of a kingdom without power then think about what kind of a kingdom this would be being led by a crippled magician.  You know that’s where you’re headed.”
   “That’s what you want me to believe!  Never in the history of our people has anyone ever been known to be cursed by their Mask!”
   “And if you thought about this a little harder you’d realize that’s because no one has ever been so foolish as to use it to gain a kingdom!  Masks are instruments of goodwill!  The fact that I even know you have yours is a violation of their purpose!  How you ever managed to earn yours is beyond me!”
   “Well maybe our fates got twisted.  You’ve always been more of a do-gooder doormat than me.  Maybe I was chosen because I showed promise.  I proved that I wasn’t afraid to harness the Mask’s power and make a real difference.”
   “Yeah, and how that makes you a golden child I’ll never know.  What power was granted you when you got your Mask is going to consume you.  You can’t harness its power anymore than you can keep a wife.”
   “Merrilyn has earned her place on the chopping block!  She chose to die when she chose you over me!  You should just be glad I’m not sending you to the worms with her!”
   “Do you even know why I chose to stand by you all this time?  Why I didn’t just leave and get both myself and Merrilyn out of your reach?”
   “Because you’re weak.  The same reason you’ve never gotten your Mask.”
   “Because father asked me to stay.  Because I have honor.  And because my fate can change yours.”
   “You didn’t think he was oblivious to your plans did you?  You can’t fool a fellow Mask bearer so easily.”
   “Father has no Mask!”
   “Father has more secrets from you than you realize.  Like the fact that his throne is already promised.  You want to hear about the kind of disgrace you’d inflict on us?  You’d be killing the woman who carries the heir to the throne.”
   “You lie.”
   “Think about it.  She left you two months ago.  You found her in my embrace while she cried on my shoulder.  Your arrogance told you that she’d fled you in favor of me.  Did you even ask her why she cried?”
   “She refused to talk to me.  She never talked to me.”
   “She was terrified.  She had already lost two babies of yours.  She was afraid of losing a third along with any chance of giving you your heir.  The contract between her kingdom and ours depends on the birth of an heir.”
   “An heir…”
   “If you stand up there today wearing the face of our father and order her death it will mean war.  That’s the big picture.”
   “You can still go to her, fix this.  Release her from her worry and be with your wife.  Please.”
   “Please Cannos.  Merrilyn needs you.”
“I… I can’t go to her like this.  I can’t admit what I had planned.  I can’t hurt her again.”
   “You don’t have to.  Just change your damn mind.”
   “How?  How do I make this right?”
   “Let go of your judgments.  Don’t punish people for things you only accused them of doing.  Release your grip on hate.”
   “Then I release my Mask.”
   “No, use it.  But use it for what it was meant for.”
   “The only good deed I can think about doing doesn’t need a Mask to accomplish it.  The Mask is the only expendable thing I have left it seems.  The throne is our father’s, and the kingdom will have the greatest ruler possible just as soon as Merrilyn brings him into this world.”

Gareth Lewis

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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #84 on: December 19, 2010, 06:22:11 PM »
Prompt: Brandon's Dialogue Challenge

Shadow Lantern

"It's enchanted."

"And therefore valuable."

"There's enchanted, and then there's cursed.  The difference can be expensive."

"And which do you think it is, Gerrick?"

"Which do you think it is?"

"Why enchanted, of course.  Can't your little device tell you what it does?"

"If it could, don't you think I'd have said?"

"Not if you wanted to know if I know what it does."

"And do you, Yallin?"

"I might."

"No you don't."

"No I don't.  And your device isn't telling you, either?"

"I'm not using it fully until I know more about the lantern.  It has a strong enchantment, but considering what happened last time you brought something like this in, I'm sure you'll forgive my caution.  And understand my impulse t just have your throat slit and call it my own."

"Now that's not hospitable of you.  And since you don't usually take this long to make decisions I doubt you'll be doing that.  Probably."

"We'll see.  How did you come by it?"

"It's an inheritance from a sweet old uncle, lived over near the eastern dwimmerstone mine.  He suffered an unfortunate accident involving a Sister of the Eternal Yearning, a triple humped melon-cow, and a..."

"If you're not going to give a serious answer, my decision on what to do with you may come sooner than you'd like."

"Gerrick, considering your profession, and my profession, how do you think I acquired it?"

"Then I'll rephrase.  Where did it come from?"

"The old warehouse formerly used by the dwimmercraft school.  They had a section for old artefacts.  They recently had to move out due to the cumulative effects the gathered energies had on the structure.  Stuff was transported to some new sites.  Heavily guarded, of course, and we were vigilant in making sure nobody else stole any of it."

"So how likely is it to be missed?"

"The paperwork may have gotten a bit confused as to where it ended up, and its container still holds an old lantern as listed in the manifest.  But since it hadn't been touched in a century or two, I doubt you need to worry about someone coming looking anytime soon."

"Good.  So did the manifest give any clue as to what it does?"

"Might have.  If you read high Sumerrial."

"So we're back to the problem of not knowing what it does."

"You can't use your device to prod it a bit further?"

"I'm not touching it without knowing what it does.  Y'know how dangerous these things can be.  Had a... colleague, who acquired a similar item, spent a lot of time trying to work out what it did, convinced it was valuable.  One morning they came into his room and found what was left of him in a puddle.  He fit in a jar.  A small jar."

"I'm sure you'd be far more cautious..."

"I'm not finished.  His wife kept the jar on her mantelpiece.  But one day her drunken brother visited, looking to borrow some money to maintain that state.  He spied the bottle, and... well lets just say I don't want to end up pissed into some gutter by a drunkard."

"So I guess you're not going to light it and see what happens?"

"Do I look stupid?"

"How do you want me to answer that?"

"Carefully.  You know my lads are just outside."

"So why don't you ask them to bring us some drinks from the bar?"

"I'm not thirsty.  But I am tired.  It's been a long day, so let's get down to it.  Why are you here?"

"Trying to sell this."

"There'e other places to sell it.  Buyers with less history.  It's been a few years since you disappeared following our previous... transaction.  Then you turn up here, same insolent smirk, and yer hair dyed to look younger."

"You have access to a number of specialists who can find out what it does."

"Some of my competitors would buy it without knowing what it does, and bargain with less vigor than you'd expect from me, so that's not it.  What's the real reason?"

"I'm back in the city, figured I'd need to make sure there's no hard feelings."

"And do you think there are?"

"Hey, accidents happen.  But you're a businessman, and the stuff you seized should've paid for your inconvenience."

"And yer friend?  Are there hard feelings over what happened to him?"

"Occupational hazard.  Besides, what am I going to do?  Since you met me in private, not knowing if I'm holding a grudge, I have to assume you're wearing enough charms to protect yourself from anything I could try."

"Doesn't mean you're not trying to cheat me.  In fact, given our history I could just call the watch in, claim the lantern's mine.  You want those inhuman bastards getting hold of ye?"

"Now come on, there's no call for threats.  Especially since you don't want to invite the watch into your business any more than I do, if only cause of the smell."

"Well then, I suppose I'll just have to call me lads in.  They lack the creativity to make it an interestin' threat, though."
"Creative underlings are the last thing you'd want."

"But fer brutal violence, they do the job."

"Brutal violence is the last thing I want."

"An' what I want's to finish here.  I'm tired, an' my eyes are goin'.  Everythin's turnin' green, so give me one good reason I shouldn't..."

"Oh, it's not your eyes.  In fact, if you'd glance at the wall behind you..."

"An' turn my back on ye?"

"Gerrick, Gerrick, Gerrick.  I thought you were protected from anything I could possibly do?  I give my word, for what little it's worth, to make no move against you.  Go on, you know you want to look."

"So th' wall's lit up a garish green.  So wha'?"

"And what's missing?"

"Missing?  Yer bloody corpse if ye don't stop...  My shadow?  It's barely there.  What...?  How...?"

"I knew you'd spot it eventually.  Of course I thought you'd realise your lamp had gone out first."

"How...?   Whe'...?"

"Where's the light coming from?  The lantern, of course.  I lit it before coming here."

"But it's..."

"An invisible flame?  Yes.  And it's the flame which is stealing your shadow, your vitality, your ability to form a coherent sentence."


"Weak?  Lifeless?  Yes.  But on the bright side, I feel energized."


"As you said, he was my friend.  So, let's discuss reparations for the goods you seized..."


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Re: Writing Prompts! Dialogue Prompt
« Reply #85 on: December 19, 2010, 07:52:55 PM »
Title: @the water cooler

Excuse me, can I get a drink?

Oh, oops, sorry.  You new here?  I’m Orin.

Denton Arthur.

Wait, what?  Are you serious?  No way.  Ha. 


Nothing, I’m just trying to estimate how many towels your gonna get at the company Christmas party…

Ummmm…yeah….still confused.

Don’t worry about it.  You’ll catch up.  So, how long you been here and what do you do for us, Dentarthurdent?

Um, I’m a linguist, started yesterday.  Doing some translation work, but man, I gotta say I feel like I’m drowning already…

What!?  Oh, man that’s rich.  They got Denton Arthur to work on the Babel Fish project!  No way.  Superman has really outdone himself this time. Wow!

Superman?  What?

Oh, sorry, Charles Kent in HR- you know, C. Kent? Clark Kent? Yeah, beyond that he does the work of like five guys around here, in on all sorts of projects. He’s a real Superman. Wicked sense of humor and irony too.

Oh, I get it. 

I thought that there was no way that he would outdo hiring Jordo Harold to work on the green diode emitters.   Anyway, I just moved from the deep-sea lab Atlantis, and now I’m working in the Physics Development department working with plasma.  People shift around quite a bit here, you could say it’s a pretty ‘fluid’ working environment….get it? Fluid? Plasma? 

Yeah, I got it.

Anyway, this place is great.  I came out here right out of school, and man, I learned more in six months than I did in all my years of graduate work.  And I’m not just talking work experience, earning a living type of knowledge.  I’m talking “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!” type stuff.   The best advice I can give you is to stay swimming on the surface until you can hold your own, ‘cause there’s some scary stuff floating around down in the lower currents.

I think I’m noticing that.  I worked some uber-top secret NSA stuff before this, and this place blows them out of the water for secrecy. And I have no idea what some of this stuff means in English, how am I s’posed to translate it?

Yeah, I remember starting out- sometimes it was enough to make me wish I’d taken the bluepill. 

Ah, I know that one- “The Matrix” right?

See, you’re getting’ it.

So, um, I’ve been wanting to ask this, but things were so closemouthed when I interviewed- what does this place do anyway? You’ve mentioned all these different projects; my own workload seems completely random.  It’s like I’m translating for a robotics company, a glass manufacturer, a physicist convention, and a comic book store all rolled into one.

Oh, you just wait ‘til October rolls around again with Dress-up Fridays, it’s like  freakin’ ComiCon in here.  But, yeah, this place has a lot of crazy stuff goin’ on.  In some ways, the Boss seems to want a deliberate Bruce Wayne-meets-Isaac Asimov type feel to the work.

Yeah, you lost me again…

Well, a lot of the stuff we do ends up working to catch bad guys.  Surveillance and Armor Tech does a lot of military and police contracts.  But then there’s the Miniaturization Department, and the Trade Nuclear Technology  Systems.  We keep joking that their gonna blow themselves up…TNT Systems and all…

Hmmm…do I really want to be working for a company like this? 

Oh, don’t worry. It’s all completely safe. The place you should really be wary of is the Chaos Department.  I haven’t even wanted to get my feet wet in that place.  You ever see “The Abyss”?


Yeah, you’ll probably want to start a list of books and movies to see.  It’s almost a necessity to understanding this place.  The unwritten motto is: “Bringing Sci Fi to Life.”  It’s not technically a company.  For tax purposes or something, it was established as a foundation, perpetually endowed.  Do yourself a favor and kick Asimov’s Foundation Series to the top of that reading list.   It will give you some flavor for what this place is about.  Some people around here think that Asimov himself started this place.  Personally, I think the Boss just has a penchant for keeping the Sci Fi theme. 

Wow, that’s gotta be a rich endowment to afford what their paying me. 

Yeah, they do pretty well here.  It’s kinda odd though, because some things get patented and sold, but other things we develop don’t ever leave the compound, aren’t showed to anyone, and just seem to see the dusty side of a shelf as far as most of us can tell.  And those are some of the neatest toys we make. 

That seems weird. 

Yeah, tell me about it.  The weirdest part is that sometimes, people around here recognize the stuff they’ve developed out in the real world, but they know it hasn’t been sold to anyone. For instance, John who works with me now in plasma stuff- you remember last year that ferry that sank in the Red Sea with like 500 people on board?

Oh, yeah the one in the middle of the storm that sank completely before anyone could get out?

Yup, they showed some footage on the news and John says he recognized the burn and weld pattern of the cuts in the hull they had to make to get everyone out.  It was very distinctive to the Lucas project he worked on.

What, you mean, like Star Wars and Lightsabers and junk? 

The guy who headed the project is named Lucas. But weird coincidence, no?

Yeah, seems fishy.  You sure this isn’t some sort of development plant to equip all the Justice League or something?  I mean, you don’t have Wonder Woman’s invisible jet around here do, you?

Ha! If we did and I knew about it, I’d demand a ride instead of a Christmas bonus. But who really knows?  It’s all so hush hush.  You know you can’t talk about any of this outside right? Can’t even mention this place exists. It’s in the contract and they actually have some tech to enforce it.  Mind wipes or something.

Yeah, wondered about that, but they're probably just overly worried about industrial espionage or something. I mean, c'mon, how do you not talk about what you do with people?

Pretty much I’ve resorted to devolving into advanced physics jargon when anyone asks me what I do.  Usually they just go glaze-eyed and move the conversation somewhere else.

Yeah, no idea what I’m gonna say.  How do you cope with the “mum’s the word”?

The only thing I’ve thought of is gabbing about what goes on with coworkers at the water cooler.  Anyway, good luck, Dentarthurdent.

Ok, um, thanks.  We’ll see ya around.



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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #86 on: December 19, 2010, 09:32:55 PM »
        "What do you mean you can't?"
        "I mean exactly what I said.  When I tried to draw the circle the chalk would just fade from the ground!"
        "I've never heard of that happening before.  Have you checked your guidebook for anything?"
        "Nothing.  I checked there first.  The only thing that came close is sacred ground."
        "But in those cases the chalk doesn't even stick."
        "Was it your skirt maybe whipping the chalk behind you?"
        "It looks different when that's the case.  There's at least a bit of the chalk left.  Plus I watched it disappear.  It was... well, it's hard to explain.  Here, watch."
        "Huh.  I haven't ever seen that before.  And you're sure that the book didn't have anything about it?"
        "I wish I hadn't left mine back at the castle.  'Leave it,' the prince said.  'We're only scouting the old ruins in the forrest.  Don't worry so much.'  Now he's knocked out, our horses are gone, and no way to get back."
        "He couldn't have known about this."
        "Doesn't matter.  I should always plan for anything to happen."
        "If I held my book open could you read it?  THen it's still me using the book, so it might get around the imprinting."
       "Maybe.  It's worth a try."
        "Nope.  The pages are blank."
        "Watch your mouth!"
        "Sorry sir.  I'm just frustrated."
        "I know bout we'll figure it out.  And there's nothing about fading?"
        "Hm.  Read me what it says about sacred ground?"
       " 'All spells cast within sacred ground will not work due to the agreement made with the Almighty.  All spoken spells are unable to collect the nessary power.  Ink or chalk used to do a written spell within the dedicated ground are unable to stick to the material it is written on.  IN most cases it just appears to not write.  When-' "
        "Wait!  'In most cases'... I think my book explained that better.  I wish I could remember.  Ugh!"
        "Do you think these ruins could be something sacred?"
        "It's possable but -- no, wait.  Have you tried any verbals?"
        "I don't think so.  Should I?"
       "Um... yes.  Try just a light ball for me."
       "Til emot moec."
        "Perfect.  I felt a small build up, but it felt like there was something blocking it.  Try again at the edge of the ruins.
        "It felt a bit stronger, but still nothing.  You look like you might know what's going on.
        "I might.  Try one more time, but this time go out into the forrest until you can't see the ruins anymore before you try."
        "Alright. . ."
        "I don't suppose your highness would like to wake up while she's gone?  It'd make things easier on me."
        "SIR!  Sir, it worked!"
        "Good.  Good.  Now to take care of his highness."
        "Sir?  What's going on?"
        "I'm not sure, but I think this might have been a chruch, but it was dedicated well before the alliance.  So the block is in place but it doesn't react the exact same as a church established after.  THat's why the spells react differently.  So we should be able to cast the spell to get back once we leave the area of the church.  Here, you take his legs."
        "Ugh, he's heavy!"
        "Don't worry.  It should only be a few more steps.  Then we can set him down."
        "Okay.  Now what?"
        "Try drawing the circle.  I'll do the rest of the preprations.  Barring any unforseen problems we should be back to the castle in a few minutes.  From there we'll let the king know what happened.
        "When we get back I just want you to get a servant to help his highness, then go back to your room.  I don't want you get involved."
        "No.  I won't allow it.  Now, are you done?"
        "Just finished."
        "And it's not fading out.  Great!  Let's get started on the main spell."
"The custom of royalty in referring to oneself is to naturally employ the royal 'we'.  We are very happy, we are very sad, we are bored and suffer from ennui.  For a royal prince there's no such word as 'me', It's always 'we'.  So rightfully I should be two or three, don't you agree?"


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #87 on: December 19, 2010, 10:19:56 PM »
This might not be following the guidelines, since there's three people (only two talk at a time) and it's a comic script rather than prose.

"When's dad coming home?"

"I dunno!"

"I'm bored."

"Will you play with me?"


"Will you play with me?"


play a game with me?"

"I want to play with dad. You just want to play kids games."

"You're only three years older than me!"

"Three and a half!"

"Oh yeah?
I am a wizard!"

"(Sigh) How many times do I have to tell yous? Fairies, elves and monsters don't exist, and wizards don't rule the world. It's generals and athletes and architects who-

"And this is my magic leaf pile!
Do you want to take a jump in the pile?"


"Why not?"

"Dad says there's no such thing as magic."

"Why that's the most saddest thing I've ever heard, and I'm only nine!
(raised eyebrow)
Regardingless, I say that I'm a wizard.
Normally I'd charge one purply-red leaf for each trip into the pile, but since this is your first trip, I'll let you jump for free."

"(Oh yes, you sure are a shrewd businessman.)
It's just a bunch of leaves. That's not a magic pile."

out." (he crouches in the pile, out of sight)


"I'm bored.
(car engine vroom)
Dad's home!"

"Hi dad!"

"Hey son. Where's your brother?"

"He's playing over there.
I want to play catch!"

"That's a great idea! You could play catch with your brother. "


"I have a lot of work to do tonight. See you at dinner!"


"I'm bor-
I'm cold.
Maybe I don't want to find out if it's magic!
Maybe I don't care!
(he steps in it)
Because it's not."

"You have to jump into it, Mr. Athlete!
Mr. Athletect!
Major General No-Fun!"

"You want to see a jump?
I'll show you a jump!"

(He takes a running jump into the leaf pile, falls a great distance, gets up and looks up at the sky)


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #88 on: December 19, 2010, 10:39:50 PM »
Here's my attempt at the dialogue challenge.  You can also find it at my blog:

David Alan Jones

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.”

“The pleasure is mine, Pastor Phelps. Won’t you have a seat?”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Forgive me for staring. You look so human.”

“I am human, Mr. President.”


“Meat all the way through, sir. Like any other man.”

“But I thought –“

“Mr. President, I was born in Atlanta. My parents are both from North Carolina. They’re parents came from material gathered in the early surveys — all human.”


“Test subjects. We put them back.”

“Minus some eggs and sperm.”

“Necessary. My progenitors are methane breathers after all.”

“Is that your strategy: victory through familiarity? Conquer us by becoming us?”

“I think we’ve made it clear we aren’t here to conquer you, Mr. President.”

“Try to see it from my perspective, Phelps. Until yesterday aliens stood in the same category as Sasquatch and the Loch Ness monster: plausible, fun to debate, but abstract.”

“And today?”

“Today the stock market crashed.”

“Regretful, but probably unavoidable in the near term. Either we revealed our presence, or we remained invisible. It couldn’t be done by half measures.”

“Why the subterfuge? Why live among us for so long?”

“We’re missionaries, Mr. President. We can’t tend the flock if we don’t walk amongst the flock.”

“And we’re your flock?”

“All things, living and inert, belong to the All-Point.”

“Ah, your message. I hope you’re not too disappointed; I’ve already had a sneak preview. The British PM and I had an interesting chat not half an hour ago.”


“He said your counterpart there frightened him worse than  terrorist nukes in London.”

“Why? We haven’t come to frighten man. We’ve come to enlighten him.”

“With your ‘gospel according to the stars’? He says this All-Church of yours will be the end of nationalism.”

“I assure you we have no political aspirations, sir.”

“Maybe not, but you make joining your church enticing don’t you? Extended life, cures to otherwise mortal diseases, the chance to travel the stars.”

“You two did have a long talk.”

“He’s concerned that you plan to exclude non-members from these gifts.”

“Some things are sacred, Mr. President.”

“So it’s true. You’ll let the sick die because they refuse to join your church?”

“Children are starving the world over. You have the power to feed them, but they aren’t Americans, so you don’t.”

“I thought you said you don’t play at politics.”

“I won’t apologize for my religion, Mr. President. We may not share all the benefits of membership with non-members, but I assure you the church shall benefit this world.”

“While coercing its people into joining you?”

“Joining the Church of the All-Point doesn’t change one’s citizenship.”

“But what happens when every human on this planet has joined your church? What happens when the American people begin to trust the church more than their own government? That is what he fears — what we all fear.”

“May I still deliver my message, Mr. President? You’ve only heard it secondhand. If there’s one truth between our Earth religions and the Plan of the All-Point, it’s this: you don’t ask the bus driver what it’s like to fly an F-16. You ask the fighter pilot.”

“I’ll hear your message, but let me ask you one question first.”

“Anything, Mr. President.”

“My advisors say you’ve been a Baptist minister for over thirty-three years.”

“At Abilene Full-Gospel Baptist in Macon, yes sir.”

“How do you square preaching Christianity for all those years while secretly practicing a faith so antichristian?”

“The Plan is not antichristian or anti-Muslim, or anti-anything. Even your scientists proved the All-Point’s existence with no prodding from us.”

“Then tell me of this All-Point, Pastor Phelps. Tell me why it’s so important that you’ve turned every nation on earth upside down to preach it.”

“In the beginning, in all the beginnings that ever were, there was the All-Point: that infinitesimal dot, containing within its vastness all time, space, matter and energy. It was, is, and will be a sentient being. During infinite cycles of birth and reunification, the All-Point has explored the meaning of existence. It has given up self, sacrificing its Oneness, over and over again in order to create this universe.”

“In the Big Bang?”


“But if this All-Point is conscious as you say, then doesn’t it die every time it begins the cycle anew?”

“Yes, and no. Its self is spread out with all that is our reality, so in a way it has not died, but rather expanded so that it can no longer reach full consciousness though it is aware on a level we cannot readily comprehend.”

“And at the end of every cycle it reforms — reunites?”


“Then why the religion, Pastor?”

“Pardon me?”

“Why should we care? If we belong to this All-Point — are destined to return to it one day no matter what we do in this life — then why bother worshipping it at all?”


“I don’t follow.”

“Entropy, sir. The law which states all things in this universe are winding down like clockwork.”

“I know the principle. We’ve seen it. The universe is expanding faster than we ever imagined; too fast for it to ever …for it to ever recreate the All-Point. No Big Crunch. No return to the dot.”

“No Big Crunch and the heat death of the universe.”

“A fascinating concept.”

“Forgive me, but I had expected you to require more explanation on the science.”

“The wife and I read sci-fi. It’s a guilty pleasure.”

“But obviously an instructive one.”

“Still, I fail to see how joining this All-Church will solve the problem. Do you think faith can overcome inertia? Surely you don’t believe prayers will slow stars.”

“In our church we have prophets — seers and revelators — who post-tell the infinite past.”


“The future is impossible to know. The past, however, is set, and can be read like a book for those with that gift.”

“Your prophets can follow the life cycle of an entire universe? That’s extraordinary.”

“No, sir. They see only the changing of the cycles. I’m told it’s really quite boring.”

“So every cycle is pretty much the same as all the others?”

“Yes, until now.”

“What’s changed?”

“Us, Mr. President.  Ours is the first epoch during which life has evolved.”

“Wait. Are you saying that by creating life the All-Point has somehow destroyed itself? Committed suicide to birth its greatest creations?”

“The opposite, we believe. For whatever reason, in this current incarnation of the universe, something has gone awry. The All-Point has already passed the point of reunification by any natural means. For that reason it has, through our evolution — the evolution of all sentient beings — revived its consciousness so that it might fight for survival.”
“Fight how?”

“That, Mr. President, is what we must learn together.”

The End


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Re: Writing Prompts!
« Reply #89 on: December 20, 2010, 01:29:27 AM »
First time posting, first time on the forum. Figured I needed to practice. :)


“I’ll play you for Earth.”

“Really? Are we doing this again?”

“What do you mean again? You don’t always win.”

“Is that why I own more worlds than you?”

“You don’t own more.”

“I have two hundred thirty-five. Last I counted, you had seven.”

“Do you want to play for Earth or not?”

“I don’t know. What are you offering?”

“Hasbrug III.”

“That’s really more of a moon than a planet.”

“But chock full of uranium. Don’t play coy, you wanted to play me for Hasbrug III just last cycle.”

“That was before I won Earth.”

“Hasbrug III or nothing.”

“I’m happy not playing, friend.”

“Fine. Hasbrug III and Kwot.”

“A gas planet? Are you serious?”

“Since when did you have anything against gas planets?”

“I don’t know. They’re hardly substantial.”

“Take it or leave it.”

“Fine. Reset the board. Your move.”

“Finally. How is it in the Milky Way? Haven’t been for a while.”



“It’s a little dull. Not much excitement outside of Earth and Betelgeuse.”

“Good movie.”

“I meant Alpha Orionis.”


“Hear it’s blowing soon. Your move again.”

“About time. And I’ll be watching it from my ocean-side seat on Earth.”

“Please! You’d crush the thing.”

“What are you trying to say?”

“Just that it would be a waste. Intelligent life and all.”

“I’d hardly call them intelligent.”

“Oh? Then why do you want it so bad?”

“Because—Hey, you can’t do that!”

“What? It’s a legal move.”

“No it’s not; the queen can’t jump.”

“The queen can do anything.”

“Anything except jump.”

“Of course she can jump. You can’t win if the queen can’t jump.

“You’re cheating!”

“Fine. There.”

“And how is that legal?”

“Because I didn’t jump.”

“But you can’t capture two pieces at once!”

“Are you playing or not?


“You can’t do that.

“The queen can do anything.”

“Not circumvent the entire board.”

“Your rules, Deus. I stayed in the squares. Checkmate.”

“I’m tempted to oblige you out of pity.”

“I win either way. This game isn’t as bad as I thought.”


“Where did you find it, again?”

“Hell if I know.”