Thursday Writing Prompt no. 149

Hello there, fellow writers! It’s time for a Thursday Writing Prompt to help stir up those creative juices. For this week’s prompt, imagine yourself investigating an old, abandoned house. Rumors have it that the house is haunted, but you don’t believe it. You’re a collector of figurines and memorabilia, so you enter the house wondering if there might be something interesting there for your collection.

As you approach the house you notice that the windows were once boarded up, but a few of the wooden slats have been pulled loose. That isn’t a good sign, because it means other people have been here since the owners left the property. You stop for a moment, concerned that there might be someone in the house who could do you harm, but then you take a deep breath and continue walking.

You ease into the house, avoiding splintered wood and rusty nails, and enter the foyer. It’s empty. You tour the ground floor and find nothing in any of the rooms, so you go upstairs and check the bedrooms. Still nothing. Then you head to the attic. It’s pretty bare, but there is one small box shoved against the wall at the back of the house. You knock a silverfish off the box as you drag it out into the light coming in from the attic window.

Inside the box are five items: a small scrap of knit fabric printed with a kitten pattern, a plastic gold-colored button, one dried-out fountain pen, a white coffee mug with a blue interior, and an envelope containing old movie theater tickets.

Your task, if you choose to accept it, is to write a short story that uses the house as a setting and the contents of the box to inspire your plot. Happy writing!

Happy Holidays

This holiday cactus brightens up a downtown office window on a dreary day.

There’s a ton of winter holidays coming up in the northern hemisphere, so whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate, stay warm and cozy. And for the southern hemisphere folks, stay cool!

This week I’m busy finishing up an article on the Pearl Street Power Station for a forthcoming encyclopedia and doing additional research for several textbook articles. I hope to finish the year strong and get back in the groove of writing daily, although bouts of insomnia are still messing with my schedule.

I decided to mix things up a bit by rearranging my home office and clearing space for a small sofa. I often edit on paper instead of onscreen (or do a mix of both), so having a place to sit that is not at my desk is a nice break, even if I’m in the same room. In the hurricane of furniture moving, I’ve collected a nice set of bruises from carting two bookcases and a cubicle storage thing downstairs by myself. The office remains a mess for the moment, as this is definitely a process that takes time. I’m sorting papers, adding new furniture, and deciding what to get rid of or move elsewhere.

Coming up in the new year: a return to the Thursday Writing Prompts series and some articles on writing and editing. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays!

A Little Light Reading


I’m researching topics on the history of electricity and electromagnetism for several encyclopedia and textbook articles that I’m writing. You might say that I’m doing a little light reading (insert groan here). Okay, it’s a bad pun, but it’s 12:42 a.m., so what do you expect? The summer and fall have been marginally successful for me as a writer, but this year I opted to skip NaNoWriMo because I needed to focus on some nonfiction projects and get my research mojo back.

On the other hand, workouts have been good: I’ve managed to get myself into a fairly regular exercise routine as far as cardio goes, although November I sort of slacked off. Going to the regular gym for weight workouts has been a bust, and I blame having to drive up there. The reality is that I don’t have a routine or really know what I should be doing, so I go and do a few things and accomplish very little. The cardio I get from fitness studio classes, and I’ve been taking spin and belly dance classes that are lots of fun. I’m also working on season one of Zombies, Run! after finishing a virtual 5K race early last month (that means I ran on my treadmill, using a running app to keep my race time).

For this month, I want to finish at least two of my articles. I’d love to finish three, but the holidays and work commitments are already shaping up to make this a short month and I find my available writing time being gobbled up. And maybe, just maybe, I can find some time for fiction.

Writing Prompts and All That

I’m working on a book of writing prompts that will combine a writing journal, prompts, and illustrations to color. My idea is to have a workbook that has a reasonable amount of prompts and enough ruled pages so that there is space to write out the exercises. It won’t be a giant book of a zillion prompts, and partly that’s because I want the journal to be saddle-stitched so it’s easier to use, and that limits the size the book can be. Sometimes perfect-bound books (think of a regular paperback novel with a spine) won’t open flat and they’re difficult to write in.

The art will be line illustrations for coloring. Sometimes the writing process isn’t always linear, and having something on the page that you can play with could be enough to jump-start your creativity, or it could just be fun. I’m aiming to get the first book out this summer, with the theme of “beach edition,” and I hope to make the project into a series, which I’m calling Writer’s Catalyst.