Your death or others

I had a weird dream last night. And I just want to start off by saying if you don’t like disturbing things, then you probably shouldn’t keep reading. But if you want a creepy story prompt – go for it.

Suppose you’re on a lake. Not literally on it, as in sitting in a boat or what not, but you’re standing at the edge, your head tilted back, waiting for the sunshine, except these huge storm clouds are growing. Hulking grey giants, they quickly spawn several tornadoes.

Now you’re wondering where to run because it’s not like there are several buildings around, and the most you can do is follow the sidewalk, which somehow has a ladder spawn in the middle of the grass. Not knowing what else to do, and realizing underground is much better than above ground, you climb inside, finding a half open area still exposed to the weather. You can feel the wind picking up, and although you’re happier being somewhat covered, all you can think is lower. I must go lower. After all, these could be F5 tornadoes. They could destroy everything in their path.

So the next you thing you do is eye this hatch that looks like it’s made for a submarine, except it’s sitting in the middle of the wall, and thinking this looks safer, you open it up.

And…

There’s ash. Mountains and mountains of ash.

And bones.

What you’ve stumbled upon is an old cremation oven for human bodies, except these bodies don’t like they were fired all the way because some of the ash is still holding their shape, and some of that ash looks like bone, and you can barely make the shape of a few skulls holding themselves together.

You can’t stop thinking about the Holocaust anymore. How there’s too many bodies crammed inside, too much ash had collected for this to be a legal, medical thing. And standing there for a moment, slowly the aura builds. This huge creeping invisible cloud that sits like a weight on your lungs, and you find yourself struggling to breathe. But it could also be the wind picking up, starting to rip the air off your breathe.

You have to make a decision. Now.

Do you stay outside – die by tornado? Or do you go inside – and sweat among bodies that you know were probably murdered alive?

***

This dream has made me think a lot. It’s made me ask myself, am I more disturbed by death or the death of others? It’s also made me wonder, why are we as a species so concerned with macabre topics? Does the constant exposure dull the edge of the fact that are lives are finite? I know this is probably a highly researched topic, but it’s one I think all writers should consider.

What would you do in this situation?

No pain, no gain

I haven’t posted a lot on here lately – luckily I can blame school for that x 2 – but there’s something I just want to marinate on: One thing I love about writing is that it allows you to explore the what if‘s. What if planes were never invented? What if humans never evolved? What if we evolved too far, breaking the limits of space exploration?

I love writing for that.

And one thing I’ve been stuck on today – and maybe this is a prompt you can use – what if you could share pain? All the sudden things that were violent are so much riskier because now there’s the possibility of the danger of pain, or at least more than normal. If someone murders someone, maybe they feel that pain. Maybe an EMT just isn’t medically trained, but someone with high pain tolerance that can share their support for those injured. How would this have impacted wars or the Holocaust if all the sudden people could share their pain? Would the Nazis have never done those horrible things to people if all the sudden they could share their pain, witness the terrible things they’ve done?

All the sudden you’re talking about war prevention, higher values of empathy. Maybe this is the difference between one society and ours – they can share pain. We cannot. And all the sudden, if pain is like energy, if you share it among many, then the pain is less. It doesn’t feel as bad, and all the sudden it is tolerable – when shared by the group, creating a society that is more structurally supportive of others.

Then this brings up the question, is this pain voluntary? Is it consensual? Or is it something you can force upon others? Is this a defense mechanism?

This is my brain dump in the middle of the night, when I find my mind wandering. Maybe this could be of some use to you.

Idea Generator

Help! My brain’s broken!

This can be your first thoughts when you sit down and force yourself to daydream, which seems ironic because whenever you’re busy, you daydream and yet as soon as you devote time to it…you come up blank. This seems true for most of us, including myself. You can’t force distracted-ness (though showering certainly helps me).

For those times that you can’t think or your brain’s been overworked, here’s a few ways to brainstorm ideas:

1. reddit writing prompts

The nice part about these prompts is they’re randomly submitted by multiple users with new ones appearing many times throughout day! And, these are all free! You don’t have to be a user or sign up. You can go to the website and casually surf through different prompt postings, and if one sticks out to you, take it. If you are a reddit user, you can actually respond to the prompt and possibly get feedback. (But, feedback is open to the internet so it may be extreme in either direction: good or bad.)

2. story cubes

The plus-side to this is they’re randomly generated. You’re relying on fate to give you a prompt. And, it doesn’t necessarily give you the prompt so much as ideas to force you to make up the story. Kind of like leading a horse to water. Plus you can mix and match all these cubes. The only down side is you have to buy them, but it’s a good birthday present idea!

3. writer’s write

This is a wonderful writing resource I can’t talk about enough. They’ll give advice, facts, and many, many other things, one of those being prompts. If you find the search bar on the left-hand side of the page, search for “prompts,” multiple pages of their previous posts will come up. I find their website not to be organized in the best of manners, but it really does have some of the best resources.

4. legends/myths

It’s not stealing if you give the story your own flavor. This means all the legends and stories that have been around for generations are open for manipulation, such as how “The Little Mermaid” has been revamped many times over. The nice part about this is there are multiple cultures, multiple histories, each with their own belief system of curses, gods, legends, myths, etc. This link takes you to Wikipedia to flip through different stories, but I wanted to add Writer’s Write’s own myth-related writing prompt as proof that it works.

5. conversation/experiences

This one time I saw this guy walking down the street with a bouquet of flowers and a huge jug of maple syrup. It ended up being a great start for a story. Many of your conversations and experiences can work out the same way. For this to work, it might be a great idea to record your experiences through a journal, blog, or diary. I had a friend keep a list of our stupidest quotes. You never know when you might be able to use it.

6. dreams

Another idea that requires journals are dreams. Dreams are a great source of inspiration because it’s your brain’s random merging of experiences, imagination until it forms chaotic reasoning that may or may not make sense when you wake up. I have used these plenty of times, and I try to keep a list of my dreams as something to pull from. Fun fact: “Unaccomplished” actually originated as a dream scene. Guess which scene was the dream.