Week 5 of Odd Prompts

Hey, all, it’s week five! That means we’re rolling into month two of imagination, stories, and becoming a writing community. We’ve rolled past the 21-days-to-develop-a-habit benchmark. Keep it up!

Don’t forget to share the fun. Tell your brother, tell a friend, tell your boss, and definitely tell your cat. Send in ideas for next week to oddprompts@gmail.com.

No minimum word count, no genre expectations, just words on a page, shared with virtual friends. The prompts are below. Missed sending one in this week? Grab a spare prompt and join the creative madness. I mean the fun.

Prompter NamePromptPromptee
Becky JonesYou’re an officer on a space ship. Your ship is a first landing on planet Earth. Upon landing with your “away team” you find yourselves in the midst of some weird and frightening (to you) Earth/human activity/ritual/celebration. Humans seem to find it perfectly normal. What did you land in the middle of?Kat Ross
Kat RossMy sister found her 30 sided die and rolled it for this weeks prompt. It fell on this image. Cedar Sanderson
nother MikeYou hear a strange tap, tap, tapping at your door. When you open the door to see what is out there, there is a doll standing there, arm raised…Becky Jones
Fiona GreyThe STEM toy seemed like a great idea for your son/daughter/friend’s kid/young cousin/etc. Who wouldn’t want to build their own robot? But maybe you should have considered…nother Mike
Leigh KimmelMan visits museum of antiquities—asks that it accept a bas-relief he has just made—old and learned curator laughs and says he cannot accept anything so modern. Man says that ‘dreams are older than brooding Egypt or the contemplative Sphinx or garden-girdled Babylonia’ and that he had fashioned the sculpture in his dreams. Curator bids him shew his product, and when he does so curator shews horror. Asks who the man may be. He tells modern name. “No—before that” says curator. Man does not remember except in dreams. Then curator offers high price, but man fears he means to destroy sculpture. Asks fabulous price—curator will consult directors.B. Durbin
B. DurbinIt’s the hundredth day.Fiona Grey
Misha BurnettYou receive a letter from yourself telling you that the last six months of your memory have been erased. Why did you do that?Leigh Kimmel
Cedar SandersonThe goblins wore pyjamasMisha Burnett

Spare prompt (Vakkotaur): The War Dept of the USA ceased to exist by that name in 1947. It is now 2020 (or further along…) and in today’s mail you received a *recently* dated letter from the War Department…

Spare prompt: When you got in the elevator, someone had already punched the bottom button, where no one ever goes. You’re not in a hurry, so you just wait. Then the door opens…

Spare prompt: The newest cell phones hit the market, you grabbed one, and then the recalls and the rumors started. Ghosts, aliens, monsters… something is wrong with the pictures? You laugh, point your new phone camera at the wall of your apartment, and snap a picture. That’s when you see…

Spare prompt: The scribe clutched his stylus, wishing for nothing more than to be a ____ instead. Why?

Spare prompt: Your superpower is a bit annoying, but at least you’ve managed to hide it so far.

Spare prompt: A living cyclops is unearthed in a strip mine in Nevada.

Spare prompt: A security guard in a graveyard is approached by a family of ghouls who offer a bribe for access to the graves. What happens next?

That’s it for prompts – can’t wait to see you in the comments.

Header image by Fiona Grey, Sylvan Lake, South Dakota



  1. The woods were filled with spider’s webs
    And the magic always black
    To the home of a child who fears the devil
    I follow a dirt road back

    The vultures sang of blood and pain
    Fairy tales always Grimm
    Untenanted Heaven and empty throne
    Yet still I cry in fear of Him

    In the sunlit world I learned of Law
    Science, chrome and stone
    The worlds would belong to Man
    The sky to us alone

    But reason fled at footfalls in moonlight
    Madness flooded to take its place
    The goblins wore pajamas
    And every devil wore my mother’s face

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Blah! I have been poking at the weekly prompt, but I’m not really happy with my results so far. This last week has been kind of crazy in the real world, end of semester grades and administrative blunders combining to leave me blinking. I mean, I tried running down a list of genres, just to see if that sparked an idea.

    Monster in the house? Okay, the toy robot is holding them prisoner? Golden fleece or quest? Hum, like Pinocchio, the robot wants to be a real boy? Out of the bottle (Wish fulfillment)? The robot does everything? Dude with a problem (ordinary guy, extraordinary situation)? No… Fool triumphant? Nah. Rite of passage (Life changes) Child with robot? Going to school? Superhero (Extraordinary guy, ordinary situation) Hoho! What if the robot is super? Buddies? Robot and child? Whydunit (mystery)? … Institutionalized (Individual versus Institution)? Nah…

    So that didn’t get me anything that really excited me. Okay, just try brainstorming.

    Robot? Avatar for child? Mentor for child? What unusual roles could the robot take on?

    Runaway robot? Multiplying robots (the box said it could make replacement parts, but who expected it to set up a production line in the basement and start churning out a horde of robots?) Robot advice’? Ah, hacked and…

    Well… maybe? How about some free writing? Aha, try this…

    We only made two mistakes when we got George the newest robotic toy set out on the market for Christmas.

    First, looking at the ugly, ugly container it came in, we decided to put it in a pretty box. So we carefully opened the container and poured all the parts into a nice white box, and gift wrapped it carefully. Then we tossed that ugly container.

    What we didn’t realize was that the container was actually the control that kept the self-assembling nano-robotic elements in the kit from activating. So when we poured it into the box, they started randomly joining up and developing. According to the police report, about eight hours later, they escaped from the box in a tidal wave, and started reworking everything they encountered into… well, more robots. Which is why the world is currently fighting what amounts to an epidemic of robotic toys.

    But, of course, that’s not the worst mistake. See, if we had read the directions, we would have known that the robots should have directions given to them, otherwise they tend to adopt the rule of multiply and expand. So, yes, we failed to give our robots any directions, which is the other big driver in the robot epidemic.


    Child empowered by robot? Robot running everyone? Robot network?

    Add-ons? Now we need …

    So I put it away for a bit, and then came back to it. Try it again.

    Robots. Batteries not included? Add-ons? Combining mech? With what? Lost toy (oh, previous owner?) my little panzer (dangerous toy?)

    What the heck, let’s go spelunking on TVtropes https://tvtropes.org/ (Warning! May be a dangerous timesink!) Check out Robot? Aha, there’s a robot page… and a robot roll call page… let’s see what catches my attention there?

    Oh, what about when someone wants to replace/upgrade? Growing up together?

    Sliding scale of robot intelligence: non-sentient, animal level, sentient but no emotion, sentient and genius level (still no emotion?), godlike…

    Cyborg? Morality? Becoming a real boy?

    Oh, what if they give him the core set, but he adds odds and ends (four long pipes turn into two legs, and so forth?) to make a scarecrow robot?

    Which eventually turned into Some Assembly Required, but…

    I’m stll not sure I like it. Although it’s kind of funny… Go ahead, take a look at https://mbarker.dreamwidth.org/230988.html and let me know what you think?

    ‘nother Mike


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