Week 16 of Odd Prompts


At one end of the world it is coming on spring. At another, it’s turning to fall. But any season is a good time to work on your writing skills, and that is what the Odd Prompts challenge is about. Getting better through practice, and stretching your frame of reference in weird directions with a prompt that you wouldn’t have thought of. It’s like yoga for your brain! 

Prompter Name Prompt
Promptee Name
Becky Jones (Photo prompt: In the woods!) nother Mike
Kat Ross “He’s been dead for 30 years, yet his flowers still bloom” (and photo Flowers below) Becky Jones
nother Mike You find a jar of plastic ants in the kitchen cabinet…
Cedar Sanderson
Fiona Grey The couple passed their neighbor on a walk, giving him a wide berth. He was mud-splattered and carrying a shovel, with his usual ultra-wide grin, the whites of his eyes showing round and bug-eyed. “I left my family in the park,” he said, and his teeth shone alabaster against a dirt-streaked face as his mouth stretched even further. Leigh Kimmel
Cedar Sanderson What does the frame shift – the paradigm – at the edge of each parallel universe feel like when crossed? Kat Ross
Leigh Kimmel Hawthorne—unwritten plot. Visitor from tomb—stranger at some publick concourse followed at midnight to graveyard where he descends into the earth. Fiona Grey


Prompt “Into the woods” by Becky Jones
Photo prompt by Kat Ross “He’s been dead for 30 years, yet his flowers still bloom.”

spare While dressing the frog in the bunny costume, he discovered that the leggings had velcro snaps too!
spare The cleaning crew finds a gun in the trash…
spare The graffiti in the bathroom said, “For a good time, call…” When you called the number, the public library answered…
The genes for intelligence are finally discovered. But when they are upregulated, ________________ is also activated
Spare There was a unicorn named Bob, and another one named Sparkly Bob, and another one named Squishy Bob, and…

See you in the comments. Let’s see what we all come up with this week! 

Header image by Fiona Grey, Gettysburg.



  1. Spare prompt. From last week? Oh, well…
    Behind the mask was…an angry paper bag.

    I know that sounds weird, and I’m kinda mixed up about it, but for some reason that’s what I was thinikin’ when Mandy came a-crawlin’ into the brier thicket where I was hidin’, where I like to go when I got some serious thinkin’ to do.

    And when I told her what I was thinkin’, she looked at me like I was plumb loco.

    “Will,” she says, “you know perfekly well that a paper bag can’t be angry. Why, it’s an in…in ant…”

    I helped her out a bit there…after all, I’m nearly two years older’n her, and I oughta know sumpthin’ more’n her. “Inanimate. Sure, I know that. But it sure LOOKS angry. Why, when Mama got it at the store today, that brown paper bag, it looked all smooth an’ perfect. Now it looks…angry!”

    Mandy looked troubled, like she was gonna cry. “I know. When we took the vittles outa the truck, that paper bag did look angry…like Papa does sometime…an’ he was havin’ a bit of trouble gettin’ everything settled in back of the seat.

    “That bag,” says I, “is crumpled. There’s a big piece torn outa the top, both handles are torn off and throwed inside the bag on top o’ them canned beans Ma bought. There’s a couple more rips in the top…an’ it’s SCRUNCHED.

    “Why’s he get so mad? And what do you mean about a mask? And…”

    “Ma says he gets mad a lot on accounta things that happened when he was in that war. And…he’s not mad ALL the time. He’s not mean. He’s mostly real good to us, just not always very…friendly, I guess you’d say.

    “But,” she repeated, looking puzzled, “I don’t know what you mean about a mask.”

    I pondered on that a mite. I frowned. “I don’t rightly know how to explain. I guess…sometimes it’s like he’s wearing a mask, so’s you can’t see who he really is.” My frown deepened. “Like maybe…maybe he’s just not quite the same person he used to be, before the war. Or he is, but sometimes things just don’t quite turn our right…”

    “Anyways,” I said, “I think what we’ve gotta do is try to stay outa his way when he’s mad, an’ just try to act normal when he’s not.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Random prompt (Can I do two? Because it’s my brother’s birthday?)

    He’s been dead for nearly 25 years, yet his flowers still bloom.

    Well, as I ponder on it, I don’t remember my brother ever growing a flower. But he did leave a garden full of memories…

    ___When he was six all he wanted for Christmas was a baby doll. He wasn’t a sissy–he was all boy–but daddies love their babies too, don’t they? He played house with his little sisters. He was the daddy. I was the mama, and the littlest sister was the baby.

    ___He was adventuresome and curious about anything and everything. One day when he was six I worried myself sick because there he was on a ledge about fifteen feet down the steep slippery clay riverbank, reaching way out over the river trying to catch a water skipper. What if he slipped and fell in? Another time he showed us a garter snake with a bulge in the middle–it had swallowed a frog! Once when the fields were flooded during a winter freshet, he found a partly burned log, and used it as a “canoe” to paddle around while we played pirate.

    ___He was creative. From a lump of clay he would quickly form lifelike animals. One day he made a realistic goose with stiff barnyard mud, and added chicken feathers…then hollowed out a cavity beneath the tail and filled it with soft green cow manure. After he grew up he made a perfectly formed miniature model of a rifle, maybe two inches long. His woodworking skills were extraordinary, and he developed advanced mechanical skills.

    ___He was his own person. He was not drawn into whatever mischief other kids or teenagers might be headed for. Once when the teacher (who boarded with our grandparents) wanted to take us with her to Sunday School at our little country schoolhouse, he hid under the grandparents’ house. Grandma called and called, but we had to go without him. Another time, on the mile-long walk to our school bus stop, he said,”Let’s not go to school today. Let’s go play in Uncle Ralph’s old barn!” We did, and we found a mouse nest, with a half dozen or so naked baby mice in it. We could see their guts right through the skin! . He was very intelligent; he flunked high school Biology because he loved it so much–he was so busy learning he didn’t do the required busywork.

    ___He was in no hurry to marry, but when he did (and I think he was around 40) it was to a lovely young woman. They had two beautiful, bright children who are a credit to their parents and to the human race.

    ___My brother Craig would have been 86 today, April 15, 2020. He fell victim to an errant tree limb at his home in Alaska–but his garden of memories lives on in our hearts.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My prompt this week was a picture. It’s been a busy week, but… I sat down and did a little freewriting, and … here it is. I hope you enjoy this little walk in the woods. Comments welcome!

    A Path Less Travelled (400 words)
    By Mike Barker

    He glanced around, wondering. The path still wound back and forth through the woods, as he remembered, but… where was the giant tree, the one where they built a fort out of bits and pieces of wood they had found up, way up in a fork between the trunk and a big branch? It was such a big tree.

    Oh. Maybe that was it, on the ground, in pieces?

    (if you want to find out what else he discovered on his walk in the woods, visit https://mbarker.dreamwidth.org/233220.html )

    Liked by 1 person

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