Emergency Backup #1, aka Week 9

What does your prompt say to you? Oh, perhaps not physically, although you do you, and please write about it for the rest of us. No, good prompt is vexing sometimes, because it generates new ideas when you haven’t written the old one yet, thank you very much. A prompt goes beyond mere words and leaps into genre, style, setting, and emotion. Dare I say it, a prompt can even generate plot, and worldbuilding.

So let’s play! Email an idea to odd prompts @ gmail dot com, and add spare if you don’t want a trade.

Becky JonesThere was one very interesting item in the ad for the house: Magic portal access in back yard included.Fiona Grey
AC YoungWhen he said he worked for BOB, she thought he meant a person.Leigh Kimmel
Leigh Kimmel“Now that’s interesting,” said the lion as the power went out.AC Young
nother MikeWhen elephants fly, you don’t want to be on cleanup…Becky Jones
Fiona GreyI can post in the morning!nother Mike

And if you’re not into any of those, forgot what day of the week it was again, or prefer not to swap directly this week, here are your spares.

SpareThe rain battered the house.
SpareThe flock of pigs settled in the trees nearby…
SpareThe new car sitting at the curb had the keys still in the ignition…
SpareMarriage is supposed to change people, but you never expected this…
SpareThe girl with silver tears…

Whether you’re inclined toward dry humor, twisted tropes, or exploring fantastic new worlds, post your stories in the comments!

Header image by Fiona Grey



  1. Leigh Kimmel and I exchanged prompts this week. I received: “Now that’s interesting,” said the lion as the power went out.

    How about a variation on the lion and the unicorn?

    The young girl wanted a bedtime story before she went to sleep, but she didn’t want to be read to, so her mother had to make something up on the spot.

    The girl had a number of stuffed toys arrayed on her bed, but two were a lion and a unicorn, and this gave her mother an idea.

    “The crown of toyland should be mine,” said the mother, speaking in a deeper than normal voice, holding the lion up as she did so. “I am noble and brave. My claws are long and my mane is thick. I will rule justly and with wisdom.”

    “No, I have the best claim,” said the mother, speaking in a higher than normal voice as the unicorn. “I am elegant and beautiful. My horn is long and strong, and my hooves are perfectly shod. I will take good care of my subjects.”

    The young girl giggled. “You should marry, and then you can rule together.”

    “That cannot be,” said the unicorn. “My elegant face deserves to appear alone on our stamps. My horn should appear proudly on our coins. There is no space on either for a lion’s mane.”

    “My mane is my pride and joy,” said the lion. “I will not share it with another. My face must appear alone on stamps and coins. I alone must wear the crown.”

    The young girl giggled some more.

    “I am the swifter, I will win any race,” said the unicorn. “This crown should be hung on my horn for all to see.”

    At this point the power went out. The mother wished to distract her daughter while her husband figured out what had happened and hopefully put things right.

    “Now that’s interesting,” she said as the lion. “It would seem that even the stars in the sky have turned themselves off. If even they support my claim, then I must be king.”

    “On the contrary,” said the unicorn, “the stars have turned their backs on the lion. So they support my claim. I will run all the way to the crown and claim it for my own.”

    “Anyone can pick up a crown,” said the lion. “I have the strength and power to keep it. The crown should be mine.”

    “Strength and power mean nothing,” said the unicorn, “for none can catch me. No lion will be able to take my crown from me.”

    More giggles. And then the lights came back on again.

    “No unicorn can hide in the full glow of day,” said the lion. “Mine shall be the crown.”

    More giggles, then a yawn. “Neither shall rule tonight, Mom. Could they continue tomorrow night?”

    “Yes, love. Good night.”

    “Good night, Mom.”

    The mother tucked her daughter in, kissed her forehead, and made her way back out, closing the bedroom door behind her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Y’a know, Mom needs to introduce the concept of a compromise. After all, a coin has two sides, one for each of them!


  2. Fiona Grey procrastinated…

    I can post in the morning!

    [ah, the pleasure of putting things off until later. But sometimes later sneaks up and ambushes us! And now it’s too late! Eek!]

    Let’s ask ChatGPT!

    Me: Please write a short story or flash fiction using the prompt “I can post in the morning!”


    Jane had been meaning to post on her social media account for days now, but every time she sat down to write something, she found herself stuck. She wanted to share something meaningful, something that would make her followers feel inspired or uplifted, but nothing seemed to come to mind.

    Finally, one evening, she had an idea. She grabbed her laptop and began typing furiously, her fingers flying over the keys as she poured out her thoughts onto the screen. It wasn’t perfect, but it felt honest and real, and she knew that her followers would appreciate it.

    As she finished up and hit the “post” button, she felt a sense of relief wash over her. She had finally done it! But as she crawled into bed that night, she found herself worrying. What if her post wasn’t good enough? What if nobody liked it?

    She tossed and turned, unable to sleep, until finally, she remembered what her best friend had said to her earlier that day: “I can post in the morning!”

    With those words in mind, Jane closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, knowing that no matter what happened, she had done her best. And in the morning, when she checked her account, she saw that her post had resonated with many of her followers. They had shared it, commented on it, and thanked her for being so honest and vulnerable.

    Jane smiled to herself, feeling grateful for the reminder that sometimes, it’s okay to let go and trust that everything will work out in the end. And with that thought in mind, she sat down to write her next post, feeling inspired and ready to share her voice with the world.

    [hum, that’s not bad, actually… continuing the chat…]

    Me: Interesting. What other kinds of stories do you think would suit that prompt?


    There are many types of stories that could use the prompt “I can post in the morning!” as a starting point. Here are a few examples:

    1. A story about a social media influencer who struggles with balancing their public persona with their private life. They constantly worry about how they are perceived by their followers and struggle with the pressure to constantly create content. One day, they have a breakthrough and realize that it’s okay to take a step back and prioritize their mental health.
    2. A story about a blogger who writes about their experiences with mental illness. They struggle with the decision to share their story online and worry about how their followers will react. After much contemplation, they finally decide to hit “post” and are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and empathy they receive.
    3, A story about a teenager who is being bullied at school. They feel alone and isolated, but find comfort in sharing their feelings on a private blog. One day, they decide to share their story publicly and are surprised by how many others come forward with similar experiences.
    4. A story about a writer who has been struggling to finish their novel. They have been avoiding the task, but one day they decide to start writing and find that the words flow easily. They stay up all night working on their manuscript, only to realize in the morning that they had forgotten to save their work. Despite the setback, they are determined to keep going and finish what they started.
    5. A story about a young artist who struggles with imposter syndrome. They constantly doubt their talent and worry that they will never be good enough. One day, they decide to post some of their artwork online and are surprised by the positive feedback they receive. They realize that their self-doubt was holding them back and that it’s important to take risks and put themselves out there.

    Me: Thanks! Lots of ideas there… now I need to think about it.

    ChatGPT: You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear that the ideas sparked your imagination. Take your time and don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches until you find the one that feels right for you. Good luck!

    [oh, not bad at all! I suspect one of the problems with chatting with ChatGPT is that it is easy to become a rabbit hole, down which one vanishes, never to be seen again, as one pursues the white rabbit in tails…]

    [and lest I procrastinate again, let’s post this much, at least…]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. [okay, how about another quick one…]

    Herbert never expected his Digital Insurance company, The Day After, to get very big, but he liked the idea, so he set it up and started. A subscription service, with an app that you downloaded or let them install on your computers, cell phones, and other digital devices. Then it monitored your work. And, when a registered person notified the company, it would send out mail, order things, send congratulations, birthday greetings, all kinds of delayed but important work. It could also send notices to shut down email, subscriptions, and other contacts. And, the part that some people loved, it also would try to finish work in progress where it could! That day after service was what made the Digital Insurance company really different.

    Fairly soon, subscribers started joining, and it grew. And grew. People started putting more and more things into the system, letting it take care of the future for them.

    Then when a YouTube star died, but his daily videos kept going for a month… well, the business boomed! A big part of it was the YouTube star smiling into the camera and saying, “I can post in the morning! With The Day After, that is. Join now, and let it take care of tomorrow for you!”

    The subscriptions rolled in!

    Herbert had the ads set up, and released them. “Always put off until tomorrow what you can’t get done today! With The Day After, you’ve got time!”

    And everyone smiled, and said, “I can post in the morning!”

    [ho, ho, ho… can you hear someone singing “Tomorrow…”]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] This week’s prompt challenge came from ‘nother Mike: When elephants fly, you don’t want to be on cleanup… Not sure where my brain came up with this one, but the inside of my brain can be a very odd place. My prompt went to Fiona Grey: There was one very interesting item in the ad for the house: Magic portal access in back yard included. If you wander on over to More Odds Than Ends you can send in a prompt for next weeks challenge, pick up a spare and see where it takes you, or just read through the comments to see what everybody comes up with. […]


  5. […] This week, I remembered it was Tuesday, huzzah! I’ve got something in the works this dovetails with nicely, so I combined my missed prompt from AC Young last week – the problem that doesn’t exist – with this week’s, from Becky Jones, about the advertisement with a magical portal in the backyard. Cheers! Find these and more at MOTE. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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