Week 10 of Odd Prompts: 2023 Edition

What does it take to inspire creativity? Or should we be less passive about our arts, and track down the inspiration and drag it back to our desks with us, where we can put it to work? If you aren’t a creative part-time, then it’s the latter you must do. Don’t worry – the muse is not so delicate as to object to a firm and competent handling. Make inspiration work for you, rather than waiting around on it’s fickle whims!

Fiona GreyThe asking price of adventure.Becky Jones
Becky JonesThe birds crowded on the overhead wires, staring at the dragons curled up in the yard.Fiona Grey
AC YoungYesterday the fuel pumps on Landing Pad 3 developed a fault. Apparently the engineers wouldn’t be able to fix it for at least a month.nother Mike
Leigh KimmelThe orange tabby cat watched through the patio door as the mountain lion padded across the deck.Cedar Sanderson
nother MikeThe faculty did not appreciate the skeleton dancing in the fountain in the school yard…AC Young
Cedar SandersonIt did not hold up to analytical observationLeigh Kimmel

If you didn’t send in a challenge, there are always spares, this week, or any other week before this. The spares are a constant companion, never complaining, never shirking their duty. Just there for you when you need a spark to light off your imagination.

Spare“I am Lady Nor.”
SpareWhen they finally found the hackers, they were fairies. Elves on the Internet!
SpareThe forecast was cloudy, with a chance of Viking.
Spare“Stop being such a chaos gremlin.”
SpareThe cat danced across the keyboard, and on the screen, it said, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a cat!”

Come back! Don’t go yet! Next week, there will be more, and the week after that. If you truly want to live a creative life, you can’t just dilly-dally. Get out there, hunt it down, and tame it. Also, leave your prompt responses in the comments below (images will require a link, wordpress delenda est). See you later!

Visual prompt:

“Library Portal” by Cedar Sanderson (a Midjourney render)


  1. Meanwhile, the space cats looked at us, and waited for our response… Some wag in the crowd muttered, “Take us to your litter box,” but we all ignored him. They were too serious for joking!


  2. Playing with ChatGPT… and the spare prompts…

    Me: Please write a short story or flash fiction using the prompt, “I am Lady Nor.”


    I am Lady Nor, ruler of the northern realm, feared by my enemies, and respected by my people. My father, the previous king, raised me to be a fierce warrior and a just leader. When he passed away, I took the throne without hesitation and vowed to protect my kingdom at all costs.

    One day, as I was inspecting the border defenses, I received news that a neighboring kingdom had launched a surprise attack. I quickly gathered my army and rode to the front lines. The battle was intense, but we managed to repel the invaders and push them back across the border.

    As we celebrated our victory, I noticed a wounded enemy soldier lying on the ground. His armor was emblazoned with the symbol of his kingdom, and his face was contorted in pain. Despite my advisors’ objections, I ordered my medics to tend to his wounds.

    Days turned into weeks, and the soldier slowly recovered under our care. During this time, I visited him often, hoping to learn more about the people we had just fought against. As we spoke, I realized that the war had been sparked by a misunderstanding and a thirst for resources. The soldier and I found common ground, and I promised to work towards a peaceful resolution.

    When the soldier was well enough to return home, I sent him with a message of peace and friendship. In the years that followed, our two kingdoms forged an alliance that brought prosperity to our people.

    I am Lady Nor, and I am a warrior, but I am also a diplomat. I will fight fiercely to protect my people, but I will also seek peace whenever possible.


  3. A triple prompt swap this week. nother Mike supplied: The faculty did not appreciate the skeleton dancing in the fountain in the school yard…

    Perhaps a grave curse…

    Pharion had decided to spend his lunchtime exploring the cellars under Listar’s School of Magic. The cellars were forbidden to students, which was half the fun of the process.

    To his surprise, he had found a grave. The headstone claimed it to be Listar’s last place of rest. Pharion read out the epitaph.

    “Under my school I rest.
    To leave me be is best.
    Those who disturb my grave
    Create a crisis grave!”

    It was an interesting claim, but Listar had been dead for over two centuries, so any death curse must have faded by now. And Pharion was interested in what Listar had been buried with.

    Pharion considered casting a translocation spell, but it might be detected by the teachers above. So he decided to shove the cover slab, and open the grave that way.

    He crouched down, put his hands on the slab, and shoved with all his might. The slab didn’t move. Just as Pharion thought that he’d have to cast the spell regardless, the slab moved.

    Pharion fell forwards and his forearms bashed into the main portion of the coffin. Ouch!

    He got up and quickly checked his arms – his sleeves were damaged, but the skin didn’t appear to be grazed. On the other hand he’d have nasty bruises come the morning.

    Pharion looked into the coffin. Listar’s body seemed to have decayed down to the bones. Next to the bones of the body’s right leg was a wand. Pharion reached in and picked it up.

    No sooner had the wand left the coffin, than a spell activated. A spell shockwave erupted from the grave. Listar’s bones knit themselves together. Then the completed skeleton shoved the cover slab the rest of the way and leapt out of the grave.

    Listar’s skeleton ran out of the room and up the stairs. Pharion followed, having hidden the stolen wand in his robes first.

    Pharion caught up with the skeleton outside, where it was dancing in the fountain. The teachers were already gathering. The headteacher had already appeared to have sent staff inside to hunt out whatever had caused the display.

    “Someone has done what!” yelled the headteacher. He continued in a lower tone, speaking loudly to the assembled masses. “Ladies, gentlemen, and students, it would seem that someone has stolen something from the grave of our school’s founder. Until it is returned, whatever it may be, this display will continue.”

    The last thing Pharion wanted was to admit what he’d just done, so he stayed silent and attempted to fade into the crowd.

    Then another burst of magic, and a small light appeared over Pharion’s head. He tried to move, but the light followed him.

    The teachers noticed, and three congregated around him. “Anything you want to return?” one asked.

    Pharion gulped, and took the stolen want out of its hiding place.

    He was escorted back down to the cellars and instructed to replace the wand. He did, and was then escorted to the headteacher’s office. There he waited.

    When everything had settled back down, the headteacher returned. Pharion was given detention for the rest of term, and then sent home in disgrace.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. AC Young prompted…

    Yesterday the fuel pumps on Landing Pad 3 developed a fault. Apparently the engineers wouldn’t be able to fix it for at least a month.

    [kind of short, but…]

    That morning, Waincar sighed as he read the log before taking over at Lunach Base central control. As the head of operations, normally he didn’t have much to do except make sure everyone was doing their jobs. But this!

    Yesterday the fuel pumps on Landing Pad 3 developed a fault. Apparently the engineers wouldn’t be able to fix it for at least a month.

    Normally, having a single landing pad out of operation wouldn’t be a big problem. After all, they had 10 landing pads. But number 3? That was the favorite one for the Star Force cruisers, and they had one there right now.

    So, what to do? He told the flight controllers to handle the routine flights while he figured out how to handle the situation on Landing Pad 3. He needed to refuel the cruiser that was there, and move it to a launch pad. But refueling without fuel pumps?

    Wait, wait. The summer interns were on base, and… yes! He remembered his old jalopy, and some times when he needed to get gas in it. So he sent out a call for any available interns, and had the mechanics start filling the old fuel cans with fuel. It was tedious work, using pipes to siphon fuel into the cans, but it could be done, if slowly. Then he had the interns set up a bucket brigade and move the cans to the cruiser. Where one of the mechanics siphoned the fuel into the cruiser.

    It went slowly, very slowly, but it did work.

    Meanwhile, he had one of the landing tractors move over and stand by, ready to pull the cruiser to a launch pad when they finished fueling it.

    He wrote the whole thing up in the log, and tagged it as something to add to their emergency procedures and drills. One part he worried about was the increased chance of spills and fires that moving the fuel around this way added. Still, they already had training in handling that. Oh, and he decided to give the interns a commendation for pitching in and helping. It was hot, sweaty work, but the Star Force captain had already called and thanked him for getting them refueled despite the mechanical failure.

    Just another day on Lunach Base. He smiled at the golden banner hanging over the operations center. The slogan read, “We keep them flying!” And that’s what he did. He loved it!

    [there we go…]

    Liked by 2 people

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