Writing Wednesdays #6: Prompt Exchange

Of course it’d be me who ends up with a romance prompt. Leave it to my writing voldies to drag a kissing story out of me. And then make me end it in a TRAGEDY.

I’m getting way too ahead of myself, though.


This week, I had the writing voldies think up different prompts, which would then be thrown into a hat (or, in my case, a basket), and then they would randomly grab a prompt written by either themselves or by someone else. To keep it interesting (since I have no idea whether their prompts would be vague, obscene, or uninspiring), I added some of my own.

Amusingly enough, a bunch of my own prompts got picked out of the basket, and I was right glad that one of my voldies had to do a poem about cookies. Right. Glad.

Anyway, I ended up with one of my eighth grader’s prompts. And I spent a great deal of time telling her how much I hated her for having me write a bad romance. With a tragic ending.


Write a romance story that ends in a tragic event. What happens to the girl/boy that is left behind? What do they do after the tragedy? Or are they both dead?

Oath and Blood

“Better return that,” the knight warned, her dark eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. “I can see your scrawny shadow from all the way over here.”

The thief chuckled. “I should be flattered to be watched by you of all people.”

The knight grunted. “It’s my job, you cretin. Put it back.”

The “it” in question had been a priceless heirloom handed down from one Mage King to another. Strangely enough, while the artifact itself–a ring of potentially combustive power–had tons of magic, it couldn’t be protected by magic. Which explained why Cala was stuck guarding the Ring while the rest of her mates were at the new queen’s coronation.

How could she even explain what San was thinking?

“I trust none but the Queen’s Champion, Cala, you know that.”

Sure, Cala had seen the logic to that. The problem with guarding the most sought-after relic in the kingdom was that many thieves would test the waters and attempt a theft in the middle of the coronation. Guards would be too focused on the new Queen San, and rightly so.

The Ring was too tempting, though. Not even the most notorious thief could stop himself from its attempted pilfering.

Cala could take on any thief. She knew the one standing before her, much more than she knew the queen. And Cala knew this thief’s weakness.

She knew it because it was her weakness, too. Sort of.

“Come here, you felon,” Cala growled.

Corvin complied, taking the lady kngiht into his arms and placing a gentle kiss on her nose before crushing his lips onto hers.

Breathless didn’t even cut it. She was definitely in trouble.

“I’m sworn by blood oath, love,” Cala said. “You shouldn’t have come.”

“I know,” he whispered. “But it was time. And you were worth it.”

Cala was no delicate flower. Yet she couldn’t stop her tears. She pulled him down again for another kiss. She didn’t want it all to end. It would, though. It had to. She could feel the blood oath tugging at her, compelling her to do what she did not want to do.

“It’s fine. Do it,” he whispered, softly, sadly. “I forgive you. And I–”

The blade went through, silencing Corvin before anything else could be said.

Cala watched her lover slowly fall, and she looked at the Ring. The Mage Ring that needed protecting.

Damn the queenshe thought. Damn her and the bloody throne and the blood oath.

Damn the magic from preventing her to take her own life.

She looked at the ring again and shifted her stance. She could hear another thief coming.

It would be a long night ahead.

On a lighter note, the same eighth grader ended up with my “fairy princess wants to be an astronaut” prompt, and she totally drew the fairy princess character!


I cannot with my writing voldies sometimes.



Writing Wednesdays #5: Continued Narration

This might possibly be one of the latest posts I’ve ever done, but it wouldn’t be a Writing Wednesday if I had it scheduled for the next day. Gods, no. All the same, I did just get back and I wanted to enumerate the lovely things I did with my little voldies.

Today we decided to take a field trip. And when I say field trip, I mean going across the hall to the library. Normally, I host my creative writing workshop at the 7th grade classroom, ’cause working Smartboard and the like. In retrospect, I think this was a better idea, because the minute I walked into the library, I’d gotten half distracted at all the books I could possibly take out (and almost did). Anyway, there really was a purpose to this writing field trip!

I’d decided to be calculating and random. Calculatingly random. So I told the little voldies to pick a book. Any book, really. Then, after picking said book, I told them to pick a number (which I asked them to do after I looked through the pages of their respective book). After they picked their number, I told them to go to that page number and read the first FULL paragraph, then continue the story from there.

fairestThe results were interesting. My scifi writer had immediately picked up a Star Wars book, which he then proceeded to turn into a genocide story (the poor Jedis never saw it coming). One of them turned a stalkery paragraph into a romance, another went all out in the romance, ending it with a damn punny knock-knock joke (which slayed me, by the way). My favorite–weirdly (or maybe appropriately enough)–was the one writing voldie who chose Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and chose to rewrite the ship in the book to Harry/Hermione (which tickled me black and blue, considering we had a conversation where I told her *I* ship Harry/Hermione XD). The wonders of my writing voldies never cease to amaze me.

For my part, I grabbed Fairest by Gail Carson Levine. I thought this was a good enough prompt for me, because a) I adored Ella Enchanted, but b) I never actually read Fairest. So I asked my kids to give me a number, and I wound up with the following (completely vague and short) paragraph:

Fairest, page 236 – “I wondered if it was morning.”

This may sound like a strange thing to wonder, but night and day were completely different in a world with two moons and a sun that flickered on or off according to its journey across the sky.

There was a story to that. My aunt Cassandra spoke about how our days were sometimes shorter and longer.

“It’s all about the birds, my dear,” she’d said to me.

Aunt Cass was a fae historian. No, she didn’t study just fae. She is fae. She liked to mention this to us non-magical folk whenever family gatherings happened. But as much of a braggart as Aunt Cass was, I have to admit that her stories were absolutely memorable. She always had one handy for the right occasion. Case in point, she had one that explained the sky.

There were these two birds, see. Well, there was one bird at first. And this one bird gave birth to this other bird. That other bird was called Sola. Translated, that means “sun” for us. So obviously this newly born firebird was emitting flames which pegged him his name. For thousands of years our planet had nothing but daytime, perpetuated by a streaming birdlike sun flying across the horizon.

But like any myth, things eventually change.

We got our moon when the firebird fell in love.

Aunt Cass loves this story because the firebird had fallen in love with someone from her neck of the woods. Like, literally, the forest fae that became the moon was a tree-way away from Aunt Cass’ old abode. Aunt Cass never knew the forest-turned-moon-fae personally, but she liked to brag about the almost famous proximity she had in the matter.

But yeah. We have a local moon goddess. And she had turned the sun around to dance to her tune.


I actually based this off a writing exercise, where I’d talked about my firebird myth story. That exercise was a bit more polished, but then again, that also took me a lot more time to put together. The one above was a workshop result of 40 minutes and several blabbity-blabbing middle schoolers. All the same, I think I’m fleshing things out slowly!

Writing Wednesdays #4: Retellings

On Wednesdays I put my writing cap on. You know, the more age-appropriate one that tries not to curse or come up with morbid ways to end my characters. Nevermind that the eighth graders in my writing workshop are crazier than I am, but you know. Kids. They have the darnedest imaginations.

This week, Jacob Grimm of the Grimm brothers (if he was still alive) would be 231 years old. So I figure, why not base the writing prompt for today on what the Grimms did best? Retell an old story, of course.


I have a pretty awesome group, even if they have dwindled down to a measly four. I mean, make a difference in one person, and that’s kind of the point, right? Anyway, one fifth grader decided on a retelling of the myth surrounding Persephone and Hades, another retold the story of how Captain Hook lost his hand, in the point of view of the crocodile. My eighth graders were especially interested in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the tale of Okiku (the crazy Ringu lady of legends). I swear, the possibilities were endless in this one, and I loved all of their ideas.

Mine, of course, runs towards the fairy tale variety. Because that’s almost half my unfinished fiction right now, lol. That said, the short I wrote was a retelling of my retelling, because I did have a longer version written, but it was erm…not so middle school appropriate?

Retelling: The Tale of Alaeddin

With the first wish, he had claimed her riches.

It had happened gradually enough, a trickle going one day, a trickle the next. Papa had wasted away, not knowing where his vizier had put his finances or whether they were in order. Badra would have stopped the vizier, would have kept Ajuban from going into debt, but Badra was a woman, unfit to take over her nation’s finances.

So they depended on the man with the coin purse, the one they paid off to make the problems go away.

With the second wish, he had claimed her kingdom.

It was too much, and Badra knew things had gotten worse. The kingdom was dying, and her Papa had left her under the auspices of the vizier. In the end, Ajuban’s princess did what she needed to do, what the vizier told her to do, what her people needed her to do. What a princess of Ajuban should do.

She married the man with the coin purse. He reassured her that it was all going to be okay, that Ajuban would be saved. He would be the sultan to do it.

She did not think this was true.

It wasn’t until his third wish that Badra knew she was well and truly lost.

She sat there beside him as he dispensed justice upon Ajuban’s throne. Eyes roving to the audience. Mind lusting over the dancing girl with the swaying hips and the heart of gold.

Once upon a time, Badra had liked the dancing mistress. She was a woman with a strong opinion and a dislike for men who tried to woo every woman.

But now…

Now Alaeddin was sultan of Ajuban.

And with his third wish, he had claimed her people.

Technically, this short is part of a story titled “An Old Lamp for a New,” which I may have shelved because I wasn’t particularly sure where I wanted to go with this. All the same, I thought about the story the other day and just rewrote–in writing workshop–what I had already written a long time ago.

(On a random note: one of my kids tried to banish me from the classroom for making Aladdin evil. She apparently loves the tale of Aladdin. So I laughed. Maniacally.)

Writing Wednesdays #3: Word Maps

So I think my writing voldies were still reeling from last week, because I must have got the “Are we going to be learning more about Taylor Swift this week” question so many times before the session began. One of my fifth graders adored the similes and metaphor song so much he wanted me to play it again. I laughed, then I promptly told him we always do something different, that T-Swizzle was so last week. Although I truly was tempted to write “Red” as this week’s prompt. Just to see what the writing voldies associated with the color. (It’s okay. I went with “Purple” purple instead, ahahaha).

Anyway, this week we worked on word maps and word associations. While my eighth graders certainly had a fantastic grasp of it (I swear, though, both of them immediately went from “Snow” to “Angel tears” to “[insert anime/TV show/geek fandom here]”), my younger writing voldies needed a bit of warmup. In any case, we used the following as a warmup word map:


Meanwhile, my prompt for “Snow” pretty much went along this route:


And when asked to write for a bit, this is what ended up happening:

Word Map: Snow

His pulse raced as he entered the throne room. He’d hoped his heart would stop and calm down, but his eyes grazed the Ivory Throne and he saw her sitting there, resplendent in courtly robes, her face as beautiful as he’d beheld her so many years ago. It was frightening.

She was angry.

He could tell by the way she sat back on her throne, fingers splayed out on the sidearms, tap-tap-tapping in quiet rhythm. Her eyes did not waver, and she watched him perform his slow walk down the room. From afar, people would think she was relaxed and bored on the throne, but he knew better. He knew even sleeping lions knew how to attack.

“You let her go.”

It was a gift of hers, knowing when he was lying. He knew the minute he dropped the knife that he wouldn’t be able to return to the Queen and lie to her.

She knew he’d let Snow go.

He knew she would be furious.

But something had compelled him. Even more so than the Queen’s magic.

And just for fun…I asked my writing voldies to give me a couple words. This is the result of the words “Cas”, “Santa,” and “Angel tears”:


In my defense, I’m still on a Carry On kick. In my other defense, one of my eighth graders may have squeed when she realized my word map went the “guy on guy” route. The other eighth grader started giving me strange looks, but then I told her she couldn’t judge, not when she knows EXACTLY what I talk about half the time.

Writing Wednesdays #2: Similes and Metaphors

Today my writing voldies explored the nuances of similes and metaphors (which, by the way, can be explained simply by this most righteous music video). To further induct them into figurative language, I gave them examples from the mistress of similes and metaphors: my girl Taylor Swift.

You laugh at this. They laughed at this. And then they realized I was giving them a Reese’s piece for every time they listed down a simile or metaphor in T-Swizzle’s song. Oh, they got their super game faces on once “Loving him was like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street” clued them in on the amount of figurative language used in “Red.” Ohhhh yes. TRAPPED. TRAPPED I TELL YA.

Hem hem. Anyway, my prompts for the day:


So. Yeah. I told them to let the simile and metaphor inspire them. One fifth grader wrote two poems. One eighth grader wrote me THREE stories, that overachiever. I’m kind of proud of them.

Also, I think I found my short story idea for a dieselpunk fairy tale retelling. XD

Mysterious as the dark side of the moon.

He wasn’t the typical kind of client that came to her door. Not that many did. It was difficult to find her office in the middle of the city, in a typically residential street, wedged between two seedy buildings that fought each other constantly for attention. Cat and Dog, most people called them.

No one ever named her building. People mostly forgot it existed.

Not this guy, though. This one went straight to the door, buzzed, and asked for her by name. No flinching, no jokes. This guy was strictly business.

“I love my wife,” he’d said. “And she loves me. But she’s been missing for over a week.”

“Sir,” she said, trying to get a word in. “Sir.”

“Last thing she did was go to a bar. Girl’s night out, see. I…I know this king of thing is frowned upon, but I trusted her. She wouldn’t just go missing. Not with anyone she’s met at a bar.”

She sighed. “Sir, I don’t do cases like these.”

“I’m not the only one.” Here he pulled at his briefcase, opened it. “She’s the fifth woman gone from the same area. These are testimonials.”

She looked at him. Stared like an owl contemplating on snatching its prey. “Why me and not the cops then?”

“Because they won’t listen to me. Not when Eric Bluebeard’s involved.”

To be honest, I hadn’t thought of names. One of my eighth graders came up with Eric for me. The Bluebeard is clearly homage and foreshadowing 😉