Thursday, August 31, 2023

Good Intentions with Dystopian Consequences

A good intention is an idea or plan of something you are going to do for the good of someone or something. For today’s writing prompt we will create a dystopian backdrop with a plan intended to force ideals on others. Consider the old proverb, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions." For this prompt, that’s where the world is headed because of actions of some who think they are doing something to benefit the Earth or mankind.

Orwellian city

It’s easy to find fodder for the imagination in today’s news with talk of WWIII, the use of directed energy weapons, continued experiments with weaponized viruses, mega drought, cloud seeding, reducing the population, and the killing of animals to reduce the carbon footprint. Or how about derailed trains spilling toxins into waterways used to supply drinking water to millions? While it may seem impossible someone would derail trains to poison drinking water, it does make a good premise for a dystopian novel. For ideas, look up conspiracy theories attached to any of these topics and you’ll have a blueprint for your dystopian setting

15 minute city

Today’s Writing Prompt: Orwellian 15 minute city

The 15-minute city is an urban planning concept that promotes sustainable and healthy living. All daily necessities and services can be reached through a 15-minute walk or bike ride from any point in the city. No need for cars. For this writing prompt laws are put into place to outlaw cars within the city. And if a resident travels more than 15 minutes they have social credits deducted. They start to feel like rats in a trap looking for a way of escape. The consequences get tougher for multiple infractions. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

Create a character with a reputation. He moves into the city with high expectations, but things change. And remember, one element of writing science fiction is the science needed to make the story work. It may cause the problem or it may be the solution to the problem. In many cases it is both. Either way, it is what makes Sci-fi, "Science" fiction.


Friday, March 17, 2023

Pattern prompt for creating a superhero

Elements of making your own superhero can be boiled down to a pattern. The fun thing about this pattern for creating a superhero is that it leaves room for originality and unpredictability. To help you see what I mean, think of s film or book in which a superhero was born. For this post, let’s use Spiderman (a.k.a. Peter Parker) as an example.

Creating a superhero


The story opens on a “normal” day in the life of student/jr. reporter Peter Parker, but then he is bitten by a radioactive spider. But those three elements are not the spark that creates Spiderman. It’s tragedy. He loses his Uncle Ben. In the original Marvel Comic version, Ben was killed by a villain known as The Burglar. This part of the story has transformed and been reimagined in a multiplicity of Spiderman renderings, but each version holds one thing in common. Peter feels guilty and responsible. It motivates him to help others and to try to do the right thing.

4 Point pattern for creating a superhero

  •  Normal day/Ordinary character
  • An event
  • Tragic backstory that sparks the birth
  • Stand for something


creating your own superhero

Now that you see this four-point pattern, think of other superheroes. Superman: Normal Kryptonian baby boy (Krypton has a red sun). His parents love him but his planet is doomed. The “event” -- they send him to Earth and the planet Krypton explodes. Later details suggested that under Earth’s yellow sun his Kryptonian cells absorb solar energy giving him superhuman powers. But such details were not in the original 1939 Superman #1. In fact, details were scant. Clark was initially turned over to an “orphan asylum” and adopted. His super-human strength is revealed, but all these details have many versions. The same hold true for his tragic backstory which most often is tied to the death of his earthly parent(s). What did he stand for? That too, has evolved. The current motto is “truth, justice, and a better tomorrow.”


In the "normal" aspect of life, we introduce the character and develop them enough for readers to get to know them. We see them bullied, lonely, hurt, emotionally struggling, etc. This aspect should be something readers can relate to. It makes the story hit closer to home.

The "event" changes some aspect of that normal life, and "backstory" works as a springboard that ushers in a superpower of some sort. How it is used will depend on the superhero’s ethics. Like Superman had a rule to never use his power to kill. Spiderman had the same rule when taking down his enemies until another personal tragedy hit him. But that is another story which shows that there is room in this pattern for characters to evolve and keep things unpredictable.


making your own superhero

Today’s writing prompt:

Use the four-point Superhero pattern to create a superhero and then write a scene to introduce them.


  1. Show a normal day/ordinary character. This will give an idea to what they do, who they know, and their relationships.
  2. An event (self-explanatory). This may be something big, like some type of trauma that makes them lose their memory and wake up as “someone else.” Or, like Spiderman, it can be something almost imperceptible like a spider bite.
  3. Tragic backstory that sparks the birth (motivation) to use their newly acquired power. Often this has to do with loss of family but it’s up to you. It’s your superhero.
  4. Stand for something. (What makes them a hero?)


Have fun and happy writing.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Impact Of Memoirs

To all my pymwritingprompts readers, today we have a guest post by author Lillian Brummet. She discusses a topic close to the hearts of many. And for those of you here for a prompt, today's prompt follows the article.


The Impact of Memoirs

Five years after the passing of my father-in law (Frank Brummet) I finally felt strong enough, emotionally, to begin the long process of going through his lifetime collection of poetry, short stories and memoirs. Before he passed, he gave us the rights to his work in hopes that one day we would publish it. Dad had impacted a lot of people in his retired years, as a member of several writing groups that met online
and in person, as a member of nonprofit organizations and seniors
groups and a senior’s choir... and through Toastmasters as well. It was
his desire to leave something behind for those that remembered him
and his live readings of his work at open mic and Toastmaster events.


So there I was in October 2021, digging through boxes and binders of
paperwork, a few self-printed booklets and very old computer files to
find every single piece that Dad wrote. Completing the first draft
manuscript containing more than 235 poems, was time consuming;
aching hands craved warm water on a regular basis. It was an
emotional journey and repetitive - as I was finding many versions as I
went through the piles of paperwork. I didn't want to miss one word, one nuance.

Upon completion of the poetry book, I then started on the second of
what we hoped would be a trilogy of his work. This one contains both
non-fiction and fiction stories in one section, while the other section
contains family and personal memoirs. I can't possibly tell you in mere words the impact this project has had on me. Learning the story of
Dave's grandmother who was put into service when she was just 12-
years-old - a common practice among the lower classes at the time.

She witnessed the Great War, murders, suicides and the Depression.
Her early experiences of rural village life and her happiness there, her
struggles with her mother who wasn't very nurturing, followed by her sole journey across the ocean to become an immigrant in a strange
country. She traveled from Romania to Canada by wagon, train, boat
and then train again - to marry a man she had never met. This was
Dave's grandfather, who was twice widowed with several children
when she met him. She told her story from the view of an older
widowed woman, looking back on her life feeling depressed and
saddened by all she had experienced. Then Dad tells his story starting
at birth in a neighbor's kitchen in a tiny village in Alberta (Canada) to moving to the Okanagan Valley in BC (Canada) where his father worked as a blacksmith and where Dad enjoyed the simple life of being a boy.

My husband, Dave, grew up in the same area as Dad; this is also
where I met Dave 3 decades ago, in fact Dave's mother once lived in the same apartment building I was in when Dave and I met. How amazing is that? As you can imagine, I was deeply impacted by the history of familiar places.

I felt as if I really came to understand Dad in a way I never had
before. He was kind-of grumpy and had a love for complaining and a
lifetime of habitual TV watching... There were times his desire to be
argumentative was obvious. But there was this other side to him too -
he loved photography, he studied writing and attended groups relating
to these activities. He had compassion for those going through tough
times and innocent animals too. At the funeral, we heard stories of his
charm, his tenor voice and his humor; sides of him we rarely saw or
didn't see at all.

His writing showed all of this and so much more. It showed what made
him what he was. It showed a deeper side to him. It opened a past era
up to me in a way that I could not have experienced in another way. I
think it helped me understand my husband too in a deeper way. It was
a powerfully emotional project, I had to take breaks, pause to digest
or recharge.

This affected me on another level too. I lamented once again the loss
of my mother's promise. When she and my step-dad committed
suicide 2 days after Christmas (they were chronically ill) I was
searching for her writings. We all saw her dabble at it; she did promise
that she would leave her writings for us after her passing. I was so
angry when I saw that she had cut it into pieces to use the other blank
side as notepaper. I found just a few sections, notes scribbled on the
other side about her farm chores. What a loss!!! I know she was
embarrassed about her choices, shamed by the damage done to her
kids, but she also knew we loved her and needed to understand about
our past - as we were not allowed to discuss it.

I was asked recently if I had written within the memoir genre and I
suppose I have through poetry, published in the book Towards
Understanding. It tells my story from childhood through to mid-
twenties. I started a little project after mom's funeral that I titled
Cigarettes and Mold, based on the aroma of her belongings. It was too
gut wrenching to continue, but was helpful at the time to purge.
Perhaps one day I'll look at it again or maybe it is time to let that go...
either way what I did write was healing for me.

So please tell your story and perhaps find a way to record the
memories of your grandmother or share stories your mother told you.
You don't have to publish it, but do make it available to future

Lillian and her husband Dave are the team behind Brummet Media
Group, high-fiving cheerfully as they pass each other on the way from
checking off one item or other from their long to-do list. Their business includes Dave’s music studio and percussion repair services, numerous award-winning non-fiction books, a YouTube channel and 2 popular blogs.

Visit the Brummets @:
-&- drop by their Amazon Author page


Today's Writing Challenge: Memoir Writing Prompts

Memoirs are history written by someone with some connection to the  transactions related within the book. In Lillian's case it was her father-in-law. A friend of mine, wrote her mother's story of survival in a WWII concentration camp at the age of 14. Often, people write their own memoirs. We all have family history that provides a trove of unexpected stories waiting to be recorded. Today's writing prompt challenges you to put your creative toe in the memoir pond. Try one of the following prompts. You might be surprised what you learn along the way.

1. Go to, GenealogyBank, or a similar site and look up your family tree. Take notes of stories regarding family members. You might be surprised what you find. If you discover something of interest do some research. 

For instance, I learned that my 6th great grandfather was named Capt. Jacob "Jake" Prickett. He oversaw the building of Prickett's Fort in 1774 which provided early settlers a place of refuge from Native American attacks. It was built at the confluence of Pricketts Creek and the Monongahela River, and was ten miles from three major American Indian trails. The fort, which covers a 110 by 110 foot square, was built by the community militia and was named after its captain. One of the most famous guest to stay at the fort was Daniel Boon. Don't you think that's worth some research? I'm thinking it could be an interesting memoir.

2. Go through old family albums with an elderly family member. As you look through the photos jot down what you learn through oral history. Then do some research.

3. Take an oral history handed down through generations. Write it down. When you are done, talk to others about what you've written and fill in more facts. Remember to include: who, what, where, when, and what.

We learn from our past. It's a crucial part of our identity. So is culture. The way of life. All these cultural memories form a collective memory of interest to those connected in some way, and to those who enjoy history.