February, 2012 Archives


The Fine Print

by thegooddoctor in 100 Words

As soon as the door opened, Jackson sprinted from the school bus. He could see the parcel sticking out of the mailbox from a hundred yards away. It had finally arrived.

Jackson ripped open the package. There it was. His brand new death ray. It looked just like in the magazine.

He suspiciously eyed the warranty at the bottom. He could barely read the fine print, but he would have bet his life it said something about his soul being forfeit to the devil in event of actual use.

Whatever. He had a death ray. Now, where was Chris Jenkins?

The Daily Theme from Figment for February 13, 2012

A character receives a parcel in the mail–something he or she was expecting. However, when this person opens the package, in addition to the anticipated item, there is something else. Something very surprising.


The Dead Chill

by thegooddoctor in 100 Words

There I am on the down side of dusk. I stand stock still as the men drag her to the van. She used to be worth a look or two but now she is dead. Dead to me at least. Dead in the sense that I can’t see her no more. Dead.

The sun is dead too and the chill is in me. I slink my way back to the house. They mean to ask more of me, but I am spent. What can I tell them this time I had not said times past?

I found her that way.

The Daily Theme from Figment for Feb. 9, 2012

This is a prompt I love to use when I first meet a new class. I tell them to take out their pens and write me a piece–the theme is up to them. It need not be long. But it needs to be a real scene. And the sole rule that frames what they write is this: You may not use a word with more than one syllable. It sounds hard, but “syllable” is the lone word used here that has more than one.


Stage Fright

by thegooddoctor in 100 Words

Peter replayed the conversation in his head endlessly. He had been such a fool. Every moment of his life the past 20 years, he prayed to have that moment back, and every moment for the rest of his natural life he would do the same. But nothing, no amount of pleading, no arguments, no appeals to the law or common sense, could ever get that moment back.

It had been such a simple question, and Peter had totally fucked it up.

“If you were innocent like you say, why’d you plead guilty?”

“I just don’t know, Bob, I just don’t know.”

The Daily Theme from Figment for February 7, 2012

On occasion, we all accidentally say something stupid/awkward/insulting enough that we replay the offending conversation in our heads again and again, agonizing over our own doltishness. Write about a character who is currently being plagued by the recurring embarrassment of such an incident.


The Institution

by thegooddoctor in 100 Words

The Institution stood at the top of the hill, perched over the city like a carrion bird. The city sagged below the Institution like heat-festered roadkill. The relationship between the two was a symbiotic one.

Ralph trudged to the Institution hauling the gold and the letters and the scented cadavers. He placed the annual tribute inside the entry and awaited instructions.

The door to his right was slightly ajar so Ralph went to have a look. It was a musty, little-used coat room.

“You’re not allowed in there.”

Ralph shrugged his shoulders and plodded back down to the city.

The Daily Theme from Figment for February 6, 2012

Set a scene inside an institution of some kind (a school, a hospital, a bank). Now take us to a room that only a few people normally have access to (a janitorial closet, the morgue, an executive suite). What happens when someone gets in who shouldn’t be there?


Dinner At The Cheney’s

by thegooddoctor in 100 Words

Mary sat her parents down at the sofa, grabbing nervously at her collar. She wished she could hide her eyes under the brim of her Rockies cap, but her mom always insisted she take it off while inside. Sigh.

Mary could tell by the scowl on her father’s face, the one he normally saved for his public appearances, that he knew what she was about to say.

“Mom, Dad…I’m gay.”

Both parents breathed a huge sigh of relief. Her mother even laughed a little.

“What’s funny about that?”

“We thought you were going to say you were a Democrat.”

The Daily Theme from Figment for February 3, 2012

Invent a secret for a character. Instead of deep and dark, make it pleasant and pleasurable, but a secret nonetheless. Now narrate a scene where your character is forced to reveal this hidden tidbit.



by thegooddoctor in 100 Words

“It’ll be easier if we just throw it away and start over.”

“Let’s not be too hasty. I think we can manage.”

“Fine. Then you do it.”

“Don’t get mad. I’m just trying to help.”

“You’re not trying to help. You have to control everything I do. I’m sick of it.”

“Look who’s talking. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t even be in this situation in the first place.”

“That’s not fair. You were happy too. You just don’t like the way I’m handling it.”

“Everything would have been fine if we’d just hired the obstetrician like I wanted.”

The Daily Theme from Figment for February 1, 2012

Write an active scene entirely in dialogue. No quotation marks; no he said-she said; no description of action—just the words the characters say. Don’t explicitly tell us what the activity is, but through your characters’ dialogue, make it clear what they’re doing.


Waste Land

by thegooddoctor in 100 Words

I search their faces, looking for some flicker of life, but they are deadened beyond comprehension. They cycle past silently, scared to look me in the eye.

The ground is littered with ruined debris from the last few hours of their lives. Discarded food and spilled beverages mixed with cataclysmic cadavers that were once tortured dialogue and national monuments. I know it doesn’t make much sense, but nothing much does anymore. I laugh when I realize the poor victims actually paid for the privilege.

“What happened, Detective? It’s like a war zone.”

“They just finished watching a Roland Emmerich movie.”

The Daily Theme From Figment for Jan. 24, 2012

Set your scene in a place where something significant has just occurred, leaving physical reminders in its wake. Your narrator wasn’t a part of that something and must use the remaining artifacts to determine what has happened.