The ice world was the last place I wanted to go, but I had no choice…
The ice world was the last place I wanted to go, but I had no choice…
Thank you to all of you who participated in our Prompt!
We selected Lily Cushman’s to share:
As I descended the crude man-made trail through the ruined city, pungent scents of smoke and mildew sting my nose. Graffiti filled walls guide me to the once safe haven to find a young soldier, very young, gasping for air on the ground, lying in pooled blood, though whether it was all his own blood I couldn’t tell. The smoke was thicker around here, reminders of the firefight we had interrupted with our medical helicopter mission.
I knelt beside him, QuikClot gauze in my hands and my jump kit heavy on my shoulders, filled with my field gear, IVs, medicines, bandages. Do you know how many pounds medics carry on a battlefield? I don’t know, but it’s a lot. A lot for my skinny person.
The soldier looked at me, fear and hope in his eyes. He didn’t say anything, but I could tell he could see me. That was a good sign. If he started babbling about seeing lights and such I would worry more.
“Hey,” I said as gently as I could. “I’m a medic. I’m here to help you. We are going to help you so you can go home. You read me, buddy?”
He nodded vaguely. I gave him a small smile and then started looking at the damage. There were multiple gunshot wounds, and some lacerations on his hands and face. He was in bad shape, bleeding a lot, and his breathing was ragged. But I had seen worse. I started treating with QuikClot, a gauze that helped stop bleeding quickly, and then bandaged the small cuts on his face. The bullet holes, beyond QuikClot, could not be treated anymore effectively at this point. I started getting a 20 GA needle, an extension set and a saline bag ready so I could start an IV.
“I won’t – die?” He asked quietly.
I looked down into his face, and saw the hope taking over the fear in his eyes. You’re never supposed to lie to a patient or tell them something you don’t already know the answer to. But I had hope. Hope that he would pull through. Not just hope like ‘I hope it won’t rain this weekend.’ A genuine hope, like a ray of light piercing a dark cloud cover. A glimmer of good after so much evil.
“You’re going to be fine.” I said. I squeezed his hand and he squeezed back. “We are going to get you home. Home to your family. I promise.”
Hope filled his whole face, even during the pain.
Hope is a gift, and when you can give it, it gives you a little hope as well. Hope that the darkness you face every day in everything won’t win. Hope that life is worth living, it’s worth pushing through the hellishness to see a hurting person smile, a broken heart be healed, beauty pulled from the ugliness that is rampant around our world.
As I descended the crude man-made trail through the ruined city, pungent scents of smoke and mildew sting my nose. Graffiti filled walls guided me to the once safe haven to find hope. Hope even in the despair.
As I descend a crude manmade trail through the ruins of the city, pungent scents of smoke and mildew sting my nose. Graffiti filled walls guide me to the once safe haven to find…
Hey Pen Friends,
It’s Prompt time again! Finish this prompt in 500 words or less –then send it into the Spinning Pen @ firstname.lastname@example.org. We may select yours to publish on our blog along with our in-house prompt writer, Noah Dingman’s prompt!
Enjoy practicing your craft!
Nova, signing off
“Initially, I was fearful that the motion of life would water-down my passion for writing, but I was, gladly, wrong! Away from the oppressive regime called an institution, I realized that I had the freedom to create in ways that I have never experienced, and Spinning Pen became a platform for my bursts of creativity.
I would read the prompts that are posted and be so excited at the countless possibilities of how stories could continue and end. These prompts took me on terrains and adventures that I only dreamed of. I was reminded that smaller writing projects did not have to compromise on well-constructed dialogues, tension between character relationships; establishing mood and tone; staging movements and setting. I love the process of creating a short story with a powerful punch.”
I haven’t always been a fan of writing prompts. They remind me of school when the teacher gave us “Writing Topics,” thus thwarting my creativity once again. But as I’ve developed my writing technique and matured as a writer, I see their value.
A prompt is a great way to push yourself into doing something that’s not necessarily “your thing.” It’s challenging. And it is in those moments I find inspiration or motivation. When I’ve attempted a prompt that isn’t my genre or has word limits (the flash fictions kill me!) I always come away with some sort of small victory. Whether I’ve completed and submitted something I’m proud of, or only got half way through before realizing this isn’t for me, I’ve still put words to page, I’ve still worked my creative muscles. Almost always I come away with an idea for a WIP or a new project later on. It is these things that I value.
So maybe a prompt isn’t your cup of tea but I encourage you to try. You never know what you might find at the bottom.
Once I was challenged to write a dual POV prompt. What I didn’t know is that it helped me discover how to round out the worlds that I create. I was forced to see everything twice. I noticed—and thus, my characters noticed—more details, creating a more believable space for the reader to inhabit.
The dual P.O.V. prompt could have been my worst nightmare as a writer, or it could be the most fun I’ve ever had with a prompt: Think about exploring your world from two angles: a complete stranger, only just arrived; or as someone who has lived there, breathing the air their entire life. How would you see things?
Perhaps, as a visitor, you would see everything in great detail. Or maybe you would be so overwhelmed that everything was a blur. As a longtime resident, perhaps there are familiar details that you always notice, while other things, like the street you live on, or the color of the sky have faded to the background.
This prompt led to my very first completed manuscript, which I’m about to query. Sometimes, writers just need a bit of a kick start to get going!
Nova, signing off.
Teen Writer, Lily Gooch’s Prompt Reply:
This is my world. It’s beautiful here, but too quiet now. I hate all the stillness. There’s no one to talk to and I think too much. I can’t help but remember why it’s so quiet here. I don’t want to remember how they all died, but I do–silent blood paints the walls of the palace.
I’d give anything to live somewhere that wasn’t so sad. Words can’t express how much. Somewhere where noise would distract my mind. Where I could drown the memories in music. Somewhere where I could finally get peace.
This is my world. Prince Ferris sighed, gazed out the stained glass windows of the school spire, and wished for the umpteenth time that he was the one out on the spines of the Rhadrize instead of here memorizing history and lists of policy. It wasn’t fair that she, (in his better moments he referred to her as Kat—but today, stuck inside when the spring sun beckoned—was not one of his better moments) Master Philomius lectured on. Sneezing briefly ever so often when dust from the tomes and scrolls wafted up into his beak of a proboscis.
Ferris let his thoughts wonder. Up the twisting winding paths, past fern growth and pines out into the thin, clear air of the top of the spine. From the window the mountains were a range of blue and purple hues. Up close they pulsed in a variety of grey, greens, browns, almost every shade imaginable.
And he was stuck in here. He bet he could find what she was looking for. In fact, what if they traded places. She could study boring politics and he could go hunt for that treasure. She would be the one to rule Mid’Arch anyway.
“Prince Ferris. PRINCE Ferris!” Master Philomius’ voice was considerably louder the second time and it jerked Ferris back into the library.
This is my world, and I must save it. I awoke this morning knowing I must meet her, as the Seer predicted. But I fought my future. I helped mother prepare bread for supper. I helped Alana with her washing, ignoring the other boys who laughed at me for doing a womanly task. I wandered, not knowing where I went but knowing I didn’t want to end up here, at the Grand Falls.
“What are you looking at?” I say to her, not knowing or caring if she’d understand.
“You’re eyes,” she says, not the least bit afraid, “they’re red.”
This is my world…I thought as I grinned up at the wisps of clouds, lit up by the moons. The iridescent glow gleamed green as I raced across the still wet grass and under the low hanging branches, only skidding to a stop at the edge of the river. Pebbles scattered like diamonds at my feet and tinkled into the glassy water.
I glanced back behind me with a mischievous grin.
My hands broke into the surface of the water until I held a firm grip on a vine of kelp. With a whoop, I threw myself into the river and let the current carry me speeding forward toward the edge.
This was always my favorite part, the feeling of being swallowed by nothingness, the freedom of flying through the air. I tipped over the brink of the waterfall and plunged into the empty abandon of space.
Here the rules of gravity were broken, for only the water would spin back and travel against the underside of the earth. Everything else: fallen leaves, loose pebbles, and perhaps a wayward wild child like me, dropped into the darkness. Most were never seen again.
But, just as the gust of cold air gripped at my lungs, its frozen fingers trying to claim me, the rope of river kelp bounced me back to reality.
I shook the spray of water from my face as I settled back onto the riverbank and held the rope out to him.
“It’s your turn.”
First choose the world from one of these two pictures, then write 250 words from these two POVs below:
POV 1: “It was nothing like my world…” (*You are a visitor to this world. Everything is new. Show us what you see, hear, taste, touch, feel, how it contrasts with your world, who you meet, etc…)
POV 2: “This is my world…” (*You grew up in this world. You are very familiar with its geography, culture. You know what kids do growing up, what dangers lurk, what sounds there are, etc. Show us your world.)
Send your prompts to email@example.com — we want to read and post them!
The mountains were green, thick, and peaceful. It was hard to believe that danger was not far from us. I dipped my hand into the water-blue, clear, and icy-cold. The water had kept us alive; it brought our supplies, and it would carry us toward our mission tonight.
The very element that offered protection ushered us into unknown territories. I want to scream, kick, and rebel against the command that we need to not only accomplish this task but succeed. Continue reading
Finally, my whole being seemed to say, I have found it. Brilliant red, unfolding triumphant, it bloomed only inches away.
I knew the consequences– all would be grave and gorgeous and irrevocable– but I was compelled. All the distance I had crossed and now to have my hand hovering breaths away from it…
Eyes tied to the rose, I could not stop. My fingers tingled as they reached out for the bold petals…
What happens next?
Finish this prompt in 500 words or less and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org – selected prompts will be featured on our blog.
Good luck writers!