Season 6

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Writing Prompt

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week

Take one of the creativity exercises and run with it. Alternatively, use this mash-up: “The Silence of the Mexican Herbie Part 2: The Two Towers.”

The Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1, by George R.R. Martin, narrated by Roy Dotrice

Come up with a character motivation and then an action that character must take which runs counter to that motivation.

Blackout and All Clear, by Connie Willis, narrated by Katherine Kellgren, with Connie Willis reading the introduction. These two books have been nominated for the 2011 Best Novel Hugo.

Come up with a way for Howard to join SFWA. It must involve rappelling.

Cryoburn, by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner. This novel has been nominated for the Best Novel Hugo Award this year.

Give us a story in which writers are using actual fantastic creatures in the process of writing fantasy—ink from unicorn horns, elf-skin parchment, etc.

1421: The Year China Discovered America, by Gavin Menzies, narrated by Simon Vance

Write a query letter based on your current project.

Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences, by Brian Yansky, narrated by Alexander Cendese

A cyberpunk setting in which tattoos are the equivalent of implanted tech … and somebody has hacked your tattoo.

The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson, narrated by Jennifer Wiltsie

Come up with a cyberpunk world using the seed “penguins.”

A Scanner Darkly, by Phillip K. Dick, narrated by Paul Giamatti

Your agent is actually a warlock using magic to make your book sell. Unfortunately, something about your book means this process is going to go horribly, horribly wrong.

Someone has to save the world from an intercontinental ballistic hairball, but their keyboard layout has been changed.

Hard Magic, by Larry Correia, narrated by Bronson Pinchot

Apply the M.I.C.E. quotient to Red Riding Hood, and write at least one page of story per element. Wow, this sounds a lot like homework.

Enchantment, by Orson Scott Card, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki

Go someplace, use all five of your senses and for thirty minutes write about the place you’re in. Not the people though. Just the place.

Shades of Milk and Honey, written and narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

Start with Howard’s concept and write your own story. The complete chapter whose pages we dissected can be found here in RTF format.

The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, narrated by David Colacci

Start with a fax machine, make it a 3d-printer/prototyper, and run from there …

Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson, narrated by Jonathan Davis

Make the reader believe one impossible thing. If you can’t think of something on your own, start with teleportation.

The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss, narrated by Nick Podehl

Take some aspect of your neighborhood and twist it around, perhaps in the same way District 9 twisted the township of Soweto into an alien reservation.

Fangland, by John Marks, narrated by Ellen Archer, Simon Vance, Todd McLaren, and Michael Prichard

Take something that you do, something unique to you (and perhaps to your gender), and hand it to somebody in your book who appears unqualified for that task. Then qualify them for it.

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch, narrated by Michael Page

First person once removed—give us a story from the perspective of a first person narrator who is not the cool person.

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton

Using the Hollywood Formula, come up with a protagonist, an antagonist and a relationship character.

The Dervish House, by Ian McDonald, narrated by Jonathan Davis

Take three of your favorite books and write one of each kind of pitch for each of those books. Now convince a friend of yours to read one of those books using one of those pitches.

The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin, narrated by Don Leslie

Using the first fifteen minutes of your least favorite recent movie as a starting point, write a story with a powerful ending.

Blood of Ambrose, by James Enge, narrated by Jay Snyder

No prompt this week. Not unless you want to try your hand at these headlines.

The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick, narrated by Tom Weiner

Someone wants to go to a writing workshop but gets held up by chicken and waffles.

Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel, Book 1, by Seanan McGuire, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

Jonathan writes one page to a writing prompt every day, pushing himself out of his comfort zone. Today his prompt for you is to write the opening scene of a steampunk version of Alice in Wonderland.

Dead of Night: A Zombie Novel, by Jonathan Maberry, narrated by William Dufris

Give us a story about a character who discovers that there is a pill that will grant the powers of a god.

Mainspring, by Jay Lake, narrated by William Dufris

Create a solid romance in which the characters cannot be together because of good, intelligent, character-driven reasons.

Variant, by Robison Wells, narrated by Michael Goldstrom

Write your way backwards into a puzzle-box mystery. The answer is that someone’s soul is in the box—now reverse-engineer the plot so that the presence of a soul in the box is surprising yet inevitable.

Snuff, by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs

This whole episode is one big writing prompt, and you need one because NaNoWriMo is over, but that’s no excuse to not write. You’re out of excuses, as we’ve told you on more than one occasion. Write!

The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel, by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer

Try to write something that doesn’t fit neatly into the genres you’re familiar with.

Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, narrated by the author along with a full voice cast and with additional cool soundscapes, is one of the Neil Gaiman Presents titles on Audible.

Generate a list of five character pairs. Pick the most interesting of the set, and write about them.

Late Eclipses: an October Daye Novel, by Seanan McGuire, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

Dan needs a hamburger. What’s stopping him? And what is he going to end up with instead of a hamburger? (Hint: it should be more satisfying than the end he had in mind at the beginning …)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. Try it narrated by Stephen Fry, or try out the original radio teleplays!

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