Friday Story Prompt – Collecting

butterfly collection

As a child I was always fascinated by collections of butterflies such as the one above – I loved their iridescent, fragile beauty at the same time as I found the idea of killing things for display melancholy and more than a little disturbing.

People collect for lots of reasons. Craft materials for projects that remain unmade. Postcards of places they’ve never been, places that perhaps no longer exist to go to.  Teapots that pour only dust, costumed dolls with their ribboned skirts and clicking eyelids that no child will ever hug.

Of course, not all collections are mournful, or disturbing, or both. That’s just my particular take.  What’s yours?

Have a good weekend…

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Friday Story Prompt – Come buy, come buy

marketI love markets.  I love the abundance, the colour, the possibilities. The chance of finding something new, different, strange – whether it’s a food I’ve never eaten before, an intriguing picture, a wonderfully coloured piece of material or a hat that surely once belonged to someone’s gloriously eccentric auntie.

Yet markets, as Christina Rossetti knew, can be strange, dangerous places.  They are loaded with temptations.  They are full of odd corners, and alleyways, and bargains that might not be what they first appear.

So let your imagine wander through a market, in this world or another, and see what might be for sale…

And have a good weekend, whether you go marketing or not.


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Friday Story Prompt – Festival



It’s a little late for Samhain and a little early for Christmas.  None the less, November is a time of festivals: from the Bahá’í celebration of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, through Hindu Diwali with its many lights, Shinto’s Niinamesei – once a harvest festival, now a celebration of all those who work – to the South American Day of the Dead whose origins go back to pre-Columbian cultures.  Not to mention the purely secular Fifth of November, (the celebration of the conviction of a failed terrorist, or a memorial to a revolutionary – or simply an excuse for fireworks, whichever you prefer).

Each festival has its external aspects, particular decorations, costumes, food, songs – and its internal aspects. Celebration, contemplation, reaffirmation. Many festivals change over the years, morphing in form, and popularity, and meaning.

So let us consider festivals, and the stories from which they came, the stories that happen at them, or the stories of festivals yet to be created…

Have a festive weekend.

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Friday Story Prompt: Strange Medicine


Welcome, oh toiler in the word-mines.

Is there one thing about you – or someone else – you’ve always wanted to change?  Maybe more than one.  Maybe something physical, maybe not.

Imagine there was a pill that would change that thing.

Is it legal?

Is it expensive?

Does it have unexpected side-effects?

And what happens if you take too much?

Have at it, and have a good weekend.

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Meal for One?


Today’s prompt is this picture: Still Life with Cheese by Floris Claesz. van Dijck, (via the Rijkmuseum’s splendid available-to-download collection, here).

The table is laden with fruit, bread, cheese, olives, nuts and wine – or, perhaps, water.

Yet the absent diner dines alone, with their back to the harsh light, staring into a pitch-dark room. Of all the food before them, they have eaten half a carefully-peeled apple, half a walnut, a bite of bread.

Who are they? Why have they eaten so little of the feast? What lies in that darkness?

Have a good weekend.


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Doctor, I’ve got these tentacles…

medicineA hospital. A patient. A disease.

The base material of thousands of stories, from tv dramas to romances to thrillers to sf to horror.

So this week – let’s mix and match.

How about a thriller where the disease everyone’s racing-against-time to cure is not what it seems – maybe it’s not a disease, but a haunting?  How about a clean-cut romance set in an abandoned psychiatric hospital?  What about a TV drama like House or Casualty – but with a patient who happens to be a government agent, or a disease that’s something to do with aliens, or a doctor who gets a little hairy and short tempered come full moon?

Explore some possibilities, maybe confront some fears, and above all, have fun.

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Friday Story Prompt – Mirror, Mirror

Hello fellow labourers in the word-mines.  It’s Friday, and after a somewhat long hiatus (sorry about that) the Plot Medics are back with another prompt!

This time, it’s all about reflection….


Someone – maybe you, maybe someone else – is looking at a reflective surface.  There, they see something different – in themselves, or in the place around them.

Is it something new, or just something that they’ve never noticed before? Is it pleasing, disturbing, puzzling, threatening?

And does it exist on both sides of the mirror?

Get your thinking-muscles around that one, and have a great weekend.


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