Last Saturday, I attended the JDRF walk to raise money to cure type 1 diabetes at the Mall of America. The very next day, the news was relentless in its reports that Al-Shabab threatened the Mall of America by name. I have to admit to feeling a little stressed by that news, but I know that the MOA is a great target for anyone who wants to hurt a lot of people. I’ve understood that since the mall opened. That knowledge doesn’t particularly change my behavior, but it does make me consider what fear does, how insidious it is, how keeping it front and center can manipulate an entire population.
What’s effective for terrorists is also effective for writers, artists, politicians, priests, and parents. Fear drives us, keeps us awake at night, makes us organize our finances and buy home alarm systems. It makes us spend money on stuff that we probably don’t need. It puts stories in our heads that won’t go away.
It’s a damn powerful thing.
So, what better writing prompts than things that call up fear? Have at it:
1. All electronic communication shuts down and you don’t know why.
2. You wake up one morning to absolute silence.
3. You lose your job on the same day the rent is due and you’re out of all groceries except a bag of chips.
4. You lose your voice.
5. Someone is telling lies about you and others believe them; you can’t get it to stop.
If the above prompts aren’t enough for you, consider joining the Fiction 4 a Day Facebook group, which is running a 24-hour short fiction contest Saturday, February 28 (tomorrow!). If you have a Facebook account, look for the Fiction 4 a Day group. You have to ask to join the group in order to participate.
The group runs special events about once a month. It’s a great group of writers.