Writing prompt #7

Use the following words in your story:
Kittens, a half-eaten pizza, telepathy, magic, a radio call-in show, salt crackers, a sixpack of beer, existential angst

What a great party that was, yesterday. I met so many strange and interesting characters!

Man, there was that one guy, who believed in magic. He really tried to use telepathy on my kitten plush toy. He may have had a beer too much. Or ten.

Then there was this woman who works as a moderator at a late night radio call-in show. She constantly has to deal with people with existential angst, weird fetishes, paranoia or a combination of those things. It sounded pretty interesting, but I don’t envy her.

Time for a left-over breakfast. Salt crackers, a half-eaten pizza and a six-pack of beer are a good meal to start the day, right? Nah, not really, but I don’t have anything else in the house.

Writing prompt #6

Imagine you are someone’s shadow for a day.

A friend of mine told me, that her boyfriend was acting weird, lately. She asked me to keep him under surveillance for today.
Great, no I have to follow him without being seen. Why didn‘t I talk her out of this idea? Her boyfriend is a good guy, I‘m sure he isn‘t up to something bad.
This whole situation is ridiculous.
He seems to have arrived at his destination. A jewelry store. Huh. He is examining expensive looking rings.

Shit, he is coming out of the store! I‘ll just turn away, look at the exhibits in the window and hope he doesn‘t recognize me.
Phew, it worked somehow. That was close.
Where is he heading now? Seems to be the same route he took here. Is he just going home?

Oh god. He is just going to propose to her, isn‘t he? He told me a few months ago that he plans to do that soonish.
Well, fuck. What to I tell her? I can‘t spoil the surprise!
I should have just talked her out of that stupid idea.

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I’m not really happy with the ending and a few other bits. It’s still far better than what I wrote for prompt #5, which I’m probably not going to upload.

Writing Prompt #4

What would you do now if you wouldn’t have to attend this class?

There are a lot of possibilities. The weather is nice and my flatmate and I planned to go swimming later in the day. If he is at home right now and doesn’t have to go anywhere in the next hours, we would probably use the next tram to get to Buckau so we could go to Salbker See.

If he wasn’t there, I would perhaps want to play a game on my PC or read a book. However, I didn’t sleep much this night, which means that I would probably idle a bit or do something relaxing, like just listening to music, before deciding to take a nap.

If I felt motivated as I arrived home, I would tackle my to-do list, or at least parts of it.

Links Links Links

Here are some links regarding scientific writing that I stumbled upon last week. I think they might be interesting for you:

[article image: pixabay]

writing prompt #3

A man jumps off the roof of a 40-story building. As he passes the 28th floor he hears the mobile phone ringing in his pocket. He regrets jumping. Why?

“I run faster than sound.
I can survive jumps from any height.
I am the strongest parahuman in this country.
I am a one-man-army.
I am Iron Fist.
I am here to protect this city.
I will bring The World Eater to justice!”,

he mutters to himself while jumping down a 40-story building to catch up with the villain. His mobile phone rings. A few seconds later he lands on the ground.

“…
I forgot to leave my phone at home.
I smashed it during the impact, didn’t I?
… I am SO stupid.”

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Writing something for this assignment gave me some trouble. At first I was thinking about dark scenarios. Maybe the man had lost everything or someone important died? Maybe he was just depressed and the call reminded him of the child he will leave behind? I couldn’t think of a justification for his regret that I liked under the assumption that he just heard the ringtone and never talked with anybody.

Having him talk with someone was not on the table either. A building with forty stories is quite tall, but I was pretty sure that he would not need much time to arrive at the ground. (I calculated it at home with four meters for each floor, 160m in total. If I didn’t do anything wrong, he would have about six seconds of flight time. A little bit less, even.)

So maybe he wasn’t trying to kill himself? Maybe he was a basejumper or something? From this thought I got the idea of a superhero. I am still not satisfied with the reason of his regret, but I liked this version way more than anything else that came to my mind before, so I went along with it.

Writing prompt #2

“What was the research question of you bachelor’s thesis? How did the procedure look like? What were the results?”

I have to admit I did not remember what the research question of my bachelor’s thesis was. That’s why I started this assignment with writing about the procedure. I then thought about our results which helped my with the topic of the research question.

The Procedure:

The procedure was the lean start-up method proposed by Steve Blank. I already described it the short version of my bachelor’s thesis.

In short, we treated every thought and every idea we had about our start-up as hypotheses which we had to evaluate.

The Research Question:

I’am not really sure, if a question was ever formulated or just implied, but I think it was basically the following:
“Is our start-up idea feasible? Could it sustain itself after a certain initial investment?”

Those questions were accompanied by smaller ones like:
“How long does it take to return the investment to the investor?”
“How long will it take until black numbers are written?”

The Results:

As a result of our work we came to the conclusion that yes, our start-up would sustain itself after a certain investment (about 400.000$, I believe).

However, this conclusion is based on a lot of assumptions, which we could proof neither true nor wrong as of yet. For example, we cannot say for sure, how many people would use our application.

 

Writing prompt #1

“You are a travel agent of an intergalactic travel agency. A newly wed couple wants to got to Earth for their honeymoon. You try to talk them out of it.”

You want to go to Earth? I should tell you a bit about this planet, then.

The dominant species is not really far developed. They didn’t even start colonising other planets. That’s why the intergalactic alliance hasn’t contacted them, yet. This means, that getting there is rather difficult and accordingly expensive.

Furthermore, the locals are rather xenophobic and barbaric. It is quite possible that they would kill you or perform experiments on you. I can’t even promise you, that those experiments are performed on your dead bodies. Maybe they would even start a war about you.

In addition you can’t expect any luxury there. We don’t possess any outposts in that area of the galaxy and the living standards of the locals are horrific! They don’t even have teleporters so you had to walk everywhere or take one of their so-called “cars” or “planes”, which are crashing all of the time. Those things can even explode!

All in all I cannot let you go there with a good conscience. How about something in Andromeda? They have lovely nebulas and really friendly locals. They may look a bit odd though.

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I have to admit I took a few minutes to correct some errors and changed the phrasing in a few spots to make the sentences fit better together and improve the flow a littly bit. I hope that is okay. 🙂

 

Writing prompt #1

You are a travel agent in in intergalactic travel agency. A newlywed couple wants to go to Earth for their honeymoon. You try to talk them out of it. (writing time: 10min)

To Earth? Really? But why? Why don’t you pick a more romantic location? Like Saturn … it has a ring on it, if you catch my drift. Or Venus. The planet of love. Wink-wink nudge-nudge. No? But earth! OK, let me tell you something about Earth: The weather is unstable, unreliable, chaotic! Imagine you and your beautiful bride lie on a beach and suddenly you get run over by a tsunami, a monster wave. You wouldn’t want that, would you? And they only have 24 hour days. You will have no time seeing anything because it’s always dark. Would you enjoy that?

And let me tell you, those aliens that inhibit Earth, those humans – no no no! You wouldn’t want to spend your honeymoon with them. They are loud, dirty, nose, obnoxious, they are contagious and will contaminate you with germs and bacteria of all kinds. That could really make you sick. They are not even able to make a proper Pan Galactic Gargleblaster. Romulan Ale? Forget it! Klingon Blood Wine? Not a chance!

Oh and they even don’t have interstellar space stations for space tourists. Do you know how hard it is to get to Earth in the first place? You have no idea! What are you saying? You want to go on an adventure? Let me tell you, getting married should be enough of an adventure for you.

[writing prompt idea: reddit]

[article image credits: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/Satellites_For_Sale_-_GPN-2000-001036.jpg]

Recap session 1 – the kick-off meeting

Yesterday we had our first session of the writer’s workshop. It was great seeing you all and we are really looking forward to work with you during the semester.

So here is a short recap of yesterday’s class:

We gave you a short introduction on the mechanics of the course and talked about what you can expect from attending. Our slides with all the information can be found here.

We introduced you to this blog which will be our central workplace for the seminar. We are really curious what you are going to post, comment and share here. I also wrote a little about the blog and its purpose in my welcome post.

The take home messages from our postcard game have been the following:

  1. If you write something you paint a picture in the head of your readers. This picture might look very different than you had intended. It’s important to pick the main aspects of the subject you are talking or writing about. Less important things could should be left out for the sake of clarity and focus.
  2. If you tell too many details about one aspect, maybe just because you know so much about it and want to tell the world, you put this very aspect in the focus of attention. Our brains are wired like that – lots of details and information = this thing is super important. Balance between details and the big picture is very important. We will talk about how we can achieve this balance.

Is there anything missing? Did you take something else away from our first session? Do you have any questions? Let us know and comment below!

But wait, there is more! The …

Homework

  1. Write a very short version (max. 2 pages or 600-800 words ) of your Bachelor’s thesis (including headings).
  2. Write a text about the writing process of your bachelor’s thesis. What did you like about it? What where the difficulties? Are you satisfied with the result? Why or why not?

The deadline for the submission of your homework is Thursday April 14 2016.

See you next week and keep on writing!