Scribbler’s Saga #82 – Prompt of the Week

Posted: April 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

© 2019 G.N. Jacobs

Well, the grand scheme to post weekly installments of Batman and Spidey went slightly blooey. The stories are coming out fine, just not on the weekly schedule I promised. But, the dirty dastardly plan in this story, I need something to keep you coming back on a regular schedule so that you’d come for Batman and stay for everything else. So Plan B…

Actually, what comes next is the original Plan A conceived when I thought my versions of Batsie and Spidey would sit still long enough to whisper in my ear on schedule instead of, “hey, dude, can I double up next week, the Joker’s being such a douchebag.” I will post prompts from my story dice (see post) along with 1,000-1,500 words of my efforts to service the prompt of the week.

Okay, the boring rules, to the extent that they’re mostly suggestions.

Just because I’ll post about 1,500 words doesn’t mean you have to write that many or few words. When we get to the part about how I intend to read and interact with your work based on these prompts, you’ll find nothing stopping you from writing more words. Nothing stops you from writing fewer words either.

The dice company says you should roll nine of their dice (see post), but then deeper in the booklet they also throw up their hands and tell you to do whatever you need to do for your own writing and fun. Possibly inspired by a mean Amish joke from a silly bowling movie, I roll twelve reserving the right to drop out the lamest or most inconvenient three dice. So that is what my prompts look like.

We’re allowed to strategically misinterpret the images on the dice. Turning some of the faces upside down radically changes the common interpretation of the image (possibly stolen from the Tarot deck?). And I encourage the man of you who need reading glasses (I’m your huckleberry) to squint, twice if you have to, and still come up with some crazy thing marching to your nutzo drummer beating 5/4.

In the block of writing you choose to share back with this site, you don’t have to use all of the dice. Nothing reads more horribly than a writer forcing all nine or twelve suggested concepts into a 500 word flash fiction. Please write naturally. Besides, I’m a novelist in blogger’s clothing, if I myself use four dice in the text I choose to share I’m ahead of the game.

You don’t have to use any dice in the prompt. If you based on the words on your page can believably assert that you did some kind of Bizzaro-world exact opposite piece, I want to read that. However, if your work reads like random unrelated writing I just won’t link to it.

The prompt itself is public domain. Anyone can buy the dice or app and theoretically roll the same results. Fighting the indefensible is beyond stupid.

The words I create to support the prompt are not public domain. I don’t know when I goof around rolling dice and consulting other sources for ideas if it will expand into something more, though generally it won’t. I nominally assert my copyrights in this case more to prevent wholesale copy and paste plagiarism than to be a douchebag when your work falls into that broad “well, we all sort of write the same stories” category.

My intent is that you create your own works based on the same prompt. If you copy and paste my words as a jumping off point I’ll certainly give you nasty social media side eye, but probably won’t do anything more serious than that. Especially, since it is based on what is supposed to be a throwaway prompt. But, if you go over the line that we all sort of know where it is, your lawyers will meet mine at ten paces briefs at the ready.

In the same vein of intending that you write your own works, I absolutely do not want to find huge blocks of text in the comment windows on Facebook or WordPress to read your work. Using the comments to post your work clogs the reader experience. Post your work to YOUR pages whether Facebook, Medium, Tumbler or your regular blog and then send me links. Use the comments for actual comments or asides, related additional things to say and if you don’t know the difference your mother needs to take away your router.

The other reason for posting what you write on pages you control is that sadly we live in a world where the editor (me in this case) must exercise total control of his/her tastes. I like to think I’ll read and enjoy almost anything, but there are real world limits judged more or less according to Justice Blackman’s adage about pornography – “I know it when I see it.”

Not knowing who my end readership will be in this case, I’m not going to link to work likely to go so far overboard that I piss off too many people to no purpose. I’m okay with R-rated stories linked to behind a Hide the Kids warning. I’m okay with most things, but for the words that read more like you just want to pick a fight I’m not. I’m also not going to fight Facebook or WordPress’ standards and practices largely intended to get to the same place. I have the delete button to assert this right.

It seems to me that posting your work elsewhere and exchanging links instead of text does the necessary Solomon’s Baby balancing act between your Free Expression and this site wanting to help writers everywhere and has to reach out broadly. I have to plan for somebody somewhere getting pissed off and I have to suss out whether I’m dealing with people who just need to manufacture enemies and outrage to garner their own page views or if we did something breaking what seem like minimal editorial standards…now.

Please understand this is in no way a contest. You surfed the net to find a writing prompt that tickled your fancy and you wrote something. Good on you. The prize is the sense of completing a good bit of writing. If you really get loud about thinking this is a contest, I will, purely in the Land of Metaphor, dish out many boots to the head conducted by way of a spell puppet that I couldn’t return because there aren’t any lemon or other consumer protection laws covering imaginary magical items.

So with that when you see this sort of post in future it will just be a prompt…

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