Writing Excuses 10.2

[Estimated reading time: 3 minutes]

Last week I wrote about Writing Excuses, a fiction-writing podcast.

This week I am continuing with the writing exercises:

Using last week’s five story ideas (or five new ones):
Take two of them and combine them into one story.
Take one and change the genre underneath it.
Take one and change the ages and genders of everybody you had in mind for it
Take the last one and have a character make the opposite choice.

Writing after the fold.

Again, in no particular order.


MC is an old widower and decides to go on a second hajj. During his first hajj, as a young man, the MC traveled (our world locations) from Japan to West coast of Africa, mostly over land and mostly on foot. On the journey he met his wife, who passed away a few years ago. Now he wants to take a similar hajj. He will buy a plant from the same area as the plant from half a century back, and will begin his quest, not knowing that the plant he takes now is one of the descendants from his original plant.


The MC is an officer with a strange case of split personality. The MC is named Tom, and he has a partner called Avery. The partner is a personality that Tom carries with him, and they communicate mostly during dreams, though every once in awhile Avery will make himself appear to Tom (others can’t see Avery, of course), and they can talk, but this is usually disruptive. The two work during dreams, going over evidence, putting together theories, etc. Tom starts seeing a woman, and shortly after that Avery stops showing up in dreams. But he does show up in the real world, and is usually watching Tom and his date interact. Whenever Tom tries to confront Avery, Avery disappears. This is starting to impact Tom’s work, so he schedules an appointment with a “personality shrink” who deals with such cases. Tom shows up at a downtown address for his appointment, only to see a woman fall to her death off the building he’s going into. The “personality shrink” just killed herself, and it is the same woman he was seeing.


A peaceful village on the shore of an ocean experiences a red tide, which kills much of the marine life, ruining the village’s fishing, as well as any swimmers who go into the water, by paralyzing its victims and causing them to drown. Some of the village elders recall a similar event from a long time ago, a time of much strife. At around the same time, a traveler arrives in the village in a small boat. The villagers attribute the red tide to the newcomer and decide to sacrifice him. A boat with the traveler and his executioners sails out into a particularly red patch of water and the newcomer is tossed over. He flounders a bit, paralysis slowly hits, and he sinks. That night, the traveler walks out of the water on the shore, heads to his boat in preparation to leave the village, but finds a group of teenagers in the ship, tripping balls on small amounts of the red tide.


A large continent is surrounded by a larger ocean, one that no one has been able to traverse - all who tried to sail too far beyond the horizon have disappeared, never returned. The people of the continent have a gift: they are able to sense people that they are emotionally close to. They can sense a person’s general location, sometimes their mood, if it is strong enough. (Murder is a rare occurrence because of this.) Every village, big or small, has watchers, people who are the strongest sensors, who keep an eye on the town, watch for people who need help. A telepathic police force, one might say. They are the Sensors. The MC is a teenager, and she has a disability that she’s not very sensitive: she can’t sense others well, and people need to be physically close to her to sense her. One day her parents have a fight and she runs away from home. As she’s traveling along the road from her village to the capital, she is attacked and knocked out. No Sensor came to her rescue, for she has always been difficult to track. When she comes to, the MC finds herself on a rocking boat. She walks up top and sees that she’s on a large ship that’s sailing away from the continent where she was born. They are sailing to the end of the world, and she is one piece of a complex plan. Her parents follow, as they were finally able to sense her, marginally, when the ship began to sail its way out from the city, through an inlet, and toward the ocean.


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