Writing Prompt #8: Cyclone Storms on North Pole of Jupiter!

The image below is a “composite image” collected by Nasa’s Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper, which is part of their Juno mission to Jupiter. There is an interesting article here if you’d like to know more about it.

When I saw this, I immediately thought this storm (or storms?) would make for a nice writing prompt. Cosmic Horror is the first thing that comes to mind for me, but I’m sure there are a lots of other possibilities.*

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

One idea for writing prompts I’ve been seeing a lot of lately (again, on Twitter mainly) is a six-word story prompt or some other number of words. Besides being fairly easy, I find such a prompt serves as a nice vehicle to explore possible story ideas or sketch out a broad theme. If I can’t think of something pithy that encapsulates a story with a beginning and end then perhaps something leading into a theme. This type of prompt could also serve as a entry point into a poem, either using the technique in a similar way as brainstorming for a story or perhaps coming up with a line that inspires a larger poem.

I could see this image-as-a-prompt working in other mediums, such as painting or drawing, music, or even making a quilt … pretty much anything.

Can you think of a six word story using the above image as an inspiration? If so, drop it in the comments.


* I originally saw this on Twitter, courtesy of Science Fiction writer Bert-Oliver Boehmer (@BOliverBoehmer).

Play Misty for Me (1971 Movie) Writing Prompt #7

We watched Play Misty for Me last night, which was a 1971 thriller directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. Jessica Walter also starred and did a good job, I thought, playing the villain.

The book reminds me a bit of Stephen King’s Misery, which came out sixteen years later as well as of course the famous Hitchcock movie Psycho. Also, Misty later came out as a novel in 1982 by Paul J. Gillette.

We both thought the movie was pretty solid and enjoyed it.

After watching the film, I began thinking about using films as writing prompts for short fiction. There are a lot of directions one could go doing this. Here are a few ideas:

  • The film (and Walter of course) did a great job foreshadowing the insanity that would come later in the movie. I wonder how it might be to rewrite things so the villain is justified in feeling how she does and in her actions? Maybe take another character and change their perspective or circumstances so that the reader is encouraged to have a different take on the character than in the film.
  • Write a story along similar lines but with a completely different ending. There are tons of movies and books that are similar to this one; there is always room to take a common theme and make it into a story of your own.
  • Find a scene in the movie and write a totally original story using that scene as your mental springboard.
  • Pair a character and an object that are in the film but have little to do with each other and write a story based on that.
  • Write a similar story to the movie but in a different genre or perhaps mix multiple genres together. I wonder how Play Misty for Me would work as a romantic comedy (remember Serial Mom?) or maybe a steampunk western? How about on a malfunctioning space station under attack by a coalition of aliens and humans?

Finally, a couple of interesting facts from the Wiki page about the film:

  • In Keeping Up Appearances, Rose asks Emmett to “play Misty for me” while being dragged out of the church while under the influence of tranquilizers.
  • In Clint Eastwood’s film Dirty Harry, a cinema marquee that clearly shows the title of Play Misty for Me is visible at the very beginning of the film as Insp. Detective Harry Callahan is on his lunch break prior to the bank robbery which opens the movie.

Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s poem, “When I Start Leaving These By The Tree That Grows In Front of Your House, You Will Wish You Never Met Me” will appear in the horror anthology, Superstition this fall.

Superstition—coming Fall, 2022.

We have cast the stones, made sure the portal horseshoe is nailed with the luck pointing up, mumbled fervent prayers, and made oblations to our gods and patrons of fortune for the success of our upcoming anthology, Superstition. I’m happy to say that our initial rituals have met with success: Don and I have accepted Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s dark poem (or “sonnet spell”), “When I Start Leaving These By The Tree That Grows In Front Of Your House, You Will Wish You Never Met Me.”

I enjoy Juleigh’s longer titles, which she uses for some of her poems. They seem like more than just an introduction but an integrated part of the body of the poem itself. Besides being interesting to me for its own sake, this also allows her to deviate from each line containing ten syllables as she does with this offering.

Juleigh is best known as a poet and her work has appeared in many publications including The Deadlands, Dreams & Nightmares, Eye to the Telescope, Polu Texni, 34 Orchard, Midnight Echo, Noir Nation, and of course The Lost Librarian’s Grave to name just a few. Her latest collection of “sonnet spells” is titled Curses, Black Spells and Hexes and published by Alien Buddha Press.