From the monthly archives: October 2012


Researchers in Spain have found that at least some of the individuals claiming to see the so-called aura of people actually have the neuropsychological phenomenon known as “synesthesia” (specifically, “emotional synesthesia”). This might be a scientific explanation of their alleged ability.
In synesthetes, the brain regions responsible for the processing of each type of sensory stimuli are intensely interconnected. Synesthetes can see or taste a sound, feel a taste, or associate people or letters with a particular color. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story from the POV of someone with synesthesia.

Journaling Prompt: Would you enjoy synesthesia? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Synthesthesia

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the fascination with paranormal phenomena.

Photo Credit: xinem on Flickr

Candy Cane Curve

The scent of peppermint candy canes drifted under her nose. It was everywhere at the North Pole and Araedae was pretty sure the elves used it as cologne. -John H. Carroll, Attack of the Sugar Plum Fairies, A Story for Demented Children

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a poem or haiku about a scent.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite smell? What memories does it evoke?

Art Prompt: Peppermint

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Appeal to your audience’s sense of smell to enhance a personal story.

Photo Credit: TPorter2006 on Flickr

2 Because he won't knock...

…scientists wanted to see whether or not people could be scared to death. They looked for a likely belief, and found it in the Chinese and Japanese idea that the number four is unlucky. Obviously, finding a random sampling of subjects and attempting to scare them to death would be unethical, so the scientists reluctantly turned their attention to existing death certificates. The scientists looked and Japanese and Chinese death certificates, and those of white Americans as the control. They found that while white Americans saw no major peak for cardiac deaths, Japanese and Chinese cardiac deaths peaked on the fourth of the month every months.

Why? The stress and worry of approaching an unlucky day actually caused people to have heart attacks. The fourth of every month acted the same way a Sherlock Holmes murderer did, and so the phenomenon was called The Baskerville Effect. Worry actually can kill. So don’t worry, or you will die. -Esther Inglis-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about someone who is scared to death.

Journaling Prompt: What are you most afraid of? How do you deal with your fear?

Art Prompt: Scared to Death

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the effect of fear, stress, and worry on your life.

Photo Credit: Silentmind8 on Flickr

Welcome to the Carnival of Creativity for October 28, 2012. All links will open in a new tab or window, so feel free to click through and leave some love in the comments. Once you close that window, you’ll be right back here for more linky goodness.

Responses to Writing Reader Prompts

Eula McLeod presents Dichotomy at Dusk posted at View from the Wine Press based on Prompt 457 – Visual Prompt – Moon Over a Country Road.

Writing Quote of the Week

“The next time you feel the urge to create, sit with the feeling. Go to a place of stillness, become completely in touch with your body, bring your consciousness to bear on this urge, and you will feel it in your body: a sensation, perhaps almost imperceptible, that begins in the nest of your pelvis, then rises up, reaching your heart and throat, and bursts into an aching, a longing, a profound need.” – Teri Degler

Writing Tips and Prompts

Gabriela Pereira presents Demystifying Dialogue: Perfect Your Punctuation posted at DIYMFA.

Jami Gold presents Michael Hauge’s Workshop: Combining Emotional Journeys and External Plots posted at Beach Reads with Bite.

Karen Woodward presents Are You Writing The Right Book? 5 Ways To Find Out posted at

Demian Farnworth presents 12 Lessons Learned from 12 Years of Writing posted at CopyBlogger.

PJ Hoover presents Plotting Made Easy – The Complications Worksheet posted at Adventures in YA and Childrens Publishing.


This week’s podcast at Writing Excuses is all about Tie In Fantasy Fiction with James L. Sutter.

The Business of Creativity

Jane Lebak presents How to Begin Querying posted at QueryTracker.

Journal Writing

Amber Lea Starfire presents A Week’s Worth of Journaling Prompts: Judging Others, Judging Ourselves posted at Writing Through Life.

Gretchen Rubin presents Why I started keeping a daily “one-sentence journal” (ok, a not-quite daily journal) posted at The Happiness Project.

That’s all for this week. Be sure to submit your article for next week’s Carnival of Creativity by Friday at midnight!



Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo by hanna_horwarth on Flickr.

Menhirs de Colobrière

It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance. Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a disappearance.

Journaling Prompt: If you were going to disappear, where and when would you want to go?

Art Prompt: Disappearance

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about a famous disappearance.

Photo Credit: Tets07 on Flickr

Hand Of Justice Vector Art

clemency: 1. The gentle or kind exercise of power; leniency, mercy; compassion in judging or punishing.
2. (now rare) Mildness of weather.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in a poem, haiku, story, or scene.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when someone showed you clemency.

Art Prompt: Clemency

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the exercise of clemency in our society today.

Photo Credit: Vectorportal on Flickr

 Agents pour liquor into sewer

The streets of San Francisco were jammed. A frenzy of cars, trucks, wagons, and every other imaginable form of conveyance crisscrossed the town and battled its steepest hills. Porches, staircase landings, and sidewalks were piled high with boxes and crates delivered on the last possible day before transporting their contents would become illegal. The next morning, the Chronicle reported that people whose beer, liquor, and wine had not arrived by midnight were left to stand in their doorways ‘with haggard faces and glittering eyes.’ Just two weeks earlier, on the last New Year’s Eve before Prohibition, frantic celebrations had convulsed the city’s hotels and private clubs, its neighborhood taverns and wharfside saloons. It was a spasm of desperate joy fueled, said the Chronicle, by great quantities of ‘bottled sunshine’ liberated from ‘cellars, club lockers, bank vaults, safety deposit boxes and other hiding places.’ Now, on January 16, the sunshine was surrendering to darkness. … -Daniel Okrent, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set on the eve of Prohibition.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about drinking alcohol?

Art Prompt: Prohibition

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about a political decision made during your lifetime that you believe will turn out to backfire. Compare and contrast with Prohibition.

Photo Credit: dewarsrepealday on Flickr


Is it possible to influence people as they sleep and give them their perfect dream? April 10 [saw] the launch of a new study that uses a specially designed iPhone app in an attempt to improve the dreams of millions of people around the world. If successful, the study will allow people to create their perfect dream and so wake up feeling especially happy and refreshed…
As part of the launch, Wiseman has carried out a national survey into dreaming. The results demonstrate the need for sweeter dreams, with 21% of respondents reporting that they have trouble sleeping and 15% suffering from unpleasant dreams (see the ‘UK dream map’). “Getting a good night’s sleep and having pleasant dreams boosts people’s productivity, and is essential for their psychological and physical well-being. Despite this, we know very little about how to influence dreams — this experiment aims to change that” commented Wiseman. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about software or magic that can control your dreams.

Journaling Prompt: If you could decide what to dream about, what would be your perfect dream.

Art Prompt: Sweet Dreams

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about dreaming or lucid dreaming and what you’ve learned from your dreams.

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney on Flickr

Delaware Art Museum

Given the considerable risk of being caught, or not being able to pass on stolen paintings with obvious recognition value, like the Turners, there is a genuine puzzle as to why this type of crime is undertaken at all. Making money, combined with a certain level of bravado, is the simplest answer. Because after a successful theft each stolen work of art acquires a new ‘value’ in the underworld: perhaps only 10 per cent of its commercial value, but still potentially a large sum. This is value that can be utilized as collateral in criminal deals. Such motivation for thieves has significantly increased as the values at the top end of the fine art market have shown stupendous growth.

Specialist criminologist Professor John Conklin analyses this financial desire of the ‘motivated offender’ through the Routine Activities Theory, which breaks theft down into five subcategories. First, there are those who steal art in the hope of selling on to a dealer, either directly or through a middleman or fence — although this does not generally relate to high-value works, which by defini­tion cannot simply be sold on. Secondly, there are those who are paid to carry it out, who steal on commission. Thirdly, thieves may steal with the intention of ransoming the work to the owner, seeking a buy-back from an insurance company or doing a deal of some indirect kind. And, fourthly, those who steal to keep the work for themselves. Occasional symbolic or political acts constitute a fifth category. … The fourth and fifth categories are very rare and seen only occasionally in recent times. It is clearly financial considerations that are uppermost in the minds of most criminals, sometimes with an added element of competition. -Sandy Nairne, Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about an art thief.

Journaling Prompt: If you could have any famous piece of art on your wall, which would it be and why?

Art Prompt: Art Thief

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about a famous art heist.

Photo Credit: -Jeffrey- on Flickr