From the monthly archives: March 2017

surmise v
  • To conjecture, to opine or to posit with contestable premises.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.

Journaling Prompt: Write about something you surmised today.

Art Prompt: Surmise

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt:Use the word of the week in your article or speech.

Photo Credit: ‘The Thinker’ by Auguste Rodin on Wikimedia

Chemical weapons have been used for millennia in the form of poisoned spears and arrows, but evidence can be found for the existence of more advanced forms of chemical weapons in ancient and classical times.

Ancient Greek myths about Hercules poisoning his arrows with the venom of the Hydra monster are the earliest references to toxic weapons in western literature. Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, allude to poisoned arrows used by both sides in the legendary Trojan War (Bronze Age Greece).

Some of the earliest surviving references to toxic warfare appear in the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. The “Laws of Manu,” a Hindu treatise on statecraft (c. 400 BC) forbids the use of poison and fire arrows, but advises poisoning food and water. Kautilya’s “Arthashastra”, a statecraft manual of the same era, contains hundreds of recipes for creating poison weapons, toxic smokes, and other chemical weapons. Ancient Greek historians recount that Alexander the Great encountered poison arrows and fire incendiaries in India at the Indus basin in the 4th century BC.

Arsenical smokes were known to the Chinese as far back as c. 1000 BC and Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” (c. 200 BC) advises the use of fire weapons. In the second century BC, writings of the Mohist sect in China describe the use of bellows to pump smoke from burning balls of mustard and other toxic vegetables into tunnels being dug by a besieging army. Other Chinese writings dating around the same period contain hundreds of recipes for the production of poisonous or irritating smokes for use in war along with numerous accounts of their use. These accounts describe an arsenic-containing “soul-hunting fog”, and the use of finely divided lime dispersed into the air to suppress a peasant revolt in 178 AD.

The earliest recorded use of gas warfare in the West dates back to the fifth century BC, during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Spartan forces besieging an Athenian city placed a lighted mixture of wood, pitch, and sulfur under the walls hoping that the noxious smoke would incapacitate the Athenians, so that they would not be able to resist the assault that followed. Sparta was not alone in its use of unconventional tactics in ancient Greece; Solon of Athens is said to have used hellebore roots to poison the water in an aqueduct leading from the River Pleistos around 590 BC during the siege of Kirrha.

There is archaeological evidence that the Sassanians deployed chemical weapons against the Roman army in the Siege of Dura Europos in the third century AD. Research carried out on the collapsed tunnels at Dura-Europos in Syria suggests that the Persians used bitumen and sulfur crystals to get it burning. When ignited, the materials gave off dense clouds of choking sulfur dioxide gases which killed 20 Roman soldiers in a matter of two minutes. This is the earliest evidence of gas warfare.

In the late 15th century, Spanish conquistadors encountered a rudimentary type of chemical warfare on the island of Hispaniola. The Taíno threw gourds filled with ashes and ground hot peppers at the Spaniards to create a blinding smoke screen before launching their attack. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a chemical weapon for your protagonist to use.

Journaling Prompt: How afraid of terrorism are you? Why do you feel that way?

Art Prompt: Chemical warfare

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of chemical warfare.

Photo Credit: Gustave Moreau on Wikimedia

He intended to retire next year-but planned to siphon off another two or three hundred thousand first. Then the nest egg would be sufficiently big enough for him to live on for the remaining years. They weren’t really hurting anyone by doing this-the money just sat there. The fact that they never seemed to notice or care that the reports were sometimes off showed him that this amounted to “peanuts” for them. They were a government contractor and as long as they kept spending it, the government kept giving them more.Numbers Never Lie by Shelley K. Wall

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of an embezzler.

Journaling Prompt: If you knew you could get away with it, would you steal from your employer?

Art Prompt: Embezzler

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of a famous embezzler.

Photo Credit: Isidor Hefter on Flickr

Civilization existed before money, but probably wouldn’t have gotten very far without it. Ancient humans’ invention of money was a revolutionary milestone. It helped to drive the development of civilization, by making it easier not just to buy and sell goods, but to pay workers in an increasing number of specialized trades—craftsmen, artists, merchants, and soldiers, to name a few. It also helped connect the world, by enabling traders to roam across continents and oceans to buy and sell goods, and investors to amass wealth…

In the centuries that followed, trade routes forged more cultural connections between nations and regions. Besides exchanging money and goods, traders also spread religious beliefs, knowledge and new inventions, creating cross-pollination among far-flung cultures. –The Journey of Humankind: How Money Made Us Modern By Patrick J. Kiger

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that shows how money spreads between cultures.

Journaling Prompt: How does money exchange feel to you? 

Art Prompt: Spread of civilization

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story of how trade and money created today’s world.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Chard  on Flickr


What happened in the next moments happened in a blur, a blur which streamed so quickly that the memory of that moment was difficult for those present to recall accurately. –The Keeper of the Stone by Mr. J. E. Jardine

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene in which the conflict arises from the protagonist’s inability to remember things clearly.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a traumatic event that happened in your life.

Art Prompt: It was all a blur

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how memories are affected by trauma.

Photo Credit: gideon ansell on Flickr

Welcome to the Carnival of Creativity for March 26, 2017. 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.

Response to Writing Reader Prompt

Reena Saxena presents Unique in response to Prompt #2005 Visual Prompt of the Week – The Promise.

Mark Gardner presents Moonrise CH45 – Neon Camouflage in response to Prompt #2034 Just Another Day…. for a Spy.


Creativity Quote of the Week

Writing Tips

Janice Hardy presents 5 Ways to Tell if a Subplot is Leading You Astray posted at Fiction University.

Mary Carroll Moore presents Thematic Threads: How to Build Them in Your Fiction or Memoir posted at How to Plan, Write and Develp a Book.

Kevin McNamara presents 7 Secrets of Creating a Memorable Character posted at Novel Publicity.

Joann Penn presents The Importance of Character When Plotting Your Novel posted at The Creative Penn.


Tee R presents 4 Sure-fire Ways to Always Find the Time to Write (No Matter How Busy You Are) posted at Be a Freelance Blogger.


This week’s podcast at Mythcreants is all about Working With Feedback.

This week’s podcast at The Self-Publishing Broadcast is all about Creating a Whole New Genre with JA Huss.

This week’s podcast at Rocking Self-Publishing is all about Diversifying Your Income with Rachael Herron.

This week’s podcast at The Sell More Books Show is all about Fisking, Transparency, and the Kindle Underground.

This week’s podcast at The Story Tool Kit is all about Dumb & Dumber To — Character and Plot in Comedy.

This week’s podcast at Writing Excuses is all about Ensemble as a Sub-Genre, with Lynne M. Thomas.

This week’s podcast at The Author Biz is all about Four Step Strategy for Selling More in Less Time on Social Media.

The Business of Creativity

Leigh W. Stuart presents 5 Year Plan & Book Promotion posted at Paving My Author’s Road.

Debbie Young presents 1 Simple Marketing Tip to Boost the Reach of Author Facebook Pages posted at Self Publishing Advice.

Kelly Gurnett presents How to Make Money Writing: 16 Tips for Finding Gigs Through Upwork posted at The Write Life.

Devyani Borade presents Six Easy Ways to Re-use Your Story Ideas posted at Funds for Writers.

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 Credit: Christine und Hagen Graf on Flickr

When Paul’s flight landed in Cleveland, they were waiting for him. –Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Who would you love to have meet you at the airport?

Art Prompt: At the airport

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous or touching story set in an airport.

Photo Credit: Karen on Flickr


  • Inclined to keep silent; reserved; uncommunicative.
  • Restrained or reserved in style.
  • Reluctant; unwilling.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.

Journaling Prompt: What are you reticent about?

Art Prompt: Reticent

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt:Use the word of the week in your article or speech.

Photo Credit: Fouquier ॐ on Flickr

The 1918 flu pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus. It infected 500 million people across the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world’s population), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.Disease had already greatly limited life expectancy in the early 20th century. A considerable spike occurred at the time of the pandemic, specifically the year 1918. Life expectancy dropped by about 12 years.

Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill juvenile, elderly, or already weakened patients; in contrast, the 1918 pandemic predominantly killed previously healthy young adults.

There are several possible explanations for the high mortality of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Some research suggests that the specific variant of the virus had an unusual aggressive nature. One group of researchers recovered the original virus from the bodies of frozen victims, and found that transfection in animals caused a rapid progressive respiratory failure and death through a cytokine storm (overreaction of the body’s immune system). It was then postulated that the strong immune reactions of young adults ravaged the body, whereas the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults resulted in fewer deaths among those groups.

More recent investigations, mainly based on original medical reports from the period of the pandemic, found that the viral infections itself was not more aggressive than any previous influenza, but that the special circumstances (malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps and hospitals, poor hygiene) promoted bacterial superinfection that killed most of the victims typically after a somewhat prolonged death bed. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in the time of a world-wide pandemic.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you were the most sick you’ve ever been.

Art Prompt: Pandemic

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the 1918 pandemic and give them tips for staying healthy during an outbreak at work or home.