Currently viewing the tag: "urban legends"

This is a small town. Small towns always have legends. Some are true and some are not, but they’re always floating around. –Deborah Garner, Above the Bridge

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story about a small town with a legend that happens to be as unbelievable as it is true.

Journaling Prompt: What legend did you grow up hearing about your town?

Art Prompt: Legend

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a legend you heard in your childhood about where you lived.

Photo Credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli on Flickr

Just outside of the tiny town of Vik, whose population hovers just above 300, lies the famed black pebble beach called Reynisfjara. Towering, hexagonal basalt columns rise from the dark sand at the base of Reynisfjell Mountain, and 216-foot rock pillars called Reynisdrangar jut out of the turbulent North Atlantic Ocean just off the coast.

According to Icelandic folklore, these pillars actually used to be trolls. While dragging a three-mast ship towards land, the trolls were taking too long to reach the shore, and at the break of dawn were instantly turned to stone. Even today, it is believed that if you drive near by the cliffs you can hear their wails and moans, as they long for their home in the mountains. –The Eerie Folktales Behind Iceland’s Natural Wonders by Austa Somvichian-Clausen

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of the trolls before they were turned into stone.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite story about living beings turned into stones? What is it that appeals to you about this story?

Art Prompt: Trolls

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a local legend.

Photo Credit: Christian Rüfli on Flickr

Nandor Misinformation

The main reason that misinformation is sticky, according to the researchers, is that rejecting information actually requires cognitive effort. Weighing the plausibility and the source of a message is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting that the message is true — it requires additional motivational and cognitive resources. If the topic isn’t very important to you or you have other things on your mind, misinformation is more likely to take hold.

And when we do take the time to thoughtfully evaluate incoming information, there are only a few features that we are likely to pay attention to: Does the information fit with other things I believe in? Does it make a coherent story with what I already know? Does it come from a credible source? Do others believe it?

Misinformation is especially sticky when it conforms to our preexisting political, religious, or social point of view. Because of this, ideology and personal worldviews can be especially difficult obstacles to overcome.
Even worse, efforts to retract misinformation often backfire, paradoxically amplifying the effect of the erroneous belief.

“This persistence of misinformation has fairly alarming implications in a democracy because people may base decisions on information that, at some level, they know to be false,” says Lewandowsky. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: What misinformation do your characters believe? Work this into your character sketches.

Journaling Prompt: Write about an urban legend that you or someone you know believed? How did you feel when it turned out to be misinformation?

Art Prompt: Misinformation

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about a current piece of misinformation and the effect you believe it has on society.

Photo Credit: Glutnix on Flickr

Mental toilet seat

When I used the toilet, I sat on the front edge of the seat, watching the water beneath me, and scooted off as soon as I was done. I had seen a cartoon in a book at Grandpa Abner’s that showed a fish leaping out of a toilet bowl and a woman staring at it with big eyes. I thought that was funny and I knew it was impossible, but I didn’t think there was any reason to take chances. -Will Shetterly, Dogland (free download)

Writing Prompt: Write a scene or story about something living in the plumbing or sewer system.

Journaling Prompt: What irrational fears do you have based on an urban legend?

Art Prompt: What’s in the plumbing?

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Share an urban legend with your audience and show how it spread into the collective consciousness.

Photo Credit: Jim Howard on Flickr