Improbable Press
Cart 0

Spin a Tale (Writing Prompts)

Writing Prompts

I hope wherever you are life sees you well enough, good enough, with hope enough.

This writing prompt post was going to be very different but I got caught up in writing for it and suddenly I just wanted to talk about writing no matter who's reading.

Spin a tale... (Writing prompts)

Small Stories Have Big Impact

For those of us who post fic, or do Twitter stories, or in some other way share tall tales, it can sometimes feel like we're writing for maybe just two readers.


That's two people who need our story. Two people who in their day are doing their commute, queuing on an interminable line, exhausted or tired or just bored senseless and need, like the child they once were, to be told a story.

And when they find the time to finally fire up their laptop or look at their phone and there you are? Continuing the tale of two space princes loving their way through the galaxy or the warrior priestess who's gone back in time, or whatever it is you write that they love?

Well something inside their chest eases. And then they have ten minutes, thirty, an entire hour of peace and hope while they read what you've written.

Maybe we want more than just two readers and that's grand and we can pursue that. Yet what we have right now is good, too. It's enough.

It matters.

In these times of trial, in any time when things are hard for you, me, or those two people, the stories we tell, the magic we make with words, it matters. So much.

So let's keep making that magic, okay?

Last Week's Writing Prompt Included Moomins & Mirrors

Here are a few quotes from Into the Light. Remember, if a previous prompt inspires you, go for it. I'll excerpt those too!

The mirror was blackened with soot from the many candles she had lit near it, trying to catch a glimpse of her face…She had lost track of how others saw her – goblin or elf, butterfly or moth, human or goddess.
I look like a moomin as I elbow-crawl toward the hint of light. Full disclosure, I don’t know what a moomin is other than some vaguely hippopotamus-type creature with big eyes and bigger hips, yet I feel sanguine in saying that in this dark tunnel, inching wide-eyed toward a distant glow, I must look very like.
Old Mrs Gillespie stares daggers at me as the nurse ushers me through as an emergency. I inwardly poke my tongue at her. She is only here to ogle the nice young doctor whereas I am actually bleeding.

Tell us a story, okay? A little one, a long one. Spin us a tale about empathy or wifi or whatever is inspired in you.


More Prompts

Into the Light
Can You See Me?

Why Book Reviews Mean the World
Do you believe in ghosts? IP talks with G.V. Pearce about Ghost Story

Older Post Newer Post

  • The Honeyed Moon on

    “Okay, righty right then. Everybody here, everybody in?” The GrammyLady was getting ready to tell the little ones who were finally old enough to have ears to hear, the story of the Ago. “Sit down here, and here and here.” She patted the spaces to her left and right, “Sit, sit sitty down.”

    “Imma spin you a tale of the Ago. It were long time back, when I was just wee. More wee even than you Rona.” The GrammyLady petted the curly head of one of the littles. “Back then, it wasn’t like it is now, no sir. You have all this nice recylied watcha callit – “post consumer” stuff. Stuffs been used before and befor and before that even.” Her eyes glittered in the light of the fire. She loved to tell the stories and she knew them all back to front, front to back and insidie out. Hadn’t she lived through it? Sure enough she did, nobody knew better.

    “I knows you love yer nice soft wipey-paper more than anybody in this circle Covi, don’t you be gettin on like that!” A little boy with dark eyes giggled at the GrammyLady and wiggled his bum in the dust around the fire. “I does, I does!” he proclaimed.

    “Well then, back to my tellin’ then,” she continued. “Back in twenty, when i was just gettin started with livin’, snow was just starting to show up on my roof,” She touched her own hair, which was braided into a thick silver braid that fell over her shoulder and came almost to her waist. “Well, that were the year of the Great Confinement.” This was said with as much gravitas as she could muster. All the little’s eyes were big as saucers and for once they were all quiet at the same time.

    “There was a sickness upon the planet. Our Mother was tired of us fussing and messin’ and fighting, so there came a mutation. The old Gal tried her very bestest to shake us off’n her back. Everyone and their dog was ordered to stay in their own house. Everyone and their dog went a mad, not from the sickness, but from just plain bein’ stubborn and stupid and bored. And you know what they did?”

    A hushed “no” came from several of the littles mouth’s.

    “They all lost their shit and bought so much wipey-paper, there weren’t none to be had, no where, no how. Not even the Amazon could bring it to ya.”

    One little raised his hand and aksed, “Wernt the whify workin’?”

    “Oh, the whify were fine, Jobey, it were fine. But folks even got to squabblin’ over wipey-paper. Stealin’ it right outta yer shoppin’ basket. Folks just gone cuckoo. Why, back when I was a bitty bit older than you are, back during the Ago, there was so much wipey-paper, we’d sneak around under the moonlight and hang it in the trees of our enemies!”

    At this, TheGrammyLady laughed, fit to split.

  • Atlin Merrick on

    I can’t speak for what it’s like where you are but where I am, here medium-small town in left coast Australia, I have everything I need for lockdown. Sure I wish I could get back to my IT gig at the college, sure I miss my boyfriend, and I’d really like to get to the bigger shops two towns over but overall I’m good, I’m good.

    Less good are some folks I know but I’ve never met. Two are in America, one in Kenya, a couple in the UK and I think one’s in a smaller city than me somewhere out by Mount Bundey.

    Point is, I have what I need though like everyone I sometimes need more than I have. Some though, some don’t have a lot of things. They don’t have a loved one any more maybe, or a job, or hope. Lockdown’s a fucker.

    This is where I come in, with my wifi, my good mic, and an incessant need to spin a tale, a need I hardly ever got to meet with all the hours I used to waste at work.

    Anyway, I do a little podcast now, just strange stories about sentient moths and talking turtles, stories about a bullet thinking better that to continue its course down a gun barrel, I make up stuff about puzzles that put themselves together to leave nice messages for a lonely little girl, or I just tell good old-fashioned tales of boy meets girl meets cryptid or whatever.

    What I do isn’t much, but it’s what I have to give and some people out there need it. I can literally count my listeners on less than two hands but how many hearts do I need to touch for it to be worth it? Empathy comes in all sizes, hope comes in all sizes, too. I tell weird little stories and somewhere out there six or seven people breathe a little easier for the day. I know it’s true because they leave me little comments like, “Thanks” or “I needed this” or “This made me happy.”

    I don’t need an ode, I just need to know I helped. That my silly, serious, strange stories helped someone. Anyone. One one.

    It’s enough. I have what I really need. I hope you do, too.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published