Covid-19 sounds like a great sci-fi concept, doesn’t it? Or just a writing prompt.
So, I’m not talking about the disease itself. I’m not talking about quarantine (though you know that if life returns to some semblance of normalcy, there’ll be lots of romcoms about this year). I’m just talking about the word itself. Imagine some concepts:
- Nineteen shadows hold all the power of the underworld, from the underwater gambling rings of Saturn’s moons to the slaughterhouses on Mars. Whispers say they control their lieutenants through a special drug, Coris-Videlaion. Now, though, they’ve gone too far, and Garamon Wayne has sworn to get revenge on the Covid-19.
- When we sent out the sleeper ships, we knew the chances were slim. There probably was no one out there to revive them and hear our pleas for help. But then nineteen of the ships returned, the sleepers unawakened and unaltered. Or were they? What will the Covid-19 do when they are awakened?
- Prince Corys Vasahn Idrami, the Nineteenth of that name, has already won. His wicked father is deposed. He has cleaned up the kingdom. What more need be done? But that’s when he discovers the man he thought was his father was no father at all. No, there’s a reason Prince Corys is the Nineteenth of that name. You see, he’s just a clone, just one more in a long chain. He is only Covid-19. And what happens when his genetic matrix destabilizes?
Why am I doing this?
I see a lot of prompts around the intertubes, and some of them look like a lot of fun. However, I’m very sensitive to taking someone else’s idea and making it my own. I don’t consciously do it (though I’m sure I’ve done so without intending to).
But sometimes it’s fun to see where a prompt might take you.
And you know what? A prompt doesn’t have to be someone else’s plot or character or even starting sentence. Sometimes it can be a simple word. I took Covid-19 and came up with three very different story ideas, places to jump off and go tell a story. I directly ignored what the word meant and just went with what else the syllables could indicate.
And… sometimes it’s good to take a scary thing and make fun of it. There’s a reason there’s so many memes about quarantine and everything going on right now. We need that laughter to take the pressure off. And if you can take just a word and look at it and see what else it might turn into, it can help alleviate some stress.
I want you to know, that I take the virus and quarantine seriously. I mask up when I leave the house. So this is not to belittle any of the threat. It’s just… to have a little fun with it, too. After all, Covid-19 really does sound like a science fiction term, doesn’t it?
Now, if I wanted to take the virus itself and come up with ideas, the possibilities there are also endless.
- He hates her. She loathes him. They’re stuck in a house together. Covid-19 and the quarantine might be the best thing that ever happened to them.
- Quarantine shut down her school. She knows what it is to be forgotten. Now Maisy is determined to craft a gift for each of her classmates to let them know: They are important, even now.
- He’s hired to kill with his hands. He’s very good at his job. Now he’s been hired, and he needs to complete the job quickly. But how do you kill with your hands while observing social distance?
See? It’s kinda fun to just spit out these quick story ideas.
You ever do that? Just jot out ideas based on a single word or sentence prompt? Give it a try sometime. Not only does it get the creative juices flowing, but it can help you restart if you find yourself stalled!