Weekend Writing Challenge: The Tweet That Changed Everything

Hi writers,

Freaky Friday/The Weird Week in Writing series is taking a holiday this week because we’re headed out for our annual trip to WD’s clandestine brainstorming headquarters (read: the editor’s house) to strategize and plan the 2011 calendar of the magazine.

Here’s to hoping you have an excellent weekend. And don’t forget—interoffice swag drawing next week! The stacks of books and magazines on my desk are towering, and I may be seriously injured unless we start shipping them out …

(Image: Via)

* * *


free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings.
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at
writersdigest@fwmedia.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

Based on a particular tweet or Facebook status update, your character
makes an important—and critical—life decision. Show the decision in
scene, or show what your character has decided to do in the wake of it.

feature package on how to write and sell your
memoir. Interviews with Life of Pi author Yann Martel, and
the scribe behind “True Blood,” Charlaine Harris. The results of our
Pop Fiction competition. New markets for your work. For more, click

here to check the July/August 2010 issue of WD out.



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4 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Challenge: The Tweet That Changed Everything

  1. Elizabeth Johnson

    I stared hard at the screen.

    “Enjoying Disney for the week,” it read. I could hardly believe my eyes: this was my lucky break! My sights had been set on 112 Ridgefield Avenue for about four months now. And now I finally had my chance.

    Dollar signs danced in my eyes. This was it! I could finally get ahead of the game, finally make Renny proud of me (that’s my girlfriend) and prove to myself that I knew how to make things work.

    I picked up the phone to dial Wes, my long-time buddy and typical partner-in-crime. Yeah, I know, bad pun. He really is my partner-in-crime. I was the one who found the opportunities, and he was the one who made them happen. The brains behind it all, I guess you could say. He’d been waiting for this day to come just like I had, and even had a plan all worked out already. I grinned as he answered the phone, imagining his response when I told him the news.

    “Hey, Wes, old man. How’s it going?”

    “Hey yourself, Steve. Wassup?”

    “Well, man, I was just down at the library, on their computers, and you’ll never guess what I laid eyes on down there.”

    “I’ll never guess, huh? Let’s see. You didn’t find a job for us, didjya?”

    “We-e-e-ll . . .”

    Wes kind of growled at me, and I finally gave in and told him what I’d seen.

    “WHAT! The McFarley mansion? You’re not joking with me, are ya, Steve?”

    “No sirree. Looks like they left today and they’ll be outta town for a week. When you wanna get rich?”

    I let him talk it out, figuring he knew what needed to get done before we did the job. We decided on Sunday morning, while people were out at church. That gave us two more days to get everything in place . . .

    When Sunday finally came, I got up before the sun did. My hands were kind of tingly, but I just put it off as excitement that this day had finally come. Sure, we’d made a few bucks here and there, but this job would give us enough to hole up for a while and keep us off the radar. A thought flew through my mind that maybe it was setup, maybe they were on to us, but it pretty much went in one side of my head and out the other. I methodically got myself ready, paying attention to every little detail that had to be put together.

    Little did I know that my premonition had been right. Four hours later, right in the middle of unhooking the McFarley’s brand new plasma television, we heard the sound we most dreaded.

    “Newton Police. You’re surrounded. Come out with your hands up!”

  2. CJillFriend

    The Hare
    By Jill Friend

    We were on the French and Haitan barge, terrifying horns blowing across the carcasses of dead whales with rotting flesh, muttering “call me moby.” And all I could call is, “soldier nine was love, soldier nine was love, over and out.” The gray winter rabbits would lose their ears with a single stroke of my hand, turning into a cat-like creature, but realizing these are not dead rabbits. She and I were trapped in a dreamish adventure into the thirdscape. All was around and taunting a man who bleed beyond belief.
    He was shot in front of the gate. His crime was starvation, and his mother found him one night in the bullet of a pistol. I was in my backyard with a bard-type aim, of course lethal, while I wasn’t on the field. Suddenly, my scape is a county fair with bloody hair around my face, walking slow in the ethereal. People bleeding while I drive a tractor without a plow, but fields fill behind me with a glacial torrents turning into rainbow lava behind me. Listening to hypocrisy of “feed me, feed me.”
    I ask her why we don’t cut snow into paper doves, and she told me it is because we find it melting between our palms. We see some rabbits huddled in a snowy drift, and I ask her not to look at them because if she does I have to take away their ears. She pulls a purple blindfold from her jacket and says, “whatever.” I walk over to the rabbits and pull away their ears. They don’t bleed. They are built of velveteen, easily lost and found in a stroke of my hand.
    When I return with a set of ears, I tell her that I want to build a boat to get us out of here, and she asks me, “Why? I like it here.” Instantly, I feel and impatience fueled with anger of misguided understanding, and I reply, “But you say you like my scape.”

    She doesn’t recognize me. I visit her in her dreams. She follows any image behind her eyelids, and that is when I catch up with her. How do find the rabbit hunter when she always recognizes you?
    Sent into the dreamscape of a demon who dwells in complete habitation of nature. To kill her would be to kill me. Yet, every night, I visit her, and she tells me that the world tears apart and comes together at once. The dirt path opens into the darkest river filled with swimming stars and then, I become her story, deserted and checked out of any fact besides she controls me.

    The rabbits lived in a hollow cove, and when it snowed, she came to me and would want me to pull up their ears for her. I am her prophet. We once sat drunk, speaking of my scape.
    “It is beautiful,” she said.
    “I think so, “ I said.

    And the self-declared atheist sat at an angle across from us with Playboy in front of two angels.

    The End

  3. Mark James

    Zac. . . this one’s on me.

    **** Kidnapped at the Mountains of Madness ****

    "How long do we have to stay out here?"

    "Till I freeze Hell over," Lucifer said.

    "How much do I have to pay you?"

    "I’m always in the market for a few good souls."

    "It’s hotter than Hell out here."

    "Hardly," Lucifer said. "Anything below 110 isn’t worth talking about."

    Michael kicked at the stone under his sandaled feet. "Who are these mortals, again?"

    Lucifer’s smile would have frightened anyone who didn’t carry a flaming sword across his back. "Writers. Rich imaginations. Deep fears that come in endless varieties."

    "And they think they’re on a Lovecraft retreat?"

    "Look around." Lucifer spread his arms. "Convincing, don’t you think?"

    The Nameless City had been abandoned centuries ago. The stone buildings had been eroded by sand storms, desert heat and, if legends had any seeds of truth, darkly invisible things that drove mortals insane.

    "Overkill if you ask me," Michael said. "No one even knows who Ba’al is anymore."

    Behind them, a statue of the god rose up, tall as a mountain, it’s needle sharp stone teeth bared in a sneer.

    “Quiet,” Lucifer said under his breath. “You’ll hurt his feelings. I had to promise him things even I can’t talk about to get him to agree to this.”

    “What’s in this for you?”

    Lucifer glanced up at Michael. “Can you imagine a better soul to torment than a writer?” His eyes gleamed, shifted from dark green to deep red. “Reams of stories, endless days and nights of self-doubt, thousands and thousands of words, all of them dripping with sweat and blood.”

    “Camels,” Michael said. “A caravan.”

    “Excellent,” Lucifer said. “How do I look?”

    Michael glanced at his brother’s dark green eyes, his black hair, his blood red lips. “Like Satan.”

    “Perfect. Come down from there. You’re supposed to be mortal.”

    His wings spread, Michael jumped and landed on the sand beside his brother. “I don’t think this is a good plan. We can’t just kidnap mortals in a dead city.”

    “We won’t,” Lucifer said. “They’ll beg to stay. You’ll see.”

    The camels drifted through the narrow gate to the Nameless City. The native guides watched, but didn’t enter with them.

    “Welcome to the Mountains of Madness Retreat.” Michael cleared his throat. “I am High Priest of Dark Things. Our host hopes to draw blood from your imaginations, and wishes you soul-searing nightmares.”

    Lucifer stepped forward, his black robe swirling in the light breeze blowing across the sands. “Please,” he said. “Dismount, bring your things.”

    The writer on the first camel looked up at Ba’al’s statue. “Who’s that?”

    The statue glowed a deep red, the teeth took on a scarlet tinge, as if they’d bitten into meaty flesh. A deep voice from inside the stone mouth, beyond the forest of teeth said, “I am Ba’al. Maker of dark things, eater of souls, demon of the yawning Abyss.”

    The writers dismounted, looked at each other, then at Lucifer. “We’d like to purchase the extra night,” the writer in the lead said.

    “But of course,” Lucifer said. He climbed the steps that led up to Ba’al’s teeth. “Your rooms are this way.”

    Michael watched the mortals troop through Ba’al’s teeth, into his mouth, down the long cavern of his throat. He didn’t think they’d be doing that if they knew what was coming for them after dark.

  4. Mark James

    Gee Zac, I thought all writers did their brainstorming at the Mountains of Madness. It works for me . . .


    What the hell did she mean, posting that on Facebook next to a skull? “Allie, you better start answering your phone.”

    Roc ended the call, paged through his sister’s Facebook, flipped past songs of the week, wicked professor of the month awards, best shades of pink lipstick for movie dates. He blew air out in a hiss, speed-dialed ‘666’.

    The phone rang once before a high wheezy voice said, “Satan. What’s your sin?”

    “It’s me,” Roc said. “Need you to open the private on a Facebook account.”

    “Didn’t know the Roc liked them young.” A low laugh was followed by a desperate wheeze for breath.

    Roc had been friends with Traveler, aka Satan, since grade school. He was alive because Roc couldn’t imagine him dead. “It’s my little sister. How long?”

    “Tara?” Traveler’s voice was still hoarse, but he was all business. “What’s up?”

    “No idea,” Roc said. “Call me back.”

    Roc paced his living room, the phone in his hand. Mom dying had been hard on both of them. It hadn’t even been a question about taking in Tara. But all through her senior year in high school, she’d been at him.

    The night of her eighteenth birthday, she’d come at him with everything she had; threatened to move out, now that she was an adult. He took as much of it as could, but finally he’d told her to stop before she ended up locked in the basement, studying with a private tutor over the internet. Tara was his sister, but she knew better than to keep going after that. She shut up about going halfway around the world to college.

    Instead she chose a school nearby and everyday at breakfast, she fed him crumbs of information about how safe it was, how the campus had security, how he could be there in a couple hours, how she’d be home every weekend. In the end, Roc gave in. He slammed a fist into the wall. He shouldn’t have let her go away to school. What could he do from seventy miles away?

    The phone vibrated against his palm. He flipped it open. “What did you find?”

    Silence on the phone can feel like falling in a dream. You can’t know what’s coming. Roc was on the thin edge of driving the two blocks to Traveler’s house and throttling him when his low, whispery voice said, “I don’t think your sister’s a virgin anymore.”

    “I swear to God,” Roc said, “you better start talking to me.”

    Traveler told the story in fits and starts, jerking to the end like a car with a dead battery. “So when he left her, and she was pregnant, she figured she couldn’t come to you, and she blew school.”

    “She have her phone?”

    “Yeah, but I don’t think – – ”

    “Where is she?”

    Before Traveler could finish telling him, Roc was out the door, in his car and on the highway. He didn’t know exactly how he planned on getting Allie home, but he was wondering what shade pink she’d want on the walls in her new room in the basement.


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