Weekend Writing Prompt: Changing the Headline (plus the winners of our book giveaway)

According to the towering literary liability on my desk (literally several feet high), it’s time to share some WD Interoffice swag books. In the wake of the 20-book challenge issued last Friday, per the low-fi Promptly methodology, the names of all the authors who wrote stories went into the magic hat, and four emerged–Nathan Honoré, Dare Gaither, Laura M. Campbell and Jo O’Connor.

As always, thanks to everyone who shared their work! Nathan, Dare, Laura and Jo, when you get a free moment, please send your addresses to me at writersdigest [at] fwmedia [dot] com, and I’ll get your books sent out. The stacks of interoffice books also continue to grow day by day by day, so stay tuned for more swag-offs in the very near future.

* * *

WRITING PROMPT: Editorializing
Feel 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 around-the-office swag drawings. If 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.

You’re a newspaper editor, and at the last minute before you send the latest issue to bed, you decide to do it–you’re going to change the Page 1 headline.



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5 thoughts on “Weekend Writing Prompt: Changing the Headline (plus the winners of our book giveaway)

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  3. Dare Gaither

    The scribes stared at me in disbelief.
    What else could I do?
    You did not say “No” to Nefertiti…not and live to tell about it.

    The scribes were almost finished with the latest
    edition of the Ra Report, when the message arrived.
    The much-anticipated sculpture was finally finished
    Her perfect beauty had been captured for posterity.
    She would unveil it to her adoring public tomorrow.
    Queen Nefertiti wanted the announcement top and center on the papyrus.
    That meant we had to rewrite the entire scroll.
    We would never make it by sunrise.

    A fervent prayer to Thoth granted inspiration and hope.
    Obviously, this event eclipsed anything else happening in the kingdom.
    This would be the only article in the scroll!
    Nefertiti would love it.
    The hieroglyphs would be huge.
    The scribes would be ecstatic.
    I would live to see another day.

    The scribes sharpened their pens and prepared new scrolls.
    My words flowed forth from the infinite well of Thoth’s wisdom.
    Pens raced across papyrus.
    We would make it after all.

    I blushed with pride as I presented a finished scroll to Queen Nefertiti.
    I unrolled the papyrus and cleared my throat to read my words aloud.
    Suddenly my life flashed before my eyes.
    It had seemed so perfect at the time.
    How could I have missed the innuendo?
    The huge hieroglyphs boldly proclaimed my inspired headline:

    Queen To Unveil Bust For Eager Crowds

    Well, it had been a good life.
    I could swear I heard Anubis howl with laughter.

  4. Mark James

    I always wanted to say "stop the presses" . . .

    A sea of noise and conversation. That’s all Fenton heard when he nabbed a stool at the edge of the bar. The Church Bar and Grill was packed, like all the sinners in the world had decided one last beer before Hell was the right thing to do. Everyone’s eyes were glued to the fifty two inch plasma screen TV on the wall.

    The AANN anchor in the studio was blonde, with a chiseled face that was honesty itself. Looking at him, you just knew he was telling the truth, as told to him by God almighty and his copy editor.

    “Here, exclusively on the All American News Network,” he said, “we bring you the interview behind the first miracle to be broadcast live on worldwide television.”

    Even though he knew better, Fenton’s lips parted, his pulse pounded, and a low sigh escaped him when Jesus Christ smiled into the camera.

    “You said you had something important to tell us, Mr. Christ. Will you be sharing that in this interview?”

    Fenton felt warm feathers brush across the back of his neck. Oh no.

    “He’s always got something to tell the world.” Michael, archangel of war, passed through the wooden bar, hung in midair just below the television.

    The man with long brown hair and impossibly blue eyes was wearing faded jeans, cowboy boots, and a black button down shirt, open at the collar. He was standing next to a river. His sleeves were rolled up, like doing miracles was hard work. “Please,” he said, “call me Jesus.”

    “I’ll call you something,” Michael said.

    It was a trap. No one else could hear the archangel, so Fenton couldn’t talk back. He tried to ignore Michael, concentrate on the broadcast.

    The reporter in the studio didn’t miss a beat. “Thank you, Jesus,” he said. “What is it you wanted to tell the world today?”

    Jesus leaned forward. Somehow the way he licked his lips, slowly, leaving them moist, was lewd, indecent. “Peace,” he said, “is – – ”

    “What else do you need to hear?” Michael said. “You know that’s my brother.”

    Desperate, Fenton pulled out his wireless headset, wrapped it over his ear. Nobody looked at you like you were crazy if you were talking into a flashing blue thing on your ear. “I can’t run the truth and you know it,” he said.

    Onscreen, the reporter’s cheeks flushed deep red. He tapped his ear. “It looks like we’re having technical difficulties Mr. – – ” He cleared his throat. “Jesus. If you would just stand by a moment, please.”

    “Make the call,” Michael said. “You’re the only who can stop this.”

    “I do that and I’ll be out of a job,” Fenton said.

    Michael was in his face like the wind. Fenton felt heat baking off the sword slung across his back. “You don’t do it,” Michael said, “and you’ll be out of a world.”

    Fenton said into his headset, “Call work.”

    When his senior copy editor picked up, Fenton told him the change . Two minutes later his phone beeped and he opened the e-mail, read the new headline and said, “Approved. Go.”


    When the evening edition rolled off the press, the headline, read, “Lucifer Says Peace is Orgasmic.”


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