The Strange Medicine for Stranger Times project was designed to spark some creative writing for folks stuck at home and feeling down because of the COVID-19 quarantine in the spring of 2020. Whether you are under quarantine or just in a slump, these prompts may be just the medicine you need to get back into the groove of creating something amazing!
All prompts generated using the Story Engine Deck by Peter Chiykowski (www.storyenginedeck.com). Check it out and get your own deck for a virtually limitless supply of amazing, evocative writing prompts!
The first week’s prompts are multi-genre, designed to apply to all sorts of different writing types, styles, and moods.
Day One: Brave Music
An amateur musician wants to ease a heartbreak with a fearless song, but they must leave the familiar behind and face the unknown.
Day Two: Unlikely Justice
A charming imposter wants to expose the secret of an accident at a powerful bank, but in order to do so, they must face their deepest fear.
Day Three: Old Wounds
A compass found on a hated battleground will lead the way to an unnerving library owned by a haunted healer.
Day Four: Fourth Estate
A controversial journalist wants to reveal the good in a tyrant, but in order to do so, the journalist must become what they fear. The impulsive tyrant wants to win over the journalist, but doing so will cause them to lose the respect of someone they admire.
Day Five: War Story
A famous investor wants to erase the memory of a shattered village, but it will cost them their mental health. At the same time, they also want to heal a tormented survivor, but doing so will make a hypocrite of them.
The second week’s prompts are rooted in fantasy tropes, but with a little imagination, you could apply them to other types of tales!
Fantasy is a pretty wide label, of course–while many of these prompts read like pretty straightforward examples of high or dark fantasy, there is ample room to interpret them as urban fantasy!
Day Six: Liquid Doom
A brazen ranger wants to dedicate their life in pursuit of a potion, but this quest will cause a cataclysm.
Day Seven: Role Reversal
A dragon wants to drive out a spirit that has possessed a bard wielding an elvish sword, but the dragon’s homeland will be put to the torch.
Day Eight: Surprising Hero
A harp found on a hill by a trader will end the exile of a half-orc sellsword, but the trader will suffer an injury that does not heal.
Day Nine: Paying Prices
A fairy-cursed tree-person wants to create a masterpiece involving the dying words of a refugee from a lost civilization, but if they choose to do this, they will bring darkness to those whose paths they cross. At the same time, the tree-person wants to map a labyrinthine keep, but if they choose to do this, they will gain a corrupting power.
The leader of a powerful militia wants to start negotiations with the people of a city built up in the trees, but it will mean giving up an important heirloom.
At the same time, an invoker wants to win a duel with the spirit of the forest that contains the city, but doing so will mean the city is destroyed.
The remaining 10 prompts (5 sci-fi and 5 horror) are coming soon!
If you post on social media about your writing in response to any of these prompts, use #strangermedicine to connect with other participants!