grow what you know

Weekly Writing Prompt: Newsworthy

Fifty years from this moment, the world that you live in and the events that transpire around you will be the stuff of history textbooks, biographies, and even fiction. Why wait fifty years to start reading up on it? You will have a lot of catching up to do, and by then the action will have passed you by.

Falling behind the times is especially detrimental to writers and artists, whose success or failure is inextricably entangled with the personalities, cultures, and events of the times in which they live and work.



Weekly Writing Prompt: Innovation by Necessity

In science fiction and fantasy, there are many unpleasant truths about human life that we sometimes like to sweep under the rug. Humans have to eat, sleep, exercise, breath and lots of other inconvenient things that might seem like obstacles to the development of a story. Obstacles, however, are really opportunities in disguise, and in this week’s writing prompt, we will turn human necessities into creative avenues for the enterprising author.


Weekly Writing Prompt: A Question of Master and Servant

In the summer of 1921, two armies converged in the rolling, green mountains of Logan County, West Virginia. There they fought a war that is little known today, even though it was the second largest civil conflict in American history.

For Labor Day, we invite our readers to take a closer look at this largely forgotten war and what it means for workers in modern day America.


Weekly Writing Prompt: Creating Mayhem With Amphibology

As writers, we usually strive for clarity. The success of our work often relies on our ability to make our meanings immediately apparent to our readers, which requires that we avoid amphibology. It can certainly be a challenging task, but it is not the task we have given you this week. In this week’s prompt, we are going to have some fun with the ambiguous side of writing.

The writing prompt yet has been written that shall stump you! (more…)

Weekly Writing Prompt: The Rheic

Haujuapan de Leon is known in Mixtec as Ñuu dee, which means the “Place of Brave People.” The valley in which Haujuapan sits was settled by humans more two thousand years ago, beginning with the Ñuu Yate, the “Ancient Ones,” as early as 400 BCE. Today, this city in southern Mexico is home to about fifty thousand people.

Something was found hidden in the mountains not far from Haujaupan de Leon that is forcing us to reconsider some ideas that many thought were set in stone. So what was was uncovered near Ñuu dee and what does it have to do with this week’s prompt?


Weekly Writing Prompt: A Show of Fear

Have you ever been told to “Show, don’t tell” in your writing? It is a piece of advice that hangs around everywhere that writers can be found. In fact, it seems to have become an unquestioned rule. But why is it important? Does it actually mean anything? The answer, it turns out, is in your imagination.

Your mission in this week’s prompt is to give your readers a scare with a good show of fear! Remember, there is a balance to be struck. Let’s see if you can walk this terrifying tight-rope and describe strategically.

Read more…

Weekly Writing Prompt: Doing the Incompossible

This week’s Weird Words writing prompt is a special challenge! Not only are we asking the impossible, we are expecting the incompossible. What is so incompossible about this prompt? What does incompossible even mean?


Weekly Writing Prompt: Searching for Heroes

This week’s writing prompt is all about using research to bring on the fight! We have a list of heroes whose actions demonstrate the qualities that make heroes such awesome people. They are saviors, survivors, artists, champions, activists, and they are all real! Learning about real life heroes from the past and the present can give you ideas about the kinds of people you want your characters to be. It can inspire you to imagine the sorts of challenges, obstacles, and setbacks your own fictional heroes might face.

Previously in our section on doing research and developing credibility, we talked about the importance of doing careful research when we decide to write on topics that are unfamiliar to us. We even tested this with a little experiment, which you can find at

What we have not talked about much, though, are the more creative purposes that research can serve. We’ve discussed how our sleuthing skills can keep us out of trouble, but what if trouble is what we’re looking for? This week’s writing prompt is all about using research to bring on the fight!

We are going to begin digging into using research as a source of inspiration for stories, plot ideas, and characters—specifically heroes.


Weekly Writing Prompt: “It’s All in the Philter”

How do you get someone to fall in love with you? In this week’s Weird Words writing prompt, we’ll whip up the perfect love potion!


Why Grow What You Know: The Key to Good Writing is Good Research

Ask just about anyone what you should write, and they will tell you to write about what you know. This is very good advice and it should be heeded, but what is a writer to do when what they know isn’t enough?