One thing with this lockdown is that even as it’s being lifted in many places, we still need to be sensible and protect ourselves and our communities.
So, while many places are reopening and businesses will need your support, we still shouldn’t be flippant about going outside and mingling with sizeable crowds.
That being said, it has been a long few months. Speaking of my experience, I’ve been working from home since mid-March and restricting my time outside to essential trips maybe once or twice a week. Cabin fever has well and truly taken hold.
To keep my mind from turning into mush, I’ve been testing myself with writing prompts and thought I’d share some with you, as I cannot be the only person going slowly mad with being indoors this much.
Just to be clear, I did not make these myself, R. L. Stine did! Over on masterclass.com
These are my favourite three 😊
Days go by, and your parents don’t come home.
I love this concept, that your principal character’s entire world could change with no warning. That your chief character could suddenly find themselves in a terrifying situation while the rest of the world goes on as normal.
If I were going to turn this into a short story, I’d consider going one of two ways with it, either the parents would vanish and no one around would react, so that my main character had just lost their support network wouldn’t even be worth noticing. Or I’d have the parents vanish only for the principal character. So, for example, have them go looking for their parents only to always be a few steps behind them, never catching up.
A fortune teller reveals that you are evil.
Again, another concept I love.
Horror is a great genre for its flexibility, horror can be a physical terror, a mental terror or an existential terror. There’s no one way to do horror.
If I were playing with this properly and trying to turn it into a short story, I would focus on the moral quandary of the chief character. Have them frantically re-examine themselves and make judgements., a good villain rarely sees themselves as evil, looking at the popular example Thanos did not see himself as evil, he saw that he was doing what they needed to save as many as he could.
I’d flirt with this a bit, have my main character look at themselves and revisit their life. I’m not sure how I’d have it turn out though. Would the fortune teller be right? Would my chief character be evil? Would knowing about the fortune make them evil? Or would the teller be evil?
Every time you wake up, you’re a different person
I loved Quantum Leap when I was a little kid; it was such a fun show. But the reality would be bloody horrendous.
I’d love to mess around with this idea, have my main character wake up in an utterly absurd and terrifying situation. They’d be trying to escape by falling asleep. As an insomniac myself, that idea makes me squirm. Or perhaps have them wake up in a life they absolutely love and try to fight sleep as they know they’ll lose it the minute they fall asleep.
When a local police officer goes to investigate the haunted house down the street, he finds a young girl who died decades ago.
I wrote something in a similar vein to this! Alban Lake purchased it and you can find it in the Haunted Life Anthology.