Red Writing Hood

Red Writing Hood is our writing meme. It can be fiction or non-fiction, and unless otherwise noted, the word limit is 600.

The prompt is on our site Tuesday and the link-up is Friday.

The following is a list of our past prompts:

1. Write a short fiction piece starting with these two words: “Your mother.”

2. Pick four numbers, each between 1 and 10.

Write them down so you remember.

The first number will be for your character, the second your setting, the third the time and the fourth will be the situation.

Then take the four elements and combine them into a short story.

All four you picked MUST be your main elements, but you can add in other characters, settings, times and situations.


1. A new mother

2. An actress

3. A recent high school graduate

4. A waitress

5. An alien

6. A homeless man

7. An elderly woman

8. A freshman in high school

9. A college student

10. A musician


1. The woods

2. A wedding reception

3. A party

4. A restaurant

5. A mall

6. A park

7. A beach

8. A lake

9. A baseball game

10. A seminar


1. Winter

2. During a thunderstorm

3. The morning after prom

4. Spring

5. December

6. Midnight or around midnight

7. Summer

8. In the middle of a fire

9. In the middle of a snowstorm

10. The afternoon


1. A death

2. Secret needs to be told

3. Someone has or will hurt someone

4. A crime has occured or is about to

5. Someone has lost/found something

6. Someone is falling in love

7. Reminiscing on how things change

8. There has been a family emergency

9. Something embarrassing happened

10. Someone has just gone to the doctor.

3. Write a short piece of fiction about seeing an ex in the grocery store from the first person point-of-view. Instead of writing from the female perspective, we want you to write from the male perspective.

4. Please write a narrative poem that focuses on the workings of a family, whether it be your own or one that you’ve created from scratch.

5. Craft a piece of short fiction featuring the dialogue between two people arguing. Focus more on the spoken language and less on setting details. Think “Hills Like White Elephants” by Hemingway.

6. Write a first-person piece about either eating your favorite food or taking a shower – without using a personal pronoun.

7. Write a short story based on this prompt:

“An art opening at a lavish downtown gallery. A car crashes through the plate glass window. The driver’s door opens, and an eight-year-old girl steps out.”

8. I thought we’d write a short piece of prose (or a poem if you so choose) from the perspective of a broken inanimate object. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a toaster but it should most definitely be inanimate!

9. Epistolary novels work as a concept because they are a series of documents (often letters) written to reveal a story. Let’s try and give this a go, shall we? For this week write a serious letter to your younger self.

10. Write a morality tale based on forgiveness but written with the fantasy genre in mind – create a whole new world comprised of supernatural phenomenon.

11. Follow this template to write about “Where You’re From.”

12. Below you will find two links to photos. Your assignment? Chose one. If you’re a fiction writer, write a piece inspired by the photo. If you’re non-fiction, write a piece on a childhood memory the photo inspires in you.

Remember, your post doesn’t have to be a literal translation of the photo.

Here are your choices

13. “Tell me about a meal you loved. Where were you when you ate it? What was the weather like out the window? Who were you with? How old were you? … Did you leave anything on the plate? Were there flowers on the table? Paper napkins? Did you have seconds? Are you stumped? Begin with: I don’t remember anything about that meal except…”

14. “Think of a person you don’t like, and describe what you might say if you had to share an elevator ride together. Then describe what happens when the elevator breaks down. For six hours.”

15. a) Two choices: Describe your 80th birthday party.
b) If you could spend the afternoon with anyone who is no longer alive, who would it be and what would you do? (And yes, we mean someone who has died that you would want to spend a day with, not that you would spend the day with an actual dead person!)

Pick whichever you like. Combine them, if you want. You can also do it as fiction or non-fiction.

16. Your assignment is to write a character sketch of a villain.

Good stories have a villain or a nemesis. Which isn’t to say there’s an evil witch or bogeyman in every tale (like I tell my kids, a stranger isn’t always a scary person, it’s just someone you don’t know). But you do need a character or characters who create friction, who go against the grain of good.

Sometimes these characters are truly bad, bad people (or machines or aliens. You get the picture.) but sometimes? They can be regular people; anyone or anywhere. Look around you. Maybe it’s your kid’s crossing guard who snarls at you every morning. Or the overbearing PTA or soccer mom. Maybe it’s a teacher you had in school or a boss or a frenemy or a barrista.

Take their unpleasant traits and exaggerate. Make them as nasty as you wanna be. Tell us what she/he/it looks like. What are her/his/its motivations? No one is all good or all bad, which makes a villain complex and interesting. Tell us everything you need to know about this character.

17. “Your protagonist empties the contents of his/her pockets, purse, and/or backpack onto a table. What all was dumped onto the table?”

But, we’re going to ask for more than a list of contents…this is merely a jumping off point.

18. A photo prompt.

19. Your assignment: write a piece (fiction or non-fiction) inspired by a song. It can be any song of your choosing. If it is not clear from your story what the song is, throw us a bone and put a note at top or bottom of your post to let us know what you picked.

20. This week’s prompt is simply to write a post expressing what you or your protagonist are grateful for this year.

21. If you’re unfamiliar with flash fiction, think of it as a condensed short story. Shorter than short. The word count for flash fiction typically ranges from 100 to 2000 words.

We have two prompts for you to choose from this week…



I truly enjoyed spending time with them. I just had to decide which of them I would kill.

22. This week’s prompt: Write a short first-person story about your first love, or write a short fiction piece about a character’s first love.

23. Your word is tradition.

24. Your assignment this week is to write a post about charity. It can be fiction or non-fiction.

What does charity mean to you? What ways do you give? How do you teach your children? What memories do you have of first realizing others didn’t have what you had? Or, have you ever been in need?

These are just some ideas to get you thinking. Feel free to take whatever angle you choose.

25. Your assignment is to write a short piece – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatevs – in which each sentence starts with a the next letter of the alphabet. Starting with “A.” So, yes, your finished product will consist of 26 sentences.

26. For this week’s prompt, grab something out of your pantry and write a short piece – using all the words in the ingredients. It can be fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose.

27. Hemingway was famous for his super sparse writing. He used almost only dialogue in many of his works. Write a piece in which you use ONLY dialogue.

28. This week, we’re asking you to imagine this, “You are trapped (alone or with others) in a single location during the fury and/or aftermath of a blizzard of historic proportions.”

29. Write a piece of flash fiction – it should be no more than 600 words and should take no longer than 3 minutes to read aloud.

And the requirement for this particular one is a character MUST tell a joke and a character MUST cry. One character can do both.

30. Write a piece that begins with the line, “I could never have imagined” and ends with the line, “Then the whole world shifted.

31. Write a piece – 600 word limit – about finding a forgotten item of clothing in the back of a drawer or closet. Let us know how the item was found, what it is, and why it’s so meaningful to you or your character.

32. We want you to imagine you’ve just had a fight with a friend, a co-worker, husband, significant other, child – you get the picture. You’re mad. It’s time for revenge.

What would you sell?

Write a humorous listing for eBay or Craig’s List. Talk about the history of the items, why they must go.

33. Water gives life. It also takes it away. Write a piece inspired by either sentence or both.

Red Writing Hood: Chatoyant

According to Dr. Beard, two of the most beautiful words in the English language are chatoyant (like a cat’s eye) and ailurophile (a cat lover). T.S. Eliot, in his wonderful Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, used another of Dr. Beard’s favorite words, ineffable, to describe the secret name of a cat: The Naming of…

Red Writing Hood: Candles and Iowa

Okay, so that’s not fair. The prompt is about neither candles nor Iowa. Unless you want it to be. This prompt is about being inspired in by the juxtaposition of senses. I’m giving you a photograph and a song. From there, be inspired. You have 500 words. There are no other restrictions save this: If…

Red Writing Hood Prompt – I Spy

Inspiration can be found in the most mundane items and in the most unlikely sources. When writers find themselves struggling, a change in perspective may help break through writer’s block. “I spy with my little eye” is a popular game with children, and their acute observation picks up items adults may not look at twice….

Red Writing Hood Prompt – Gratitude

November is a month of gratitude, particularly for our American readers and writers who celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Write a creative non-fiction or fiction piece this week focusing on gratitude. The piece doesn’t necessarily have to be linked to Thanksgiving, but allow the mood of gratitude to infuse your piece. If you find yourself unsure…

Red Writing Hood Prompt – Rain

Weather can be a powerful catalyst in writing. Storms, sunny beach days, and days of rain can impact setting, plot development, and mood. This week, use rain as the inspiration for your fiction or creative non-fiction piece. The word limit is 400, so please come back this Friday and show us what you’ve written. Since…

Red Writing Hood Prompt – New

New beginnings are full of promise and potential, and for many writers they can be the intoxicating jolt of energy needed to overcome writer’s block. November and National Novel Writing Month mean writers all over the world are engaging in new works in progress: developing new characters, new plot lines, and new inspiration. Even if…

Red Writing Hood Prompt – Turn It Up

With the potential to deepen emotions, music can be a perfect complement to writing. Though some writers prefer a silent writing environment, there are few people who can claim that their lives are completely free of music or song lyrics. This week you have 350 words to craft a fiction or creative non-fiction piece inspired…

Red Writing Hood Prompt – The Red Room

The guidelines this week are simple: use the provided photograph to inspire a fiction or creative non-fiction piece. The word limit is 450, and we can’t wait until Friday to see where this image takes you!

Red Writing Hood Prompt – Misinterpretation

Misunderstandings are a way to add dimension and roadblocks to your plot development. Whether you write your plot’s crossed wires in a way that gives your reader full disclosure at the beginning or leaves the reader in the dark to watch the conflict unfold along with the characters, misunderstandings in creative writing add tension to…

Red Writing Hood Prompt: In-Jokes and Backstory

Every in-joke has a backstory, a moment when events coalesce into something memorably funny. But you had to be there. I know not everyone is on Twitter, so bear with me here. #hashtags can be fun, whimsical, serious, informative. We have one: #writeonedge. Hashtags can also function as a kind of code, a public nod…

Red Writing Hood Prompt – Bought

Money. We count it and trade it for the things we need, the things we want, and sometimes even the things we can’t really afford. This week you have 450 words; the first and last lines will be provided, but the middle is up to you! Beginning line: “Not everyone can be bought,” she said….

Red Writing Hood Prompt: Writing Goals

A little break this week from storytelling. It’s the beginning of autumn, the students are back in the classrooms, and at Write on Edge our thoughts are turning to our dreams and ambitions. This week we want to hear about your writing goals. Take three hundred words and tell us about where you want to…

Red Writing Hood Prompt – Clue

Clue: The Movie is one of my favorite campy movies, and CLUE (the game) still has the potential to provide hours of entertainment. In honor of the classic Hasbro game and the unforgettable performance of Tim Curry as Wadsworth the Butler, your flash fiction or creative non-fiction piece this week should include the words “candlestick”,…

Red Writing Hood: Photo Prompt, Umbrellas

This week, I offer you this photo. Go where ever it leads. You have a generous 500 words. Come back and link up on Friday’ post.

Red Writing Hood Prompt – Local Items

During a conversation with my dad and cousin the other day, we were discussing different beers and how certain, local items linger in your mind and weave together with memories and stories you remember with an almost possessive type of nostalgia. Using small details like local breweries, specialty food items, or local businesses can deepen…

Red Writing Hood Prompt: Face to Face

Yesterday, Angela talked about meeting her writing parter in person. For her, the meeting was less awkward than she’d thought. For this week, write about a face to face meeting which, for better or for worse, doesn’t go as planned. Fiction or memoir, 450 words. Link up with us on Friday’s post. Happy writing!

Red Writing Hood – Collision

Waves crashing on the beach, cars drifting into one another in the middle of the night, the creation of energy through nuclear fusion. When two things collide there’s potential for both creation and destruction. Whether you’re flexing your fiction muscles or your memoir-writing skills, writing about collision and its fall-out will give you the chance…

Red Writing Hood – The Terminal

Travel can be thrilling; meeting old friends, seeing new places, an illicit liaison all have the potential to bring a smile to one’s face in the days leading up to the trip. Airports are often simply the bookends to an exciting adventure, but with their labyrinth of terminals, kooky kiosks, and never-dimming fluorescent lights they…

Red Writing Hood Prompt: Phoenix

Angela spoke yesterday about an idea coalescing, rising figuratively from the flames of a weekend campfire. In that spirit, this week I challenge you to be inspired by the phoenix. You may choose one of the two definitions below to write about. Word limit: 450.       ~~~~ (source New Oxford American Dictionary online)…

Red Writing Hood – Going for the Gold

I’m watching my Twitter streams with one eye averted this week and carefully scanning my Facebook feed before diving in. My DVR is set to catch some of my favorite Olympic sports, and I prefer to watch them without knowing the results if possible. Olympic athletes are showcasing their talents on a global stage, and…

Red Writing Hood Prompt: Longhand

Inspired by Angela’s return to longhand, and the more personal, less-distracted feelings she derives from putting pen to paper, your prompt is this: A stand-alone scene, fiction or memoir, in 500 words or less, involving a handwritten letter. Come back and link up on Friday. We’re looking forward to reading!

Red Writing Hood Prompt: The Secret Sits

A tiny poem by Robert Frost to inspire you this week: The Secret Sits We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows. You have 450 words. Come back and link up on Friday!

The Forbidden – Red Writing Hood

As a child, Beauty and the Beast was always one of my favorite fairy tales. My Grandma Rose taught me to look for the thorns before picking a rose, carefully pointing out the danger hidden beneath the velvety petals. Something about the forbidden rose at the center of the tale seemed magical to me in…

Red Writing Hood – Freedom

As I consider unfolding a story on my blog week by week, I can’t help but think of some of the serial stories written by community members. So many of the Write on Edge writers have created compelling stories I can’t wait to read each Friday (or any other days they post installments!) I’ve read…

Red Writing Hood Prompt: Sand

Thanks to everyone who turned passive voice on its ear last week. Such a lot of strength displayed across the linkups! Some of you embraced more than one phrase, and I definitely read a couple that used all three. k of Bloggit Write wrote of a dress which possessed its wearer’s body, not in a…

Red Writing Hood Prompt: Short and Active!

Angela talked about how removing passive voice from her short story opened up opportunities for her character to be more active in the narrative, truly showing her feelings through her actions. Another thing about passive voice: it’s not as efficient, and excess words bog down your work. For Friday, a short challenge. Below are three…

Red Writing Hood – The Role of Fate

Even the most staunch advocates of free will may find themselves looking into the night sky and wondering if there isn’t some sort of cosmic order to the events unfolding in their lives. There’s something about certain moments that make the role of fate seem a little closer, moments where events seem to be led…

Red Writing Hood: To the Moon

Angela reminded us all earlier: “… own your words, embrace your strengths, and believe in your writing.” With that in mind, for Friday you have 500 words to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, which includes the phrase “to the moon.” Come back and link up on Friday’s post.

Red Writing Hood: Victor/Victoria

About a year ago, I realized the only way to make my plot moveforward was to switch to the main male character’s point of view. There were things the reader needed to know that my heroine didn’t. I thought it would be easy. I was wrong. After years of writing from the female perspective, switching…

Red Writing Hood: Location, Location, Location

I wrote about my writing space yesterday, but what about the spaces where your characters live? As a reader, I’m drawn to character driven stories; I savor emotional revelations and motive-revealing body language. Yet this week, I was struck by the setting Rox introduced in her prompt response, Finding Agnes: Arizona.  The piece is part…

Red Writing Hood: Choice and Consequences

Yesterday, Angela wrote, “Short stories can end on an ambiguous note, loose ends dangling a bit in your reader’s mind.  But leaving loose ends doesn’t mean your story is a vignette, a still photograph; there should be a conflict and a choice.  That choice should lead to a consequence, though it doesn’t need to lead…

Red Writing Hood: Advancing the Plot

Inspired by a comment Barbara left on my piece, I’m showing you what happens when you remove the spoken words from her piece. Catching sight on the redness rising on his neck, Tess laid a hand on David’s arm. [...] David tensed, but he paused. Taking a deep breath, he removed her hand only to…

Red Writing Hood Prompt: More Than Words

I’d like highlight the way Victoria used dialogue and subtext in her piece The City of Champions, in response to the “Core” prompt last week. Victoria’s dialogue works so well to move the story forward and show the reader information in a non-narrative manner.  The subtext behind Mrs. Peterson’s words shines through so clearly, showing a depth to her…

Red Writing Hood Prompt: Core

It’s Tuesday, and time for a community highlight from last week’s link up, and the new prompt. Shelton Keys Dunning‘s Fairy Tale Ended turned the magic and the “makeover” on its ear. This description of stripping away makeup moved me. The language is simple, but the the feelings expressed are universal and poignant (and we…

Red Writing Hood: Makeover

Sorry this is late. Forgive us while we get the improvements in place? It’s time for a change in outward appearance, be it a character, yourself, or someone in your life. In 500 words or less, write about a makeover of your choice (hair, clothes, makeup, facial hair for the menfolk), fictional or memoir/creative non-fiction….

Red Writing Hood: Paying What You Owe

image courtesy of stock.xchng Tax Day is near, and people around the country are crunching numbers and figuring out if they’ll be cashing checks in a few weeks or writing them. The government isn’t the only thing that expects you to pay what you owe. Taxes, poker games, and deals conducted through whispers under streetlights all…

Red Writing Hood: Things Need to Happen

Things need to happen in a story. This we know, but sometimes the advice we get regarding exactly what needs to happen… well, it frankly sucks. Take this one, pulled from an unnamed source, and quoted in Marion Roach Smith’s The Memoir Project: “Today’s fiction tip for writers: A good way to ‘liven up’ the…

Red Writing Hood–Crossing the Line

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. The Detroit 300. The ideas of vigilante justice and citizens’ arrests. Frustrated with the justice system, private citizens are individually and collectively testing the waters of taking matters into their own hands. These laws, these groups have met with murmured words of approval and understanding, despite questionable methods and tragic circumstances….

Red Writing Hood: Abandon All Hope

Hope comes in a jar. It floats. We wrote about hope in our memoirs this week, now let’s take it in a different direction. According to Dante, the gates of hell are inscribed “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Let that inscription lead, but not necessarily define, your piece for Friday’s link-up. 500 words…

Red Writing Hood: the Anti-Hero

Yes, I know. We’ve talked about villains before. For me a villian is a bad guy, a black hat, someone driven by sinister motives. An anti-hero, though, there is a character who stands in opposition to the protagonist, who provides a foil and an obstacle on the hero or heroine’s narrative journey. The way I see…

Red Writing Hood: #1 Songs the Week You Were Born

In honor of Davy Jones and the other artists who enhance our lives, this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt draws inspiration from music. Go to This Day In Music, and discover what was number 1 on the charts in the United States, England or Australia the day you or your character was born, or any…

Red Writing Hood

For Friday, I challenge you with this opening line: “It was a rainy night in Dusseldorf…” You have 500 words. Have fun with it. Come back on Friday and link up your work.

Red Writing Hood – Conflict and Violence

image courtesy of stock.xchng Have you attended one of our Write on Edge Twitter chats? At our last chat, several of our community members mentioned struggling with conflict in their plot development. As writers, we fall in love with our characters and shield them from negative events. But effective plot development demands conflict. This week we’d…

Red Writing Hood – The BLT

This week we showed you a picture of a delicious BLT and then asked you to write, in 400 words or less, a post inspired by it. Did you stick with the sandwich? Did you make it the main focus of your post? Did you just see bacon? Link up your take on this delicious…

Red Writing Hood: The BLT

Plump tomatoes, salty bacon, crisp lettuce, soft bread, this week we want you to be inspired by the BLT. Write a piece of either fiction or creative non-fiction based on this photo. The word limit is 400. Use your imagination and appetite and come link up here Friday!

Red Writing Hood: Pick A Number

We have a prompt from the archives today. This was one of The Red Dress Club’s first prompts, and so much fun!  It originally came from this article. The instructions are below. Come back and link up on Friday’s post. Word limit is 500.

Red Writing Hood: Music

This past month, Nancy, Angela, and I have all vlogged about music and how it inspires us. In that spirit, the final Red Writing Hood prompt for the month will be musical as well. We’ve written about playlists before, so let’s look at music differently. For Friday, let your character be inspired by music. It…

Red Writing Hood – Polishing Our Tools

Yesterday, I wrote about working on some of the weaknesses in my writer’s toolbox. This week, we’d like you to take an honest look in your toolbox and pull out one of the tools you believe needs a little polishing. You could practice dialogue or character development, narrative description or setting, plot advancement or denouement….

Red Writing Hood: Salt Water

This week our prompt comes from Kir of The Kir Corner. “The cure for anything is salt water….sweat, tears or the sea.” ~ Isak Dinesen, pseudonym of Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke For your Creative Non-Fiction tell us about the last time that one of these three things “cured” you. If you are going with Fiction, have…

Red Writing Hood: Flavor

This prompt is loosely inspired by a conversation on our Facebook page. Four hundred words or less, fiction or creative non-fiction, linked up on Friday morning’s post, based on one of the following definitions: flavor |ˈflāvər| ( Brit. flavour) noun 1 the distinctive quality of a particular food or drink as perceived by the taste…