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2021: Celebrating The Writers' Greenhouse
10 YEAR anniversary!

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Weekly writing prompt: Ripples


In the run-up to the online Imaginary Worlds course in February, I'm posting a writing prompt each weekend, to carry you through the winter – plenty of different stuff for you to play around with as a chance to experiment, start inventing, get your pen moving, and have fun!

This week's prompt is a lovely way of exploring worlds-that-might-be: RIPPLES, how one small change can ripple outwards and change the world entirely. This is a two-parter exercise; so I'm putting the timings to do 10 mins total, but if you want to do 20 or 30 mins, you can just double or triple that. So...

Part One: Brainstorm

Spend 3 mins (or 6, or 9) brainstorming all the tiny changes to the world you can think of. Future changes, like we finally get our jetpacks, we beat all diseases, we stop driving cars. Or changes to our existing world, such as, wood doesn't burn, or fences don't exist, or leaves are blue, or bees can write. Big or small, profound or silly, good or bad, just brainstorm a bunch of different changes. When you're done, choose your favourite for right now. (And don't discount the silly ones - there's gold in them thar hills...)

Part Two: The Ripples

Now, spend 7 minutes (or 14, or 21) rippling out all the implications of your idea. I like to pop the idea in a circle in the middle of the page, and then brainstorm around it all its implications: what else changes in the world, if that changes? Sometimes one change leads to another leads to another leads to another, so one of my brainstorm spokes turns into a chain extending further and further. Or you might prefer to do it vertically, your change at the top and various flow charts leading downwards. Whatever suits the way you think, ripple out the effects of your change...

Side note: I specifically said "worlds-which-might-be" rather than science fiction at the start. That's because even when we know how wide a term "science fiction" is, the term itself can still contrain our thinking and push us into thinking only ideas about physics and the future. But science is much wider than that, science fiction doesn't even have to use science, and it could be an alternate world instead of a future one. It's your world, whatever you want it to be.

If you'd like to find out more about the Imaginary Worlds course this February, you can read about it and book here. I'll be posting writing prompts each week, so if you want them delivered to your inbox, you can subscribe to the blog here:

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