Daily, genre-inspired writing prompts for authors, teachers, and journaling
Currently Browsing: Mystery

Mystery – July 23

“The law isn’t justice. It’s a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.” -Raymond Chandler, born this date in 1888. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist must decide whether to allow the machine of law to work or to break it.

Mystery – July 22

Edward Hopper, born on this date in 1882, painted Automat in 1927: Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist must extract vital information from this woman in this setting.

Mystery – July 21

“We’re all seeking order. We’re all seeking control.” -Michael Connelly, born on this date in 1956. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist fails to bring order to a chaotic situation.

Mystery – July 20

“I felt early on I wasn’t going to be a respectable citizen.” -Cormac McCarthy, born on this date in 1933. Writing prompt: Write the scene from your protagonist’s early life when s/he made the first conscious decision to follow the path that brought your protag to the start of your current story.

Mystery – July 19

“I’ve been as bad an influence on American literature as anyone I can think of.” -Dashiell Hammett, whose The Dain Curse was first published on this date in 1929. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist tries and fails to convince a person who could tilt either bad or good that the person’s friends are a bad influence.

Mystery – July 18

On this date in 1969, a car driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy crashed into a pond on Chappaquiddick Island, Mass., killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist learns that everyone is more concerned about the life of a famous person than the death of an anonymous citizen.

Mystery – July 17

Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason, was born on this date in 1889. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist recognizes the dubious value of legal advice s/he got from an attorney more interested in a hobby than practicing law.

Mystery – July 16

“Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.” -Phyllis in Double Indemnity, portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck, born Ruby Stevens on this date in 1907. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which a partner’s sarcasm drives your protagonist to violence.

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