Email Overload, A Small Gem, And Fab Fiction Friday…

All right, let’s get to it.

I had almost 500 emails in an email account of mine, and I’ve spent the last I-forgot-how-long cleaning the thing out (and getting dozens of ideas for blog posts—few of which I wrote down—lesson to the wiser on that). Usually, I just delete, delete, delete, but I’m on more than a few email lists that give me essays and personal development material.

Anyway, one of the essays I read quoted some type of philosophy about how to think differently about something. The quote is “the obstacle becomes the way”—meaning something that first appears as a distraction or a letdown can spur us to tackle a problem using that same thing.

Rolling with that inspiration (and another from a scrap of a prompt I remember from years ago) here’s the prompt for Triple F this week:

Your story has to include a pencil. For those of you who do or don’t think like me, the pencil must be ordinary—no laser-shootage or any science fiction writing tools allowed.

Now the fun part…

Hmm—a restriction. How can we avoid this roadblock?

How about thinking of the “roadblock” as a door to somewhere else?

I usually talk about character here—because that’s an ideal start for a fiction story—but not the only one.

All right, so pencils are dull—maybe. Since science fiction is a no-no on this deal, the pencil can’t be alive (darn it all). But that doesn’t mean we can’t play around with who’s using the pencil…

Who are they, and what are they using the pencil for? To write a symphony? A message? To signal a distant land?

Do they live in a society that’s afraid of pencils? Why and how did whoever-it-is come to possess this feared object? Sure, we can go the in-the-right-hands-any-object-is-a-deadly-weapon angle too, but why would we? Is there some kind of initiation going on, and that’s why someone has this pencil?

Are pencils illegal? Why or why not? An illegal pencil? Seriously?

Funny? Sure. Interesting? Probably…but still a great base to work with. Which is what these prompts are all about–and why I started them in the first place.

I got talking about the setting again—but to me, for some reason, setting is one of the most fascinating aspects of fiction.

If you agree on that, drop me a comment. Or if you’d like to comment about a time email got in your way, that’s cool too.

It’ll be September in about a week and a half.

Make it a great weekend—this weekend, and every weekend.

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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