Writing Prompt Wednesday: Armor Documentary!

Greetings once again, readers. In keeping with the use of multimedia in last week’s prompt, this time I have a video about medieval heavy armor for you to check out. I’ve been doing some research on this topic lately, and this documentary was pretty helpful. It’s over 45 minutes long, but it’s interesting and informative, cheesiness notwithstanding.

Enjoy, and catch you next time!

K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson

When writing, be deliberate

In WFC’s very first post, I said that there’s no way to know how a story will fit together until all the pieces are out of the box. Today I’d like to explore another aspect of this idea: if you’re having trouble pulling the pieces out of the box, try being deliberate about it instead of simply grabbing at anything that reaches your hands.

I understand that the technique of simply putting down on paper whatever comes out of your head can be an effective means for some writers to get started (a few of which I knew – or knew of – from various writing classes), but any time I try to just vomit everything out on the page in the hope of “finding my subject,” the result reeks of complete, blithering incoherence. Whether that says something or nothing at all about my general mental state I have no idea, but what I do know is that it is usually much more aggravating than inspirational. Instead, when writing, I try to be deliberate. To illustrate what I mean, let me give you a recent example.

Last week I used the story prompt from May 4th, about a couple of thieves who encounter an abandoned space station and decide to explore it, as the basis for a sci-fi short story. So, first of all, if you’ve ever wondered if I use my own prompts (I can almost hear you shouting “no!” at the screen right now, and to that I say: tough), the answer is yes. Secondly, I knew the general thrust of the plot when I started: they’d go in expecting to just loot the place, and discover that the station is harboring a Dark Secret™. However, all of the details, like who the thieves were, what their reasons were for being there, what they find, etc., were vague or nonexistent to start with.

However, I didn’t start randomly jamming the keys on my keyboard like an infinite chimp, hoping to produce Ray Bradbury at some point and call it an evening, which, now that I think about it, would be some sort of mutant-variety plagiarism, but I digress. Instead, I tried to envision how the station would look, what the characters would do first when they got there, and what would keep them there long enough to explore the rest of the station. I ended up with a few crime fiction tropes, such as the obligatory safecracking scene, but remixed to fit into the sci-fi context, which was a blast to write, and a fun exercise in trying to do something a little different (for me, anyway; I’m sure there’s a “safecracking in spaaaaace” plot out there. I just haven’t seen it yet).

And in fact, that’s all the story was supposed to be, an exercise to stretch my writing muscles. I’m currently in the process of editing it for submission. So far, what I’m seeing from my first draft is an internally coherent piece of work that has a lot of fun details to it, many of which were born from things I’ve read due to my interest in space and the physics of space travel. Although the ending is going to need some work, all of the things that are, more or less, complete came about because I stopped and thought about what I was writing and what kinds of details would work in the setting.

For some writers, the idea generation stage entails throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. For me, however, knowing the kind of wall I’m dealing with helps me to know ahead of time what ideas are likely to stick.

K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Sedlec Ossuary

Since I feel like doing something a bit (okay, very) different this week, I decided to provide a series of eye-popping photos to jump-start your creativity instead of the typical text-based writing prompt fare. In keeping with this month’s theme, the following photos are from Sedlec Ossuary, located in the lower levels of the medieval-era Chapel of All Saints in Czechia (also known as the Czech Republic).

All Saints Chapel
Chapel of All Saints, Exterior. By user “Zp,” via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The site had been used as a burial ground for hundreds of years before František Rint was commissioned by the prominent Schwarzenberg family in the 1700s to place the bones in the Ossuary in some semblance of order. His solution for organizing the thousands upon thousands of bones and skeletons that had been laid to rest in the lower levels of the chapel?

Arrange them artistically, of course! The result of Rint’s work can be seen in the photographs below, including the incredible chandelier and the Coat of Arms of the House of Schwarzenberg. I’ve always wanted to see this place for myself, because the use of something many people consider sinister or taboo to provide a peculiar beauty to a sacred space is very inspiring to me.

While some people find such displays morbid and disrespectful to the dead, I think there’s an air of reverence to it, bringing to mind the passage from the Book of Genesis, “…for dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” a stark reminder that our lifetime is as valuable as it is limited.

Ossuary Entrance, with cross made of bones. Tyler Nofziger, via Wikipedia. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY 3.0
Coat of Arms of the House of Schwartzenberg. Originally posted to Flickr by user “word_virus.” Acquired for this post via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0
Chandelier made of bones. By user “Chmouel,” via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 3.0

’til next time, remember to Write a Full Circle every day.

K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Medieval Times #1

Greetings again, Readers! This month we’ll be taking a little trip back in time, to the days of sword and shield, king and castle, when cholera and plague Lords and Ladies ruled the land…and sometimes lost their heads! Join me as Writing Prompt Wednesday goes medieval all June-long.

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, England.
Bodiam Castle, East Sussex, England. Image source: WyrdLight.com via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons License, version CC BY-SA 3.0


Prompt 1

Write a poem inspired by the gorgeous photograph you see above. To get us started, I’ll share a poem I wrote a couple of years ago for a creative writing class inspired by photographs such as this, though the name is specifically inspired by Llansteffan Castle, in Wales:


“Battle of Llanstaff Castle”
Daylight spills over the castle walls.
Sally forth! Beyond the iron gates wait
Swordsmen whose sharpened blades thirst for blood!

Vanquish, my God-fearing sons, these dun
Swordsmen whose sharpened blades thirst for blood!
Fight them with mercy? Compassion? None!

With high Llanstaff Castle behind us,
Fight them with mercy? Compassion? None!
Foes who come seeking death shall find it.

Now raise your swords up and sally forth!
Foes who come seeking death shall find it
Atop these ancestral and verdant hills.

Glorious battle awaits us here,
Atop these ancestral and verdant hills,
Burial place of our forefathers.


Prompt 2

Write a story about a long-standing feud (no pun intended) between two kings, and how it was resolved WITHOUT violence. The more humorous, the better.


Prompt 3

Write a story based on the following sentence:

The King watched his future self parade in front of him, and he knew what he must do.



Hope these give you something fun to work on for the week ahead! Come back next week for more prompts!

K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson

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Writing Prompt Wednesday: Technicolor Dreams #3


Sacred Geometry 2-Scaled
Sacred Geometry 2 by William “Spektyr” Laskorski

Hello everyone! The past week has been an immensely productive one, and I must admit that Writing Prompt Wednesday almost passed by unnoticed amidst the flurry of creativity. Luckily, I’m taking a breather in order to bring you another set of Technicolor Dreams-themed prompts.


You’re welcome. 😉

Prompt 1

Write dialogue between two characters in which color is a central point of discussion. The topic may be anything.


Prompt 2

Most cultures consider certain colors important in some way. For instance, the Navajo (a culture indigenous to North America) give the colors white, black, blue, and yellow sacred significance, representing the four directions, among other things.

Your job is to do a bit of worldbuilding, and outline a culture in which colors are highly important. Be as detailed in your work as you wish. Create rituals, write speeches or creeds, and generally develop the culture. Think historically as you create. For instance, in human culture certain groups have used colors to represent themselves (purple = royalty; red = high-ranking church official), or have had colors used as a negative and/or oppressive symbol against them by others (yellow Star of David and pink triangle symbols = badges of shame in Nazi-controlled areas of Europe). These are just examples, intended to help you see the different ways that color can be used in a society.

For specifically-religious examples, there’s green, which is a very important color in Islam, and here’s a couple of interesting PDFs which outline the significance of color in Christianity and Hinduism, respectively.


Prompt 3

Base a story around the following sentence:

“We knew we were in trouble when the sky turned blue.”


So that’s a wrap on the final Technicolor Dreams edition of Writing Prompt Wednesday. Come back next week for an all-new theme and more writing prompts to keep you busy all month long!

K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson


Writing Prompt Wednesday: Technicolor Dreams #2

Heavy Rainbow by Matthew Attard, via DeviantArt.com. Used with permission.
Heavy Rainbow, by Matthew Attard, via DeviantArt.com. Used with permission.

Greetings, readers! Welcome to another Technicolor Dreams edition of Writing Prompt Wednesday.

Headlining this week’s entry is our featured artwork, Heavy Rainbow, a stunning surreal piece by Australian artist Matthew “priteeboy” Attard. Many thanks for graciously permitting Write Full Circle to showcase this one-of-a-kind creation, Mr. Attard!

On the writing prompt front, we have some great stuff for you, including prompts for poetry, stories, and even a dream journal, if that’s your thing.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

Poetry Prompts

1) Write a prose poem based upon the most vivid dream you can remember. Keep it under 500 words.

2a) Note the first two colors you see when you look around. DO NOT WORRY if they are extremely similar.

2b) Write a Pantoum where the repeated pair of lines in each stanza features both of these colors, one to a line. They may include the name of the color, or poetic attributes of that color.


Story Prompts

1) Write a story in which the main character cannot tell whether what they experience is real or not.

2) Assume there is a reality in which everything is the opposite of what it is here. Up is down, hot is cold, even colors are the opposite from each other. Now, tell a story in which someone from this reality is brought into our own.

3) Write a story inspired by this week’s featured artwork.


Dream Journal Project

For one or two weeks, keep a dream journal in which you write down all your dreams that you can remember. It is best if you write them down as soon as you wake up.

At the end of the journalling period, take the two or three most interesting dream sequences and write stories based on them. Keep the characters and situations as close to the way they were in your dreams, but feel free to expand on the logic of the dream as you write. For instance, if you could float or fly, perhaps you aren’t limited to staying on this planet, or if you are, you can still fly anywhere in the world you want to go.

Note that it is possible that by paying attention to your dreams and journalling them you could at some point have a lucid dream, in which you become aware that you are dreaming. Be sure to reflect these events in your story.

K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Technicolor Dreams #1

Last week’s special edition of WPW was a great way to ease into a new month, but now it’s time to choose a common theme to carry us through the next few weeks: Technicolor Dreams. Free your imagination as we settle in to a new Writing Prompt Wednesday…

Prompt 1:

Write a story in which the word “cinematomatic” appears.


Prompt 2:

Write a poem in which each new line starts with a word beginning with the letter of one of the colors of the rainbow: ROYGBIV. They do not necessarily need to appear in that order.

BONUS CHALLENGE: End each line with a word beginning with the letter of the color opposite the current one in ROYGBIV. Example: Line begins with “Y,” so it should end with a word beginning with “B.”


Prompt 3:

Write a story that ties three of your most recent dreams together in a coherent way.



Alrighty folks, that does it for another edition of Nightli…sorry, Writing Prompt Wednesday. Tune in next week for more writing prompts (and hopefully a great image to accompany the new theme; still working on permissions issues).

Remember to Write Full Circle everyday,


K R Parkinson Monogram

Getting real with worldbuilding

mosaic globe by pippalou (pippalunacy.com)Not-so-shameful confession: I’m something of a “pantser” when it comes to writing, especially fiction. When starting a new project, I tend to jump right in without a plan or outline to guide me. At most, I will have a scene or a character in mind that I want to explore to see where it leads, and I love the freedom that this approach affords. However, once I decide that it’s an idea worth pursuing seriously, it’s time to go back and do some “worldbuilding,” organizing what I’ve written so far and filling out the little nooks and crannies of the setting to make it more real for both writer and reader (but not, necessarily, more realistic – for instance, the late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld universe is highly unrealistic from the standpoint of physical possibility, but the setting itself has a wonderful sense of reality).

There’s tons of information about worldbuilding you can find with a simple Google search (like this article, which reinforces some of the same ideas I’ll discuss momentarily), but for me, worldbuilding is a little bit like playing a game of twenty questions with myself about the setting and characters. These are the questions I usually start with:

  • Who lives in this place?
  • What kind of government do they have, and why?
  • What is the dominant religious institution, and why is it dominant?
  • What are the competing faiths, and what kind of relationship do they have with the dominant one?
  • How does the military function, and how much influence does it have over civilian life and/or government affairs?

I focus on these questions in the beginning mainly because I enjoy ruminating on the sort of high-level details that provide a glimpse into the society as a whole. While some writers tend to focus more on the characters in the beginning, filling out the attributes of each character and then creating a world in which to place them, I find starting at the society/culture level more effective, because once I give reality to the world I can better understand what kinds of characters populate it.

I also ask questions that help to flesh out the religion of the culture in which the story takes place. The power of religion to shape the course of a society is immense, and so it’s a good idea to explore how it impacts the history, events, and characters of your narrative. Some questions regarding this topic might include:

  • What kinds of stories do these people tell themselves about their place in the world?
  • What do they believe about other cultures? Are they generally inclusive or exclusive of others? How do they see themselves in relation to these other cultures?
  • What myths and legends do they believe in, and why?
  • How have these mythologies changed over time, and what caused them to change?

It also helps to understand where each of your main characters comes from (both genealogically and geographically – never underestimate geography when worldbuilding*), and what their major desires are in life, as this will impact both the events of the plot and how each character deals with them. For instance, a woman who had particularly cold parents might desire a sense of belonging, and someone who always received unconditional approval might suffer from a seemingly paradoxical inadequacy complex. Someone who lives in a sparsely populated frontier might tend towards hard-driving independence, while city-dwellers could be apt to uphold societal norms.

You might be wondering why one doesn’t just write and let all of this fall into place on its own. Isn’t time spent worldbuilding just time taken away from the actual story you want to tell?

Well, yes and no. As with research, you want to avoid getting so caught up in the process of worldbuilding that you lose sight of the actual goal: to tell an interesting story. This is especially true if, like me, you particularly enjoy tackling the bigger-picture elements that worldbuilding necessarily involves. I can – and do – sit and write about these things for hours when I’m having a particularly good worldbuilding session, and when that happens I am keenly aware that not much of the actual story I want to tell is being put down on the page.

That said, I often find that, if I’m having trouble figuring out some plot point or struggling to understand how my characters might react in a certain situation, a little detour into worldbuilding gives me tools to help solve those issues. Figuring these things out in advance not only makes it easier to visualize the setting and characters while you write, but also creates a more complete and believable world, one that is easier to understand.

Indeed, what often results from my worldbuilding is a variety of documents that I refer to as “artifacts:” myths, legends, and even government decrees such as laws and legislation, each of which help answer why and how things came to be in the particular slice of history where the story takes place. Answering the question “Why are things the way they are?” is key to understanding the real world, and I find that being familiar with answers to that question in my fictional worlds helps me to create livelier, more intriguing stories. Sure, it’s hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun.

And isn’t that why we write in the first place?

K R Parkinson Monogram


*Jared Diamond’s excellent non-fiction book, “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies,” is a great overall resource for exploring why geography is essential to understanding the development of human cultures.

Image credit: User pippalou (pippalunacy.com) via MorgueFile.com

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Star Wars Day Special!

May the 4th be with You...Always
Background image credit: NASA, ESS, and STScI via HubbleSite.org. Text overlay and other modifications by K R Parkinson

Happy Star Wars Day! In honor of the occasion where everyone’s telling everyone else “May the 4th be with you,” this week’s Writing Prompt Wednesday theme is “In a galaxy far, far away….”

Prompt 1: Complete the story

We parked in one of the station’s loading bays. It was dark out there, and too quiet inside the ship – sounds from the bay weren’t transferring through the air to the hull. Life support systems were probably down. Kam and I put on our pressure suits before going out. He looked nervous, kept glancing out the cockpit windows at the angular, towering shapes casting tall shadows on the walls. The lights flickered on and off at irregular intervals, making the shadows shift and pulse.

I had bats darting around in my  gut, too, but I was better at hiding it than my brother. Always had been, even when we were young. I was “the brave one,” the one who stepped up to defend my brother from bullies every week at school. I always thought he was chicken, and I still do, but he’s got a brain on him that won’t quit, and we’ve stayed close all these years. It’s been a profitable relationship. I choose the targets and Kam figures out how to get in – and out – without making anyone suspicious. If we do attract attention, well, let’s just say that I’ve talked us to safety more than once, and I know how to use a plasma pistol when I need to.

We walked down the ship’s ramp, the darkness of space at our backs, looming just beyond the mouth of the loading bay. Crates and containers, ancient by the look of them, were all over the place, a few in tall, orderly stacks, most just piled up without care or knocked over like giant toy blocks. Some were open, but most were still sealed up, and I smiled. It’s rare to come across an abandoned space station like this, but when you do it’s a fool’s bargain not to check it out. You never know what you might find…


Prompt 2: Alien anthropology

Write a story about a culture whose solar year is only one Earth-month long. How would that affect that culture? What might they do differently from humans?


Prompt 3: Dreaming of another life

The Star Wars universe is filled with planets of all types, and with hundreds of species of beings. If you could live on only one planet, inhabited or not, for the rest of your life, what would it be? Describe it. If it is inhabited, what would the people be like? Would you prefer to live there with someone you know, or not?


Okay, so that wraps up another Writing Prompt Wednesday! Hope these prompts inspire your creativity. As always, feel free to share by leaving a comment.

Until next time…May the 4th be with you!


K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson


Background image credit: NASA, ESA and STScI via HubbleSite.org. Text overlay and other modifications by K R Parkinson.

Writing Prompt Wednesday: April Showers #4

April seems to have flown by, and things are not sitting still in the world of Write Full Circle. My current writing projects are progressing nicely, though slowly. One of my recent short stories is ready for submission to appropriate markets, an exciting development on which I will, of course, keep you updated.

In the meantime, you guys are probably looking forward to another Writing Prompt Wednesday. In fact, this will be the LAST WPW for April 2016, so let’s send April out with a bang, shall we?

Embed from Getty Images

Prompt 1*:

Write a poem about weather that DOESN’T include the letters ‘T’, ‘S’, ‘L’ or ‘R’ (nor their lowercase equivalents – no cheating via technicalities, people).

Prompt 2:

Write a story in which a thunderstorm is the main character.

Prompt 3:

“Is that a hurricane?”


Alrighty folks, that does it for Write Full Circle’s first month of Writing Prompt Wednesdays. In May, expect a fresh WPW theme, in addition to more articles similar to Write Full Circle’s first-ever post. I have a topic in mind for the next article, and I’m shooting to have it ready for posting next week.

’til next time,

K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson

*Prompt 1 inspired by this tweet and an exercise from the excellent book Cryptology by Albrecht Beutelspacher