Colosseum Inaugural Games Writing Prompt

So Edana Ulf’s “Let’s Write!” prompt for today was:

“You have been transported back to the year 80 AD and the Roman Colosseum also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre has been completed. It is the inaugural games and you are in attendance. Describe your time there in as much detail as possible in 15 minutes.”

This is a subject of particular interest for me since, while I was in college, I took a class on the history of the gladiatorial games, and I did a presentation of structures of the games (mainly the Colosseum). The history of the gladiators fascinates me, especially one of the stories I heard about a girl who fell in love with a gladiator and ran off with him. (I’m a romantic. I can’t help it.)

That’s the story I had in mind when I began working on this writing prompt but…well…it says “describe your time there in as much detail as possible,” so I didn’t even manage to get to the actual games in 15 minutes. >.<

Anyway, here’s my piece for today’s writing prompt…

The deafening roar of 20,000 people crammed together in a stone circle rumbled in my ears as I squirmed in my seat in the top rows. I could barely breathe, much less move, and I was pretty sure that guy sitting next to me was just looking for a way to “accidentally” sit in my lap.

I readjusted my clothes for the umpteenth time, then glanced around at my surroundings. This was the opening day of the Flavian Amphitheatre, a massive stone structure meant for the gladiatorial games. The Colosseum, it was called, thanks to the massive statue that stood outside the main entrance. From where I sat, I could see an ocean of heads bobbing and swaying as people turned to their neighbors to discuss the upcoming games. I had hoped to find my friends, but…that didn’t look like a feasible task now.

I didn’t know much about the games, really. I had never actually been to a gladiatorial event, but all of my friends talked about the rugged warriors who fought there. The other girls would always go all starry-eyed at the mere mention of certain names, of which I couldn’t remember a single one, and I had even caught a couple of my friends carving ridiculous messages into the stone walls outside of town before. I had come with them to the Colosseum today, but with 20,000 people cramming themselves together, we had somehow gotten separated.

“This is so exciting!” one of the nearby spectators exclaimed to his friend. “I cannot wait to see the gladiators!”

“I’m looking forward to the hunts!” his comrade answered, grinning back. “This will be an all-day event, but I’m sure it will be worth it!”

I gasped slightly to myself when I heard their words. All day?! Did they mean to tell me I was going to be stuck here, squished between a pair of sweaty men, all day long?!

I was seriously considering getting up and leaving when, all of a sudden, the crowd around me bolted to their feet, shouting and shaking their fists in the air as a horn sounded and a line of men began to file into the arena far below.

I strained to see over the heads of the people in front of me as my neighbors continued to shout names and cheers at the figures in the arena. There must have been at least 50 men down there, all dressed in varying costumes. They seemed to be arranged into categories of costume, and even from this distance I could tell that they were scarred and haggard. Well, yes, I could admit that they were well-built, but still…what did my friends see in these people?

Blackened Skies Met Us…

Aaaaand….I’m done!  Now I’m caught up. Phew! Actually, this one was really fun for me. The prompt for this video was:

“Take the following sentence as a beginning of a story/scene of a story and write for 15 minutes – ‘Blackened skies met us as we approached the capital.’ ”

The moment I read the word “capital,” my retro fantasy novel Prism World jumped to mind, so the story segment I wrote is part of that series of stories. Actually, this is the beginning of a short story I have been meaning to write about how Leif and Lightning got their first child, their son, James.

Blackened skies met us as we approached the capital. A moment later, broad, heavy raindrops began to spatter our windshield, and Leif frowned as he flicked on the windshield wipers.

“A gloomy day for a gloomy city…” he muttered.

I glanced over at my husband briefly before turning my attention back to the scenery outside. Most of the debris from the battle we had fought a couple months prior had been removed, but I could still see the charred remains of the buildings that had been hit by mortar fire from the old government’s tank rounds. Flashbacks of that day sifted through my mind. Rain… It had been raining then, too. I could still see Blade’s face in my mind. It wasn’t something I could tell Leif, but I always thought of Blade. I wished that things had been different. I wished I had not had to kill him. I loved Leif, but I had loved Blade, too. In a different way, though. Not the way I loved my husband. It wasn’t something I knew how to explain.

I glanced up as Leif pulled our car to a stop in front of a tall building in the center of the city. Patski was already standing in the doorway, a dark black umbrella in hand, smoking a cigar as he watched us step out of the car.

I listened as the muddied gravel crunched underneath my feet. Leif appeared at my side a moment later, holding an umbrella over my head. It was something he did frequently. Said something about it being a requirement as a gentleman. I still wasn’t sure what that meant.

“Talk to me, Patski,” Leif said as we joined our comrade in front of the silent building. “What is it you think Lightning would want to see?”

Patski flashed us a wry grin, drawing in another breath from his cigar before motioning for us to follow him inside.

“We’ve gathered all of the Phantom children we could find,” the older man explained as he led us down a darkened hall.

“They’re here?” I questioned.

Patski nodded.

Well, they were obviously Phantoms, then. The whole building was silent as a tomb. Only our footsteps broke the quiet.

“And you thought we should visit them?” Leif mused, raising an eyebrow at our companion.

“Hmm…” Patski shrugged. “I doubt you would mind. But that’s not really the reason I called you.”

“Then what was it?”

Without a word, Patski led us into a darkened room. There were cribs here, each one holding a tiny form. I paused to stare at the figures in the cribs, frozen to the spot. It was the first time I had ever seen a baby before.

“These are all of the Phantoms aged newborn to 1 year,” Patski explained, throwing his cigar out in the hall and stepping further inside. “I called you because I thought Lightning might be interested in one.”

“Me?” I questioned, looking at the man in confusion.

“Yes,” Patski nodded, pausing next to a cradle in the far corner. “A boy, 2 months old. We found his pedigree. His father was your old friend, Blade.”

Let’s Write! Prompt 2

This prompt: “Write a story in exactly 50 words, no more, no less.”

I didn’t realize how difficult it was to write just 50 words. I spent the first 5 minutes staring at the wall wondering what I could possibly say in only 50 words. Ah, the challenges of a novelist mind. >.<


Morning sunlight spilled in through the open balcony as Razi stirred from a deep sleep.

Good morning, she thought.

Quietly the young woman stirred, opening her dark brown eyes and squinting in the light. Her eyes focused in on the gentle sleeping face of her husband.


“Good morning indeed.”

Confessions of a Graduated Writer

So…I had grand hopes for my blog when I first started writing here in the Spring of 2011. I was a young college freshman in the English program. I transitioned to the Writing Emphasis shortly after. It was great! I took poetry classes and narrative writing classes and seemed to find something funny about anything and everything that happened in my life. It seems, though, that the older I’ve gotten, the more out-of-touch I’ve become with that side of me. This is probably evidenced by the long periods of total desertion here on my blog.

I’m trying to get out of that slump now, but let me tell you: it’s hard. Currently I am working as a dean at a boarding school for kids whose ages range from 13-19. I have 54 teenage girls that I take care of, and my longest shifts run at 17 hours straight, sometimes 2 days in a row. I love it here. I love working with the girls and I’m excited because I will be subbing for some of the junior and senior English classes soon. But trust me when I say that despite how rewarding it is, it is also exceptionally exhausting, mentally rather than physically.

Recently my friend and fellow Rough Writers alumnus, Edana Ulf, started a YouTube series called “Let’s Write!”. This is a daily project with a writing prompt, a 15-minute countdown, and her own quick-write afterward. I’ve done the first one, and it was actually really fun and really challenging. So, with that being said, I’ve decided to try and do all of the “Let’s Write!” writing prompts on my days off as a way of keeping myself in touch with my writer’s spirit. (I’m still editing The Four Stars, but I’ve been working slow as molasses in January thanks to my mental drain.)

Edana’s first prompt is as follows:

“You are now the main character in the last book you read or story you are working on. What are you doing?”

Honestly, I haven’t read any story books in a while (most of what I have been reading recently have been religious books). However, for a couple weeks now I have been reading a visual novel (also known as an otome game) called Love Letters from Thief X, just for fun. (Yes, in some ways I’m still as bad as a teenage girl).

Because I wanted to share the story with one of my friends, I started transcribing it this last week. (I’ve typed about 45,000 words in the course of about 6 days). So when I read Edana’s prompt, “You are now the main character in the last book you read or story you are working on. What are you doing?”, I figured I would write about one of the Thief X characters. Not sure if what I wrote matches the goal of the prompt, but I had fun writing it, and it’s helping to get those creative juices flowing again.

So, with that, here’s my response to “Let’s Write – Ep. 1”.

“I will defeat you, foul Beardzilla!”

Takuto darted to the side at the sound of his friend, Hiro’s, words as their older friend, 17-year-old Atsumu, lunged toward the four younger boys.

“Initiating device synchronization!” 6-year-old Takuto declared, fiddling with his hand-held gaming device, a stern look on his young face.

“Hiro! Distract Beardzilla!” 9-year-old Riki commanded, taking on a heroic pose, the black jacket tied around his neck like a cape flapping back and forth as he moved “Kenshi! Shoot his lasers to keep them from hitting Takuto!”

“Rod’er!” 3-year-old Hiro piped back. “Beardzilla!!!”

The little boy latched onto one of Atsumu’s legs.

“Hahahaha!” Atsumu laughed exaggeratedly, tickling Hiro’s sides. “You will never defeat me!”

“Take this, Beardzilla!” 7-year-old Kenshi shouted, shooting a round of nerf darts at the older boy.

“You think these little bee stings will stop me?!” Atsumu grinned broadly behind his bushy beard. “Haha! I’ll stop you with my awesome laser beams of ultimate destruction!”

The whole time he was watching his friends wrestle around, Takuto was fiddling with his game device, his golden brown eyes narrowed in concentration. Then, all of a sudden, he shouted, “Synchronization complete! Targeting device is disabled! Attack now!”

“Aahh!” Atsumu exclaimed, making a booming sound. “I’ve shot myself! Noooo!”

Writing Prompt: Ruler of the World

So my friend, Sarah, and I have started doing writing prompts to keep our writing skills honed. Today’s writing prompt was the following:

You rule the world and you’ve been given the power to change one law of nature. What do you change?

We gave ourselves a time limit of 20 minutes. Wasn’t sure what to do at first, but it turned out pretty fun. So, here it is. Also, if you would like to read Sarah’s interpretation of this prompt, you can find it here.


Sun glittered off the decorative pool in the courtyard below, but I had long ago given up trying to hear the sound of the pool’s many fountains above the din of the crowd gathered around it. I fidgeted slightly with my costume as I peeked around the corner of the door that led to the balcony, then drew in a deep breath, trying to still my nerves. It didn’t work. Whose funny idea was it to make me ruler of the world? Me, the same girl who used to hide behind pianos at church socials. Ok, so I wasn’t that bad now, but still. Ruling the world had never been on my bucket list. Still, though, the job had come with its perks, and it was one of those perks that had brought the huge crowd to my castle palace in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. Of all the crazy things I had been given when I was made ruler of the world, this perk would definitely go in the Guinness Book of World Records for achieving an entirely new level of crazy. I had been given the power to change one law of nature. Yes, that’s right. Forget physics, and science, and all those white-haired men who had poured their hearts and souls into the theories I think I might have learned once upon a time in some class that I no longer remembered. Yes, I was about to change nature itself.

The giant clock on the tower above my palace chimed noon and the crowd outside quieted down. Now or never.

I stepped out onto the balcony and plastered as convincing of a smile as I could muster onto my face, waving as the crowd roared to life, making every concerted effort to bust my ear drums. I waited until I thought their voices must have become sufficiently sore before I motioned for silence.

“People of the world!” I shouted, hoping that the people in the back forty of the courtyard could at least tell that I was speaking English, if not understand what I was saying. “Today, I use the greatest gift that I have been given. No longer will you have to worry about falling from cliffs or dying from plane crashes. From this day forward, gravity will be at your command!”

More ear-piercing cheers. These people sure had good lungs.

I waved my hand and felt the energy flow out of me as nature bent to my will. Then, tapping one foot on the floor of the balcony on which I stood, I willed myself to fly. Instantly I soared skyward, coming to pause roughly a hundred feet above my cheering subjects. Yes. Now this was a gift.