#642 things to write about

Back on my book blog, and every so often, I would post one of the exercises in this fantastic book I was given as a present.


642 things to write about is a series of writing prompts from the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto ranging from the obscure, ‘pen an ode to an onion’. to the thought-provoking, ‘write about the best day of your life’.

It’s a great way to start writing if you’re feeling stuck, and something I’m going to start again now I am back on take 2 two of my current novel. It’s a lot of fun to try a different type of fiction that I’m used to and often generates new ideas and perspectives.

So here goes!

‘Write a short story that is set in Argentina in 1932, in which a teacup plays a crucial role.’

The wind is blowing through the door, rattling the china. Maria’s hand shakes as she pours the tea, trying not to make eye contact with either of the men.

Sharp suits and sharper scars, they scowl across at each other, palms flat on their knees. The waitress backs away, and for a heartbeat, nobody moves.

The blue pattern on their cups is chipped and the white paper tablecloth is stained. A knife nestles next to each man’s boot, another dozen hidden away.

As if on cue, the two men get to their feet; slowly, deliberately. Their faces are completely immobile. In the back, the waitress wishes she could quiet her breathing and become forgettable. She hopes they have not memorised her face.

The door creaks in the wind, and outside a coyote starts to howl.

“We can come to an arrangement,” the older man says, his voice steady.

His friend shakes his head once. A broadcast crackles onto the radio, breaking the silence.

“We can pay. Just a little more-” the first man starts. He never finishes his sentence.

The younger man pulls out a knife and throws it squarely into his chest. A police officer charges through the door as the body becomes a corpse. The officer takes out his baton but a shot blows the teacup into shards of pottery and scalding liquid, flying up into the officer’s eyes as the killer makes his escape.