Friday, November 16th, 2012

Writing Prompt – Playing with Fire

Photo of a single burning flame.We recently purchased a new wood stove at the House of Awesome™.

It’s a classy cast-iron affair with a glass window to look through while the fire burns and a fan on the back if we want to heat the place up like a sauna.

Needless to say, we’ve been playing with fire for the last week or so. Lots of fun.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Free write about the following, “My mother always told me to play with fire…” (Nope, not a typo there. We’re turning this old chestnut on its head.)
  • What would the world be like if Prometheus had never stolen fire from the Gods? What would your world be like?
  • “Out of the fire, Came a man sunken, To less than cinders, A tea-cup of ashes or so…” – Pool, by Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems.
  • As part of a character sketch for your latest short story or novel: Your protagonist’s house is on fire. What are the one or two items he grabs on the way out the door? What important item does he leave behind without a glance? Why? Same for your antagonist: what is she certain to take? What does she leave behind. What’s her rationale?
  • “Fire obtained by friction. It has been supposed to defeat sorcery, and cure diseases assigned to witchcraft.” – Needfire, by E. Cobham Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
  • The word fire turns up in several English-language idioms. Try one or more of these phrases fir a story or poetry starter:
    • trial by fire, or, baptism by fire
    • come under fire, draw fire, or on fire
    • add fuel to the fire, or, fueling the flames
    • fire in the belly, or, a fire in the loins
    • fire blanks, fire away, or fire a shot across the bow
    • fire is a good servant, but a bad master
    • fire up, hang fire, or light a fire under something
    • no smoke without fire

    (For more such idioms, check out the Free Online Dictionary.

Good luck!

2 comments to Writing Prompt – Playing with Fire

  • There’s also “You’re fired!” – Donald Trump.

    Your list of idioms also sparks a memory of my days in submarines (back when they were made of wood and propelled by hand cranks). We would ‘launch’ torpedoes, never ‘fire’ them, because the word fire had a different, and very specific meaning. Fires aboard submarines are very serious, so we couldn’t afford to be ambiguous about it. Simple words with many meanings can get you into trouble!

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