Friday Fun-Day Writing Prompt: A Box-Shaped Mystery

As you may have seen on my Twitter or Facebook feed, I recently learned that I have been longlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association’s (CWA) Margery Allingham Short Story Competition. In honor of this news, I’ve created a writing prompt inspired by the quote which is the criteria for this contest:

Margery Allingham was the author of the “golden age” detective fiction series featuring the gentleman sleuth Albert Campion.

Image retrieved from the Margery Allingham Wikipedia Entry

The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.

Margery Allingham

┬áHere’s the prompt:

You come home from a typical day of work, running errands, chauffeuring the kids, hanging out with friends or your significant other, whatever. When you get inside you find a mysterious box set in the middle of the living room. You open the box and discover that it’s no ordinary box–it contains your worst fear.

Take five minutes to write notes on the box. How big is it? What does it look like? Is there any writing on it? What’s inside? Is it a physical object that you fear or something more existential? Why are you afraid of it? What’s your reaction when you see it? How does it make you feel and what do you do with it?

Using these notes for reference, write a short story or scene about the discovery of this box. It doesn’t have to be a mystery or a crime story, although it certainly can be if that’s what you want. It can be fantasy, horror, romance, whatever. Have fun with it.

When you’re done, feel free to post an excerpt in the comments below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Margery Allingham Short Story Competition, the CWA, or the quote I provided above, check out this website:

Have a fun and productive weekend of writing!

Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011

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