New Writing Prompt: Sparkling Beasts & Glimmering Gods

By Milli Thornton

THE PHILOSOPHER’S APPRENTICE, a novel by James Morrow, caused me to laugh on almost every page, ponder like a philosopher, and visualize parts of the book coming to life as a movie.

It also caused me to have a writing prompt moment. That’s when I notice something that begs to be made into a Fertile Material writing prompt.

On page 132 of The Philosopher’s Apprentice, I was reading about some hands-on learning for sisters Londa, Donya and Lolly proposed by their tutor, Jordan Frazier. The beauty of Jordan’s astronomy lesson hit me with images of the night sky and creative juice, all at once.

I came up with the prompt below by generalizing what I read on page 132 and adding my own details to it. Then I emailed the author to show him the prompt, asking his permission to use the idea. Mr. Morrow replied very graciously, and with a Yes.

I hope you enjoy the prompt! I encourage you to use it to write a story. At the end of this post you’ll find a link to a helpful companion article: “10 Tips for Using the Fertile Material Writing Prompts.”

Without further ado, here’s the prompt:

You are marooned on a Caribbean island with only your journal, the frosting pen from your niece’s Easy-Bake Oven and your moral guardian. While trying to figure out a use for your moral guardian on a tropical isle, he or she gets busy and sets you an assignment to distract you from your angst about “losing everything.” You are to study the night sky, thread the stars into constellations of your own making and then invent your own myths based on these new configurations.

With thanks to James Morrow and his book The Philosopher’s Apprentice

If you do write a story using this prompt, please leave a blog comment and spills the beans on one or more of the following:

— Was it fun?

— Did you surprise yourself with the richness of your imagination?

— Would you like to see your story published on this blog?



10 Tips for Using the Fertile Material Writing Prompts

Read Chapter One from The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow

Milli Thornton, Fear of Writing Blog | Fear of Writing Online Course

Milli Thornton


Milli Thornton is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and Milliver’s Travels and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse.

3 Responses to New Writing Prompt: Sparkling Beasts & Glimmering Gods
  1. Jemmie-Bean
    July 31, 2009 | 8:41 PM

    I can't wait to work on this prompt! I love the night sky and have even made up my own constellations when I was a child. Now I get to do it again AND make up the mythology behind the constellation, too! What a treat!

  2. Clara
    March 15, 2014 | 4:19 PM

    Astronomy happens to be my newest fetish so I’m eager to use your writing prompt. The constellations never looked like what they’re described as anyway.

    • Milli Thornton
      Twitter: fearofwriting
      March 16, 2014 | 12:45 PM

      Clara, how fortuitous that you found this old blog post. I had forgotten all about this writing prompt, to be truthful. I think I’ll pull it out of the archives and give it some more exposure.

      I’d love to hear how it goes for you. I read your article on fairies – I’m excited about what someone with a magical mindset might write with this prompt. Please feel free to come back and leave a report. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?