Em's place

Writing, anxiety-wrangling, tea.

Be part of the countdown to launch!

By Emma on January 8, 2013

Well, I can’t quite believe it but there are only ten more Split Worlds stories to write and release before the launch of Between Two Thorns. [Insert excited and terrified screaming and hand flapping here.]

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been releasing a short story every week for a year and day (there was a pause in the middle due to all the Angry Robot deal stuff that took me by surprise). Each one is designed to be a tiny glimpse into the world(s) the novels are set in and some of them feature characters in the books. Whilst it isn’t necessary to read the stories to enjoy the books, my hope is that if you read the stories, you’ll get some geeky thrillgasms when you read the books from knowing the vignettes behind some of the details. If you want to get each one (plus a bonus story) every week in your inbox, you can sign up here.

So anyway, I wanted to do something a little bit different for the last ten. I’d like to invite you to submit story prompts below and if yours either inspires a story and/or appears within it, I’ll send you a handwritten copy of the story and a little note to say thank you. A prompt could be just an idea, a line of dialogue, a title or a tiny little description – preferably of something odd. I like odd things. And slightly creepy stuff too.

All you need to do is pop it below and if your prompt is picked I’ll get in touch with you privately to make arrangements for getting your prize to you. Oh, and if the comments are playing silly sods, come and find me on Twitter instead – I’m @emapocalyptic 🙂

You can submit as many ideas as you like by the way.

Let’s make some stories!

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{ 14 comments... read them below, or add one }

  1. Hey Emma:)

    Here’s mine:

    The tea had been steeping for just over two hours.

  2. Ade Couper says:

    Hi Emma,

    how about “The train lumbered to a halt in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere”.



  3. Mieneke says:


    How about: “She opened the bound tome and instead of the expected smell of old paper and ink caught a whiff of sea spray and wet sand.”
    Mieneke recently posted..Moving Day!

  4. “The letter had remained unopened for precisely 54 years, 6 months and three days. She had decided to break the seal, today, at sunset.”
    Paul Weimer (@princejvstin) recently posted..Describe me in a word

  5. K. D. Bryan says:

    “The obsidian beast cried tears of blood.”

  6. “She shook the big pickling jar and the two eyeballs inside bobbed and rolled, bumping together like old friends.”

    One hell of an achievement, Em. I’m gormless with admiration. We’re all cheering you on to the finish line.
    Graham Storrs recently posted..Clean and Dirty

  7. Dave Robison says:

    Idea #1:
    A group (5 to 8) of friends discover that – when they are all together – something powerful (and potentially dangerous) occurs (reality splinters or warps, time distorts or overlaps, people become mute/blind/deaf, demons or angels can enter our world, etc)

    Idea #2
    “Are you absolutely sure?”
    “Of course not.”
    “Good. Then this might actually work.”

    Idea #3
    An art restoration expert discovers the pigments used by a long-dead artist contain strange minerals… minerals that no chemist or geologist can identify.

    Idea #4
    “That necklace is stunning.”
    “Thank you. It was a gift.”
    “I find that hard to believe.”
    “It’s too lovely. Once someone possessed it, I can’t imagine them ever letting it go.”
    “I think you over-estimate it’s value…”
    “… or under-estimate yours.”

    Idea #5
    At auction, a chess hobbiest acquires a the homemade chess-set of a now deranged chess-master. The hobbiest sets up the board and goes to sleep. When they wake, a piece has moved.

  8. Morning Emm

    idea #1
    I love the song lyric ‘standing on the edge of forever’ but do not know if you could use that as an idea?

    idea #2
    My other pet idea is: If you read the news you could be forgiven for think that some things just can’t be done. Then someone goes and does it. Usually because this person has never been told that it can’t be done!

    idea #3
    Concept: Rembering things that haven’t happened yet.

    All the best


  9. Dom Camus says:

    “I spent a year hiding inside a postbox once, watching one of the houses. That’s one of the safest ways. They’re scared of red things, so you don’t ever get spotted.”

  10. Diana Alsobrook says:

    Hello 🙂

    My idea isn’t very well thought out or developed, but I was wondering: What scares the Arbiter? What would really freak him out (in the line of duty or otherwise)?

  11. Stacy says:

    Love this idea. A group of friends used to do this on http://100wordstories.com/issues.php Then take the good stuff and write longer with it!

    Idea – In the grass lay a skeleton in a suit of clothes.
    Stacy recently posted..How Do I Logic?

  12. Emma says:

    Brilliant! Thanks guys 🙂 There’s still time to add more prompts – you can send in as many as you like…

  13. Evening Emm

    Following on from Stacey’s post, here is a 100 word descriptive piece that I wrote about year ago. Not enough of a story to get published, but it gained positive comments. Perhaps it is something that might inspire the whirly-gigs in your thought processes.



    Tom’s New Job

    Tiny feral eyes glistening with menace. A nose that was an enormous dirigible anchored to an incredibly craggy rock face. The moustache was road kill, a dead badger. With teeth of glowing green phosphorus stalactites and stalagmites inhabiting the mouth. The chin was comparable to the iceberg that sank the Titanic. Skin resembling faded parchment. The hair was better, a wild wood of a forest gone mad and ears of carbuncle and cabbage.

    The body dressed in one of Saville rows finest pinstripes.

    Tom knew he was going to like his new job making digital avatars for the terminally insane

  14. This is such a fun idea! Okay, here are three potential prompts:

    “Attached to the kitten’s collar was a piece of paper with two words scrawled across it: ‘too slow’.”

    “”I know what you’ve come for” she interrupted, handing him a perfectly formed cupcake. He stared at the swirls of pink icing in bemusement.”

    “It was a lily, its slender stem carved into the shape of a key.”

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