Creative Prompt: Wicked Wording This Way Comes


Welcome to Wordsmith Studio’s Weekly Prompt!

Every Thursday we’ll post a new topic for your creative pleasure.  When you get a good flash story, memory, poem, or photo (or three, or five) post them to your blog, website, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Then come back here and post a link to your contribution(s) in the comments.

This Week’s Theme is: Wicked Wording

“By the pricking of our thumbs, something wicked this way comes…”*

In keeping with the moodiness of the season, this week’s prompt gives nod to the eerie beauty of wicked wording.

There is something sumptuous about the wording of spooky stories. Shakespeare’s work is rife with earthy chills. Washington Irving delivers eerie suspense, these many years later, with the ominous description of a night’s ride alone through a dark forest. Agatha Christie used the prophecy of a poem to throw her characters into a panic in more than one of her mysteries.

There can be something oddly chilling and fierce about words that evoke the mystique of mythology, dark forests, or fairy tales.

You don’t have to be writing spooky stories for the mercurial emotion of poetry or folklore to add a bit of mystery to your work. Tea Obreht added a mystical, dark quality to her bestselling novel, The Tiger’s Wife, by threading it through with the grandfather’s memories of a “deathless man.” Who says your story can’t be made that powerful with the invention of your own primeval tale?

Get Creative!

In what ways do words create wicked forces in your work? What folklore and fairy tales — real mythology or your own invention — create a mystical quality in your work? What poetry creeps into wording to evoke just the right mood?

Does a heart beat broodily beneath the floorboards? Does wind rasp a branch against the wall? Are there secrets hidden in shadows of a dark inner room, or down that uneven forest path?




Use a real fairytale as the spine of a flash fiction — reimagine your own story on the primeval bones of fairytale fears. Write a poem, take a photograph, or otherwise play with the earthy beauty of wicked words.


*It’s bugging you, isn’t it… Want the full quote? From Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

2nd Witch: By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes. {Knocking}
Open locks,
Whoever knocks!
 {Enter Macbeth}

Macbeth: How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
What is’t you do?

Got Ideas?

Do you have suggestions for future “Creative Prompt” posts? Leave us a comment, or email us here.  We ♥LOVE♥ feedback!

Be sure to check back next week for more fun and new inspiration.


Happy Creating!

Wordsmith Studio

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