Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so these ideas are free for you to use.
X is for Xylophone!
Romance. Terri’s stomach turned at the thought of coming up with a one-word prompt that started with X for the blog-fest she’d joined. She’d already cursed herself for not writing little romantic premises to post to her blog way in advance of the challenge, and she cursed herself for not stocking up on more TV dinners. But now she cursed herself for not having one single inspiring item in her house that started with an X. The dictionary was no help. Apparently, someone had stolen the pages for X. She found only a half a page bearing a few simple X words. Would it be cheating to use another language? Maybe not, but it would help to know one.
Forget it. She was not feeling ex-y. It was Sunday, her day off from blogging, and she was so exhausted she didn’t want to think about writing, blogging, or coming up with even semi-witty comments. She grabbed her Kindle and headed to the park.
Comfortable on a bench near a shade tree, she scanned the titles of the books she purchased from A-Z bloggers during the challenge. What to read, what to read? She finally settled on one and within minutes, she was drawn in. The story was so good she would have forgotten she was in a park if it wasn’t for the giggles behind her, and a series of lyrical notes going from low to high, then back to low. The sound was beautiful, yet distracting. When she heard a man’s drawling voice, she turned around.
“Now you try it,” the mass of muscle in tight jeans said to a curly-haired tot.
Terri glimpsed his hand–no ring. Maybe the girl was his niece, a buddy’s kid who needed help…
The girl giggled and obliged, clanging on an xylophone as though hammering nails into a board.
Terri didn’t mean to chuckle aloud, but she couldn’t help it.
The George Clooney look-alike, dimples and all, turned her way. “Sorry. Are we bothering you?”
Now you romance writers can finish it up, because you know there’s no way this is not going to turn into Terri’s best day. She’s got a great idea for Monday’s blog post featuring an X-word, and she’s met the man of her dreams. What could beat a day like that?
Mystery writers are in for a treat when they learn about Cassandra, who is all but bubbling with joy because the display capturing the most ogling in the Natural History Museum was largely her idea. True, she knew it was more because of the fame and intrigue circling the artifact–an xylophone dating back to the New Stone Age, 2500 BCE–than her artistic way of displaying it, but still, she felt that just-bit-into-chocolate excitement anyway. When she offered to work late, her boss dropped her very own key into her hand. “Don’t stay too long,” he said with an appreciative smile.
She worked just past midnight. When the ancient xylophone wasn’t in the case the next morning, suspicion immediately fell on Cassandra. Now mystery writers, here’s what you have to consider. Time of death was between 11 and one last night. The janitor had finished up by eight o’clock, though Cassandra didn’t watch him leave. Also, she’d noticed one woman earlier today lurking around the exhibit quite a while. And Jerome Nelson, the museum’s accountant, had been fretting about some discrepancies in the expenses. And then, the two security guards. One wouldn’t answer his phone, and the other was found on the museum floor, dead. Now it’s your turn to take Cassandra by the hand through this mystery until that magical moment when she leads you instead of the other way around.
(PS – Thanks to Google, I found this artifact online. It’s a true exhibit of the Natural History Museum in Paris. To my knowledge, it has not been stolen. All names and events in this blurb are purely fiction.)
Literary. Justin and Melissa had traveled far together, not in distance, but in life. She miscarried her first three pregnancies, so when little Tyler was born they celebrated his birthday every month with gifts and cake. Naturally, after four or five months, some friends started making excuses, as did a few family members. Still, they all showed up for Tyler’s first birthday. He received enough toys to stock a small toy shop. Out of all of them, his favorite was a small, colorful, metal xylophone from his grandmother, which she’d saved from Justin’s childhood.
Sometimes, during Tyler’s nap, Justin or Melissa would tap a few tunes on the cherished toy just to hear the magical notes. That’s what Melissa was doing during Tyler’s last nap, the one he never woke from. Crib death. She'd thought it affected only babies in the first couple of months of life. Tyler was fourteen months and three days old.
So now writer, you can imagine the thoughts and memories, the joy and the pain tied to this xylophone. Next, decide what they do with the toy. Does there come a time where it can again bring joy, and if so, what brings that day about?
Children’s. Haley was all set to win the talent show. Her xylophone was polished, her hair curled, and her grandmother had told her that if she practiced, she could achieve any goal. She had been practicing to a strict routine way before she ever heard about the talent show. So what’s going to happen when somebody smashes her xylophone during recess? After accusing everyone in the classroom, demanding the teacher make it right, and finally giving in and making a new xylophone the old fashioned way, out of oblong stones, Haley still might not win the contest. But she’s going to win something–putting your all into something and finishing it, win or lose–is a win in itself.
What ideas can you pull off the top of your head? If you can offer some in genres I didn’t cover, such as horror, sci-fi, historical, or fantasy, please share! Readers will appreciate it.