The following writers, websites and daredevils have all drawn inspiration from Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side in one form or another. Click the links below for some great stories, poems, and other artifacts of the damned. There are even some freshly randomized prompts below, pulled in from twitter.
Remember: If you have created and posted or published something based on the Instigation book or free prompts online, email me and I will list your work here! You can also nab a badge for your website below!
Routinely, a new writer who has done amazing things with (or in the spirit of) Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side will be featured below. This season’s featured author is more “in the spirit” of Instigation, because she’s doing something very sinister and unique.
Meet Maya Kanwal, a Pakistani-American author who has been making a literary name for herself in such magazines as Juxtaprose, Spider Magazine, Crab Fat, and Quarterly West. Her essay, “Pruned Branches,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016, and it shows the experimentalist spirit of her work, even when drawing inspiration from real life experience.
Maya stumbled upon the horror poetry kit, The Fridge of the Damned, at the Raw Dog Screaming Press table at the AWP conference in Washington, DC last Spring, and though she usually doesn’t write poetry, she subsequently found herself crafting new poems routinely from the kit and then posting them on twitter… When I found these photos, I was amazed by the fresh literary approach she brought to the darkness. So I reached out to ask her a few questions.
Q: Tell us about your writing or thought process using the horror poetry magnets.
Kanwal: My narratives have always had a dark underbelly, but I don’t often consciously dig down into it, and let its layers surface in my writing. But staring at the poetry magnets first thing in the morning, as I sip my coffee, is like a workout for my synapses. Usually, two words catch my attention and generate a little stormy universe as a pair. After that, the rest of the poem flows out of that one image pretty quickly. The strangest thing for me is that I have always been terrified of writing poetry, but the magnets seem to have freed me from the tyranny of form. Being able to physically place a minimal quantity of evocative words wherever it feels right has been the best creative combination of constraints and freedom.
Q: Where else do you turn for inspiration for your work?
Kanwal: The news. Old, old books. Hand-written anything at antique stores. Lots of visual art. Science and psychology podcasts. Insect behavior.
Q: Can you give us a dark writing prompt of your own, instigation-style?
Kanwal: Some thing from your past has blown apart. One moment of your life associated with the thing has also shattered along with it. Gather the pieces. Reconstruct as you are now, and not as you were then.
Maya has a middle grade novel forthcoming in 2018. She is an absconded mathematician and can be found at mayakanwal.com and on Twitter @mayakanwal. You can the continuing series of her Fridge of the Damned works at https://www.mayakanwal.com/experiments/#/tfotd/
Known Writers & Websites Who Have Been Instigated:
Jennifer Barnes, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Matt Betts, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Blake Burkhead, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Scott Emerson, prompted in Arnzstigation Days, others
Douglas Hackle, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Lee Allen Howard, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Mike L. Kinshella, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
John Edward Lawson, prompted in Arnzstigation Days, others
Jessica McHugh, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Mike Mehalek, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Heidi Ruby Miller, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Jason Jack Miller, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Donna Munro , prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Emory Barrett Pueschel, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Bruce Siskawicz, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Madeleine Swann, Prompted “Arnztigation” video
Nora Thompson, Arnzstigation Days, and prompted in book, Twisted: Tales to Rot Your Brain
Teffanie White, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Zoe Whitten, prompted in Arnzstigation Days
Paige Evans, prompted Halloween story, “Family Values”
Dale Herring, prompted flash fiction, “Miranda’s Spam” and “The Lady Killer”
James S. Dorr, prompted story in New Dawn Fades anthology.
Shannon Barber, prompted published magazine story, “Murder Room”, others
Kendall Giles, prompted 1st place story in RDSP Retrospective Contest
John F. Taylor, prompted various
Rena Jacobs, prompted story in Injustice is Served
Hampton Road Writers, uses prompts to inspire members
Jeff Strand, prompted Instigation parody skit at 2011 Stoker Award Banquet
Dragon Writing Prompts, shared prompts to inspire NaNoWrimo authors
Brian Rosenberger, prompted “Fears of a Clown” poem
Rich Ristow, prompted “Clown’s Nightmare” poem, others
Ryan M. Williams, prompted What Dragged in the Cat?
Jack Knight, prompted “Stardust Memories”
David Bain, prompted story in the Piercing the Darkness charity anthology
John Nooney, prompted a poem “We Circle”
K.Z. Morano, prompted parts of 100 Nightmares
S.J. Torrey, prompted For the Love of the Moon”
Kristin Dearborn, prompted “Dappler’s Department Store” in Encounters magazine
Joe-la Dowdy, drafting one a day for her 365 Day Prompt Challenge
Christopher Allen Ridge, blogging prompts on The Creature Corner
Jessica Lévai, prompted the tale “Wedding Feast” in Luna Station Quarterly
Deserve to be added? All you need to do is let me know! Send a link to your piece or the details on your publication.
RANDOM PROMPTS (FROM A LITTLE BIRD):
Below you’ll see my most recent #Instigation prompts and related messages recently posted to twitter…and an unexpurgated, automated feed from other known prompt-providers (note: due to the random nature of twitter, some of what follows may seem irrelevant, but maybe there’s a story idea buried in the randomness below…but be careful clicking links, as they may be TDFW (too dark for work!). Also, if you see nothing below, click “refresh” in your browser)).
What is Instigation?
Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side is a treasury of over 500 twisted tips, strange scenarios and disturbing sparks to help ignite the fuel in your creative furnace. Its aim? To push you into the danger zone of your imagination, by thinking in unconventional ways and trying things you never thought — or dared — to try before in your writing, art, or dreams.
Writers, especially, will benefit from this book of “story starters” that can shatter writer’s block and possess your fingers with an impish creative spirit. Arnzen’s Instigation — filled with unique prompts drawn directly from his fiction workshops at Seton Hill University, his columns from Hellnotes and his Bram Stoker Award-winning newsletter, The Goreletter — has already helped hundreds of horror writers, dark “creatives” and unconventional artists…many of whom have not only crafted original material, but published it as a result of responding to these twisted prompts.
Contents include: Prompts: 365 Sick Scenarios | Spurs: 31 Turns for the Worse | Resurrections: 13 Radical Revisions | Memoir Mayhem: 151 Prompts for Journaling | The Devil Made You Do It Yourself: 6 DIY Exercises | Essays on Writing on the Dark Side: “In the Mood: Getting Ready to Write”; “Binge Writing and NaNoWriMo”; “Discovering Your Hidden Intentions”; “Question-Storming”; “Making Modern Monsters”; “What Corrupted Me”; “The Five Laws of Arnzen” | Tips For Further Instigaton | Apps, Websites, Related Readings, and Writing Communities
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NOTE: This book is currently only available in .mobi, .epub, and .pdf formats, which are readable in most ebook devices and computers. A print edition is not currently available, but you can get a large sampler in the hardcover only edition of The Gorelets Omnibus published by Raw Dog Screaming Press.