Matches 3 – Turning a Phrase

I often talk about how I “dream in short story.” It’s a quirk of my brain that many nights, when I dream, I’m not involved at all. I watch from above as a story plays out (often with a pretty cohesive narrative, which is nice). I do dream where I’m included sometimes, but far more often it’s like I’m watching a movie instead. Today’s writing prompt matches come from two dreams where in the midst of dreaming, a character paused and made a clever turn of phrase that my waking brain remembered hours later.

CoverIf this is your first visit to my prompts (or ‘matches’) it’s in honour of a book called The Writer’s Book of Matches. It has 1,001 little prompts that are designed to give you something to work with. I often flip through it when I’m in the mood to just write without a specific focus. The book has three kinds of prompts: A single line of dialog; a scenario or situation; and assignment prompts where the book lists a series of three characters all reacting to a particular moment/event, and since I first got it, I’ve been noting my own prompts to myself the same way.

If you ever find success or just fiddle around with any of these ‘matches,’ please do let me know!


  • “Stealing kisses” becomes literal when a young boy realizes he has the ability to remove all memory of a kiss—and any love that came thereafter—from adults with a single touch.
  • “I know the devil’s in the details, but I never thought it would be literal.”
  • A man faced with a difficult decision over two potentially lucrative career decisions sleeps on it. When he wakes up, he discovers he can live “the best of both worlds” when he starts to slide effortlessly between a reality where he made the first choice, and another where he made the second.
  • Two strangers living in different cities who have never met start to “see eye to eye,” catching glimpses from the point of view of the other randomly throughout their day, with increasing frequency.
  • When a teen discovers an ability to skip forward in time by a month and meet with their future self for an hour, they concoct a plan to reinvent “paying it forward.” The future version hands over cash and information to the past version, which goes back and invests or saves it, accordingly. Soon, the teen is on the edge of being very, very wealthy. Write about the following three characters: The time-skipping teen in the future, who is wondering if they just vanish once their counterpart from the past goes back, or if the world will change around them; a fraud investigator, who has noticed odd duplications of certain serial numbers in a particular bank, but can’t otherwise seem to prove either bill a fake; a journalist following the story of the teen’s sudden fortune, who sees the teen meeting with themself.

See you next week, and by all means, drop any prompts of your own in the comments!

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