Matches 4 – I Saw the Sign

Dead End

Not creepy at all.

Today’s series of writing prompts all come from various signs I’ve seen. Sometimes it’s a combination that made me shiver (see photo, right), other times it’s a chuckle. Either way, inspiration can be right there at the side of the street.

If 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!

  • A couple pass by a pair of signs that say “Dead End,” and “Watch for Children.” Looking back, they realize that was their first mistake.
  • “It says ‘No Tresspassing,’ but I guess we’re ignoring that, eh?”
  • After parents advocate changing the bylaws “for the safety of children,” a dog owner is frustrated when every park she used to take her dog to now has signs demanding all dogs must remain on their leashes. She concocts a plan to replace the signs with ones suggesting all children should be on leashes to protect dogs from the children. She doesn’t expect her prank to go viral, or to unleash a storm of counter-protests and divide the neighbourhood.
  • Backstage without a pass, a fan at a concert dodges security by slipping through a door marked “Employees Only” and comes face-to-face with the lead singer he idolizes…having a tryst with someone they shouldn’t.
  • Two days after the funerals of his mother and sister, who died at the wheel of a drunk driver, a construction worker holding the “Slow”/”Stop” sign on a blind corner realizes that the car approaching is driven by the judge who let the “local golden boy” off with a warning so as not to ruin “his bright future.”  Write about the following three characters: The construction worker, who has a brief moment to decide whether or not to flip his sign the wrong way and potentially get revenge; The judge, who’s married to someone with a serious drinking problem and knows he has no ability to distance himself from the topic; the innocent driver of the truck coming in the other direction, who has no idea of his role in what amounts to murder at the hands of a construction sign.

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


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