February 2021
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about a wild speculation.
  2. Start with this line: I’ve always been there.
  3. Write about trying to revive an extinct holiday.
  4. Set your story at a city council meeting
  5. Write about waiting for a computer to update.
  6. Start with this line: Are we allowed to go to bed yet?
  7. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: vehicle, promote, perforate, green, friend.
    2. Use the phrase, “add that to the list.”
    3. Write about something that’s undercooked.
  8. Set your story in a room with a fireplace
  9. Write about watching events without being able to do anything.
  10. Use these five words: books, school, talked, rushing, quality
  11. Use the phrase, “That wasn’t there 5 minutes ago.”
  12. Use these five words: scientists, freelancers, erupted, figures, question
  13. Describe a sunrise or sunset.
  14. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: fame, hesitate, sign, character, referee.
    2. Use the phrase, “Is your heat on?”
    3. Write about vigorous exercise.
  15. Use the phrase, “Didn’t I just do that?”
  16. Use these five words: bidding, positive, donuts, tycoon, wealthy
  17. Use the phrase, “I’ll check that right now.”
  18. Start with this line: She can’t say anything that will upset her boss.
  19. Use the phrase, “Tell us that story again.”
  20. Use these five words: parole, snowfall, riot, teachers, red carpet
  21. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: mean, overall, circumstance, progressive, grind.
    2. Use the phrase, “You never listen.”
    3. Write about putting something in the wrong place.
  22. Start with this line: Here’s what you need to know.
  23. Write about treachery.
  24. Use these five words: carriage, kneecap, garlic, terminated, uneasy
  25. Write about kids playing on a statue.
  26. Start with this line: The next scheduled departure is at 5pm.
  27. Write about being “randomly” selected.
  28. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: salon, twin, stroke, organ, breeze.
    2. Use the phrase, “How can that exist in the same world as this?”
    3. Write about a sad memory.

Dead of Winter 2020 Winners

Thank you for your patience as we determined our final Dead of Winter results, which are:

  • 1st: “The Cold Face of the Mountain” by Karen Sheard (Theme: Alaska)
  • 2nd: “A Guiding Light” by H.B. Bendt (Theme: The Haunted Lighthouse)
  • 3rd: “Carriers” by Matt Boyle (Theme: The Award)
  • Honorable Mention: “The Reborn” by Becca Yenser (Theme: Heart and Soul)
  • Honorable Mention: “The Seagull” by Alex Grey (Theme: Nevertheless She Persisted)

The most popular themes submitted to our 20th annual horror fiction contest were “Nevertheless She Persisted” and “The Hand of Fate.” The first, second, and third place stories will appear in Toasted Cheese 21.1, our Spring issue.

Our next contest is the renamed The Savage Mystery Writing Contest (formerly Three Cheers and a Tiger), which opens Friday, March 19 and ends Sunday, March 21. Please remember to follow theme, genre, and word count parameters on all contests. There is no registration, entry fee, or geographic restriction for this or any TC contest.

January 2021
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about looking back on hopes for last year.
  2. Use these five words: boundaries, fraud, exhibition, intimacy, display
  3. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: irony, die, mood, tissue, sound.
    2. Fill in the blank: “Love is what happens when _________.”
    3. Write about a preposterous excuse.
  4. Set your story in a downtown alley
  5. Write about a morning without coffee.
  6. Start with this line: I have two options.
  7. Use the phrase, “Read this and summarize.”
  8. Use these five words: intelligence, awareness, power, bottleneck, sanctions
  9. Write about translating a poem.
  10. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: arrogant, qualification, overwhelm, listen, reflect.
    2. Fill in the blank: “_________ is what makes the world go around.”
    3. Write about being slightly too late.
  11. Use the phrase, “Help me take this off.”
  12. Write about a frightening book
  13. Write about a birthday party.
  14. Start with this line: What you are describing is a crime.
  15. Write about rediscovering old music.
  16. Start with this line: It’s not over yet.
  17. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: body, grind, secure, spirit, disappoint.
    2. Use the phrase, “I don’t know what to think.”
    3. Write about refusing dessert.
  18. Write about a medical diagnosis
  19. Fill in: “Aren’t you tired of _________?”
  20. Use these five words: essential, gifts, necessary, trend, soundtrack
  21. Write about new beginnings.
  22. Set your story in the home of a wealthy family that hates each other
  23. Write about not participating in a common activity.
  24. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: picture, doll, control, rule, eavesdrop.
    2. Use the phrase, “Look at the shadow.”
    3. Write about deciding if something is safe.
  25. Write about blocking someone on social media.
  26. Write about an asteroid headed for Earth
  27. Write about a delivery that arrives early.
  28. Use these five words: comeback, life, trading, badly, direction
  29. Write about finding patterns where there are none.
  30. Use these five words: hibernation, clothes, undercurrent, walks, log
  31. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: meet, date, announcement, practice, rainbow.
    2. Use the phrase, “There’s only one left.”
    3. Write about hoping someone understands.

Dead of Winter delay

Due to (gestures around) everything, TC will be a little late announcing Dead of Winter winners. We will have our picks by February 6, hopefully earlier.

As always, entrants will be notified first. Then we will have a post here at TC for sharing on social media and finally on social media itself.

Thanks for your patience and for entries that have made choosing our finalists such challenging fun.

December 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Write about sibling rivalry
  2. Include these 3 characters in a story: judge, police officer, bartender.
  3. Use a made-up word
  4. Start with this line: “Calling this justice would be a mistake.”
  5. Write about introducing someone new to a favorite drink
  6. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: recover, loose, arrange, absence, investigation.
    2. Use the phrase, “I don’t do that any more.”
    3. Write about using something that’s not quite ready.
  7. Write about a house fire.
  8. Incl. these characters: paralegal, secretary, human resources administrator.
  9. Write about a new system for doing familiar things.
  10. Write an imagined interview with your favorite author.
  11. Use “It feels like a year since I saw anybody.”
  12. Set your story at a hockey game.
  13. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: crisis, freedom, fear, copy, craftsman.
    2. Fill in the blank: “I need a new __________.”
    3. Write about an unexpected crowd.
  14. Start with this line: “Oh, I’m definitely subtweeting.”
  15. Write about visiting a grave.
  16. Write about unicycling.
  17. Use “What kind of critter are you?”
  18. Use these five words: praise, holy, skeins, stigma, complicated.
  19. Write about observing a holiday nobody else shares.
  20. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: correspond, arena, aid, witch, spot.
    2. Use the phrase, “That’s all they told me.”
    3. Write about waiting for something that might not happen.
  21. Write about celebrating the Winter Solstice.
  22. Write about an old house.
  23. Explain something incoherently.
  24. Start with this line: “I first met _____ on the streets.”
  25. Write about the kid who got left out.
  26. Write about being ahead of the curve.
  27. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: sugar, multimedia, indirect, ignore, elephant.
    2. Use the phrase, “How long do we have to wait?”
    3. Write about an exception to the rule.
  28. Use these five words: mechanics, practicing, love, choice, agent.
  29. Write about waiting for the mail to come.
  30. Start with this line: “One of the biggest mysteries is…”
  31. Your character sums up a year.

Toasted Cheese 20:4

The December issue of Toasted Cheese features poetry by Madeleine Claire, Marchell Dyon, James Croal Jackson, Ann Pedone & Simon Perchik; flash by Ala Fox & Josephine Greenland; fiction by Nicholas Finch, Ashley Lewin & Sydney Parrish; and creative nonfiction by Riley Hansen & Celestine Woo.

TC 20:4 also includes the Fall 2020 Three Cheers and a Tiger Science Fiction/Fantasy Writing Contest winning stories by Meg Hilt, Brianna Suazo & David Lukes.

At Candle-Ends, Shelley Carpenter reviews Ravynscroft by Richard Edgar.

The cover image is by Jim Makos on Flickr, with additional photos by photographers around the world, all of whom have generously made their work available for use under Creative Commons licenses. Please click through and check out their photostreams.

Congratulations to all. Happy reading!

November 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: flash, technology, minimize, brown, display.
    2. Use the phrase, “It’s too bright.”
    3. Write about asking for advice.
  2. Write about a report card.
  3. Write about a nightmare.
  4. Write about education in pursuit of knowledge & perspective.
  5. Write about an obsession.
  6. Use these five words: inspiration, deported, downtown, restricted, body.
  7. Use the phrase “And now for something completely different.”
  8. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: worry, hero, range, infect, corner.
    2. Use the phrase, “What can we do?”
    3. Write about not understanding.
  9. Write about a younger sibling as a grownup.
  10. Use these five words: creating, pattern, details, noodles, tiny.
  11. What happened at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month?
  12. Use these five words: airtight, method, gift, underestimated, prominent.
  13. Use the phrase “All that and more.”
  14. Include these 3 characters: truck driver, mechanic, baggage handler.
  15. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: radiation, debt, trouble, glue, entry.
    2. Use the phrase, “Time to recharge.”
    3. Write about having enough to share.
  16. Start with this line: “Sweet dreams.”
  17. Use the phrase, “Now what do we do?”
  18. Include these 3 characters: bookkeeper, financial advisor, auditor.
  19. Use the phrase, “I don’t think I can do that.”
  20. Start with this line: “We loved each other.”
  21. Write about an unusual bird or animal sighting.
  22. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: favour, west, invasion, referral, neck.
    2. Use the phrase, “Why are we doing this?”
    3. Write about an apology.
  23. Write about counting blessings after a major loss.
  24. Write a story set in the future.
  25. Write about unexpected bad weather.
  26. Set your story in the countryside.
  27. Write about spending a family holiday alone.
  28. Use these five words: self-pity, backpack, finished, boots, mittens.
  29. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: create, ample, publicity, promise, elbow.
    2. Use the phrase, “I’ve forgotten how to dance.”
    3. Write about trying to finish before a deadline.
  30. Start with this line: “The devil works hard, but…”

Sunday writing chat prompts for 8 November 2020

The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

This week’s prompts are posted below.

1. Use the following five words: worry, hero, range, infect, corner.  (10 min)

2. Use the phrase, “What can we do?” (10 min)

3. Write about not understanding.   (10 min)

Toasted Cheese announces the winners of Fall 2020 Three Cheers and a Tiger.

The challenge was to write a speculative fiction story within 48 hours using the prompt “Write a fantasy or science fiction story of up to 3,000 words on the topic of returning to a childhood neighborhood to find only one house still inhabited.”

First place: “Back Home” by Meg Hilt
Second place: “Rushville” by Briana Suazo
Third place: “WPP1G Product Review” by David Lukes

The winning entries will be published in the December/Winter issue of Toasted Cheese (Issue 20.4).

Judges for Three Cheers (Fall) are Boots & Broker.

Congratulations to the winners!

October 2020
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Reminisce about a vacation or holiday
  2. Write about an adverse drug reaction.
  3. Write about how remarkable it is that someone is not looking at their phone.
  4. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: sensitivity, message, realize, bake, trivial.
    2. Use the phrase, “No, I don’t believe it.”
    3. Write about quitting a game that can’t be won.
  5. Write about a delight found in the midst of tedium.
  6. Start with this line: “What was the outcome of the struggle?”
  7. Write about carefully choosing an alias.
  8. Write about a visiting scholar.
  9. Write about the impression someone else is living parts of your life.
  10. Start with this line: “Nobody bothered to tell me.”
  11. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: realize, leftovers, extension, mug, favorite.
    2. Use the phrase, “Is it Friday yet?”
    3. Write about trying to focus when drowsy.
  12. Include these 3 characters in a story: educator, groundskeeper, counselor.
  13. Your character writes a letter to his/her younger self.
  14. Start with this line: “I was 110% sure I was right.”
  15. Your character finds a letter purporting to be from an older self.
  16. Write about a digitization project.
  17. Write about trying to figure out a beekeeper’s suit.
  18. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: thaw, mourning, attract, stem, number.
    2. Use the phrase, “sounds like a plan.”
    3. Write about being interrupted when dancing alone.
  19. Write about deciding not to come home from a trip.
  20. Use these five words: outreach, index, peppermint, decline, nations.
  21. Use this: “You’re not wearing that.”
  22. Start with this line: “That is a huge leap.”
  23. Write about being caught drooling.
  24. Set your story at dawn during a heatwave.
  25. Join us for a live Writing Chat every Sunday!
    1. Use the following five words: prosper, disk, satisfaction, biology, able.
    2. Use the phrase, “the best ever.”
    3. Write about a stack of mail or lots of incoming messages.
  26. Start with this line: “Don’t be fooled.”
  27. Write about getting a multi-colored hair dye job
  28. Write about a secret cinnamon bun recipe.
  29. Write about dreading an oncoming holiday.
  30. Set your story in a city park.
  31. Write about a new widow in a fake graveyard.