My Scifi Film Writing Assignment for You

Hello. This is John Scalzi. I’m not here right now, because
I am in Germany, doing a book tour. Germany is lovely and filled with wonderful
people who hardly ever point and laugh when I try to speak their language and
end up sounding like a monkey strangling a cat. I can ask for nothing more.

As I am away, I thought this week would be a fine time to do
something a little different; instead of giving you something to read, I’m
going to encourage you to do a little writing.

Nothing serious — I’m not asking you to write a novel or anything — but maybe a couple of fun ideas, related to science fiction film, that you might then write up on your own blogs (or on Facebook, or on Twitter, or in the comments here).

You’re thinking, Wow, making stuff up, isn’t that hard? To which I reply, Hey, I do it all the time. And I’m not a rocket scientist (I asked some of my rocket scientist friends to vouch for me on this. They would like to assure you all that under no circumstances should I be allowed near a rocket). If I can do it, I’m pretty sure you can manage.

So, below, please find 12 story writing prompts based on science fiction films. Use as many as you like, and have fun. I’ll see you next week. Unless Germany decides to detain me as a despoiler of their language. Which I am not. Not intentionally, anyway.

Here they are:

1. Explain to me, and to my flamethrower, why you are not The Thing. Make your explanation rhyme.

2. Ladies and gentlemen, there has been a substitute in tonight’s program. In The Matrix, the part of Agent Smith will no longer be played by Hugo Weaving, but instead by Jeff Bridges, channeling his classic role from The Big Lebowski. Pick your favorite scene from The Matrix involving Agent Smith and reimagine it thusly.

3.
One night, in a dark and depressing cantina on the shady side of Coruscant, you meet up with a man who claims to be the Marksman Instructor at the Stormtrooper Academy. Share with us his drunken lament.

4.
Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark meet up at a charity function. They are bidding for the same item. What is it, who eventually wins it, and what do they say to each other after the bidding is done?

5.
Sooner or later, someone is bound to write up a sexual harassment suit against James T. Kirk. You are that someone. Detail the incident and the punishment for the wayward Kirk.

6.
Pitch the following film: Aliens vs. Predators vs. Smurfs.

7.
One night, in a dark and depressing cantina on the shady side of Coruscant, you meet up with a man who claims to be the grammar instructor for Yoda of Dagobah. Share with us his drunken lament.

8.
You are charged with securing corporate sponsorship for the Logan’s 5K Fun Run. Describe to a potential sponsor the run, and why they would wish to be involved.

9.
Dr. Phil has been brought in to heal the relationship between Dave Bowman and HAL. Share with us the highlights of that particular meeting of minds and hearts.

10.
You are a car salesman. Max Rockatansky, the Road Warrior, enters your dealership. Share with us your attempts to sell him a minivan.

11.
In the style of Dr. Seuss, recount the plot of Blade Runner.

12.
One night, in a dark and depressing cantina on the shady side of Coruscant, you meet up with a Lucasfilm employee who claims to be the man charged with keeping George Lucas from fiddling with the films. Share with us his drunken lament.

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