There’s no other way to say it: Reddit is an awesome site, where you can learn about anything in the world, post funny memes or debate politics. Within Reddit, there are many different communities, known as subreddits, where site users, known as redditors, are free to post videos or create text threads, as long as they follow the subreddit guidelines.
I’ve been using Reddit for years now to follow different hobbies and interests, but it’s also kept me up-to-date with all the latest memes and pop culture. That being said, as a writer, I have always enjoyed reading r/WritingPrompts.
WritingPrompts is a subreddit where users post and respond to a variety of writing prompts with their own original short stories. These prompts test a writer’s skill and creativity, and force the writer to think outside the box. This subreddit is great for people who are trying to hone their writing skills, especially aspiring novelists.
With 13.7 million users, r/WritingPrompts is one of the most popular communities on the site. While most threads are interesting and deserve a read, here is a list of the most interesting threads and responses on the subreddit. If you’re bored or have some free time, feel free to write your own responses to these prompts and post them in the comment section.
1. “You enter a store with the intention to rob it. But while waiting last in line so everyone can leave first, the person in front of you pulls out a gun and tells the cashier to empty the cash register.”
This writing prompt just came out the other day, and it is by far one of the funniest things I’ve read on Reddit. The premise of two people robbing the same store is an interesting concept, and one I’ve never seen played out in any form of popular media.
Reddit user u/LiquidBeagle decided to write the original robber as an amateur who tries to bargain with the narrator, the second armed robber, after they pull a gun on the original robber. It turns out that the cashier wanted to rob the store as well and pulls a gun on each of them. The story ends with the police breaking through the store’s glass doors and stealing the money for themselves.
2. “One day, while browsing reddit, you stumble across this very writing prompt post. You give it a big orange upvote, and then something amazing happens.”
If you aren’t familiar with Reddit, upvotes are similar to likes; if your post gets upvotes, you build Reddit karma, which is a score that tallies your total activity on the site. Some users view a high karma score as a trophy, and with that in mind, it’s pretty likely that u/EdwardSnowman was trying to build up a bit of Reddit karma through this notorious thread.
Many of the subsequent responses to this prompt poked fun at the original poster, taking the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and build up drama and suspense before revealing that they hit downvote, or detailing the catastrophic consequences of upvoting, as requested.
3. “The year is 1910. Adolf Hitler, a struggling artist, has fought off dozens of assassination attempts by well-meaning time travelers, but this one is different. This traveler doesn’t want to kill Hitler, he wants to teach him to paint. He pulls off his hood to reveal the frizzy afro of Bob Ross.”
What great piece of art doesn’t have Bob Ross in it? If you have lived under a happy little tree all your life and don’t know who Bob Ross is, he’s a soft-spoken artist who ran his own public-access TV show and inspired generations of artists (and meme-creators). Two of his shows are on Netflix, and you should definitely check them out.
In u/psychoalpaca’s reply, Bob Ross tells Hitler he is from the future right away and informs Hitler about his future acts. Hitler’s servant tells Ross that if Hitler becomes a painter, a man named Hans will do even worse acts in his stead. The servant references “The Twilight Zone,” and it is then that Ross learns that the servant is Hans himself, whose goal is to defy the time-travelling genre trope and prevent the creation of a butterfly-effect, multiple-timeline disaster that would result from Hitler’s early death. Through an odd series of events, revealing multiple other genre tropes, the story ends up as a Harry Potter fan fiction.
4. The Kiddie Pool Paradox
(Submitted by u/RyanKinder, the founder and Co-Lead Mod of r/WritingPrompts)
A picture is worth a thousand words, but what about a GIF? The kiddie pool paradox is a unique writing prompt: you fall into a kiddie pool and are transported to the sea, with waves crashing upon you. Suddenly, just after the waves fall over you, you are transported back to the kiddie pool. What just happened?
Reddit user u/XcessiveSmash puts the reader in the backyard of an old man, who has just been offered $10,000 to jump into a kiddie pool. For Mark, the protagonist, this is a no-brainer; he has a steady job and a two bedroom apartment, but it’s a simple task, and this seems too good of an opportunity to pass up. Mark jumps into the pool, through a translocational portal and into the crashing sea, before returning back through the portal and landing on the grass outside the pool. Mark is the first person to make it through “their genetic lock check,” but when he questions them about what that means, they offer him $100 million, and Mark can’t refuse another swim in the kiddie pool.
The subreddit is full of great and interesting stories like these, and I recommend you check out each of these threads for yourself. Writing is a way for everyone to express themselves, and their unique perspective, in a deeply personal manner.