What If…? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for May

Monday, 4 May 2015

Welcome to the new and improved ideas4writers blog!

You’ll notice some definite improvements this month. The first improvement is that we’ve expanded the monthly list of What Ifs from ten per month to one per day – so here are 31 for May.

If you need more, please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. the vast majority of people suffered from suicidal tendencies?

2. there was a good reason why UFOs crashed on Earth?

3. a failed writer shook hands with as many successful writers as he could meet, crushing their bones so they couldn’t write any more?

4. everyone drove their cars like dodgems/bumper cars/Mario Kart?

5. every word in the dictionary was misspelled?

6. the meaning of every word in the dictionary was incorrect?

7. someone published simple instructions that guaranteed endless wealth – and you were the only one who did/didn’t follow them?

8. having been told it’s better to give than to receive, you gave all your money and assets to charity and were made bankrupt?

9. the idea of heating/cooking food had never taken off?

10. electricity had never caught on?

11. your favourite sports team was cursed?

12. we found a brand new resource on Earth that we could exploit?

13. you didn’t like any TV show?

14. you couldn’t read?

15. you couldn’t write?

16. fiction was outlawed because it was “lies”?

17. everyone knew everything?

18. no one knew anything?

19. there was no such thing as news; everything was covered up or declared a secret by the government?

20. the occult was outlawed – and that included things like TV listings and planning schedules because they foretold the future?

21. guardian angels were as solid and visible as living people?

22. you found out that you had only been born because your parents wanted to harvest your organs for spare parts?

23. you couldn’t use touch screens?

24. there was a war on; maps were banned and destroyed; GPS was switched off; and no one was allowed to give directions?

25. all public transport was free?

26. the government’s attempt to persuade more people to become doctors worked too well and everyone abandoned their careers to join the medical profession?

27. there was no such thing as ownership?

28. your parents did not allow any books in the house?

29. everyone evaluated their potential partners by their ability to either write poetry or quote it?

30. Britain became a republic?

31. everyone had to take their own ingredients to restaurants, and chefs were expected to cook with them even if they didn’t know what they were and even if some of the ingredients were missing?

– – – – – – –

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 (or the equivalent in your local currency) and you’ll receive:
Our complete collection of 5,000+ writing ideas
The Fastest Way to Get Ideas (4,400 what ifs)
The Date-A-Base Book 2015 and 2016 (plus our 2017 preview and all future editions)
The Fastest Way to Write Your Book
How to Win Short Story Competitions
Unlimited use of our exclusive online writing software
Full access to our members-only forums
Free use of our writing/computing advice line
And more… (total value: over £150 and growing)

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

Website redesign – an update

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Many thanks to those of you who took the trouble to respond to the questions in our last posting.

We’ve since learned that Google’s enforced redesign thing isn’t quite as bad as the media is making out. Apparently Google only pushes us down their search results if you’re searching for us on a phone. If searching using anything with a larger screen the results are (supposedly) unaffected.

We still think it’s worth looking at the design of our site and giving it a revamp. But at least we can now take a little time over it, and get it absolutely right, rather than having to rush out a new site for the sake of it.

After much research over the past week we’ve decided to switch our web design software from Adobe DreamWeaver to Serif WebPlus X8. We already use Serif PagePlus for our book layouts, so it’s a sensible choice – and considerably more affordable than the latest version of DreamWeaver, which now only seems to be available via an expensive annual subscription.

The new software will give us a decent, modern design (but not too different from what we currently have) and it incorporates the mobile-friendly stuff that will keep Google happy. It will also allow us to move this blog in-house rather than hosting it on WordPress – we’ll keep you updated about that. We’ll also be replacing the forum software in our members’ section with a new version, and maybe also adding live chat.

The design changes we’re talking about are all to do with our main website at www.ideas4writers.co.uk, but several people mentioned the design of this blog. The blog’s design will change (hopefully for the better) when we move it in-house later in the year. Some readers were worried that we might stop posting anniversaries and what ifs. We have no plans to do this – they will continue here in the blog. But we are debating whether to continue featuring them on the front page of our main website. What do you think?

We’re still looking at options for the site redesign, so if you have an opinion or can answer the questions we asked in the previous post, please get in touch.

And here’s an additional question: would you like us to add a forum for non-members too?

Next week  … well, can you believe it will be May already? We’ll be kicking off the month with a new batch of What Ifs to stimulate your creative juices.

Meanwhile, we’re continuing work on The Date-A-Base Book 2017, aiming to release it in June. And there’s a new edition of The Fastest Way to Write Your Book coming out straight after that.

We’re redesigning our website – how should it look?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Google says we have to redesign our www.ideas4writers.co.uk website to make it mobile phone compatible. So we thought we’d take the opportunity to give it a thorough makeover, as it’s been several years since the last overhaul. Your thoughts and ideas for the new design would be most welcome.

(Note: we’re talking about the redesign of our main website, not this blog. We’ll sort out the blog another time.)

Here are some things you might like to consider:

Do you find the current site easy to use?

Is it easy to buy things?

What would make it easier?

What would you like to see on the front page?

Do you ever use the anniversary lists or what ifs that are on the front page, or should we remove them?

Would you like to see something else on the front page instead?

Do you like the cartoon-style images on the front page and on the covers of the ideas books, or should we replace them with something more professional?

Should we list every book we sell on the front page to make buying them easier?

For lifetime members only:

Do you ever access the members’ section using a smartphone?

You can post your comments on our blog at ideas4writers.wordpress.com, leave a comment in our Facebook group facebook.com/groups/ideas4writers, email us at mail@ideas4writers.co.uk or post something on Twitter @ideas4writers

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts.

50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in October 2015 for you to write about (and make money from!)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in October 2015 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.

The Date-A-Base Book 2015 | ideas4writersThe listing below is a small sample of the entries for October from The Date-A-Base Book 2015There are 369 anniversaries for October in the book, which covers the whole of 2015 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy of the book many times over.

If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is also available.

Members onlyideas4writers lifetime members can download a 150-page preview of the 2017 edition from the members’ home page. (The preview lists all the newsworthy birth and death anniversaries in 2017 but not the events. The full version will be available from June.)

—–

250 years ago (7 – 25 Oct 1765)
The Stamp Act Congress convened in New York City. Representatives from the British colonies in North America met to devise a unified protest against the Stamp Act – the first direct tax on Americans.

200 years ago (13 Oct 1815)
Death of Joachim Murat, Marshal of France, King of Naples (1808-15). (Executed.)

150 years ago (10 Oct 1865)
The first successful oil pipeline in the USA began operating, in Pennsylvania. The Van Syckel pipeline was 5 miles long and could deliver almost 2,000 barrels per day to the Miller Farm terminal.

150 years ago (11 Oct 1865)
Morant Bay rebellion, Jamaica. Paul Bogle led 200 – 300 black people into the town, marking a major turning point in Jamaica’s history.

150 years ago (18 Oct 1865)
Death of Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (Lord Palmerston). British Prime Minister (1855-58, 1859-65).

150 years ago (27 Oct 1865)
Birth of Charles Spencelayh, award-winning British artist. A favourite of Queen Mary.

100 years ago (3 Oct 1915)
Pleasant Valley earthquake, Nevada, USA. The strongest earthquake ever recorded in the state. No casualties were reported.

100 years ago (4 Oct 1915)
Dinosaur National Monument was established on the border between Colorado and Utah, USA.

100 years ago (14 Oct 1915)
World War I: Bulgaria joined the Central Powers and declared war on Serbia.

100 years ago (14 Oct 1915)
World War I – the Battle of Loos (France) ended. Result: stalemate. This battle marked the first British use of poison gas (chlorine), though it was ineffective and actually gassed more British troops than Germans.

100 years ago (15/22 Oct 1915)
Birth of Yitzhak Shamir, Prime Minister of Israel (1983-84, 1986-92).

100 years ago (17 Oct 1915)
Birth of Arthur Miller, prize-winning American playwright (Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, The Misfits). Husband of Marilyn Monroe.

100 years ago (18 Oct – 3 Nov 1915)
World War I – the Third Battle of the Isonzo, Slovenia. Austria-Hungary repulsed an Italian offensive, but both sides suffered heavy casualties.

100 years ago (21 Oct 1915)
The first transatlantic radio-telephone call was made by AT&T from Virginia, USA to Paris, France. (This was the first time speech had been transmitted across the Atlantic.)

100 years ago (23 Oct 1915)
Death of W. G. Grace, British cricketer. Considered the greatest cricketer of all time.

100 years ago (24 Oct 1915)
Birth of Tito Gobbi, Italian operatic baritone.

100 years ago (27 Oct 1915)
Birth of Harry Saltzman, Canadian film producer. Best known for co-producing the James Bond series of films with Albert R. Broccoli.

100 years ago (30 Oct 1915)
Birth of Fred W. Friendly, American radio/TV producer and executive. President of CBS News. Helped establish the PBS network.

80 years ago (3 Oct 1935 – May 1936)
Second Italo-Ethiopian War. Italian victory.

80 years ago (20 Oct 1935)
The Long March ended. Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong and 8,000 followers arrived in Yan’an after a year-long 6,000-mile march.

75 years ago (1 Oct 1940)
The USA’s first superhighway, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, was opened.

75 years ago (4 Oct 1940)
World War II: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini held a war conference at Brenner Pass in the Alps.

75 years ago (7 Oct 1940)
World War II: Germany invaded Romania.

75 years ago (9 Oct 1940)
Birth of John Lennon, British rock singer, songwriter and musician (The Beatles). (Died 1980.)

75 years ago (14 Oct 1940)
Balham underground station disaster, London, UK. A German bomb caused tunnels to collapse while people were sheltering in the station during an air raid. 68 people were killed and more than 70 injured.

75 years ago (15 Oct 1940)
The U.S. première of the Charlie Chaplin film The Great Dictator. (UK première: 16th Dec. Released: 7th Mar 1941.)

75 years ago (16 Oct 1940)
Holocaust: the Warsaw Ghetto was established in Poland.

75 years ago (24 Oct 1940)
The Fair Labor Standards Act went into effect in the USA, limiting working hours, establishing a national minimum wage, and prohibiting oppressive child labour.

75 years ago (27 Oct 1940)
Birth of John Gotti, American organised crime boss. Head of the Gambino crime family in New York City. (Died 2002.)

75 years ago (28 Oct 1940)
The British ocean liner RMS Empress of Britain was sunk by a German U-boat off the west coast of Ireland. There were few casualties, and most of the passengers and crew were rescued. It was the largest liner lost during WWII, and the largest ship sunk by a U-boat.

70 years ago (24 Oct 1945)
The United Nations was formally established, replacing the League of Nations.

60 years ago (26 Oct 1955)
Ngo Dinh Diem became the first President of South Vietnam.

60 years ago (26 Oct 1955)
The first edition of the weekly newspaper The Village Voice was published in New York City, USA.

50 years ago (8 Oct 1965)
The Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower) in London was officially opened. It was the tallest building in the UK until 1980.

40 years ago (11 Oct 1975)
The first episode of the sketch/comedy/variety show Saturday Night Live was broadcast on NBC TV in the USA (as NBC’s Saturday Night).

40 years ago (22 Oct 1975)
The Soviet Union’s Venera 9 landed on Venus and became the first spacecraft to send back images from the surface of another planet. Its orbiter began surveying Venus on 26th Oct. (Venera 10 also reached Venus on 23rd Oct, landing on 25th.)

30 years ago (1 Oct 1985)
Riots broke out in Toxteth in Liverpool and Peckham in London.

30 years ago (6 Oct 1985)
Broadwater Farm housing estate riot, Tottenham, London. Metropolitan Police constable Keith Blakelock was killed – the first British constable to be killed in a riot since 1833.

30 years ago (17 Oct 1985)
Britain’s House of Lords ruled that doctors could prescribe contraceptives to girls under 16 without parental consent. (Gillick case.)

25 years ago (1 Oct 1990 – Aug 1993)
Rwandan Civil War.

25 years ago (3 Oct 1990)
East and West Germany were officially reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany. This day is now celebrated annually as German Unity Day. Germany’s reunified parliament held its first meeting at the Reichstag in Berlin the following day.

25 years ago (8 Oct 1990)
Britain joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM).

25 years ago (13 Oct 1990)
Death of Le Duc Tho, Vietnamese communist politician and diplomat. Joint winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize (declined).

25 years ago (14 Oct 1990)
Death of Leonard Bernstein, American conductor, composer and pianist. Noted for his flamboyant conducting style and prodigious talent. One of the first U.S. conductors to receive worldwide acclaim. Composed the music for the stage and film musical West Side Story.

25 years ago (15 Oct 1990)
Apartheid: South Africa’s Separate Amenities Act was repealed.

20 years ago (3 Oct 1995)
The O. J. Simpson murder trial ended. The American football star and actor was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

20 years ago (16 Oct 1995)
The Million Man March took place in Washington, D.C., USA.

20 years ago (28 Oct 1995)
Baku Metro fire, Azerbaijan. About 300 people were killed and 265 injured in the world’s deadliest subway fire. It was blamed on an electrical fault caused by outdated equipment, but some commentators say it was sabotage.

10 years ago (8 Oct 2005)
Kashmir earthquake. About 100,000 people were killed, 138,000 injured and 3.5 million made homeless in the earthquake which affected Kashmir, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, western China and Tajikistan.

10 years ago (18 – 26 Oct 2005)
Hurricane Wilma, the most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, caused massive damage worth $29 billion (£18.1 billion) across the Caribbean, Central America and the eastern USA. 63 people were killed.


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Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers today for just £49.95 (or the equivalent in your local currency)
(one single payment – nothing more to pay ever)
You’ll receive:
The Date-A-Base Book 2015  (plus the 2016 edition,
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plus all future editions as soon as they’re published
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Plus:
The Fastest Way to Write Your Book (ebook)
The Fastest Way to Get Ideas (ebook)
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Plus:
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ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002!

What If…? 10 Creative Writing Prompts for April

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Here’s this month’s selection of “What If…?” creative writing prompts to inspire you – let’s see what you can do with these!

This selection forms part of what will eventually become Volume 2 of The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you soaked your short story in water and it expanded into a full length novel?

2. you received a ransom note saying your child had been kidnapped?

3. your story became an official cure for constipation because it literally scared the **** out of people?

4. America did not speak the same language as the UK?

5. betting was only allowed on amateur sporting events?

6. weather forecasting was impossible?

7. banks, and all the functions they carry out, were illegal?

8. humans were way down the food chain?

9. all creatures on earth shared the same tissue types and there was only one blood type, so transplanting organs from one type of creature to another (including humans) was a simple process?

10. a radical government ruled that any building over 100 years old was outdated, had no place in the modern world, and should be demolished – with no exceptions?

– – – – – – –

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 (or the equivalent in your local currency) and you’ll receive:
Our complete collection of 5,000+ writing ideas
The Fastest Way to Get Ideas (4,400 what ifs)
The Date-A-Base Book 2015 and 2016 (plus our 2017 preview and all future editions!)
The Fastest Way to Write Your Book
How to Win Short Story Competitions
Unlimited use of our exclusive online writing software
Full access to our members-only forums
Free use of our writing/computing advice line
And more… (total value: over £150 and growing)

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in September 2015 for you to write about (and make money from!)

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

At this time of the month we’d normally give you 50 sample dates from the compete set of 350+ dates for September in The Date-A-Base Book 2015.

But as you may have seen a week or so ago, we actually gave away the complete set of dates for September in the back of Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer.

Ditch Your Day JobThe PDF version of Ditch Your Day Job! is still available as a free ebook for at least another week. So grab your copy here!

If you’ve already downloaded Ditch Your Day Job! please could you do us a huge favour and post a review on Amazon?

Several of the sites which promote free Kindle ebooks require at least five 4 or 5 star reviews. As soon as we reach the required number we’ll make the Kindle version free for 5 days.

Please use these links to post your review –
they will take you directly to the book’s page
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Thank you!

Dave

What If…? 10 Creative Writing Prompts for March

Monday, 9 March 2015

Here’s this month’s selection of “What If…?” creative writing prompts to inspire you – let’s see what you can do with these!

This selection forms part of what will eventually become Volume 2 of The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. the more you smiled the more you got paid?

2. every company wanted to employ you?

3. your metabolism went nuts and you had to eat more and more each day to prevent yourself from wasting away?

4. a burst of solar energy opened all the electronic locks in prisons?

5. they found the cure one day too late?

6. the seasons started 2 days earlier each year?

7. you could fix all the things you hated about the world – or your own life?

8. there were more people engaged in illegal activities than legal ones?

9. you were Satan (you might or might not have realised this)?

10. every organ in your body had its own blood-pumping system, so you had a heart beat, brain beat, liver beat, kidney beat, etc, all of which worked independently?

– – – – – – –

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers for just £49.95 (or the equivalent in your local currency) and you’ll receive:
Our complete collection of 5,000+ writing ideas
The Fastest Way to Get Ideas (4,400 what ifs)
The Date-A-Base Book 2015 and 2016 (plus 2017 preview and all future editions!)
The Fastest Way to Write Your Book
How to Win Short Story Competitions
Unlimited use of our exclusive online writing software
Full access to our members-only forums
Free use of our writing/computing advice line
And more… (total value: over £150 and growing)

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

The easiest way to make a living as a writer

Saturday, 28 February 2015
Your next writing room?

Why doesn’t your office look like this?

Last Monday I started writing a short article about how you could use our Date-A-Base Books to make a living as a writer. It grew and grew and by Thursday it had become a book – and I think you’ll like it!

I’m giving away the PDF version for the next 7 days, so grab a copy now and share it while you can. I’ll then create a Kindle version which will be free for 5 days (the PDF version will disappear because Amazon insists on exclusivity.) After that it will be added to our order form as a paid product.

The book is called Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer. If you know anyone who hates their job, needs a second income, or wants to be a writer but doesn’t have the time to do anything about it, please send them a copy.

The first part of the book (about 15 pages) explains exactly how to do it, and the second part contains the complete chapter for September from The Date-A-Base Book 2015 (well over 300 anniversaries) so you can get to work straight away. There are also some links to article-writing courses in case you need help getting started.

As with The Fastest Way to Write Your Book, there are all sorts of clever bits, time-savers and cheats, which mean you can make a good living from writing while not having to do much work. Plus there’s a guarantee that you’ll get paid for everything you write. All of which means you’ll have plenty of time to work on your novel or screenplay or whatever you’d most like to write, while having an independent income, being able to write anywhere (such as at the beach) and not having to do a job you hate.

Download your free copy of the PDF version here.

(Don’t forget to forward a copy to everyone that you think would benefit from it.)

50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in August 2015 for you to write about (and make money from!)

Monday, 16 February 2015

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in August 2015 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.

The Date-A-Base Book 2015 | ideas4writersThe listing below is a small sample of the entries for August from The Date-A-Base Book 2015There are 344 anniversaries for August in the book, which covers the whole of 2015 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy of the book many times over.

If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2016 is also available.

Members onlyideas4writers lifetime members can download a 150-page preview of the 2017 edition from the members’ home page. (The preview lists all the newsworthy birth and death anniversaries in 2017 but not the events. The full version will be available from June.)

—–

300 years ago (1 Aug 1715)
The Riot Act came into effect in England. Local authorities could declare any group of 12 or more people who disturbed the peace to be unlawfully assembled and required to disperse within 1 hour or face prosecution.

250 years ago (14 Aug 1765)
Colonists in Boston, Massachusetts staged their first challenge to British rule – a protest against the Stamp Act. The elm tree where they met became a famous rallying point for the resistance movement, and it became known as the Liberty Tree.

250 years ago (21 Aug 1765)
Birth of William IV, King of the United Kingdom and Hanover (1830-37).

150 years ago (12 Aug 1865)
British surgeon Joseph Lister became the first person in the world to use an antiseptic dressing (lint dipped in carbolic acid – now known as phenol) to treat a wound. The wound healed successfully and his results were reported in the medical journal The Lancet in 1867.

125 years ago (6 Aug 1890)
The first execution by electric chair in the USA. Convicted murderer William Kemmler was executed at Auburn Prison in New York.

100 years ago (4 Aug 1915)
Birth of Warren Avis, American entrepreneur. Founder of Avis Rent A Car.

100 years ago (22 Aug 1915)
Birth of Hugh Paddick, British actor. Best known for his sketches (such as Julian and Sandy) on the 1960s BBC radio show Round the Horne.

100 years ago (29 Aug 1915)
Birth of Ingrid Bergman, award-winning Swedish film actress. Best known for the films Casablanca and Notorious.

90 years ago (5 Aug 1925)
The Welsh nationalist political party Plaid Cymru was founded.

80 years ago (14 Aug 1935)
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, creating unemployment insurance and pension plans for the elderly.

80 years ago (15 Aug 1935)
Death of Wiley Post, famous American aviator. The first person to fly solo around the world. (Plane crash.)

80 years ago (15 Aug 1935)
Death of Will Rogers, popular American cowboy performer, humorist and actor. (Killed in the same plane crash as Wiley Post – see above.)

80 years ago (31 Aug 1935)
The U.S. Congress passed the Neutrality Act, prohibiting the export of ‘arms, ammunition, and implements of war’ to foreign nations at war.

75 years ago (10 Aug 1940)
Birth of Bobby Hatfield, American singer (the Righteous Brothers). (Died 2003.)

75 years ago (16 Aug 1940)
Death of Henri Desgrange, French cyclist and journalist who founded the Tour de France.

75 years ago (17 Aug 1940)
World War II: Germany began a naval blockade of the British Isles.

75 years ago (18 Aug 1940)
Death of Walter P. Chrysler, American engineer, car manufacturer and industrialist who founded the Chrysler Corporation.

75 years ago (20 Aug 1940)
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force in a famous House of Commons speech, saying, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

75 years ago (21 Aug 1940)
Death of Ernest L. Thayer, American writer and poet. Best known for his baseball-themed poem Casey at the Bat.

75 years ago (21 Aug 1940)
Death of Leon Trotsky, Russian Marxist revolutionary. (Assassinated in Mexico City with an ice axe.)

75 years ago (25 – 26 Aug 1940)
World War II: the British RAF bombed the German capital Berlin for the first time.

75 years ago (26 Aug 1940)
Birth of Don LaFontaine, American voice actor. The distinctive voice behind thousands of melodramatic movie trailers and TV advertisements. He often began his trailers with the words: ‘In a world where…’ (Died 2008.)

70 years ago (6 Aug 1945)
World War II: the U.S. Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The centre of the city was totally destroyed and approximately 80,000 people were killed immediately. A further 60,000 people died by the end of the year due to injury or radiation. It was the first city in history to be hit by a nuclear weapon. (See also 9th August below.)

70 years ago (8 Aug 1945)
World War II: the Soviet Union entered the Pacific War exactly 3 months after the war in Europe ended, as agreed at the Yalta Conference in February. It declared war on Japan and immediately (12:01 am on 9th August) invaded the puppet state of Manchuria.

70 years ago (9 Aug 1945)
World War II: the U.S. Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. The north of the city was destroyed and approximately 40,000 people were killed immediately. A further 33,000+ died by the end of the year. It was the second (and last) city to experience a nuclear attack.

70 years ago (12 Aug 1945)
The Soviet Union began its occupation of North Korea.

70 years ago (14 Aug 1945)
World War II: V-J Day. Japan announced its unconditional surrender, ending WWII in the Pacific. (The war officially ended on 2nd September when Japan signed the surrender document.)

70 years ago (15 Aug 1945)
Korea was divided along the 38th parallel into the Soviet-occupied North Korea and the US-occupied South Korea.

70 years ago (17 Aug 1945)
Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands. (Recognised by the Netherlands in December 1949.)

60 years ago (5 Aug 1955)
Death of Carmen Miranda, (‘the Brazilian Bombshell’), popular Portuguese-born Brazilian samba singer, dancer and Broadway actress. Noted for her signature Tutti Frutti hat which she wore in many films, including The Gang’s All Here.

60 years ago (8 Aug 1955)
The 26th of July Movement was founded in Mexico by a group of exiled revolutionaries including Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. They aimed to overthrow the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista – which they did in January 1959.

60 years ago (27 Aug 1955)
The first edition of the Guinness Book of Records (now Guinness World Records) was published.

50 years ago (1 Aug 1965)
The British Government banned cigarette advertising on television. (Cigars and loose tobacco continued to be advertised on TV until 1991.)

50 years ago (6 Aug 1965)
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 came into effect in the USA, guaranteeing every adult American’s right to vote, and banning electoral discrimination.

50 years ago (9 Aug 1965)
Singapore was expelled from Malaysia and became an independent country.

50 years ago (15 Aug 1965)
British rock group The Beatles played to more than 55,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City, USA. The famous event set attendance and revenue records which paved the way for future stadium rock concerts.

50 years ago (18 -24 Aug 1965)
Vietnam War: Operation Starlite – the first major U.S. ground battle of the war. Result: indecisive.

50 years ago (20 Aug 1965)
The song (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones was released in the UK. (USA: 6th June. It was their first #1 hit in the USA.)

50 years ago (27 Aug 1965)
Death of Le Corbusier, Swiss-born French architect and city planner.

40 years ago (20 Aug 1975)
NASA launched its Viking 1 space probe on a mission to Mars. It became the first spacecraft to land successfully on Mars and complete its mission.

30 years ago (22 Aug 1985)
Manchester air disaster, England. A British Airtours Boeing 737 burst into flames at Manchester Airport after an engine caught fire and a fuel tank ruptured. 55 people were killed.

25 years ago (2 Aug 1990 – 28 Feb 1991)
Gulf War. On 2nd August Iraq invaded Kuwait. On 6th the United Nations Security Council ordered a global trade embargo against Iraq. On 7th the USA launched Operation Desert Shield, sending U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia to prevent an Iraqi invasion. On 8th Iraq took full control of Kuwait and installed a puppet government. This led to Operation Desert Storm (17 January – 28 February 1991). Coalition victory.

25 years ago (17 Aug 1990)
Death of Pearl Bailey, award-winning American stage, film and television actress, singer, entertainer and writer.

25 years ago (23 Aug 1990)
Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union. (Fully independent from 21st September 1991.)

25 years ago (27 Aug 1990)
Guinness Four found guilty. All 4 defendants in the long-running Guinness trial were found guilty of trying to drive up the share price of the Guinness company during takeover talks. (They were given prison sentences and heavy fines, though one, Jack Lyons, did not serve his sentence due to ill health.)

25 years ago (27 Aug 1990)
BBC Radio Five Live was launched.

20 years ago (14 Aug 1995)
The Battle of Britpop. British bands Blur and Oasis released competing singles on the same day, launching a chart battle that was spurred on by the media. Blur won the battle, with their song Country House reaching #1 by the end of the week while Oasis’s song Roll With It reached #2.

10 years ago (3 Aug 2005)
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became President of Iran.

10 years ago (4 Aug 2005)
A Russian mini-submarine carrying 7 crew became caught on fishing nets and a military antenna 190m (620 feet) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean off the east coast of Russia. Russian attempts to release the submarine failed, but it was cut free on 7th August using a British-owned robotic craft. The crew were unharmed. (See also 12th Aug 2000 above.)

10 years ago (23 – 30 Aug 2005) Hurricane Katrina hit the Bahamas, Cuba and the southern U.S. states. The city of New Orleans, Louisiana was particularly badly affected when the levee system failed, flooding 80% of the city for several weeks. Florida and Mississippi also suffered severe damage. Over 1,800 people were killed. It was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.


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What If…? 10 Creative Writing Prompts for February

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Here’s this month’s selection of “What If…?” creative writing prompts to inspire you – let’s see what you can do with these!

This selection forms part of what will eventually become Volume 2 of The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. cars ran on seawater?

2. cars ran on blood?

3. it was impossible to be obese – if you became too large you split into two people?

4. modern barbers still carried out surgical operations?

5. the police (or some other security/intelligence agency) were watching your every move – either with or without good reason?

6. you decided to become someone else?

7. you witnessed something you weren’t supposed to see?

8. it was impossible to distinguish your counterfeits from the real thing?

9. you were God (you might or might not have realised this)?

10. there were no more ideas?

– – – – – – –

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Our complete collection of 5,000+ writing ideas
The Fastest Way to Get Ideas (4,400 what ifs)
The Date-A-Base Book 2015 and 2016 (plus all future editions!)
The Fastest Way to Write Your Book
How to Win Short Story Competitions
Unlimited use of our exclusive online writing software
Full access to our members-only forums
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And more… (total value: over £150 and growing)

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