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Time Machine

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to…

  • Ready to write? We’ll give you a new challenge each Monday. Publish a new post on your blog that interprets the challenge. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and writing styles.

To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link to this post, to generate a pingback and help others find the challenges. Please make sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge. We might just highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Friday, and in our quarterly newsletter.

Dr. Who. Quantum Leap. The Time Tunnel. Why does every generation create its own dorky version of time travel? (No, of course we haven’t forgotten Harry Potter’s beloved Time-Turner!) It’s no accident, of course. Our imaginations simply compensate for something we can’t change: time is irreversible.

Until this week’s writing challenge, that is.

We’re giving you a free ticket to the period and place of your choice: where do you go? Do you stay where you are, or venture somewhere far away? Do you go all the way back to prehistoric times, or relive a fun moment you just had last year?

woolly mammoth time machine

Time to break the space-time continuum! (Image by Rob Pongsajapan, CC BY 2.0)

For me, I’ve come up with different answers to these questions over the years. I sometimes think I’d pick France in 1789 (hello, Revolution!) or Peru in 1525, just before the fall of the Inca Empire. Other times I keep it closer to home, imagining a trip to 19th-century Poland or Palestine, to say hello to some ancestors I never got to meet (grandfather paradox, shmaradox).

Right this second I’d go with three days ago, the last time I got a good night’s sleep. Thanks, parenthood.

In your posts, feel free to make this challenge your own, and write in whatever style, format, or genre you wish — including ones that evoke the time you’re traveling to (do provide a translation if you go with Egyptian hieroglyphs, please). Do you need a few more ideas to get you started? Well, you could:

  • Be an invisible observer in a major event from the past. Or an active participant — whichever you prefer.
  • Write a dialog between you and a person from the past (or a past you, if you wish).
  • Use historical or fictional characters to craft an alternative history.
  • Let bygones be bygones, and just travel into the future — just don’t forget to come back to tell us how it was.

I can’t wait to see where your (time) travels take you.

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    1. So do I! This reminds me of a J.R.R. Tolkien quote: -“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”-
      Books are truly wonderful!

  1. I have instructed my fellow time travelers to participate in this. We will give a firsthand account of our exploits, and the beauty is it will be regarded as fiction! This allows me a degree of freedom when it coms to revealing information of past and future times, as well as times that never were and that could be.

    1. To keep the comments section of this challenge manageable, thanks for limiting your comments to those linking to your challenge entry (we also encourage you to use a pingback to that effect).

  2. ugggh, this is crazy because it’s so open to every creative thought imaginable by a person that it’s almost paralyzing. I have to collect the many thoughts and connect to the emotions within. *sigh*
    Okay people, I think I’m ready to go in

      1. Ahhh nice! I’ve grown up looking at that thing! Finding it on my home page was a bit of a trip. Great image for this writing prompt :)

  3. I’m new here, and I don’t always click on these, but I’m pretty obsessed with time travel. If any other fans of the genre also love to read (or are interested in learning to love to read!), I recommend any of Jack Finney’s “Time” books..

    1. The challenge is an open-ended one — for each writer to come up with the best post he or she can. And as Litadoolan adds above, we, as readers, all benefit from the collective effort of all participants.

    1. Congrats on your first challenge entry!

      And no, there’s no word limit — anything from a short vignette to a longform piece is fine.

137 Responses Ready to write? To participate, publish a post on your blog that responds to the prompt. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More