DP Writing Challenge – Ray Bradbury’s Noun List



Ray Bradbury, author of 11 novels, including classics such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, faced writer’s block just like the rest of us. Bradbury, in addition to giving great writing advice, busted writer’s block by creating lists of nouns — the basic building blocks of sentences, paragraphs, short stories, novels, flash fiction, memoir, and poems.

The beautiful thing about the noun list twist is that you can use it to nudge your muse when writing fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poems — anything you wish to work on.

In today’s challenge we’ll ask you to write a new post using some nouns from various sources.

On the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy lies a world much like Earth.  In fact, it is a near mirror of Earth, different in only one way.  They have evolved to a point where there is one society, one language, and there is no violence of any kind tolerated toward other humans, for they, too, are human. 

It began as an experiment, a trial run, to see if a race of beings could survive on the outskirts of the galaxy.  These creatures called the outer edge of the galactic core home.  They found the collective radiation of the core had been poisoning them, not helping them evolve, as they once had thought.  Humans, similar in cellular structure, but considered animals and therefore expendable, were placed on two planets opposite each other and were to be observed over a period of 10,000 years to learn of the effects each solar system.  However, this race of beings died out and were extinct before the experiment was concluded. 

It was in this manner that the two worlds were left alone, free to grow and evolve at their own rates with no outside help.  No notion that there were any other beings in the galaxy, or the universe for that matter, other than themselves. 

As they grew in numbers and technology, they expanded on their own planets and eventually colonized other planets.  But one world grew much faster and technology expanded much more rapidly than the other.  Consequently, they evolved much faster than their galactic cousins. 

Sothess was the center of the government of the humans who developed technology that far surpassed the other’s technologies.  They had evolved to the point where there was no violence tolerated and offenders had their minds probed, the damaged areas erased and rewritten to conform to societal standards.  It was a Utopian society, colonizing planet after planet, cataloguing indigenous species of flora and fauna, and increasing their knowledge of themselves and the galaxy they lived in.

The other planet was Earth.  Plagued by strife and war, their progress was significantly slower.  Colonies were settled and fought over at first by the different countries of Earth.  Later colonies were settled and fought over by the worlds that had themselves been fought over. 

But they had overcome that dark history and had been advancing in the galaxy toward the same end as the Sothess, namely one of peace and knowledge.  The people of Earth never forgot their dark history, preferring to remember the pain and suffering that was so common so as to be a deterrent for future leaders.

It was a future they would again relive, for one day a baby was born in a basement on Sothess.  A baby with a grim future.  A baby that would grow up to be someone the Sothessians wouldn’t know exactly what to do with. He was anathema to the Sothessians.  And he grew up knowing that; resenting it, vowing to get even with them.

On Earth, at the same moment as on Sothess, another baby was born on a calm tranquil lake in what the locals called “Upstate New York”, but was officially recognized as Sector 3a Subsector 14-1.  This baby would grow up to be the opposite of The Anathema.

There would be a war that would dwarf all other wars known in human history.  Would the humans of Earth be slaves to The Anathema; the holder of technology so great he could erase minds and record his own thoughts to them?  Or would the individual human minds of free will prevail?