The Labyrinth Story Prompt

A photo of The aMAZEing Labyrinth board game, now called Labyrinth

How many speculative fiction nerds out there played this game as a kid? I loved Labyrinth – it sparked my imagination in a way that few board games did, and I spent a lot of time imagining with board games. I have this distinct memory of lining up all the boards in my basement, from one end of the room to the other, then taking the pieces from all the games on a journey, from the first square of the first board to the end of the last board.

Usually, they would end up on the board for I.Q. 2000, which was an awesome space-themed trivia game for kids from the 80s. The pieces would all find their way back to their home planet (it was the 80s, so either E.T. was an influence or my future as a spec fiction writer was set from an early age).

Now that my oldest kid is 4, we are starting to introduce real board games to him. We played Labyrinth yesterday (formerly known as The aMAZEing Labyrinth) and it stood the test of time for sparking my imagination. Since he’s only four, we played a modified version (i.e. zero competition), which involved collecting four items, then telling a story to link them together.

A picture of gourds and four cards from The Labyrinth board game

My first four were a map, a sword a dragon and a lizard, so my story went something like this (again, remember my audience is four!). One day, my hero was walking through the forest, when he came across a folded paper, tucked within a hollow tree. He opened the paper and found an old, crumbling treasure map. The map led him into the depths of a labyrinth. Deep in the labyrinth, in a dark room, he found the treasure. It was a sword in a stone (again – four – I can get away with it for now!) and on the stone it was written that whoever could pull the sword from the stone could defeat the dragon. He pulled the sword from the stone and as it came free, he heard a roar from deeper in the labyrinth. It was the dragon! He followed the sound, and as he traveled deeper into the maze, the heat grew stronger. At last, he found the centre of the maze, and there stood the great dragon. He tried to creep closer, but the dragon spotted him. He could not get close enough to use the sword, and as the dragon opened his mouth to breathe fire on him, he squeezed his eyes shut and held the sword above his head. But then, instead of hearing the dragon’s roar or feeling the heat of its flames, he heard a tiny squeak. When he opened his eyes, he saw that the dragon had turned into a harmless lizard. He realized that the sword was a magic sword and had defeated the dragon using magic, not steel.

I’m not submitting that story anytime soon, but it was really easy to come up with on the spot. If you don’t have a copy of the game, you could use an illustrated deck of cards or a tarot set just as effectively (if not more so – see this blog for some great resources on using tarot cards for writing inspiration). On a non-writing day, it’s great to have some tools for inspiring quick stories or sparking your imagination.

I go through phases

This is something I say all too often and it applies to both fitness and writing. I go through phases in which I write every day and phases in which I don’t write for months. I go through phases in which I’m teaching bootcamp classes regularly and phases in which a twenty minute walk is a decent workout.

Right now, the weather is (finally) getting colder and I have a kid in JK and a kid in daycare (i.e. every surface in my house has a virus on it). Blankets, tea, and couches are all conspiring to keep me from doing anything productive. It’s not exactly the most auspicious time to be starting a blog, but I’m currently on strike at my day job, so I’m working my way through my To Do list. Yes, somewhere deep on my To Do list for a few years now has been “start a blog”.


So what is this blog going to be about? The title is a bit misleading. It’s rare that I write and squat and then write again, and rarer still that I write while squatting. But, I’m trying to both write and exercise regularly, and I know many of you out there on the interwebs are too, so I’m here to share some of the things I’m trying to keep typing, scribbling, thinking, moving, and creating. I’ll post quick workouts, writing prompts, submission calls, and other such things. To kick things off, here’s a submission call I’ve just sent a story off to and here is a ten minute workout I did today:

  1. Run up and down the stairs 4x.
  2. Step up and down 10x each leg.
  3. 15 push-ups.
  4. 20 rows with band or weights.
  5. Knee roll-in with stability ball 10x (or plank if you don’t have a ball) – .

Repeat 3x total.

Do you go through phases too? What keeps you moving and creating?

Disclaimer: As always, consult a physician or other health professional before starting any workout program. This blog is solely for informational purposes. If you choose to do any of the exercises discussed here, you do so at your own risk.