Have you ever read a news headline and thought it could be converted into an excellent work of fiction? Well, today’s writing prompt is based on a news headline from the other week. And it’s almost as if it was written for a spy film about agency secrets.

Today’s Writing Prompt: Personalizing Headlines About Agency Secrets

Today’s writing prompt is based on a real headline from the other week. The headline is: Ex-C.I.A. Engineer Convicted in Biggest Theft Ever of Agency Secrets.

For this writing prompt, write fiction, but base your writing for today on this headline. And write from the first-person point of view so that you can better personalize what you write. You can write from the point of view of the agent, or maybe from the perspective of the spouse of the C.I.A. agent, or their co-worker, or close friend, etc.

Link to original writing prompt.

Keep scrolling to see my completed version of this writing prompt.

Tip for Completing Today’s Writing Prompt:

If you don’t like this headline as fodder for your writing, find another headline to base your writing on for today. But be sure to use the headline to inspire your creativity. And try to personalize what you write to emphasize the fact that there are real people behind real headlines, no matter how fantastical they might seem.

The Day I Found Out My Husband Allegedly Stole Agency Secrets by K.E. Creighton

When I hung up the phone, I was, oddly … relieved.

Someone in his department, Agent Barns, I think her name was, called to tell me the news. “As a professional courtesy,” she had said.

The call had been less than a minute, which made it all the more shocking. Yet it had still been subtle and somewhat unobtrusive. Agent Barns had been polite, yet direct and emotionless.

Most wives wouldn’t exactly be thrilled to learn their husband was going to be indicted for stealing C.I.A. secrets. But for the past six months or so, I had been becoming more and more convinced that Hunter was having an affair with someone halfway across the globe. So this outcome seemed better for me personally somehow.

This outcome meant there was likely some mistake he’d clear up for me and everyone else, eventually, no matter how long it took, no matter what it was that had truly happened. And that, most importantly, there was still a strong possibility he was still the same man I married ten years ago. Sure, he was keeping secrets, but it was for his job, and for national security reasons, not because he was bored of me and didn’t love me anymore.


I mean, I suppose he could have been cheating while allegedly stealing agency secrets. Maybe his hypothetical new lover was his accomplice. And I bet if she was real, she wore those strappy sparkly stilettos with a revealing tight black dress, all while scaling stone walls and somersaulting across the entryway of one of those sophisticated buildings with marble columns to take out a slew of bad guys in ski masks… although, Hunter always said the most significant injury he’d get while at work was carpal tunnel.

“Sorry,” he’d said once, “but being an agent is more about brains than brawn these days, so you’ll just have to settle for being with a digital paper-pusher for now.”

My phone buzzed on the glass tabletop and stopped my current train of thought. I rubbed my temples as I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath.

I opened my eyes, looked down, saw Hunter’s face on my screen, and couldn’t help but smile, even if only out of habit. If he was calling from his personal line, it meant he was coming home soon. And as far as I knew, he had been at the US Embassy in Uzbekistan for the past month.

I swiped right to answer the call.

As soon as there was a connection, Hunter said calmly, “Grab the grey go bag on the floor in the back of the closet under the stairs, and two-thirds of the cash stashed in the safe behind the painting of Amelia Earhart on the wall in the study. Don’t worry, your right index finger will open both the lock on the bag and the safe. Remember to leave some of the cash behind. And pick things up around the house so it doesn’t look like we left in a hurry. But make sure it still looks like we’ll be back home soon. Meet me at the north corner of the Amtrak station at Union Station in thirty minutes. I ordered a car from a dummy Uber account. It’s a silver Toyota Prius. It will be at the house in less than ten minutes. Make sure you put on the black wig in the bag before the driver sees you. They’ll think your name is Sam. All our smart locks on the house and garage will be reprogrammed in twelve minutes. I’m getting rid of this phone after we hang up, so don’t call it. Don’t believe anything anyone tells you until I see you. I love you.”

The call dropped.

Now things would start to make more sense, once I see him, I thought.

Or would they?

[All Rights Reserved by K.E. Creighton and Creighton’s Compositions LLC. The above work is a piece of fiction. All names and locations referred to are the product of the author’s imagination and are used entirely for fictional purposes. Any similarities to real-life persons or places are purely coincidental.]

Notes on Completing this Writing Prompt

This writing prompt was a lot of fun to write. I’m still not 100% sure what spouses of C.I.A. agents know or don’t know about their significant others’ real line of work. And I assume that differs based on their spouses’ roles within the organization. But I can imagine there is a lot of discretion, travel, and even boring office work that needs to be completed at times. I also imagine that it can be exciting and dangerous at times, but not necessarily glamourous and unrealistic, like what we see in the movies. But, yeah, what do I know? Either way, I do think that whatever their spouses think is the case, probably isn’t the case, at least not entirely. So, I can see a situation in which the public thinks one thing about a C.I.A. agent, while the truth isn’t necessarily as obvious as it seems.

If you complete this writing prompt, be sure to share your draft with members of your writing community. We’d love to read it! Be sure to tag #DailyDraftsAndDialogues and @kecreighton on Medium, WordPress, or Facebook, so we can read what you write for this writing prompt. Get creative! Let’s see how many different versions of this prompt there can be.