New year, new prompt!

Not written anything in 2021 yet? Well… shame on you! I know, I know, its all been a bit trying over the last, well, last year really, and Christmas was absolutely no exception (hope you managed a good one somehow or another despite restrictions). But come on now, brace yourselves, lets get this show on the road and get something down on paper. It really doesn’t matter what you write, nobody else needs to see it, just get writing.

Personally, I love a free-write. That is to say, write for a set number of minutes (I usually give myself 20 mins) starting with a particular subject, no punctuation, no lifting the pen (or your fingers if you’re typing), and no stopping to think. Just write the junk that spills from your mind – a bit like word association. It’s amazing what connections you can unexpectedly (and often, unexplainedly (is that a word?? ’tis now…) come up with, and they’re more often than not a good kick-start to a cracking story, poem or piece of creative non-fiction.

With the current lockdown now firmly in place, I thought ‘Lock’ might be a good starting point. Some of the things I’ve come up with are:

What is locked ? Doors; cupboards; trunks; wardrobes; diaries; hearts; personalities; minds; err…. lockdown (of course)….

Why are they locked? How do you open them? Where is the key? If you open them, what’s inside? Do you need another key? Are you locked in, or locked out?

Well, I could go on, but I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty of other ideas. I’d love to see the resulting work, so get writing….. Write Now!!

Object Challenge

This week, instead of a prompt, I’m going to set you a bit of a challenge! I have to be honest, I’ve pinched this idea from Peter Sansom’s excellent book ‘Writing Poems’ (available from Amazon and other bookshops (if they’re open…)), in which he has a whole chapter on ‘Workshops and Writing Games’. For this one he suggests writing in the voice of an object and gives various suggestions, including writing as:

A vacuum cleaner in shop window
A wardrobe in a hotel bedroom
A spoon in a bedsitter
A motorbike in pieces on a kitchen floor
A safety match in a box in a cardigan pocket

There are several more, but you get the gist, and of course you can think of your own examples.

Although I’ve filched these ideas from a book about writing poetry, I’m pretty sure you could use them as a starting point for a piece of fiction too. As always, use your imagination, let the pen fly across the page (or fingers across the keyboard), and just start writing. Can’t wait to see your work!

Prompt of the week

Ok, so I was searching for a suitable prompt for this week when I came across this picture. Out of the 100s of pictures I was scrolling through it was this one that really instantly sparked my imagination, and I wondered if it would do the same for you too.

I liked the idea that you could be watching (see what I did there!) something through your watch. In fact, the tech is probably out there already, I’m sure James Bond has got it. But watching something surreptitiously has something of a sinister edge to it, so could make for an excellent poem, flash fiction, short story or even novel… go for it!! Of course, you may take something completely different from this picture, in which case, I’d love to see your interpretations. So I’ll leave it to you, but I’m off to write a dark ol’ poem!

Prompt of the week

Ah, the blame game…. we’ve all done it. It’s so easy to point the finger, either at oneself, or others, when things go wrong, and to be honest, I don’t know which is worse. Goodness knows there is plenty of blame, rightly or wrongly, being bandied about in the news now! So this week’s prompt is, of course:

BLAME

How about writing a story or poem based on when you’ve got it wrong? It happens to the best of us, we lay blame at someone’s door, then find out the situation was more complex than we thought, or worse still, it was our own doing after all. Go on, brace yourself to cover a difficult topic, it’s often where the best writing lies. We look forward to reading your pieces.

Prompt for the Week

Hey You!

Yes, you… you up for a writing challenge? Of course you are, you’re itching to write a piece using this week’s prompt:

YOU

But, woah there, hold your horses, rein in that imagination for a mo’… This week we’re asking you something a little more specific… to write about an event that happened to you, but write about in the second person. Yep, we’re asking you to address yourself. Question yourself, tell yourself off, laugh at yourself, let yourself be the star! We’re really looking forward to reading about your escapades through your creative non-fiction stories and poems, so don’t forget to share them with us. Have fun!

Prompt of the week

Many, many years ago, before even electric typewriters were a thing (yes, I am an ancient relic!), I learned to touch type. School girls at rows of desks thwacking the keys to make sure they hit the tape cleanly, not allowed to look down at them. I remember the noise of the typewriters, and the teacher yelling at us above it! It took a while, but eventually, my fingers worked pretty much automatically, finding the letters without my even thinking about it. All these years later, I’m still touch typing away (though not bashing the keys in quite such an aggressive manner – my laptop wouldn’t like that at all!) faster than ever with the help of the newfangled keyboards.

Our fingers are amazing tools really, aren’t they? How, without even looking, we know the texture of things, the heat, the size….

Doesn’t have to be fingers either… when I was learning to ride I was told that my leg resting against the horse’s side should be ‘like the gentle holding of a hand, the lightest touch’, so that the horse knows you’re there and would react to the slightest squeeze.

So there you go, two different interpretations. See what you can come up with using the prompt:

Touch

As always, write in any format you choose. Hey, why not try writing some prose and editing it into poetry? Use a light touch – don’t be heavy handed!

Prompt of the week

YooHoo, hi there, helloeeee….

I hope you’re waving back! I’m sure you are, you can’t help yourself when someone waves at you, can you?

Yep, you guessed it, this week’s prompt is ‘Wave’, though of course, it doesn’t have to be a hand wave, it could be a wave upon the shore, a lock of wavy hair, a wave of nausea even…ick! As usual, it’s up to you to use the word as inspiration, decide on interpretation, as well choosing the presentation (hey, look at all those ‘tions’!) – short story or poem, or maybe this week you’ve got an experience you’d like to share as creative non-fiction? Keep it real, or make it up, it’s really up to you, that is the joy of creative writing.

p.s. don’t forget to send us your work, we’d love to read it!

Prompt for the week ‘end’

See what I did there…Week ‘end’… weekend…. well, you get the gist! Yep you can talk about the weekend if you like, or any other sort of end you can think of (rear end…!) but keep it clean please! Of course, this was prompted (gosh I’m on form today) by the tiny little light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, but we know of course, that everything, good or bad, must come to an end someday. Sometimes the end is a relief, as in the end of conflict, but often endings are sad times, so I’m sure this is a word ripe for storytelling/poetry or any other form of creative writing you care to embrace. I look forward to reading your work. Take care.

Prompt: What’s in front of you?

Just for a change, I thought we might take a slightly different approach to the prompt this week and ask you to look beyond your keyboard/notepad and pen and let your eyes rest on an object in your room that has meaning for you, and write a piece around that.

There’s a picture above of my own little dragon , bought from a grimy second hand shop in Pingyao, China. It lives on the mantlepiece as a permanent reminder of a wonderful trip, and below I’ve cheekily added a poem that I wrote about it a while back as a ‘starter for ten’. You can choose to write absolutely anything – an ornament; book; plant; record; picture… or maybe even the pen you’re using… I’m sure we’ve all got something with a memory or sentiment attached.

continue Reading