Writing prompt – grave companion

Grave companion cr Judy DarleyMy local Victorian cemetery where I like to run is littered with tombs topped by curious effigies. When I spied the small horse above, my only thought was, “Funny, I never noticed that one before.”

I actually ran past, then trotted back for a closer look, and realised that what I’d taken for carved stone was in fact sodden fur, moss-stained and sullied by spending who knows how long in a graveyard?

Grave companion by Judy Darley

Who could have lost this precious companion? What lonely soul might have claimed it as their own?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – change

Deceased March wasp photo by Judy DarleyApologies, I realise this post should have come with a warning for those entomophobes among us.

I stepped over this deceased wasp on a sunny day last week and was struck by how wrong it is to see a wasp, alive or dead, at this time of year. To my knowledge, they’re best known for spoiling late summer picnics, so what was this one doing out and about so early, and what caused its demise?

To me this insect corpse is a potent symbol of climate change – a seemingly minor anomaly, but heralding potential catastrophe – the equivalent of a butterfly effect with a sting in its tail. It seems ripe with metaphor and satire for cli-fi (yes, that is a genre) writers.

Curiously enough, when I googled the definition of wasp, as well as getting lots of info about White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (go figure), I was informed that a wasp is A) a social social winged insect which has a narrow waist, and B) a solitary winged insect which has a narrow waist.

So there you go, plenty of tangents to fly with.

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – recipe

Grapes photo by Judy DarleyFlavour and scent are inextricably linked to nostalgia, making them the perfect means of ramping up the visceral-qualities of any tale. With this in mind, use a recipe as your starting point, whether it’s for something as sweet as a plate of heart-shaped cookies, or the particular mix of a dirty martini.

Your character may be a cordon bleu chef or a kitchen klutz – either way you have plenty of scope for hyping up tension through the drive for perfection. One final thing to ask them, and yourself, why is it so important to them to get this specific recipe right?

Today’s #writingprompt was inspired by this recipe for pickled grapes. *mouth waters*

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – animals

Animal Wall Lioness photo by Judy Darley

Animal Wall Lioness photo by Judy Darley

On a recent visit to Cardiff’s Castle Quarter, I strolled along The Animal Wall, an impressive series of sculptures depicting fauna from across the world. These include an anteater, a seal and a hyena. My favourite is the stately lioness, pictured above with the Castle Clock Tower.

Designed by William Burges, the first nine were sculpted by Thomas Nicholls in 1890, with six more added by Alexander Carrick in 1931.

I love the idea of making one or more of these statues the site of a clandestine rendezvous – “meet me beneath the pelican at 9.15…” Or could the animals themselves have a secret other life?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – eavesdrop

Small Street Espresso cr Judy Darley#writingprompt

The town I live in is full of fantastic independent coffee shops where you can sit and write, while coyly keeping one ear and one eye tuned to the people mooching in and out.

The one pictured above is Small Street Espresso, a fabulous but tiny establishment in Bristol.

This week I urge you to emerge from your writer’s cave and head out to a more populated place. Take your portable writing device of choice (a notepad and pen should do it), and eavesdrop to your heart’s content. Who knows what might arise?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – heart

Heart by Judy Darley

This week’s writing prompt comes early, in honour of the date.

Imagine a dawn full of frost and fogged breath. Your protagonist has been thwarted in love  and has no interest in Valentine’s Day. On their way to work they spy something that reminds them of the date.

What follows? Is it something that softens their frozen heart, do they feel alienated enough to commit a terrible act, or is it something far subtler?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – realm

S. Germany 1 by Abeer ElkhatebThis beautiful painting is by artist Abeer Elkhateb, and is his reimagining of a town in Germany. I think it’s a wonderful reminder of how we can transform every scene we encounter to suit ourselves.

What magic can you see in the streets you encounter every day? Could that office block be reinvented as magical tower, or that poorly lit car park as a shadowy forest full of trolls? Let your imagine paint over the mundane and create something wonderful.

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – possibilities

Icelandic time machine photo by Judy Darley

#writingprompt

You come across this scene while strolling in the Icelandic countryside.

What could it be?
a) A modern art installation;
b) An Icelandic time machine;
c) An offering to the elven folk;
d) Some rusting farm equipment that’s seen better days.

Write a story around this idea.

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – close encounter

Westonbirt close encounter cr Judy DarleyI took this photo at Westonbirt Arboretum‘s Winter Wonderland. What an exquisite display of light and shadow. To me it resembles the moment in a movie or sci-fi show when the characters spy something unearthly in the woods.

What might be happening here? Could it be an alien encounter, or something far more inexplicable?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – moth

Atlas Moth at National Botanic Garden of Wales cr Judy DarleyI encountered this rather exceptional Atlas Moth in the Butterfly House at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. It’s not only his snakehead markings on each wing that are impressive. This beauty is the female, with a wingspan of more than 25cm (9.8in).

I asked a horticulturalist what they eat, and he told me they don’t. After metamorphosis they’re re-born without mouthparts, with their only motivator the drive to mate and reproduce in their five-day lifespan.

January seems the perfect time for a metamorphic tale. This week imagine your protagonist has been a joyful glutton, feasting their way through their youth until strange urge to tuck up and sleep takes them over. After a series of strange and painful dreams they wake to find themselves transformed, sans mouth and an overwhelming desire to fly, seduce and procreate.

Not a bad premise for a Kafka-esque nightmare!

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.