Writing prompt – miffed

Geese by Judy DarleyEver noticed how much we humans love to anthropomorphise? This seems particularly true of birds. If I see a group of pigeons, I might mention them gossiping, or if I see a pair of ducks in a hotel swimming pool, my immediate thought is that they’re on holiday.

How about these geese spied recently in Bristol and looking somewhat peeved as the rain churns up their holiday idyll? How might their conversation go?

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

 

Writing prompt – fairytale

Repunzel photo by Judy Darley

I spotted this torn and disfigured book cover on a shady cemetery path. It feels like an apt reminder of the darkness inherent in traditional fairytales.

As a child the retellings of myths gathered or made up by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen frequently chilled me to my bones. Only in recent years have these twisted tales riddled through with warnings become saturated with the Happy Ever Afters we crave.

Write something skin-shiveringly unsettling inspired by this image.

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 – view

View by Judy DarleyIt may not seem like much, but this is the view I lost when some idiots decided to build a house a few feet from my backyard.

I’ve always relished having some space in front of me – a bit of distance on which to rest my eyes and some inspiring sky to help me come up with the next sentence or the perfect closing line.

What do you take for granted that you would miss if it was taken away?

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 – time slip

Port Meadows cr Judy DarleyVisiting Oxford recently for a friend’s significant birthday, we took a boat ride down the leisurely River Thames to where the waterway assumes the name of The Isis. Away from the hoards of punts and hapless tourists, we reached Port Meadows, where cows and wild horses meander the banks and wade in the shallow water.

It was remarkable to reach a space where nothing has changed for hundreds of years, In fact, its history stretches back to 2000BC. This is where Lewis Carroll rowed with Alice Liddell and told her stories of Alice in Wonderland, and where William Turner drank in the scenery while working on his early landscapes.

Imagine a boat ride that carries its voyagers through time to encounter the people who once walked alongside here, or paddled through its water. What might they learn about their own time?

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – hardware

Clamp by Judy Darley

I love a random bit of hardware – the more industrial-looking the better. This one seems ripe for transformation into a clue, a character or a threat.

Imagine it scaled up to something far bigger, or re-envision it miniscule. Now build a story around that image.

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – idyll

St James Park, London by Judy DarleyVisiting London recently on a fiercely hot summer’s day (remember summer? It lasted a few uncommonly good days!) the happiest i felt was when we stepped from the crush of streets into the leafiness of St James’ Park, where this photo was snapped. Yup, those are our shadows, right there.

Lakes, sunshine, waterfowl… What’s not to love?

And yet, even here, darkness waits to catch you out. As we admired ducks diving and swimming beneath the surface, an old man approached to tell me how he’d watched a seagull drowning ducklings, and a friend later told me the familiar story of one of the park’s resident pelicans swallowing a pigeon in front of his eyes. Gulp.

Could you twist this into a political satire or something more poetic? Think about the surface beauty of settings where threats lie in wait…

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 – adventure

Climbing by Judy Darley

Today I’m looking after my middle nephew, who is quite an extraordinary child. Strong, speedy, inquisitive and bright, he’s endlessly hungry for adventure. That’s him in the red jacket, negotiating a climbing frame.

Here he is making friends with a pair of girls who apparently got the same memo as him about wearing red.

Swinging by Judy Darley

In his effort to make friends, my nephew used to attach himself to other families he encountered, and sometimes even follow them out of the park.

It reminded me of someone who once told me about how they took a gaggle of their children’s pals out for a birthday treat, then got back home to find out they’d somehow ended up with one extra…

Use that as the conundrum for a new short story.

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 – Signs

Laugharne Castle sign by Judy DarleyI have to admit, I love a sign – the kind that advises you to beware of something or be extra careful about something you, as a sentient being, should be fully able to engage your common sense to deal with.

I spotted this one at Laugharne Caste. What on earth (or, say, off earth?) could be happening here?

The one below is fixed onto the gate at a local school.

This gate must be kept shut at all times

Such fabulous nonsense. What might happen if the gate is left open? What might get in, or escape?

Imagine you’ve never encountered such things before. How might you interpret them? Use it as the start of a story or work of art.

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 – invasion

Llansteffan barrel jellyfish by Judy DarleyWhen visiting south Wales recently, my mum and I went for a stroll on a beautiful beach where the tide was far, far out. After ambling about for a time, we suddenly spotted a jellied mound in a shallow pool – a gigantic dead barrel jellyfish. Then we saw one on the sand, and another. They were all over the shore, stranded and alien.

Here’s another with Mum’s foot beside it for scale.

Llansteffan barrel jellyfish, Mum's foot by Judy Darley

Imagine encountering an invasion like this. What could have caused it? What might be coming next?

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – trickery

Colby Walled Garden gazebo ceiling by Judy DarleyI visited Colby Woodland Garden in south west Wales. It features a gorgeous walled garden complete with a trio of slug-eating ducks and a summerhouse decked out in Trompe l’oeil paintings by American artist Lincoln Taber.

Colby Walled Garden key by Judy DarleyPut simply, Trompe l’oeil, or ‘trick of the eye, is the art of illusion – a fake key hung on a real wall above painted shelves and below painted windows that let in portions of painted sky.

A confusion of real and illusory flowers bloom almost side by side, while real statues shelter false glasses of wine.

Imagine a Trompe l’ceil  summerhouse where no one knows what’s real and what’s not. How could this environment alter a person’s understanding of the world? How might a person living in a place where more is an illusion than real respond to the world beyond the garden’s walls?

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.

Colby Walled Garden gazebo by Judy Darley