Writing prompt – first love

Bunny Valentine by Judy DarleyToday, to the satisfaction of card sellers and florists everywhere, is Valentine’s Day. This is the card I made for my husband of ten years (and friend for countless more).

Today, I invite you to write a love-letter not to the person you first loved, not to a parent, sibling, or even pet, but the object you first felt true, undying passion for, whether that’s a toy, book, or random item, such as, say, a particular sock. A friend of mine once harboured an unwavering loyalty towards her pyjama case. I myself was partial to a train set that thrilled me with its swooping hills that its interlocking parts allowed me to construct myself.

What first filled you with such delight?

Turn that devotion into a poem, letter or story that reflects the depths of your feelings, but hold one detail back – the word that explains exactly what the item you so adored was or is.

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

Writing prompt – fever

Jardim Botanico Jose do Canto tree cr Judy Darley

Over Christmas and New Year I was ill with a sinus infection that led to high blood sugars, racing pulse and boiling temperatures, a concoction which led in turn to some pretty peculiar  imaginings. One result of this was a hastily, barely legibly scribbled story that I ended up naming Old Blue Eye.

It’s now been published by The Fiction Pool. I can honestly say it’s one of the strangest tales I’ve written.

So this week, why not try putting yourself in an unfamiliar frame of mind? I’m not advocating drugs or attempting to catch some terrible ague, but you could try to write in bed before you’re full awake, or stay up late and write when your thoughts begin to ramble. Who knows what gems your addled brain might come up with?

You can read my fevered flash fiction Old Blue Eye here, but please be warned, if you’re of a sensitive disposition you may emerge rather disturbed!

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

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Writing prompt – Die Waldfrau

Die Waldfrau by Meret Oppenheim_1939This deliciously creepy painting is by the Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor Meret Oppenheim. She painted it in 1939, when she was just 26 years old, Meret titled it Die Waldfrau, which translates as The Forest Woman.

As someone who occasionally feels like she might be part tree, I particularly like the ambiguity of this scene. As sinister as the woman, with her long green tail, appears, the child looks utterly unafraid.

What happens next?

Find more of Meret’s evocative artwork in the book Meret Oppenheim: Works in Dialogue from Max Ernst to Mona Hatoum.

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

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Writing prompt – escape

Bournemouth fire escape by Judy DarleyA fire escape creates the perfect set for a moment of reflection or conflict in a story, whether you’re hanging over a creepy alleyway or hotel car park, or looking up at the stars.

Something about all those different levels overlooked by different windows and different lives, plus the perils of height and exposure add up to a scene rife with intensity. What could your character reveal or discover on a fire escape’s stage?

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

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Writing prompt – discards

Christmas tree binbags cr Judy DarleyAt this point in January each year a sorry sight appears as unwanted Christmas trees are hacked up and bagged or simply cast out, ready to be disposed of.

Write a story or poem inspired by the idea of a similar undignified turfing out of a guest previously welcomed in, honoured and celebrated.

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

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Writing prompt – denial

Azores spirits1 by Judy DarleyI’m always intrigued by what people give up and take up in a bid to make themselves supposedly better people at the onset of a new year.

As a starting point for a new work of fiction, create a character with a passion for something unconventional, and then give them a really good reason to give up that indulgence, whatever it may be. What ensues?

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

Writing prompt – hut

Westcliff Lift, Bournemouth cr Judy DarleyI adore seaside locations out of season. This little hut is the entrance to a Westcliff Lift, which leads down to a Bournemouth beach, but only in summer. In winter, it’s locked up and abandoned. There’s even ivy growing through one window, reclaiming the space.

Imagine someone discovering this small building and taking shelter from the cold. Could this become their home, if only for a time? What might happen if someone notices their infringement? What will occur when summer returns?

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

Writing prompt – hiatus

Dylan walk estuary serenityThese days between Christmas and New Year often feel like a secret to be stepped into. Moments of quiet to be inhaled and exhaled, to be harnessed or released – sand through fingers, light over water…

We’re on the brink of an ending, and a fresh start, and for many of us this offers a wealth of possibilities.

What ideas does this time unfurl within you?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud(dot)com to let me know. With your permission, I might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – greetings

Dylan walk post box by Judy DarleyOne of the loveliest things about this time of year is the excuse to reconnect with friends and family. Distant relatives suddenly bob to the surface of your mind with the help of a card or email, and some heartfelt Christmas greetings.

Imagine two people who haven’t been in touch for months or years, and the Christmas card that changes that.

Use this as the foundation of a story – who is the person sending the card? What has motivated them to reach out now? Who is the recipient? What has prevented them speaking for so long? Does the card have the desired result?

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 – hull

Azores Boat Underside cr Judy Darley

I’m always intrigued by the parts of things that we rarely see – the underside of bridges, backstage catacombs, caves…

The underside of boats are particularly beautiful when hoisted into the air for maintenance. Someone told me recently that this is a seven-yearly process, which is curiously poetic. Every seven years these hulls are hauled from water to be licked by breezes.

Azores Boat Underside Moon cr Judy Darley

It seems to me that they carry with them the memories of navigations, stars and moons. The barnacles, rust and mottled paint are riddled through with sea shanties and myths. Some parts seem less than vessels than curious whales and other marine creatures….

Azores Boat Underside Hole cr Judy Darley

What do they stir in you?

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.