Writing prompt – change

OH56.cover by Jago Silver
The lovely folks at Oh Magazine have invited me to create the following writing prompt, using their autumnal issue 56 cover by Jago Silver as a starting point.

As the seasons change, dream up a character who is dreaming of a new adventure. But first they must bid farewell to the past. For every leaf that falls from this tree, imagine the message they would write to someone they used to know – an apology, a promise or a declaration.

How have each of these people influenced the individual your character is now? What will sending those messages free them up to become?

You can subscribe to Oh magazine here.

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – uninvited

OH55 magazine cover by Jago SilverThe lovely folks at Oh Magazine have asked me to create the following writing prompt, using their atmospheric issue 55 cover by Jago Silver as a leaping-off point.

This issue asks the question: What lights your fire and kindles your joy?

A group of friends gather to celebrate the anniversary of a success, but one person turns up who wasn’t invited. What reason do they have for attending? What ripples does this spread through the invited guests? Does someone have a revelation to share?

How can you pin this drama to a grain of burgeoning joy? 

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – overcoming

OH54.cover_1cm_ERV2.inddThe lovely folks at Oh Magazine have invited me to create the following writing prompt, using their leafy issue 54 cover by Jago Silver as a leaping-off point.

Issue 54 is all about togetherness, solitude, and how caring for others may help us through the most challenging circumstances.

Your character glimpses a person they want to connect or reconnect with – an old friend, a person they believe could help them, someone they believe they could help, or perhaps all three.

But a secret fear or guilt is holding them back. How do they overcome that negative emotion? What does their courage lead them towards?

What do they do? What are the outcomes?

You can subscribe to Oh magazine here.

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – decisions

Oh53 magazine cover by Jago SilverThe lovely folks at Oh Magazine have invited me to create the following writing prompt, using their atmospheric issue 53 cover by Jago Silver as a leaping-off point.

Issue 53 focuses on how one moment in time may result in a ripple effect that changes everything.

Your character has a decision to make. One choice will keep everything in their life exactly the same, or even make things slightly worse, but change the life of a stranger for the better. The other will improve everything in their own life, but make the stranger’s worse – in small or large ways.

What do they do? What are the outcomes?

Your characters are free to change their mind. What happens if they do?

You can subscribe to Oh magazine here.

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – peril at sea

Oh52 magazine cover by Jago SilverThe lovely folks at Oh Magazine have commissioned me to create the following writing prompt, using their dramatic issue 52 cover by Jago Silver as a leaping-off point.

Issue 52 explores possible cures for endless comparison, rituals to lighten darker days and ways to live life to the bittersweet brim.

Imagine two siblings, friends or lovers take a trip to the sea and end up in peril. As they seek safety, old rivalries bubble up and spill over.

You can subscribe to Oh magazine here.

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – distraction

Oh Mag 51 cover by Jago Silver

The lovely folks at Oh Magazine have commissioned me to create the following writing prompt using their beautiful issue 51 cover by Jago Silver as a leaping-off point.

This issue is all about satisfying, mood-brightening pastimes.

Begin by selecting an absorbing activity, such as knitting, baking bread, making the perfect cup of tea, putting up shelves, or kayaking, to put at the forefront of your tale. Now focus on the person (your protagonist) performing the activity. Give them an underlying absorption – have they lost or gained something or someone? How has this troubled or excited them? How do the task and the preoccupation impact each other? What will your protagonist do when they finally complete their activity?

You can subscribe to Oh magazine here.

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – response

You are doing a great job. Photo by Judy Darley

My city is full of artists using innovative means to spread a little cheer. At the start of lockdown, messages like these popped up on street corners, sticking out of flowerbeds and hedges.

They foster such positivity that some days I’ve found they make me smile, and others, when I’m feeling a little grouchier, they’ve made me turn away with a frown.

It reminds me how little of how we react is actually about with the thing we’re reacting to.

Present your character with a well-meaning act of kindness, and give them an extreme emotional response that’s really all about some news they received that morning. How much can you show without telling your reader the exact nature of that news? How can you stagger the reveal though what is said and done?

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – socket

Plug socket by Judy DarleyRecently we had cause to contact an electrician. The plug socket we use for our kettle was becoming intermittent. Initially I blamed the kettle, but when the empty socket crackled and hissed, I decided it might burn the place down and called in an expert.

He soon discovered the culprit – a teeny, adventurous, but ultimately scorched spider*! He also mentioned that occasionally he’s asked to investigate malfunctioning outside plugs and finds a toasted slug deep inside the electrics.

Can you write this into a kooky story where something unexpected wriggles into a plug socket, with extraordinary results? Perhaps the sneaky something could be resistant to electric shocks, such as a dragon or, um, an electric eel!

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

*No spiders were harmed in the devising of this creative prompt.

Writing prompt – scooter

Scooter by Judy DarleyThis scooter stands abandoned on the brim of a local park. Who do you think the owner might be? Write a list of ten attributes, including gender, age, size, favourite food, scariest moment so far, and so on.

Now write a list that reflects the exact opposite of each chosen attribute.

Select five at random from each list, mixing and matching to create an original character that you can then build your story around.

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – sneakers

Sneakers by Judy DarleyI don’t know if this happens in your area, but where I live it’s common for people to leave objects they no longer want on their front wall. It’s a tendency that’s proliferated throughout lockdown while charity shops have been closed.

It drives me a bit bonkers. While it’s good to find ways to prevent objects going to landfill, the items often remain outside for days and weeks, being destroyed by rain and sun. Why not hang onto them a little bit longer then pass them on to charities who can sell them for crucial funds?

Why not turn this into a psychological creep-fest? Dig into the twisted corners of your imagination and devise a dark motive for someone to leave items outside. What trap might the person who takes them home fall into?

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 may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.