Writing prompt – extinction

Jam spoon cr Judy DarleyThere’s been a lot in the news recently about the world losing its first mammal species to climate change. The creature in crisis was a little rodent called a melomy, which used to live on an island near the Great Barrier Reef, but died out due to cataclysmic weather that destroyed their habitat.

It’s a scary harbinger of the losses to come. This week, I suggest you write a tale on this theme, but give it a twist by a) writing about the extinction of human beings from the point of view of another species, or b) by detailing the extinction of an inanimate object, along the lines of: “Scientists today confirmed the death of the last jam spoon. This selfless and useful species is now declared extinct.”

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 – rain

Rainy day, Laugharne, by Judy DarleyWeather can heighten or illuminate the emotions concentrated within a story. Imagine a bickering family or couple trapped inside together by torrential rain.

Next, add a fresh element of potential conflict: the arrival of a stranger, the threat of a flood, a leak in the roof or a pet or child escaping into the storm.

How is the issue resolved?

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 – lion

Lion fountain, Bristol harbourside by Judy DarleyI love this fountain on Bristol Harbourside. At this time of year, freezing weather can result in a beard of icicles, which only adds to the otherworldly quality of the lion.

Fountains have often been the scene of passionate moments in novels and plays. Why not make this one the scene of an illicit tryst, revelation or an act of violence based on jealousy or retribution? The lower the temperatures, the more fiery the emotions…

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 – ambush

Feathers in Arnos Vale_Photo by Judy DarleyWhen I see a spray of feathers like this, I know I’ve stumbled across the site of a mighty battle. Some unwitting bird was beset upon, perhaps by a peregrine or buzzard.

What might the prey and predator have experienced in those frantic moments? Dig deep and conjure the visceral sensations – the fear and bloodlust and the physical tumult.

Then shift those sensations onto a pair of human protagonists. To what dark place does that take you?

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 – voices

Dylan Thomas summerhouse at Laugharne CastleWithin the grounds of Laugharne Castle is a stone summerhouse where Dylan Thomas and author Richard Hughes would come to write.

Today there is a note from Dylan’s wife Caitlin warning him not to leave the radio on and run the batteries down. More magical, however, is the fact you can turn on the radio and hear Dylan and Richard nattering (might be actors, but who can say?).

What voices from history would you like to overhear? Can you grant your wish to a character in a story?

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 – kindness

Kindness Rocks_Arnos Vale_photo by Judy DarleyOn an amble through a local woodland cemetery, I spotted a number of brightly painted rocks. These flashes of colour amid the winter grey and brown seemed like beacons of hope.

On the back of each was a message explaining that these are #KindnessRocks, and inviting you to share photos of your discovery on social media.

Kindness Rocks_Arnos Vale_photo1 by Judy Darley

A few days later I went back, and every single one had disappeared.

It got me thinking: what other messages could be spread in this way? Who might find them? What could the impact be?

Kindness Rocks_Arnos Vale_Photo4 by Judy Darley

I invite you to use this as the start of a new creative work, and make the outcome as unexpected or uplifting as possible.

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 – language

Bible_St John On The Wall. Photo by Judy DarleyIn Jan Morris’ ‘Over The Bridge: Sydney 1983, part of her Penguins 60s From The Four Corners, she mentions with delight that the motto of a Sydney school: “I Hear, I See, I Learn,” translates into Latin as “Audio, Video, Disco.”

This gorgeous detail is a reminder of how language twitches and evolves, developing and conjuring subtly different meanings, tones and contexts over time.

Match up a weighty old word or phrase with its modern-day interpretation and use this as your starting point. The results may surprise you.

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 – beholder

Artwork at the RWA_Photo by Judy Darley

I caught this moment on camera almost by accident, and love the miscellany of disparate figures and objects. Some of these items are bona fide art complete with a price tag, others are simply clothing or possessions set down for a moment. Best of all, I love the people pausing or passing by.

What jumps out to you when you look at this photo? What do you see as art, or happenstance? Can you express this through fiction, poetry or art of your own?

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 – out

Kalamazoo homeless. Photo by Judy DarleyWhile visiting Kalamazoo, Michigan, I passed a park full of tents. The waitress where I ate lunch confirmed what I feared – the tents were evidence of the growing issue of homelessness. It’s a problem that’s growing in the UK as well, where cuts to benefits are resulting in more people losing their homes when things go wrong.

Think about how that could happen to you, but don’t scare yourself silly. Instead think of what could keep you strong in that situation.

I invite you to write a piece either from the point of view of a) someone holidaying who encounters such a scene, b) from the point of view of someone newly homeless seeing someone holidaying, or c) someone who has been homeless for years responding to a) a holidaymaker, and/or b) someone newly homeless.

Whatever point of view you choose, try rewriting your finished piece from one of the alternate protagonists to see how that changes you reading of the situation.

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 – sea

Oban bay. Photo by Judy DarleyHappy New Year! Have you had any time to write or read over the festive period? I’m currently reading the wonderful A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit. Early on in the book, the author mentions the correlations between science and the creative arts, drawing the distinction between the two thus:

“They [scientists] transform the unknown into the known, haul it in like fishermen; artists get you out into that dark sea.”

What dark sea would you choose to lure readers, viewers and other bystanders into? What might they discover through allowing you to get their feet wet, and following you, possibly far, beyond their depth?

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.