Pandemic prompt – cherub

Donald Trump cherub by Judy DarleyA while back I visited The Black Country Living Museum, an open-air museum in Dudley. It includes a vintage fairground, with authentic rides and displays, including this horrifying cherub artwork.

The evidence is clear – not only has Donald Trump remained unchanged (some might say un-evolved) for more than 100 years, but even then he attempted to portray his innocence in the most overt and grotesque terms. Either that, or some 1920s artist had a satirical eye on the future.

How could you turn this into an unsettling tale?

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.

Pandemic prompt – isolation

Toy truck by Judy DarleyAs UK school children get to grips with online classrooms, write a scene, story or poem in which a person meets another human face-to-face for the first time after ten years in #selfisolation.

What is the first thing they say? How does the person respond?

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 – playground

Rocking horse by Judy DarleyThis small, well-worn rocking horse recently appeared in a local playground. I love how incongruous it looks next to the flying saucer and vivid plastic toys.

Who might have donated this gorgeous pony, and why? Who did it belong to? I can imagine children sharing their rides with ghosts and aliens alike!

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 – incarceration

Lemur, Bristol Zoo, by Judy DarleyI once came across a call for poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction, which specified that submissions were free of charge “for people who are currently incarcerated.”

Today I invite you to dream up a story with a fresh take on incarceration, bearing in mind that not all those charged with a crime are guilty, not all those locked up have been charged with a crime, and not all jails are physical.

Even more intriguingly, not all those who are trapped are aware of their lack of liberty.

Use this as the starting point of a tale.

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 – surface

Judy all at seaMy sister snapped this pic of me enjoying the balmy depths of the South China Sea. It’s such a peaceful scene, and yet it is part of a power struggle that’s been going on for decades as countries vie for control of this major shipping channel and its oil and gas reserves. It’s also, according to Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources, home to one third of the entire world’s marine biodiversity.

Yet from this level, it looks gloriously tranquil. Transform this into a metaphor for someone who seems calm but is cracking apart beneath the surface, or play with what you see above. What’s could be lurking below the sunlit surface?

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 – rose

Rose by Judy DarleyWhile meandering through a local cemetery, I spotted red flowers blooming on a tree. A closer look revealed silk roses attached with green wire. Someone’s clearly had enough of waiting for spring!

Who might have attached these pretend blossoms? What purpose might they have had. How could this perhaps bring two lonely strangers into each other’s lives?

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 – family

Me and Mum_Colby Gardens 2017 by Judy DarleyThis curious picture shows my mum and me reflected in a pool of water. As her birthday happens this week, it seems like an excellent writing prompt. What eerie marine family might this photo represent? How could you capture the essence, or at least a suggestion, of your own family in a slightly askew tale?

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 – cookies

Cookies by Judy DarleyIn just two days it will be Valentine’s Day. Use this picture of a plate of heart-shaped cookies as your starting point and imagine who baked them. Who is the recipient?

Is this a romantic gift, a desperate or courageous declaration of love, an act of revenge, or something far more frightening?

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 – fallen star

Star by Judy Darley

Since our fall from grace, aka leaving the EU, I’ve seen a lot of tweets and Facebook posts asking Europe to take care of our star.

Imagine a scenario where this fallen star was a physical rather than metaphorical object. What if it was the most precious and fragile item in our galaxy? How could it be protected? What power struggles might its presence on Earth result in?

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 – flock

Bird bath by Judy DarleyI recently happened across an advert for a beautifully crafted artificial bird, designed to be fixed onto tree branches. It felt a little like a dystopian future where all wildlife is made of metal or glass and skies are populated by fake birds with recorded song piped in. I’ll admit, it gave me a bit of a shudder.

The birdbath pictured above sits in a local Victorian cemetery, and to me fits into this idea. How would it feel to be the last remaining real wren whose best friend is sculpted from stone?

How can you make this dystopian story idea into a utopian or at least hopeful tale?

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.