Writing prompt – tinsel

Christmas tree 2019

Merry Christmas! As you may recall, this splendid sparkling beauty is on loan from my mum and is an original, possibly extremely flammable, 1960s tinsel tree. The zombie decoration is a more modern addition.

Christmas is a time when childhood memories take particularly prominence. In honour of this, think back and either use one of your own early memories of the festivities, or an anecdote from a parent or grandparent, to weave a seasonal story.

Wishing you a peaceful, joyful Christmas, however you choose to spend it.

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 – beast

Fish face by Judy DarleyWith pantomime season upon us, this is the perfect time to play with the old fairytale topes. Imagine a love story where some dazzling beautiful is determined to win the affection of this grumpy-looking aquatic beast.

Here’s the catch – in this modern version of Beauty and The Beast, don’t have the Beast turn out to be a secret stunner too, and don’t Shrek it up and make it so that the Beauty becomes beastly. Instead, find other grounds for their mutual passion. A shared misanthropy, perhaps?

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 – beetle

Beetle. By Judy DarleyThis glorious iridescent beetle is only the size of a ladybird, yet it glimmers as though its been bedazzled. I encountered it in a woodland near my home.

According to a report published by the Wildlife Trusts, 41% of insect species face extinction due to pesticides and habitat loss.

Your challenge is to write a piece that focuses on solutions rather than loss – could you dream up a cheerful story about how efforts to save an extraordinary beetle lead to a more positive outcome for us all?

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 – ted

Ted. By Judy Darley

This well-loved teddy bear has been propped in a bush by a passerby so that it will be reunited with its human more easily.

This could make an excellent children’s story. I still recall the day when, aged three, I dropped a cherished toy and my mum succeeded in retracing our steps to recover her.

Think about the person who lost it, whoever finds it and the character of the ted itself. Let me know if your creativity is promp-ted!

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 – fallen leaf

Fallen leaf by Judy DarleyThe beauty of this fallen leaf stopped me in my tracks. This November has been particularly exceptional, with drifts of gold, rust and crimson leaves appearing in every street.

Imagine if no on had seen this phenomenon before, so that the cascade of leaves was the sign of something bigger. Use this as the starting point for a tale, or turn it into a metaphor for what happens when someone dares take a leap into the unknown.

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

Rain by Judy Darley. ColourThis is the third in a trio of writing prompts instigated by my new short story collection, Sky Light Rain. You can find a black and white version of the artwork in the book.

Part three of the collection is Rain, drawing together a selection of water-inspired tales prompted by explorations of pain, beauty, and resilience.

How might your character reveal their heartache without discussing it? How could you portray their resilience through showing, rather than telling?

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 – light

Light by Judy Darley. ColourThis is the second in a trio of writing prompts instigated by my new short story collection, Sky Light Rain. You can find a black and white version of this artwork in the book.

Part two of the collection is Light. It explores the darkness within ourselves, and how we can come through it to find our own light. These tales take the form of a series of journeys, escapes and reunions.

Imagine a character who is hiding a disturbing secret. How might they overcome it to find happiness?

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 – sky

Sky by Judy Darley_colourThis is the first in a trio of writing prompts instigated by my new short story collection, Sky Light Rain. You can find a black and white version of this artwork in the book.

Part one of the collection is Sky, touching on what binds us together while simultaneously giving us the courage, or the push, to overcome our fears.

Think of a situation that demands a difficult decision from your protagonist. How do they respond? What conflicts and resolutions could this lead to?

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 – memory

Elephant remembering by Judy DarleyAn elephant never forgets. Bring bananas or juicy cucumbers and you’ll have a friend for life. One false act, and you’ll never be forgiven.

Use memory and the possibility of misremembering as the core of a story. What deed could be misattributed through the uncertainty of recollection? What implications could this have?

I photographed this beautiful grandma at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Pattaya, in Thailand. Highly recommended!

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 – elemental

Elemental by Judy Darley

My short story collection Sky Light Rain is out in just over a week, and I’m really excited. So I thought that this week I would offer some insights into the inspirations behind the 36 works of fiction it contains.

My publisher has described the collection as ‘elemental,’ which I really like. The tales touch on nature, and human nature, and all the fragmented darkness and lightness that coalesce to form the people we become. It’s about the actions we take to try to make our lives better, and how, at times, these actions can make things worse. How good intentions can be twisted, misunderstood or cast adrift, so that we flounder as we struggle to remember what we’d hoped to achieve or attain.

My starting point for each was a questions: ‘What if…?’

So for this week’s writing prompt I invite you to think about the things that niggle at you, that really pique your curiosity, and then dig deeper by asking yourself why, and what might happen if…?

My book launch is also a wider literary night featuring three additional exceptionally talented writers, Grace Palmer, Paul Deaton and Kevlin Henney, and amazing musician Hidden Tide, who will all share their work. The launch is at 7pm on 2nd November 2019 in Waterstones Bristol. Get your free tickets here.

Sky Light Rain is available to pre-order 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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.