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.

Writing prompt – Pareidolia

Sad Ghost Cereal cr Judy DarleyAccording to Kim Ann Zimmermann at Live Science, “Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data. Some common examples are seeing a likeness of Jesus in the clouds or an image of a man on the surface of the moon.“

It’s also the reason why a particular brand of breakfast food is known as ‘Sad Ghost Cereal’ in my household.

Imagine becoming convinced this was the truth – could you become haunted by your own snack? You can shift this phenomena to any household item. Just take a glance around and see what’s grinning or grimacing at you right now!

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – piano

Blue piano cr Judy Darley

This is the second piano to make it onto my Writing Prompts column. What it is about their keys and chords that ripples so many stories into existence?

The last one was prompted by my dad. This one came about thanks to my mum. After an evening out she headed off to the bus station, then sent me a message to tell me the following:

“I missed the bus by 5 minutes! BUT it was O.K, waiting at the bus station as I had a free concert. One of the Bristol pianos was there and a couple of students turned up and began to play lovely music. The one who did the most playing was excellent, and didn’t seem able to tear himself away. I wondered if they were there all night!”
What a magical scene. A bus station almost empty but for a 70-something woman. The arrival of two students, the discovery of a piano, and music filtering through the air.
Use this image to dream up a tale. How might the listener and the pianist be altered by their encounter?

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – lens

Flying in Laugharne by Judy DarleyI was looking at some photos I took in Laugharne this summer and almost deleted this one because of a strange mark I mistook for a smudge on the lens.

But then I zoomed in a little and discovered a slightly blurry image of a bird in flight, or perhaps a pterosaur.

Flying in Laugharne crop by Judy Darley

It made me consider how easily this could create a plot twist in a story, as your character notices something unexpected or revealing in a photo they thought they knew…

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 – positivity

#Happytoes

A couple of years a friend and I wrote up a mass of cheery statements and attached them to my nephew’s discarded baby socks, then scattered them through the neighbourhood. It became part of the Totterdown’s Front Room Arts Trail 2015.

Our only goal was to spread a few smiles.

Why not attempt something similar with your writing?  Word or poetry bomb a public place to make someone stop in their tracks and think for a moment.

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – Story Week

Cheetham Library, ManchesterThe UK’s National Short Story Week takes place from 13th-19th November 2017, with events including workshops, readings, exhibitions and more.

The aim of the week is to make the British public more aware of the pleasure of reading and writing short stories. There are numerous short story writing workshops, short story readings, ‘meet the author’ events and short story competitions to get involved with, all in the guise of “celebrating the short story and the short story writer.”

Why not use this as a prompt to write a short story inspired by the setting of your local library, or a favourite cafe, and then find out if then find out if you can exhibit the completed work of fiction there to inspire others?

Find out what’s happening for National Short Story Week in your area.

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – goat

Goat by Judy DarleyImagine this goat is the wisest creature you will ever meet. Imagine it has the answers to any question you could ever want or hope to ask.

How would you communicate? How might people treat this wise old goat? Might they honour it, or fear it? How did it become so very wise in the first place?

Only you have the answer to that.

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 – in perpetuity

Arnos Vale Cemetery cat cr Judy DarleyI was walking through Arnos Vale’s Victorian cemetery recently, when a plea for help caught my eye. Apparently, rather than buying a plot, the Victorians’ preferred to rent theirs – I suppose they surmised that they would only need it for a generation or two at most.

According to the sign: “The Victorians often lease family grave ‘in perpetuity’, or for 125 years, with little thought about who would pay for their care after that. Thousands of family graves have been effectively ‘abandoned’ over the past 50 years, so funds for upkeep have ceased.”

What now?!

I immediately pictured countless wraiths being evicted for failing to pay their rent. What form might they take? Where could they go in search of refuge? Who might let them in?

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. If you’d like to donate to Arnos Vale Cemetery, visit their website.

Writing prompt – dusk

Dusk-winter-trees-cr-Judy-Darley

As the days shorten and nights lengthen, my mind turns to the winter solstice, and to the Solstice Shorts Festival 2017 due to be hosted by micro publisher Arachne Press.

Arachne Press proprietor and publisher Cherry Potts is seeking submissions of new and unpublished poetry and prose on the theme of Dusk. What does it bring to mind for you?

Cherry describes dusk as “the last ‘official’ segment, when the sun is down, but there’s still a lingering light in the sky, through to out and out night.”

The deadline for submissions is 5th November 2017.

Think about how you can turn that time when light and dark hover around each other into a story or poem. Find out how to submit your words at arachnepress.com

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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com. You can help make the Solstices Shorts a nationwide festival.

Solstice Shorts Logo

Writing prompt – fog

Undiscovered Faroe Islands © Per Morten Abrahamsen

Undiscovered Faroe Islands © Per Morten Abrahamsen

Did you know that the people of the Faroe Islands have 37 words for fog?

It’s just the kind of detail that makes me want to reach for pen and paper and start scribbling down ideas for stories and poems.

The archipelago of 18 tiny islands is currently petitioning Google Translate to share their language. Located in the North Atlantic, between the Shetlands, Iceland and Norway, they have created their own Faroe Islands Translate in a bid to have their language taken on by Google. Less than 80,000 people speak Faroese worldwide.

Faroese fog © Kate Chapman

Faroese fog © Kate Chapman

The Faroese version of the online translation service employed the services of locals rangings from sheep farmers to school teachers, and chefs to social workers. “This initiative provides an opportunity to see the friendly Faroese before visiting, and to gain a window on to their magical world.”

To me that sounds like a fabulous feel-good film!

Lisa í Dali, a student at the University of the Faroe Islands, is one of the locals involved. Lisa’s favourite Faroese phrase is “um tær ikki dámar veðrið, bíða so bara í 5 minuttir” which means “if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” Perfect!

Use this beautiful story to inspire a piece of writing, and celebrate the power of language.

To learn more about the Faroe Islands, visit www.visitfaroeislands.com/en. To fly to the Faroe Islands, visit www.atlantic.fo.

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.