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.

Writing prompt – backdrop

Wonder by Judy DarleyWhile travelling in Thailand, I became increasingly intrigued by the large number of tourists only interested in snapping selfies or seeing their surroundings through the screen of smart devices. Rather than breathing in the moment, they seem intent on how they will look on social media, with that particular backdrop.

In this case, a young girl would rather flick through her phone than take notice of the natural wonder of the Haew Suwat waterfall.

Use this as a starting point for a story. What might happen if one day this girl actually looks up from her phone? What might have changed while her attention was elsewhere?

Alternatively, consider what it could take to remind her that the world can be more than a backdrop to her Instagram photos.

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 – tithe

Tithe Barn at Bradford on Avon by Judy DarleyThis impressive Tithe Barn is situated in Bradford on Avon. The beautiful structure dates back to the 1330s, and has had a number of uses attributed to it, though the name suggests this may have been where people were expected to bring the wares that made up their taxes – basically ten per cent of every crop or animal yield paid to the local church establishment.

I love that this photo catches two modern-day visitors treading in the ancient space, almost as though they are the ghosts in this scenario. What produce might they be expected to submit ten per cent of to this building’s holy masters?

What aspects of history, religion, society and community could you explore with this as your starting point?

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.