Writing prompt – snow

Snow on shelter by Judy DarleyI love this photo of a shelter covered in snow. It feels like a metaphor for so many things. For one thing, aside from the clumps of snow above, the manmade tunnel leads towards, or away from, beautiful blue skies.

For another, as shelters go, this one is pretty pathetic, mainly due to the fact that its main purpose is not to shelter pedestrians but to prevent us jumping onto the railway tracks below. Any yet, while rain and wind slip through, snow is suspended, at least until it thaws.

What possible narratives does it seed in your mind?

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 – fate

Pebble man by Judy DarleyImagine this strange scenario – amid the pebbles embedded in the top of a low wall, you spy the painted face of a man. It just so happens that this is the visage of a man who will steal the heart of someone close to your protagonist.

Is he to be trusted, or not? How did his face come to be painted onto that pebble? What baggage does he bring with him? Is your character’s friend or sibling or parent or child destined for joy or grief? Flex your imagination and use your literary powers to decide their fate.

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 – shrine

Shrine by Judy Darley2I encountered this shrine in a Thai jungle.

Consider the scene of devastation. Who might have placed the shrine here, and why? What were they guarding against, and what could have resulted in this disarray? What spirits might linger here?

Weave a myth of good versus evil or ancient values versus new, and see where you end up.

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 – gender

Gender reveal by Judy DarleyI spotted this sign just a few weeks ago. It feels extraordinary in this time when the issue of gender grows ever more individual and personal that the concept of gender divides still exist. Thankfully the Pussyhat protestors already reclaimed pink as a power colour, but the either/or debate should surely be over.

But even he/she/them doesn’t suffice in the current climate. I’m on the brink of inventing a new pronoun that will cover all genders and fractals of genders – perhaps dot. As in: ‘Judy writes fiction, Dot has been published widely…”

Use this shift in awareness as your tale’s starting point. Just for fun, write your protagonist  with one gender in mind, and then swap to another. How does this deepen your own understanding of their character?

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 – 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.