Writing prompt – mirror

Chew Magna Lake_By Judy Darley. Blue sky, white clouds and reflections in lake water.The beauty of Chew Magna Lake in Somerset is enhanced by the clouds in the sky above and reflected rather gloriously on the reservoir’s lightly rippled surface.

It’s common to see curious shapes such as cats, elephants and dragons in clouds. Imagine if that was taken a step further, and the reflections showed something more or other than what’s seen above.

Can you turn this into a diptych of a tale that tells both what there is and what could be or has been? What could this perceived view reveal about the characters who see it?

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 – beneath

Giant fish Bristol Harbouside_By Judy DarleyOn a sunny day strolling around Bristol Harbour, I spotted a school of vast fish shoaling and feasting on some water foliage. The gull bobbing on the surface seems to have no concerns about what could brush against their feet at any moment, or even try a nibble.

It made me think about how little we’re aware of what happens beneath our feet, or of the threats that lurk, occasionally in plain sight. Often we underestimate the things that could cause harm. Imagine if one fish in the photo above were to choose to sample ‘gull surprise’, and the carnage that could trigger! Would the gull flap into action and flee to safety? What if they realised too slowly what was happening and found themselves unable to escape?

Can you turn this idea into a tale with a feisty, defiant protagonist at its heart?

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 – unseasonal

Winter hat_Victoria Park_August_by Judy Darley

On a sunny August day as I strolled in shorts and vest, I saw this winter’s hat propped on a fallen tree in the park.

It boggled my imagination. Who was so cold in our heatwave that they walked out wearing a woolly hat? I’ve heard of snow in July, but this seems extreme!

With our weather patterns growing more erratic, might we need to start carrying not only umbrellas and sunglasses on every outing, but also thermals and ski-boots?

Was it someone’s equivalent of a beloved blanky?

Or is this festive bobble-hat dropped by someone missing a place where Christmas lasts all year?

Let your imagination run free!

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 – splotch

Arnos Vale character_Photo by Judy DarleyI often feel anxious when I see trees emblazoned with coloured splotches in a local woodland. It generally indicates a tree set to be felled or trimmed.

Some helpful person has decided to make this ash tree’s foreboding embellishment a little cheerier, however, by adding eyes and a vibrant head of hot-pink hair.

Will it be enough to save the tree from execution? Will the tree surgeons smile and take their chainsaw elsewhere?

Or is this comical character an unlikely guardian (I’m thinking along the lines of Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life), protecting the ash tree from harm?

What direction could you take this story 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 might publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – underside

Castle Bridge Bristol_Photo by Judy Darley

I have a fondness for that curious view of the underside of bridges you can only see from water. This one is a particular beauty – the serpentine 91-metre Castle Bridge that wends its way from Castle Park to Finzels Reach in Bristol.

From this angle it could almost be the scaled belly of an immense reptile. Alternatively, it could be a futuristic home for a miniature civilisation living beneath the feet but above the ferries of the humans who visit and inhabit this city.

Can you turn one of these ideas into a story or dream up one of your own?

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 – contrails

Arnos Vale vapour trails_Photo by Judy DarleyRemember how during lockdown the skies were eerily still without human traffic? Only birds, insects and weather inhabited those spaces.

When the first contrails (the vapour trails aeroplanes leave in clear skies) appeared, most people felt hope. Normal life was resuming.

But glancing up now, I see a traffic jam of countless people zipping off for holidays and work. We’ve gone back to all the bad habits we paused in the early months of the pandemic.

Can you turn this sobering thought into a story? Can you tell it through the eyes of someone who might want, or even know how, to make a change?

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 – pair

Pink doors. Photo by Judy Darley

I sometimes stroll down a street where two pink doors shine out, resplendent. I find their coordination intriguing – two separate homes, two front doors, the exact shade of strawberry milkshake pink.

Do a pair of siblings live in these two homes and share a passion for pink?

Did one person paint their door and offer up their leftovers? Was their neighbour’s door so shabby, it brought down the cheeriness of their pink, so they suggested a touch of gloss?

Is this the evidence of unrequited love? Or of a marriage where they need to, and can afford to, keep their distance on occasion?

Did a guerrilla house decorator daub both doors on the same moonlit night?

Is this secretly one home with two doors? If you were to venture in, might you find an adjoining inner door?

What answer to this synchronicity of pink can you dream up and turn into a tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please send it to me in an email to judydarley (at) iCloud.com for possible publication on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – mismatch

Parasol. Photo by Judy DarleyI love this image of a couple where they appear in step but out of time. The bloke on the left looks utterly contemporary, while their partner’s parasol could slide them into an entirely different era.

Can you weave this scene into a rom-com or other genre tale where a visual mismatch could prove to be the perfect match?

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 – tents

Flash Festival Festival camp. Photo by Judy Darley. Shows tents among trees.I photographed these lovely tents sprouting amid trees at the Flash Fiction Festival, like a colourful crop of gigantic mushrooms. Each one sheltered a writer or two who emerged in daylight hours to chatter, attend writing workshops and imagine.

I’ve seen camps like this at music festivals slept in by revellers, at city parks occupied by people without homes, and on telly lived in by refugees. There are countless directions this prompt could take you in, from the lighthearted to the heartbreaking.

Alternatively, imagine someone coming downstairs and looking out of their kitchen window to discover a tent and interloper a la Alan Bennett’s Lady in the the Van.

Focus on one particular character and draw out the story they have to tell.

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please send it to me in an email to judydarley (at) iCloud.com for possible publication on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – echoes

Belfast Docks_SoundYard sculpture_Judy DarleyThis sculpture is titled SoundYard and sits on Belfast docks. When you step beneath its metal tubes, motion detectors kick a mechanism into life and small cogs begin to turn, recreating the metallic sounds of the vibrant shipyards that once thrived here.

It’s an ingenious way to summon an impression of history.

Just as Marcel Proust employed the sense of taste (his famous ‘little crumb of madeleine’) to plunge into memory, can you choose a sense to evoke a moment from your own or an imagined past that will transport readers to that time?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please send it to me in an email to judydarley (at) iCloud.com for possible publication on SkyLightRain.com.