Writing prompt – bottled

Bottled by Judy DarleyI spotted this old milk bottle in a local woodland. Instead of containing a slip of paper, or a folded ship, it’s half full of living moss and other greenery. I love the idea of it being a kind of ecological message in a bottle.

What might that message say?

Alternatively, might it be the equivalent of a ‘break in case of emergency’ tool? In a moment of planetary crisis could we shatter the bottle glass and release a forest?

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.

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Writing prompt – missing

Hair grip, Arnos Vale Cemetery by Judy DarleyOne of the early inspirations for my story Knotted Rope (published on the Seren website) was a small pink hair clip I saw lying beside a grave in Arnos Vale Cemetery. It made me wonder about the child who had lost it, and then wonder what would happen if the child want missing instead of the clip.

Could this inconsequential item serve as a clue? In the end my story about a missing child took a different route, and that initial thought was reduced to the following:

       I overhear one police officer mutter to another: “Shame it’s not a girl.”

       “Excuse me?” My voice rattles through the air. “What difference would that make?”

       “Oh, none, nothing. Just, little girls tend to carry things, hair slides…” He flounders, pointing to a broken clip on the side of the path. The pink paint is peeling away; it’s spotted with rust. “They’re more likely to leave a trail.”

       I glare at him. “If you’re any good at your job you won’t need a trail, will you?”

What ephemera you spotted by the side of a path or road? What directions could it carry you in your writing?

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.

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Writing prompt – busker

Street performer by Judy DarleyAt this time of year, magical performances begin unfolding on every city centre street. It’s a touch of the bizarre that I love to see, but it does make me curious.

What could lure or drive a person to such a precarious, public way of making a living? Or are they investment bankers in the week and unicyclists on weekends?

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.

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Writing prompt – canoe

Canoe by Hattie BuckwellThis beautiful picture is part of artist Hattie Buckwell‘s tantalising Explore The World print. Send your imagination on a journey and conjure up an adventure – it could be across oceans or over mountains, or simply through an Ikea on a hectic weekend!

What challenges could your intrepid travellers encounter? What might they discover about themselves and each other?

Read my interview with Hattie Buckwell.

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.

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Writing prompt – travel

Twin Blue and Green Lakes, Sete Cidades cr Judy DarleyI often find myself moved to write strange and dreamy fictions while travelling. For instance, my story Two Pools of Water, inspired by a trip to the Azores, and published this week by dear damsels.

Think of a place you’ve visited far from and as unalike home as possible, and use that as the setting for a story. If you can weave in a bit of local legend, so much the better!

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.

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Writing prompt – tension

Storm in Bristol by Judy DarleySome storms sweep in fast and transform the world, if only for a few wracked hours. Create a scene with a moment of tension that builds and breaks in rhythm with rain, wind and thunder. A marital spat, sibling rivalry, two strangers misconstruing an encounter…

Try writing the scene inside, with rain streaking the window as lightning flashes, and then shove your characters out into the weather to see what impact this has.

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.

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Writing prompt – tunnels

River Avon tunnels, Bristol cr Judy DarleyIt’s so strange what you can see a hundred times without really taking in. These tunnels pass from the River Avon and travel beneath a Bristol street, but where could they lead? Why purpose might they have?

Write a story exploring these dark, watery underground channels.

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 – pineapple

Pineapple cr Judy DarleyThere’s a man in Bristol who spends his days dreaming up new creations, and his nights building extraordinary sculptures. Each one is formed from those rubbery yellow cladding that swathes scaffolding poles in situ.

Some say he’s a vandal and a thief, costing construction firms time and money, but in a city where street art is a tourist attraction, these bright yellow explosions seem like a means to stay sane in treacherous circumstances while spreading a little joy.

What do you think? Use this as the starting point of some creativity of your own.

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 – fable

Ugly Duck cr Judy DarleyHere’s a challenge. The Ugly Duckling is a story we’ve been told all our lives. It seems that magazines, movies and all the other elements of popular culture agree that the ending’s only happy if the ducking emerges as a radiant swan.

I suspect this genre of fairytale is part of the reason why our society puts such value on our outward appearance.

So how do you take such a well-known tale of redemption through beauty and give it a fresh, more positive, less shallow twist?

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 – tenant

Reggie cr Judy DarleyOur new home came with an unexpected lodger, who seemed rather surprised to discover us peering into his pond after months, or even years, alone.

Imagine a couple moving into a house only to discover someone or something is already resident. What could ensue?

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.