Writing prompt – fruit

Tomato. Photo by Judy DarleyDo you ever find it hard to believe that a tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable? By this logic, how can we know that a dog is a dog, a pigeon is a pigeon or that a rock is a rock (and not a tortoise)?

Take this idea further and question all of your surroundings, piece by piece. Or consider this rather beautiful tomato and imagine it being extremely large, or yourself extremely small, and see where your mind carries you. If you want to go the other way and picture yourself being extremely large instead, go ahead. I won’t judge, promise.

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 – encounter

Boy meets turtle_Photo by Judy DarleyInspired in part by Michael T. Miyoshi’s fantastic response to last week’s #WritingPrompt – Oddity, this week’s prompt features an inquisitive turtle.

What could a kind-natured, mischievous boy and a wise, curious turtle learn from one another? Given the opportunity, what adventures might they have together?

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 – oddity

Wheeled Rock, Kaunas Lithuania. Photo by Judy DarleyI met this wheeled rock in Kaunas, Lithuania. I’m sure there’s a perfectly sensible reason why a rock should be fitted with a wheel, but what could that reason be? What springs to my mind is Terry Pratchett’s sentient suitcase with feet, The Luggage.

Could this rock be in the midst of some mind-boggling mission? Might it not be a rock at all? What unseen powers might it possess? How could the wheel aspect contribute to your plot line?

My favourite response so far, received from Michael T Miyoshi via Twitter: “I’m not a rock! I’m a tortoise without rear legs. A good Samaritan fitted me with the wheel.”

Well, of course, that makes perfect sense!

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 – missing

Missing cat_photo by Judy DarleyThe other day I re-watched Big, in which Tom Hanks plays a child transformed by a wish into an adult, and was struck by the skilful storytelling within that movie.

The placement of a milk carton with the hero’s childhood face on it added poignancy to a scene whilst serving to remind viewers of his true self.

Imagine a ‘missing’ poster in your neighbourhood and think of the unexpected revelation or subtle depth it could layer into a story. Then have a play.

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 – discord

Devil and accordian. Devils Museum, Kaunas Lithuania. pic by Judy DarleyThe accordion is a devil’s instrument. No, seriously. When visiting Kaunas, Lithuania, recently, I spent some time meandering the three storeys of the Devils’ Museum (highly recommended, btw), and saw numerous statues of gurning devils clutching elaborate squeeze-boxes.

Somehow, it was no surprise. Unless played with uncommon skill, these tricky instruments sound somewhat like outraged felines. Far from accord, all you get is discord.

What instrument or implement could you give the villain of a story to provide an insight into their depths of depravity? Go brash, or go subtle – you could set the whole tone of your piece.

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 – extinction

Jam spoon cr Judy DarleyThere’s been a lot in the news recently about the world losing its first mammal species to climate change. The creature in crisis was a little rodent called a melomy, which used to live on an island near the Great Barrier Reef, but died out due to cataclysmic weather that destroyed their habitat.

It’s a scary harbinger of the losses to come. This week, I suggest you write a tale on this theme, but give it a twist by a) writing about the extinction of human beings from the point of view of another species, or b) by detailing the extinction of an inanimate object, along the lines of: “Scientists today confirmed the death of the last jam spoon. This selfless and useful species is now declared extinct.”

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

Rainy day, Laugharne, by Judy DarleyWeather can heighten or illuminate the emotions concentrated within a story. Imagine a bickering family or couple trapped inside together by torrential rain.

Next, add a fresh element of potential conflict: the arrival of a stranger, the threat of a flood, a leak in the roof or a pet or child escaping into the storm.

How is the issue resolved?

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 – lion

Lion fountain, Bristol harbourside by Judy DarleyI love this fountain on Bristol Harbourside. At this time of year, freezing weather can result in a beard of icicles, which only adds to the otherworldly quality of the lion.

Fountains have often been the scene of passionate moments in novels and plays. Why not make this one the scene of an illicit tryst, revelation or an act of violence based on jealousy or retribution? The lower the temperatures, the more fiery the emotions…

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 – ambush

Feathers in Arnos Vale_Photo by Judy DarleyWhen I see a spray of feathers like this, I know I’ve stumbled across the site of a mighty battle. Some unwitting bird was beset upon, perhaps by a peregrine or buzzard.

What might the prey and predator have experienced in those frantic moments? Dig deep and conjure the visceral sensations – the fear and bloodlust and the physical tumult.

Then shift those sensations onto a pair of human protagonists. To what dark place does that take you?

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.

Submit tales of doorways to the NFFD Anthology

Azores pufferfish doorway by Judy Darley
Doors can mean so many things to so many people. They can offer refuge, or conceal threats, be locked, swing wide open, or simply represent new possibilities.

Doors are also the theme for the 2019 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology. The deadline for submissions is Friday 15th March 2019, 23:59pm GMT.

This year’s editors are Joanna Campbell and Santino Prinzi, who invite you to submit flash fictions up to 500 words in length.

They say: “We want you to open the door to stories wild with imagination. We’re looking for those creepy mysteries about doors we can’t find the key to. We want those funny tales of frustration when doors do exactly what they’re supposed to when we don’t want them to. Maybe the stories you want to share are about metaphorical doors, filled with the disappointment of doors that are closed to us or brimming with excitement at new opportunities.”

There’s a £2.50 submission fee for one entry, £4.00 for two entries or £6.00 for three (the maximum) entries. Free entries for low income writers are also available.

You can find full details here.