Writing prompt – alone

Old man and pigeons by Judy DarleyWhile looking after my nephew recently, we visited a local park. An old man was minding his own business feeding pigeons and squirrels from a carrier bag of monkey nuts.

My nephew wanted to make friends with him and help feed the wildlife, but it was clear the gentleman wanted only to be left alone. I got the impression this is something he does every Saturday, or perhaps every day, and that it is a source of rare pleasure to him.

I also had the sense he prefers animals to humans and has perhaps learnt to be wary of people. It made me wonder what his story is, whether he lives alone, or may even be homeless. How did he come to be like this? What might happen if a child insisted on befriending him?

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – curious

Child holds beetle cr Judy DarleySpend time with any young child and you’ll soon realise they’re overflowing with curiosity. Why is the sky blue? How does the moon stay up? Where do beetles fly away to? How does electricity work?

Instead of throwing your hands in the air with exhaustion (now, there’s a funny mental image), use one of these questions as the start of a story, trying to answer it in as elegant, funny or enchanting way as you can.

Why not?

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – glimmer

Easter egg cr Judy DarleyA few weeks ago I was leaving my house, when I spotted a small foil-wrapped egg on the footpath. Intrigued, I picked it up, then put it in the bin. Days later, a glimmer of gold caught my eye and I found an identical egg nestled in the leaves of a dandelion like a small precious meteor.

#Writingprompt Where could these eggs have been coming from, and why? And more curiously, if they’re intended as Easter offerings, why were they appearing so early?

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – promises

Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram photo1 by Judy DarleyHave you ever been made a completely implausible promise? Did you end up disappointed or resigned when it failed to come to fruition, or did you have a moment of wonder when your promiser delivered?

Artist Luke Jerram is currently touring his Museum of the Moon, offering us the chance to promise to take someone to the moon, and actually mean it. Imagine if that really was the moon, however. What havoc could it cause the seas and oceans, our gravitational pull and the night sky?

Write a tale based on an unfeasible promise, and the chaos it causes when it actually comes true.

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – rural

Golden Teasels by Jane Betteridge

This painting, Golden Teasels by Jane Betteridge, seems loaded with potential to me. I have the sense of someone wandering along deep in their thoughts, then unexpectedly witnessing something private and possibly awful unfurl.

Or perhaps this is a scene of bucolic beauty and innocence.

What does it bring to mind for you?

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – grave companion

Grave companion cr Judy DarleyMy local Victorian cemetery where I like to run is littered with tombs topped by curious effigies. When I spied the small horse above, my only thought was, “Funny, I never noticed that one before.”

I actually ran past, then trotted back for a closer look, and realised that what I’d taken for carved stone was in fact sodden fur, moss-stained and sullied by spending who knows how long in a graveyard?

Grave companion by Judy Darley

Who could have lost this precious companion? What lonely soul might have claimed it as their 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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – change

Deceased March wasp photo by Judy DarleyApologies, I realise this post should have come with a warning for those entomophobes among us.

I stepped over this deceased wasp on a sunny day last week and was struck by how wrong it is to see a wasp, alive or dead, at this time of year. To my knowledge, they’re best known for spoiling late summer picnics, so what was this one doing out and about so early, and what caused its demise?

To me this insect corpse is a potent symbol of climate change – a seemingly minor anomaly, but heralding potential catastrophe – the equivalent of a butterfly effect with a sting in its tail. It seems ripe with metaphor and satire for cli-fi (yes, that is a genre) writers.

Curiously enough, when I googled the definition of wasp, as well as getting lots of info about White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (go figure), I was informed that a wasp is A) a social social winged insect which has a narrow waist, and B) a solitary winged insect which has a narrow waist.

So there you go, plenty of tangents to fly with.

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – recipe

Grapes photo by Judy DarleyFlavour and scent are inextricably linked to nostalgia, making them the perfect means of ramping up the visceral-qualities of any tale. With this in mind, use a recipe as your starting point, whether it’s for something as sweet as a plate of heart-shaped cookies, or the particular mix of a dirty martini.

Your character may be a cordon bleu chef or a kitchen klutz – either way you have plenty of scope for hyping up tension through the drive for perfection. One final thing to ask them, and yourself, why is it so important to them to get this specific recipe right?

Today’s #writingprompt was inspired by this recipe for pickled grapes. *mouth waters*

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – animals

Animal Wall Lioness photo by Judy Darley

Animal Wall Lioness photo by Judy Darley

On a recent visit to Cardiff’s Castle Quarter, I strolled along The Animal Wall, an impressive series of sculptures depicting fauna from across the world. These include an anteater, a seal and a hyena. My favourite is the stately lioness, pictured above with the Castle Clock Tower.

Designed by William Burges, the first nine were sculpted by Thomas Nicholls in 1890, with six more added by Alexander Carrick in 1931.

I love the idea of making one or more of these statues the site of a clandestine rendezvous – “meet me beneath the pelican at 9.15…” Or could the animals themselves have a secret other life?

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – eavesdrop

Small Street Espresso cr Judy Darley#writingprompt

The town I live in is full of fantastic independent coffee shops where you can sit and write, while coyly keeping one ear and one eye tuned to the people mooching in and out.

The one pictured above is Small Street Espresso, a fabulous but tiny establishment in Bristol.

This week I urge you to emerge from your writer’s cave and head out to a more populated place. Take your portable writing device of choice (a notepad and pen should do it), and eavesdrop to your heart’s content. Who knows what might arise?

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’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.