Writing prompt – idyll

St James Park, London by Judy DarleyVisiting London recently on a fiercely hot summer’s day (remember summer? It lasted a few uncommonly good days!) the happiest i felt was when we stepped from the crush of streets into the leafiness of St James’ Park, where this photo was snapped. Yup, those are our shadows, right there.

Lakes, sunshine, waterfowl… What’s not to love?

And yet, even here, darkness waits to catch you out. As we admired ducks diving and swimming beneath the surface, an old man approached to tell me how he’d watched a seagull drowning ducklings, and a friend later told me the familiar story of one of the park’s resident pelicans swallowing a pigeon in front of his eyes. Gulp.

Could you twist this into a political satire or something more poetic? Think about the surface beauty of settings where threats lie in wait…

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 – adventure

Climbing by Judy Darley

Today I’m looking after my middle nephew, who is quite an extraordinary child. Strong, speedy, inquisitive and bright, he’s endlessly hungry for adventure. That’s him in the red jacket, negotiating a climbing frame.

Here he is making friends with a pair of girls who apparently got the same memo as him about wearing red.

Swinging by Judy Darley

In his effort to make friends, my nephew used to attach himself to other families he encountered, and sometimes even follow them out of the park.

It reminded me of someone who once told me about how they took a gaggle of their children’s pals out for a birthday treat, then got back home to find out they’d somehow ended up with one extra…

Use that as the conundrum for a new short story.

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 – Signs

Laugharne Castle sign by Judy DarleyI have to admit, I love a sign – the kind that advises you to beware of something or be extra careful about something you, as a sentient being, should be fully able to engage your common sense to deal with.

I spotted this one at Laugharne Caste. What on earth (or, say, off earth?) could be happening here?

The one below is fixed onto the gate at a local school.

This gate must be kept shut at all times

Such fabulous nonsense. What might happen if the gate is left open? What might get in, or escape?

Imagine you’ve never encountered such things before. How might you interpret them? Use it as the start of a story or work of art.

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 – invasion

Llansteffan barrel jellyfish by Judy DarleyWhen visiting south Wales recently, my mum and I went for a stroll on a beautiful beach where the tide was far, far out. After ambling about for a time, we suddenly spotted a jellied mound in a shallow pool – a gigantic dead barrel jellyfish. Then we saw one on the sand, and another. They were all over the shore, stranded and alien.

Here’s another with Mum’s foot beside it for scale.

Llansteffan barrel jellyfish, Mum's foot by Judy Darley

Imagine encountering an invasion like this. What could have caused it? What might be coming next?

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 – trickery

Colby Walled Garden gazebo ceiling by Judy DarleyI visited Colby Woodland Garden in south west Wales. It features a gorgeous walled garden complete with a trio of slug-eating ducks and a summerhouse decked out in Trompe l’oeil paintings by American artist Lincoln Taber.

Colby Walled Garden key by Judy DarleyPut simply, Trompe l’oeil, or ‘trick of the eye, is the art of illusion – a fake key hung on a real wall above painted shelves and below painted windows that let in portions of painted sky.

A confusion of real and illusory flowers bloom almost side by side, while real statues shelter false glasses of wine.

Imagine a Trompe l’ceil  summerhouse where no one knows what’s real and what’s not. How could this environment alter a person’s understanding of the world? How might a person living in a place where more is an illusion than real respond to the world beyond the garden’s walls?

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.

Colby Walled Garden gazebo by Judy Darley

 

Writing prompt – glass heart

Glass heart by Peach Perfect

The most beautiful gift just arrived in the post from Kate at Peach Perfect. A handblown glass heart in a mass of jewel colours, it reminds me of being a small child coveting pirate’s treasure chests.

Imagine finding something like this washed up on a beach. From where could it have swept in? How could you keep it safe?

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 – abandoned

Abandoned piano cr Judy DarleyI found this unloved piano in the garden of the care home where my dad is now confined, and couldn’t get over the poignancy.

Looked out for unwanted items left out for the council, or fly-tipped. An old fish tank beside a skip, a rusting bicycle in a river, a computer keyboard at the side of a road…

Who might it once have belonged to? Who might find the item and transform it into something beautiful?

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 – viewpoint

Abandoned hotel1 cr James HainsworthThis abandoned hotel overlooks the Twin Lakes, one of the most famous viewpoints on Azorean island of Sao Miguel. Stripped of all its glitz and promise, the building echoes with the laments of regretful ghosts.

Abandoned hotel by James Hainsworth

Why not use it as the setting for an unsettling story?

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 – roots

Ficus Macrophyla Australia cr Judy DarleyI met this Australian Banyan tree at the Jardim José do Canto botanical gardens on Sao Miguel, the Azores. Planted on the island in 1845, this particular Ficus Macrophyla Australia is the kind of tree that might well serve as a fairytale citadel. The root system and half-hollow trunk feel ripe with metaphor and possibilities.

Use it as the starting point of a fantastical tale.

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 – restless

Terra Nostra tree by Judy DarleyI just got back from visiting São Miguel island, part of the Azores archipelago. The volcanic landscape there is like the Jurassic Park movies crossed with Labyrinth, with touches apparently dreamt up by Terry Pratchett.

So when we saw this tree at the Terra Nostra botanical gardens, we were almost certain it was just taking a rest before setting off to get on with its day. Any moment now, we thought, it will give itself a small shake and poddle away.

I particularly like the fact it’s crossed a few toes contemplatively.

What do you think? Turn it into a story.

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.