Writing prompt – cave

Ladye Bay cave. Photo by Judy Darley

This small cave provides a surprising amount of shelter during rain storms that blow in over a local beach. Stepping into it just a foot of two, I heard all sounds recede and felt the peace of this shallow space.

The sides and internal roof are sandstone, and you can see the foundations of a walkway above, a reminder that this place straddles both the tame and wild.

Who or what might seek refuge here, and why? What other kinds of shelters come to mind that could form the setting for a tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

Writing prompt – rig

Oil rig at Clevedon Marine Lake. Photo by Judy Darley. Taken on New Year's Day 2024. Stormy skies above and swimmer just visible in foreground.As countless swimmers and spectators gathered at Clevedon Marine Lake on New Year’s Dave for the annual Big Dip, a vast structure drifted by. Like an industrial version of a child’s sandcastle, an oil rig floated past the morning’s revelries like a sea creature roused to curiosity by the shrieks. You can just see an uncommonly serene swimmer inside the pool’s perimeter.

These structures drill the seabed for the petroleum and gas that fuel our modern lives, and once decommissioned need to be dismantled, or become an art installation like Weston Super Mare’s See Monster.

What will be the fate of this one? Thousands of these edifices stand in seas around the globe. Can you devise a story or art work touching on the outcome for one? Could it be transformed into something beautiful that aids rather than harms marine life?

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.

2020 Costa Book Award Winner Hosts UK Writer’s Retreat 

The Grange by the Sea_Skyros_2021Fancy taking a trip to the masterclass of a lifetime? Costa Book Award winner 2020 for her novel for The Mermaid of Black ConchMonique Roffey is hosting a life writing coastal masterclass on behalf of Skyros. The ‘Your Story’ Writer’s Retreat will take place at Skyros’ UK Retreat, The Grange by the Sea on the Isle of Wight, within earshot of the ocean.

Eight hours of tuition on top of afternoon drop-ins will offer a solid start to any life writing project.

Mermaid of Black Conch coverMonique Roffey is an award-winning Trinidadian-born British writer. As well as winning the Costa Book of the Year 2020, The Mermaid of Black Conch was also shortlisted for the Goldsmith Prize 2020 and longlisted for the Rathbones/Folio Award. She is author of seven books, six novels and a memoir. She is Senior Lecturer on the MFA/MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and has taught for Skyros for many years.

“In the world of writing memoirs, understand how shame can limit your potential and tap into your vulnerabilities, transforming them into strengths.”

The Grange has Good To Go accreditation with Covid measures in-place, and is well suited to solo travellers as well as couples and friends.

Monique’s masterclass runs from Monday 17th until Friday 21st May, 2021.

The price, £575 includes:

* Eight hours of coaching per week
* Breakfast, lunch and dinner
* Afternoon drop-in classes for three afternoons
* Additional ad-hoc morning and evening activities
* Community structures unique to Skyros that bring everyone together in a fun and authentic way
* Twin shared 4-star guest accommodation at The Grange by The Sea (single upgrades available).
* Coastline walks and opportunities for excursions

For more information, call +44 (0)1983 865 566, email holidays@skyros.com and see the full season of UK retreats here www.skyros.com.

Got an event, opportunity, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at judydarley (at) iCloud (dot) com.

Flamingos and Ham – flash fiction

Flamingos and Ham by Judy DarleyMy very short dystopian tale Flamingos and Ham has been published by Ellipsis Zine Two. It offers a glimpse of a future that a certain D. Trump esquire would undoubtedly heartily approve of, and was inspired in part by 2017’s heartfelt Women’s Marches and the Pussyhat’s that provided a vivid flash of pink to the ensembles.

Ellipsis Zine TwoYou’ll need to buy the magazine to read the story in full (or wait for my next short story collection to come out in 2019 – squeee!). Here’s a sneaky taster:

Flamingos and Ham by Judy Darley

I was 12 when the ruling came in, banning certain words, colours, and clothing. It seemed farcical at first. My mum and dad laughed in disbelief as they watched the news.

“How can they outlaw pink?” Dad hooted. “What about flamingos and… and, ham?!”

Mum grimaced. “How can they forbid hats, and wool? What are they afraid of?”

Neither mentioned the words considered inflammatory. I think they understood even then that to utter them aloud could be dangerous.

Buy Ellipsis Zine Two.



Welcome to SkyLightRain

Writing room2

Hi. I’m Judy Darley, a fiction writer and journalist specialising in writing about travel, the arts and anything that catches my eye and fires my imagination.

Inspired by the sound of rain falling on the skylight just outside my writing room as well as the look the sky takes on at certain times of day at certain times of year, I’m hoping this website will provide inspiration, information, advice and a bit of company for writers, and aspiring writers, like myself.

Unless otherwise stated, all words and imagery on this website is copyrighted to me.

If you’ve made a resolution to have your writing read more widely this year, you might be interested to know that SkyLightRain.com welcomes input from other writers. I’m always happy to receive suggestions for reviews and features, as well as creative pieces produced in response to the midweek writing prompts.

Every piece published includes an author pic and bio, with links so that people can find out more about you.

Book, film, art or magazine reviews

Get in touch and let me know what you would like to review, and why. In the case of art reviews, images are a must, but in the other cases a few stills or the book cover will do. I can contact publishers on your behalf to request review copies to be sent to your home. The word-count should be between 300 and 600 words.

Writing genres or writing tools

I welcome guest posts. This is a great opportunity to share your skills, and talk up recent projects such as novels. Contact me to let me know what you would like to write about, and why. The word-count should be between 600 and 1000 words. Previous examples have included author-in-progress Maithreyi Nandakumar exploring the question ‘When is your novel finished?’ and Nina Milton sharing her tips on thriller writing.

Creative writing

I’m always happy to receive short pieces of prose or poetry inspired by the midweek writing prompts. These are posted each Wednesday and provide story ideas, hints and potential plot lines. No need to send a query first – just email me your creative work as soon as you feel it is ready to be seen by the world!

I also accept ideas for this slot, so please get in touch if you’re happy to share your own prompts for firing up a new creative work. What inspires your writing?

Feel free to spread the word about these opportunities.

To get in touch about any of these slots or just get in touch, you can find me on Twitter @JudyDarley, or send me an email at judy(at)skylightrain.com.