Writing prompt – drift

Jelly fish_Clevedon Marine Lake_Photo by Judy Darley.Strolling beside a local saltwater swimming pool, I spotted a visitor. Clevedon’s Marine Lake is replenished by high tides. Occasionally waves bring in fish, eels, and, in this case, beautiful moon jellyfish.

Imagine having the entire ocean at your disposal, and being swept into a patch of water with four seemingly insurmountable sides. Imagine if large splashy primates had infiltrated this space, and hungry predators, aka seagulls, lined the edge closest to the ocean you need to access to survive..

Imagine if your only hope of escape was a high tide and a vigorous wave.

Can you turn this #writingprompt into 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 – wheel

Window onto Waverley paddle wheel by Judy DarleyI had the pleasure recently of taking a voyage aboard the Waverley, the world’s last seafaring paddle-steamer, from Clevedon Pier. This floating museum featured viewing decks, cafes and bars, plus portholes offering views onto the churning paddle wheels that turn to drive the ship forwards or astern.

It’s a remarkable feat of engineering, and the perfect setting for a sea-going fantasy, mystery or even horror. Imagine peering through that porthole and seeing a face looking back!

However you choose to interpret the scene, let me offer two more senses to accompany the view – the sound of the pistons of the 2100 horsepower, triple expansion reciprocating steam engine, and the scent of the oil used to keep her running smoothly.

The ship named after Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley novels was built to replace the 1899 Waverley which was sunk on May 29, 1940 at Dunkirk. She carries tourists on trips across the Bristol Channel, as well as up the Clyde, The Western Isles and the Thames. A member of the crew commented as we docked that they’d be moored overnight offshore in the Bristol Channel and sleeping on board.

Really, anything could happen.

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 – vessels

Canoes. Photo by Judy Darley

These open-topped canoes are stacked like drying plates in this boatyard all year round, except when they’re hauled to the shore and rowed by teams. The inactivity, as though they’re hibernating insects, struck me recently as I strolled by.

Add in the occasional ‘rush and row’ in salt water and this seems even more extreme – like they emerge for one day to mingle with others of their kind before being returned to this anticipatory torpor.

Or is that just my weird interpretation? What do you see when you look at these boats? What analogies can you draw between this scene and the natural world or human society?

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 – overgrowth

Overgrown gate. Photo by Judy Darley

My hometown appears to boast an unusually high number of gates that lead to nowhere, other than thickets of spiky greenery. It’s a curious sight only becoming evident as spring runs away with itself and fills every available un-tizzied space.

It makes me feel nature is reclaiming parks and woodlands once tamed for human-enjoyment. Birds, insects and wild rabbits care nothing for neatness!

Some of these gates even lead to garden paths no one can possible access. Who might live in the home beyond these tangled trees? How do they survive? What made them choose this nature-enforced seclusion?

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 – candle

Horse Chestnut candles. White and pink towers of flowers against green leaves_Photo by Judy Darley

I once wrote a story inspired by the sight and smell of horse chestnut candles, those fragrant towers of flowers that bloom extravagantly at this time of year. In ‘Reaching Branches’ the ghostly scent of a tree that no longer stands brings strangers together.

You can read it in my collection The Stairs are a Snowcapped Mountain.

The pollen and nectar of these flowers are incredibly important to bees, hover flies and other pollinators. I love the idea of an aroma being such a strong presence that it has the power to change a community for the better even after the blooms are long gone.

Can you create a story about a community being enhanced, or destroyed, by something that initially seems insignificant?

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 – real estate

Tree house in horse chestnut tree_Photo by Judy Darley

Exploring my new home town in January, I strode up hill to an area of ‘mini’ Gothic mansions valued at £1m+. The property that caught my eye, however, was a gorgeous treehouse with a seaview.

Now horse chestnut leaves are flourishing that may obscure the view, and some prickly conkers could soon invade this cosy space, but in my heart I still covet this space.

Is there a type of home that fills your inner (or outer) child with wistfulness or glee? A caravan, cave or palace perhaps? Can you turn this yearning into 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 – Oh, duck

Duck and ducklings_Photo by Judy Darley

As I meander through the streets of my North Somerset town, I occasionally glance into back gardens in case there’s a dog or cat to say hello.

This time I got more than I bargained for as I spotted a female mallard, then realised she was surrounded by tiny ducklings. As the mother duck saw me, she quickly ushered them between the slats in the wooden fence, up the footpath and onto the pavement. They waddled off roughly in the direction of the nearest river, cheeping and quacking all the way.

Where did they hatch in such a human neighbourhood? What brought them to this doorstep? Can you turn this into a tale that explores how we live alongside wildlife, even when we’re not aware of sharing our streets and, as in this case, gardens?

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 – comma

Comma butterfly1. Photo by Judy Darley

I encountered this gorgeous butterfly sunbathing on a patch of mud beside a river. It seems like an unimpressive patch of land, and yet this butterfly, known endearingly as a comma, found exactly what it needed here. In punctuation, commas offer a pause and a moment to simply breathe, which makes this sighting particularly apt.

I love how its wings look storm-torn or artfully picot-edged, depending on your viewpoint.

I looked up the species on the Butterfly Conservation website, where it states “Polygonia c-album, the comma, is a food generalist butterfly species belonging to the family Nymphalidae.”

It also says: “The species has a flexible life cycle, which allows it to capitalize on favourable weather conditions. However, the most remarkable feature of the Comma has been its severe decline in the twentieth century and subsequent comeback. It is now widespread in southern Britain and its range is expanding northwards.”

This adaptability must have helped in its survival story. What can we learn from this? Can you harness this as a fluttering off point for a hopeful story or other creative work?

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to spotting my first semi-colon butterfly or ellipsis butterfly…

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 – gulls

Gulls over Clevedon Pier_Photo by Judy Darley

This spring has been so unsettled – some days are calm and sunny, while others storm from dawn to dusk and beyond. While smaller birds like sparrows take shelter in coastal bushes, these gulls are riding the rioting wind and look like they’re loving every moment.

Add in a human with a bag full of birdseed, and the mayhem increases.

Can you imagine yourself as a gull, a sparrow, the person with food, or a bystander? Why not use this cast to create tumultuous 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 – afoot

Tree foot. Photo by Judy Darley

Trees are magnificent natural sculptors. My sister recently shared a photo of a trunk with one glorious moss-covered ear. I’ll take that ear and raise it with this rooted foot contemplating a Shakespeare-esque or Tolkien-worthy march through the woods in North Somerset. Or perhaps I’ve accidentally taken a photo of Roald Dahl’s BFG without his slippers on, and he really needs to trim his toenails.

Whatever the truth, something’s afoot…

Can you let your imagination run free and turn this into a magical 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.