Writing Prompt: Other People’s Stories

Stories are all around us. We tell each other about our weekend adventures in the coffee room at work, our parents and grandparents tell us about their lives, our friends swap stories every time we meet.

There is treasure of life experiences we all share all around us. Anecdotes are a great source of inspiration. Think about some of the tales you’ve heard throughout your life. Pick one that stands out. Is there a story your gran told you that you like to hear over and over again? What about stories your parents told you?

start by jotting down the stories as you remember them, then fictionalise them, adding your own twists and characters. You might be surprised at what you end up with.

Have fun.

Writing Prompt: Other People’s Stories

Writing Prompt: Anger Actually

People react to anger in different ways.  Some people yell, others sulk, some throw things, others shut down. If I’m honest, I’m a slow burner. It takes a while to get me angry, but when I get there, everyone stand back. I don’t throw anything, but I stomp about swearing. Not very lady-like, I know, but it’s either that or violence.

When you think about it, anger is one of the more honest emotions. It come quickly, with a cause. The reaction of someone in anger comes from the feeling of injury and so it’s easier to forgive someone who acts out of anger. Their reaction is something that can make you question where it comes from and can either trigger the same feeling in you, or make you empathise.

I’m angry a lot lately. There are all sorts of reasons why, but I find that how I react is in my control.  Nothing is broken, no one is hurt. Some of the things that are upsetting me are in my power to change, others are not. So, I have a choice to make. I can either get more and more wound up or I can change the things in my control and ignore the things that aren’t.

Try this – write a scene where two people are fighting. Try  to write from both character’s point of view. How does each one react?

Quote for the day

When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.

– Hugh White

Writing Prompt: Sunlight

Sun on snow creates an interesting effect. Through the fluffy powder on the surface, you catch glimpses of bright blue ice, a thing to admire when you’re looking at it, something to avoid when you’re in skis.

As the sun hits the snow and the wind picks up, you can see a thin layer of snowflakes dancing in the breeze and you can almost imagine you’re in some remote place. Maybe you’re Shakleton, dragging a lifeboat across the Antarctic, or a zoologist watching polar bears in the Arctic.

This morning, a thin ray of sunlight came in through a crack in the lavender curtains of my bedroom. The cat, my mini radiator opened her eyes at my movements and yawned. I inched my way out from under the covers, slowly, slowly so that I wouldn’t disturb the cat and once free from the duvet, went to the window. The sun burst through a thin layer of mist that covered the landscape, all the way across West Lothian.

I can’t remember the last time I sat still and watched the sun come up. When I was young, the alarm went off first thing in the morning; I could smell eggs from the kitchen where Mom was making breakfast. In those days, I beat the sun.

Have you ever watched the sun coming up in the desert? In my teens, I used to sneak out with my car, having rolled in out of the driveway so that Mom and Dad wouldn’t hear me and drive towards the desert, the windows down bringing in warm air against my face. It was my thinking time. As the hour grew late, I would turn around and head for home, making sure I got there before Dad could catch me. I lost track of time once and turned back late, just as the sun was starting to come up. I marvelled at the gleam of light on the asphalt that created a ripple of colour in the horizon. When I got home, I was nervous. I could see a light in the kitchen. I was too late. Dad was waiting for me, a look of disapproval on his face. “Well?” he said. I didn’t lie. I told him what I was up to, that I drove to think. He seemed to understand and with a promise from me that I wouldn’t sneak out again, he sent me off to my room.

I’ve always been a night owl. I think and work best in the early hours of the night, but there is something special about sunlight and sunrises. Try this sometime, watch the sun come up, drink in every detail of how the horizon looks, how the light brings the world to life for the new day. Jot down every detail and write a scene where sunlight features heavily. Enjoy.
Writing Prompt: Sunlight

Writing Prompt: Brief Encounters

Hi there,

I’ve been too much away from writing this past couple of weeks. I’ve been distracted by travel, fun, interesting people. I don’t see this as a hardship, but rather an excuse – yes, a bit of field research. That’s what I’m telling myself. I’ve been experiencing life to have something interesting to write about..er…are you going to buy that one?

In truth, I’ve enjoyed myself, I feel guilty for neglecting my pages, but I’m back from my sabbatical and I’m ready to write. In the past week I’ve spent time with people from very different walks of life and I’m reminded that everyone has a story and that people, although we may have many things in common, are very unique.

I realise I may be rambling, but I’ve spent many, many hours reflecting on the people I’ve met lately. I’m not sure how the encounters will translate onto the page, but suffice it to say, I’ve been touched by their conversation, stories, uniqueness and a peek I’ve had into their lives.

I’m off to write and hope that however brief my meetings, they won’t be the last.

Writing Prompt: Brief Encounters

Writing Prompt: Transition

The seasons are beginning to change. The weather over the past few days has been a bit schizophrenic, shifting from sun to rain and back again from one moment to the next. That’s normal in Scotland. I looked out of my office window and noticed that the tops of the trees in Charlotte Square are transforming from lush green to brown, gold and yellow, hailing the return of Autumn. This is my favourite season.

The cold and wet makes me sad, but I look on the bright side. I can dig out my warm jumpers and it’s homemade soup season. I look at Titch and envy her permanent fur coat.

Everything changes. Seasons, relationships, jobs, interests…think about something significant that has changed for you this year. What was it? How did you adapt? How do you feel about it? Be honest and descriptive. For me, it was all of the above.

Writing Prompt: Transition

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