Writing Prompt: Trying to stay ahead of the weather

I’m staying in tonight because it’s snowing. Yes, SNOWING! We’re a day away from April and I have the fire going downstairs, the winter duvet around me and I’m snowed in. I’ve been going through my wardrobe and all I see is wool, corduroy and hooded jumpers. I long for Spring, green grass, blossoms and lush green, leafy trees under the castle. I want to stroll in the Princes Street gardens and maybe have an ice cream with a chocolate flake in the middle.

On days like today, when I’m cold and stranded, I think of home, drenched in sun and dry air from the desert. I miss walking in sandals and summer skirts. I remember iced tea left to steep in great big glass jars in the sun on the deck. By the pool, I lay on a cotton towel and try not to let me feet touch the cement because it’s too hot. Every 15 minutes I turn over and bake another part of my body and watch the tan line where my watch rests on my wrist deepen. This has been a long, hard winter, the longest I can remember.

Spring has always been my favourite season, but at this rate, I’m afraid I’ll miss it.

What’s your favourite season? Describe the things you love about it and the associations you have. Try to incorporate all of the senses.

Bundle up.

Writing Prompt: Ahead of the weather

Quote for the day

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. E. L. Doctorow

Writing Prompt: Trapped in the central belt

I’ve been busy today. I don’t usually have the time to look after my housework, write, do business and rest, but today I managed a bit of everything. Although I’m glad I got a lot done today, it doesn’t take much for me to start feeling impatient. I don’t do well for very long without people around me. Titch is sweet, but conversation with her is a bit one-sided. “Meow” is the limit of her discourse.

Some people do well when stuck in the house. I confess, that I do not. It becomes easy for me to get distracted and lazy. The TV quickly becomes my companion and I find I spend more and more time of frivolous online activities. I need to have a balance between the trivial and the productive.

So, as I sit here between Edinburgh and Glasgow, I think about the few million people in the surrounding cities going about their business, working and talking together and I wonder how anyone can ever work from home with any regularity and get anything done. How do they not sleep until noon and eat all day?

Just the same, I’m glad I have the opportunity to write and that my time is my own for a while. It’s a test of my discipline. So, if you had a few weeks to do anything you wanted, what would you do? How would you spend your time?

Write about all of the things you would like to do, whatever it is. Put yourself in a house for a month with a stocked fridge and decorate it any way you wish. Be specific about your surrounding and what you would do.

Writing Prompt: Superstition, fate and tarot

I’ve never been particularly superstitious. I’ve walked under ladders, my black cat crosses my path every day and I once put my hand through a mirror. (that hurt) I even spilled salt on the kitchen floor the other day – no way I was going put any over my shoulder and spread the mess. I read my horoscope for a laugh on the train, but never take it seriously. For my birthday one year, my best friend paid a tarot card read to do a reading for me in a cafe in Notting Hill. She was good and even though she had no prior information about me, got me pegged on a few things that were specific enough for me to scratch my head and go “huh?”

The point is, all these things are all very well, but I believe that you make your own luck. I mean that there is nothing on a card or star sign that is going to make a difference. Having said that, they are very interesting concepts and can be entertaining. They can be a bit of a laugh, especially if someone actually does what their horoscope or tarot cards say to the letter.

Try this, open up the newspaper and pick a horoscope. Write a story using that as the basis for a main character’s actions. What sort of trouble can they get into by doing exactly what their horoscope says? An alternative is to take a cynic (like me) and have them do everything you’re not supposed to do (ladder, salt, mirror, etc) what happens to them throughout the day to make them convinced there’s something to it after all?

Writing Prompt: How to…

You’d be surprised how hard it is to describe how to do something in a clear and logical manner and still keep it interesting. Some of the best books I’ve read have combined “How to” with narrative that teaches you something and also tells a story. For instance, “Like Water For Chocolate” by Laura Esquivl, a much loved novel combines a family history, love story and monthly recipes. I’ve read the book a dozen times and now know how to make cream fritters…

When you add an underlying theme to stories, you can create a different world for your readers and make the story more entertaining. Try writing a story that revolved around teaching something. Like, “To ride a bike…” “The Secret to Swimming”, “10 ways to survive the winter”

You get the idea…

Have fun.

Writing Prompt: 6 little words

I’ve been working on a new story this week. A friend gave me six words that I need to use within the story and so far, I’ve used them all. The important thing is that you can create quite a lot from a little inspiration.

I think it’s interesting that you can hand a hundred people the same words and you’d get entirely different results.

These are my words:

India

Strawberry

History

Desire

Scarecrow

Underneath

Try this: Craft a story use those words and let’s see what comes out.

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