Writing Prompt: The Wedding Day

In honour of the fuss everyone is making over the Royal Wedding, let’s have some fun with this one.

Most of us have been to a wedding. In most cases, there is something to tell about the big day, from embarrassing speeches, faux pas, drunken behaviour, wardrobe disasters and no-shows. Try to think of some wedding moments and try to write them down in as much details as possible. If you haven’t been to one, try to describe the perfect wedding or your idea of the day from Hell. Failing that, write a story about a wedding where one of the two getting married doesn’t show up. Why didn’t they and what is the aftermath. If you go for this one, stay away from the usual “wedding jitters” and go for something original.

Have fun.

Writing Prompt: Anywhere but here

I daydream about far away places; places I’ve been, places I’ve read about and places that possibly only exist in my mind. From my window, far off in the distance, I can see the motorway paving the way for thousands of cars every day traveling here and there. Most are only going to work, but I like to imagine that some of them are people heading out to some new place. Without travel, without new experiences, I feel like we miss something. Maybe it’s the chance for adventure, maybe is the chance to meet someone new or maybe it’s the opportunity to come back to things you’ve taken for granted. Today I’m bored with my surroundings. The sun is out and I can see for miles, but what I’m really dreaming of is some distant land I’ve never explored.

Tomorrow will be filled with routine. Thursday, I’ll look out onto the Forth and watch the sunset. Next week I’ll pick some random place and start wandering until I don’t know where I am and there is nothing familiar. If I’m alone, I’ll find a place to write what I see. If I find myself around new people, I might start a conversation with a total stranger and see what stories they have to tell.

One thing is for sure, from now on, once a week, I’m going to try something new. I’ll start small, getting lost in my own town, but eventually, I want to go further afield and see what adventures I meet…

Quote for the day

Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.  ~Mark Twain

Writing Prompt: Cat Nap

The cat is sitting on the sofa snoozing. I envy her. Often, when I’m trying to write, I feel sleepy and distracted. I think that only a few minutes with my eyes close will do the trick. It’s hard to get creativity going if you’re in a bit of a slump. There always seems to be something more urgent. The laundry needs doing, I really must go make a pumpkin pie – right now, I need to take the rubbish out. The truth is, that inspiration is fickle. You need to go after it and throw a lasso over it, ties it down and not give up.

So, despite the fact that I’m rambling right now, the dishes can wait. The cat is snoring and as much as I want to tell her to shove up and make room for me on the sofa, I need to crack on. I’m glancing around the room searching for a hint to where inspiration is hiding and my eye falls on a photo album.

Photos are actually a great source of inspiration when you’re stuck. They can bring back memories or give you idea of theses or settings. Try this, pick a random word from the dictionary. Plug it into Google and hit the Images button and see what come up. From the search results, pick an image and focus on it until a story springs to mind. Get writing and don’t stop until you’ve got 500 words at least. Once you’ve done that, reward yourself with a cup of coffee or a biscuit. Then go back and keep going.

Happy Writing.

Writing Prompt: Red Dress

I pulled hanger after hanger from the wardrobe creating a disorganised pile of tangled fabric and colour on the unmade bed. At the foot of the wardrobe I observed a mangled pile of shoes. Heels, flats, boots espadrilles, slippers and trainers in varying states of disrepair smiled up at me as if they were willing me to pull them out too, match them with their mates and find something fitting to match them with. Back on the bed, a tag peeked out from the pile. Once again, a garment was bought and unworn. I terrible about this, I thought. I can never bring myself to throw anything away, yet I still have the urge to wander into the shops. A wardrobe full of “nothing to wear”.

Then, just as I begin to sift through the mixed patterns of sleeves and trouser legs, I spot it, the skinny dress. It’s that one item in your closet that you can never quite bring yourself to throw away, no matter how faded the garment, or how much weight you’ve put on. I know in my heart I’ll never be able to squeeze into it again, but I’ve had too many good times and fond memories of that dress to get rid of it.

The dress is sleek, orange red, knee-length with cut out sleeves and little straps holding it up. It was a favourite of the summer months, standing out in a beer garden in the middle of Covent Garden. It was a trusted friend in the clubs of Edinburgh and drew people’s eyes in a Mexican restaurant outside of San Francisco.

Everyone has an article of clothing that brings back memories, whether it’s a tee-shirt from a concert, a dress or outfit worn at a significant event or just that one thing that always made you feel like a million dollars.

Flick through your wardrobe and see if there’s something that stirs up a memory and write about it. I’m having a clear out, but my faithful red dress is staying.

Writing Prompt: Heat/Cold

It can sometime be difficult to describe temperature, yet it is something we’re all sensitive to. When you consider that it relates to outside, food, water, body and room, there are all sorts of scenarios where temperature is important. Take note of your surroundings, taking particular note of the temperature. Make yourself a drink, either hot or cold and try to describe what it’s like. When you next have a bath or shower, try to pay attention to the temperature and jot down adjectives to describe it, without using “hot” or “cold”.


Quote for the day

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Writing Prompt: Dead Things

Someone I know accidentally ran over her kid’s cat. I can only imagine how horrible she felt. Of course, she never told the kids who really killed kitty, but when I think of all the pets that have come and gone in my life, I can sympathise with how dreadful those kids must have felt.

At my front window, I can see a vase with dried flowers. They’ve been there for weeks and I haven’t thrown them out. I know I should replace them, or at least get rid of the pathetic remains of once-white lilies, but I can’t seem to bring myself to drop the withered stems and crumbling petals into the compost bin.

Someone I met a few years ago died a three weeks back and although I didn’t know him well, I can only imagine the devastation of those close to him, his friends, his parents, all those who he has left behind.

It’s strange how nothing and no one is permanent and how everything that dies lingers in the memory. I believe that almost everyone has lost something or someone. How do we cope and move on when someone or something we’ve come to know and love is no longer there?

Write about something that is no longer in your life. How did its presence affect your life?

Quote for the day

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

Writing Prompt: The Reunion

I’ve heard that there’s going to be a High School reunion back home later on this year. Although I’m curious, I think there’s a bit of apprehension there. I’ve tried to remember what it was like in High School and although there are some good memories, I think most of those years were difficult. I guess most people have horror stories about High School, but aside from a few key moments with a couple of close friends, there’s not much I enjoyed.

The other thing you have to remember is that you never perceive yourself the way others perceive you. I think people thought I was smart, but all I remember was a shy, awkward girl that couldn’t get a date for her senior prom. I even managed to get turned down by a few guys I asked (one was even a sophomore) that sort of things scars a girl. I mean, was I really that hideous? Ok, I had a dubious haircut and it was a fashion low point in the 90s, but was I that bad?

So, like thousands of people who have done this before me, I wonder if I’m still that awkward kid I was all those years ago. Will I have anything to say if I go?

Having lived in the UK for the pat 14 years, I feel more isolated, more like a foreigner than ever. It’s not a reflection on anyone from my old classes, but more about how time, distance and life in general skews memories. Maybe it wasn’t all that bad? I did meet some amazing people in school and my experience with them will have helped shape who I am today, so that must be a good thing, right?

I did manage to see some people from my old school a few months ago, last time I was in California and I must confess them all to be charming, friendly people, so if some of them turn up, it will make me feel more comfortable.

So, mixed feelings? Absolutely. Will I go and try to reconnect with old classmates? Probably. I just hope we all have something to say to each other after all this time.

Try this, pick a school memory and try to remember as much as possible. Was there an incident or a series of them that had an impact on your life? How do you remember yourself 10, 15 or even 20 years ago?

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