Writing Prompt: Diet is “die” with a “t”

I’ve struggled with my weight for about the past ten years. I was a skinny kid. I could eat anything and never gain an ounce. Somewhere is my early twenties my metabolism decided to grind to a halt. Since then I’ve battled it out with diets, exercise and glam mags telling me that if I wasn’t a stick insect, I was ugly. Well, I never bought that, but I do acknowledge the fact that I have become way too unfit for my age. I’ve been thumbing through all of my old diet magazines and low-calorie cook books and have come to one conclusion. If intake is less than calories consumption, you will drop weight. Simple huh? So, no more diets for me, just going for a game of tennis…

Have you ever tried to do something and failed? How did you feel? It could have been anything like learning to swim, having a recipe go horribly wrong or failing a driving test. How did you approach failure? Did you try again or give up, blame the situation, change the parameters, in short, this prompt is about failure and how we overcome it. Write a scene where a character’s endeavours go spectacularly wrong. How do they cope?

Writing Prompt: Theft

Have you ever stolen something? When you were a kid, did you nick something at school or from a pound shop? I once took $20 from my mom’s purse. I felt bad, but it was just the once. The thing is, I sent some gift cards to a friend and just found out that the greeting card, along with the gift cards were stolen somewhere between the letter box and their door. The envelope arrived empty. It’s vile that someone would do that. I know there are instances when things go missing in the post, but to know that something was deliberately stolen from a carefully sealed envelope, to know that someone ripped it open, helped themselves and added the final insult of dropping the empty wrapping through the post is too much to bear. Better to take the whole lot and bin the unwanted envelope than for me to know that they were so flagrant. I’m angry, both at the loss of the gift and the brazen behaviour.

Stealing is wrong, whether it’s a few quid from your brother’s piggy bank when he’s not looking or lifting someone’s wallet on the Tube, but for some reason, this seemed worse.

Anyway, rant over. Write a narrative either from the point of view of someone contemplating a theft, or a victim. Relay how each person in the situation feels and reacts. What is the thief’s motive and how does the victim react?

Writing Prompt: Hide and Seek

My father built an extension on our house when I was growing up. He poured the foundation, put up the wooden frame and tucked the fibreglass insulation sheets into the walls. Finally, the brickwork, glass and roof went up and our house was complete. He did it all in a matter of months.

Before all that, when there was just a cement foundation, a few feet off the ground, my brother and I used the space to roller skate. It was like we had our own little stage.

When the frame and insulation went up, I discovered a new place to hide when we played hid and seek with the neighbours’ kids. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand the dangers, so when I was caught by my father, tucked away between layers of fibreglass, I got the spanking of my life.

So, write a story or memoir about playing a game as a child.

Writing Prompt: Long Goodbye

It’s one of those things in life that can be short and sweet, long and drawn out, sad, painful…

There have been times when I simply did not want to say goodbye. The unfriendly clock on the wall stole away the minutes like a thief, while I hovered, unwilling to tear myself away. It would have been better for everyone if I had just turned, said something friendly and went out the door, but I simply didn’t want to part ways.  There comes a point when such long, drawn out farewell are awkward, but we’ve all done it. Just lingered too long….

Write a farewell scene. See how long you can make it before even the reader feels the characters have overstayed their welcome…

Writing Prompt: There’s a Time and a Place

Location and time are important when creating believable stories. You need to be able to convince the reader that this is a real world. Part of this exercise is crafting a scene where there is a lot of attention given to location and time. I’ll be giving you some examples to get you started, but feel free to use your own. Use as much description as possible. If you’re not familiar with the location or time you want to write about, research is the key. Try writing at least 1000 words for this one.

1. A cafe in 1988, in Leith, Scotland

2. A shopping mall in California  – today

3. A living room in someone’s home 1966, England. The house was built in 1620’s

4. In a car. Germany – motorway. 2000.

5. On a farm in Ireland, 1900.

6. On a boat in the Atlantic. (On deck, the bridge or a stateroom) yesterday. (think Google News)

Have fun. If possible, once you’ve finished, drop a comment with a link for us to see…

Quote for the day

It is not a bad idea to get in the habit of writing down one’s thoughts. It saves one having to bother anyone else with them.

Isabel Colegate

Writing Prompt: Cuddly Toy

I have collected a load of cuddly toys over the years. There’s a ferret that friends gave me that still rests on my pillow. In my office, there is bunny rabbit that a colleague bought for me when we were out one day. I still don’t really know why she gave it to me. We were shopping after a meeting in London and when I spotted it in one of the shops, she tossed it on the pile of clothes she was purchasing then gave it to me. I never thought she liked me very much, so this gesture surprised me.

When I think back to all of the stuffed bunnies and teddy bears I’ve had in my life, there is one in particular that springs to mind. One of my brother’s first teddy bears was a small, simple little bear with black eyes and dark brown paws named Jerry. He had a hidden wind up music box in him that plays “Jack and Jill”. When my brother out-grew Jerry, I inherited him

Last time I was home there he was, still sitting on my bed where I left him. I went to sleep that evening and when I woke the next morning, I realised I was cuddling him like I did when I was a little girl. His music box still works after all these years.

Think back about one of your first toys. Describe it and try to recall how you got it.

Writing Prompt: We need to talk

This is one of the most frightening opening lines anyone can utter. Most people only say this when they have bad news (usually code for “you’re about to be dumped”), but it would be interesting if we had a scene where all of the line we usually associate with negative connotations were in fact used is a positive way.

1. We Need to Talk

2. It’s Not You, It’s Me

3. There’s something you should know

4. Don’t Panic, but…

5. I have some news

6. You’ve had a call from the hospital

7. It’s about your car…

So, have some fun. Start a dialogue using one of these as your opening line, but try to make it something unexpected.

Writing Prompt: Ten Minute Time Out

Imagine you had ten minutes to say or do ANYTHING without anyone ever knowing. How would you use that time. Write a story where you character can freeze time for ten minutes. What do they do, why do they do it and what are the consequences. Remember, no one will ever know of their actions.

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