Writing Prompt: The Conversation

Have you ever overheard something you wish you hadn’t? 

I was thinking that sometimes ignorance is bliss, but once you know something, you can’t un-know it. 

The other day I overheard something that I don’t believe I was intended to hear. It was simple enough, harmless enough, but the two people speaking, at first aware of my presence in the room took no notice. It was only after one person asked a question to the other that I felt the air in the room change. There was an awkward, uncomfortable pause before the question’s recipient offered a response. When he spoke, it was with tension in his voice and reluctance, as though he would be truthful, but that the answer would be as brief as possible. I made no move as though I had taken no notice of them. I shifted my position in the room and made deliberate movements, trying not to listen but finding it impossible. 

So, I got to thinking, how many conversations do we stumble upon? What do we do when we know something that wasn’t meant for us?

Try this: write a scene with two people discussing something sensitive. Add a third person who hears it all. How do they react? How does the listener use the information they’ve gained by chance?

1. Two people discuss a mutual friend. 

2. A couple discuss placing an older parent in a retirement home. Someone overhears. 

3. Two colleagues discuss an awkward work related situation and the boss overhears. They do not know that the boss knows. 

Have fun. 

 

Writing Prompt: In Living Colour

There is way too much black in this room. I look around and what do I see? I see black computers, black shirts (including mine), black phones, black notebooks, black chairs and black monitors. There is almost no colour in the room and it depresses me.

There needs to be more light and sun, more colour and brightness in the room and in the world.

It’s odd how we take colour for granted, but what if one day the world was made up of nothing but black and shades of grey? What if we woke up one morning and we found ourselves in a 1940’s colourless movie?

Try this:

1. Write a story where colours play the main characters

2. Write a story where no one but one person can perceive colour.

3. Describe a room or a person using colour as the main tool.

 

Here’s some inspiration:

 

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Writing Prompt: The Underground

The first inspiration for this prompt came from sitting on a bench waiting for the Uxbridge train on the Piccadilly Line. While I waited, I watched people shuffling along the platform. Some were polite and people off the train before trying to board, others shoved their way along the platform, paying little mind to the others around them.

I’ve noticed that if you want to understand the true nature of human beings, you just need to watch them at rush our on the London Underground.

Try writing about one of the following scenarios:

1. Have 5 people stuck on the tune in a hot summer’s day. They’re stuck between stations with the doors closed. The windows and the doors between the trains can open.

2. Blackout

3. Imagine the scene above, but give it a twist. Have them get to a train station just in time to have missed the start of the zombie apocalypse.

Have fun.

 

Writing Prompt: The Dating Game

In the space of five minutes, I found out that one colleague had two “Tinder” dates lined up back to back and that another colleague was unceremoniously dumped at the weekend by a guy she met on an online dating site a few weeks ago. The first referred to his evening tonight as a “dress rehearsal” for the “better” date he has tomorrow night. The other is “re-bounding” on a diet of intellectual group activities to take her mind off things.

These two exchanges made me realise how much things have changed over the years in some ways and how things have stayed the same in others. For instance, getting to accept or reject someone purely by their appearance before you every say a word to them or even have any information on them like say, common interests of background, means you can embrace your more shallow self guilt-free. What doesn’t change and never will, is the anxiety of the first date. People still have to go through the pain of recanting their life stories and wading through hundreds of topics to get to those precious “me too’s”  in the conversation that may or may not lead to long term romance. The question of where to go and what to do, what to wear and how often to mention your ex is still there, like a minefield you’re trying to navigate to get you through to the next date. Of course, there is also the, “Oh God, this person is psycho” possibility every time you have that awkward first conversation.

So, for today’s prompt, write about dating. It can be a narrative of a date that lives in memory or you can have some fun and create a story about a comical first date. Have fun. If you go for the ladder, go for outrageous.

 

Writing Prompt: Whoof, Meow

There have been films and stories where the protagonists are animals. Think, “Animal Farm”, “Watership Down”, “Babe”, “Charlotte’s Web”. For this prompt, try writing a story from the point of view of an animal or animals. Create a world for them to inhabit and throw in some conflict based on the setting and circumstances. Are there humans in your story? If so, how do the main characters (animals) view or relate to them? How do they view the human race?

Have fun.

 

Writing Prompt: Extinction

There are loads of organisations out there trying to prevent the extinction of rare and wonderful animals. In most cases, I imagine people sympathise, but do little as these appeals for help are often for creatures far away. What if was something closer to home? What if something more common was at risk overnight? What if all of cats and dogs suffered from some disease and disappeared over night? How would people react and how would their loss affect us?

Write something that incorporates some of these themes.

 

Writing Prompt: The Midnight Hour

It’s 1.50am and I’m still in the office. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to do it. My team is working on a project due in a matter of hours and we’re pulling together to get it done. There’s a 10 minute lull before I get thrown into the fore again, so here I am, machine latte in hand, Beta Band on Spotify and my colleagues in the background. In a strange way, being stuck here in the middle of the night is nice. There’s something comforting in the bonding experience that is sleep deprivation. It’s funny, when I’m out on the town with my pals at the weekend, 2am doesn’t seem like a big deal. When it’s the 2nd night of no sleep at the office, it’s harder.

Write a narrative where your main character is sleep deprived. It can be for any number of reasons, child care, noisy neighbours, the Zombie Apocalypse, drug abuse, working late…

Throw in one additional character after you’ve set the scene. How does the inclusion of another person change the story?

Nighty night.

 

 

 

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