Writing Prompt: One Day

This is the last day of 2015, so it seems appropriate that I set up a prompt relating to that. This has been a tough year, filled with challenges, disappointments, revelations (not all good) and hurdles to jump. That being said, I’m still here and I’ve had just as many good days as bad, it’s just harder to remember the good times than the bad ones. That’s human nature, we’re programmed to recall the negative as a survival instinct. However, if I try and concentrate, I ¬†can remember a lot of good times. I had an amazing family holiday in Italy a few months ago and that involved bringing together members of the family from England and both sides of the US to a neutral location in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. I’m referring to Tuscany, about 30 minutes from Florence. I could live there, but I digress. The point is that although the tail end of the year was a bit shit, (Yes, I’m swearing here, not something I do often, if ever.) I still have some great memories and discovered a few new things. I went to the theatre, concerts, travelled with friends, saw my family, learned how to make homemade pasta and pickles (though not together), spoke to a crowd of over 100 people and nailed it, made a load of new friends, ran a 1/2 marathon and shaved 20 minutes off my PB, discovered new music, grew my book club to 100 people, read 17 books, discovered adult colouring books, saw the new Star Wars film, found my favourite leather jacket which had been lost for over 5 years.

So, my challenge to you is to make a list of event of 2015, both negative and positive, and write about that event/experience.

Thank you for benign part of my 2015 and I wish you all the best for 2016. See you tomorrow.

x

 

 

 

 

Writing Prompt: Family History

Everybody has a story. When we’re growing up, many of us hear stories about where our families came from, anecdotes about our parents and grandparents, our aunts and uncles and cousins. We hear tales about how people met and got married, about the black sheep in the family and about incidents that help either forge or ruin family relationships.

For this exercise, write down a family story you’ve heard. Try to remember all of the details and try to give an opinion about what happened. How did this story affect the rest of the family?

Enjoy.

Writing Prompt:Disaster

I used to love disaster movies when I was a kid. To be honest, I still do. Some of them were a bit cheesy, but I still enjoyed watching the heroes and heroines trying to work out who is going to make it to the end. To give you a few examples, I watch the “Poseidon Adventure” every Christmas. Other favourites include “The Towering Inferno”. “Earthquake” and “The Day After Tomorrow” (don’t judge me).

For this writing exercise, try writing an outline for a disaster movie. It can be anything, flood, war, fire, earthquake, etc. For added complexity, try throwing another genre. What happens as a result of the disaster? Do we have a plague or is a civilisation nearly wiped out as a result?

Good luck!

Writing Prompt: Screenplay

Have you ever had an idea for a film? I’ve had a few, but never knew how to write a scene for the screen.

I started thinking about this as I sat in the cinema last night. I’m a huge film fan. I love being carried off into another world by a great story, compelling dialogue and stunning visuals. (Queue “Star Wars” plug).

What is it that makes a good film shot? I think one of the key components is a compelling story and investment in characters. If we don’t care about what is happening to the people we’re watching, it’s just another two hours of our lives we’ll never get back.

So, I would recommend you pick up the following books: “Screenplay” by Syd Field and “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder.

For this exercise, try writing a scene for the screen. Then, look at some examples out there and compare. Have you captured what you are trying to visualise? I’ve added one here to get you started:

Screenplay-script-.jpg

I’m going to have a go at my first short screenplay. Wish me luck.

Writing Prompt:Burying the Body

People love crime novels. All you have to do is look at the best seller list in any book store and the dedicated crime sections in bookshops to see that. One of the things that has always fascinated me about crime writer is how they work out what is plausible to give their story credibility, to enable the reader to keep going and believe what they’re reading. The other thing that makes me pause for thought is how people meet their ends and how criminal dispose of (or attempt to) the bodies.

This exercise is simple. Start with a corpse. How did they die? (it has to be murder) and how are they found. Make a list of possibilities, now matter how crazy or unlikely. Next, narrow down the list based on what you think you could convince a reader to believe and write the scene or an outline.

There, you could have the beginnings of a crime thriller. It’s only one piece of the puzzle, but it could be an interesting start.

Have fun and happy hunting!

Writing Prompt: The Collector

I’ve been clearing out my office this morning and realised I am a collector. I found endless piles of old mail, files, magazines I’ll never re-read, shampoo samples, unopened journals and that biggest of all crimes, books. I have about 1,000 books and have only read about 60% of them. Shame – on – me…

We all collect things for different reasons. Maybe someone gave you a decorative spoon ever time they went abroad an now you have a few dozen and feel the need to add to them. Maybe you took a liking to cat figurines and now you’re surrounded wall-to-wall by fake furry feline friends, or maybe you have a passion for shoes and handbags and have a few hundred even though you can only ever use of set at a time? Whatever your “thing” is, try writing about it.

I know that I’ve been fascinated by books my whole life. I struggle to give them away even if I’ve already read them. When I moved house, I realised I had several copies of some of my favourites.

After a time, I began to realise that it was not just the stories themselves that gave me comfort, but the tactile nature of the book itself. That’s why electronic books just don’t do it for me. Yes, I’ll read them when I travel if I’m trying to avoid carrying too much around, but I still love the feeling of running my fingers through the delicate pages of the real deal. There was a time when I could not enter a high street bookshop without coming away with at least three books. To this day, I can’t enter a charity chop without an armful of cheap, cheerful and comforting bundles of pages, bindings and words.

As I tidy my room, I feel the urge to flick through them all and start working out what I have read and what I haven’t. I want to work out what inspired me to buy them in the first place and how much time I need to read them all. I can kid myself and swear that I won’t buy another book until I have finished the unread pile, but I would be a liar. So, today I’ll sit with my 1,000 friends and try to work out how, when and where I will devote time to each of them.

For today, write about what you collect and why. If you’re not a collector of anything in particular (come on, be honest), try writing a story about someone who does collect things to excess and give them a back story of why.

Enjoy. I’m off to see my paperback friends. This might take a while….

 

Writing Prompt: Family Member

I was on the train last night talking to some friends and we got on the subject of what we were going to do for Christmas. We told each other where we would be and which family members we would be hanging around with over the holidays and I began to describe my nieces and nephews. I have five in total. Although I have no kids myself, I can appreciate how much fun they can be and how totally different they all are in terms of personality, appearance and temperament.

For today, pick a member of your family. You don’t have to name names, but go into as much detail as you can. Make sure you include appearance, habits (both good and bad), voice, dress sense, hair style, likes, dislikes, etc. Go as granular as you can for as many words as it takes. If you still have the energy¬†afterwards, try to write a day in the life for them. Make up any details you need to, such as, when they get up, dressing habits, where they go for lunch, what they order, who they speak to, etc.

Have fun!

Writing Prompt: All the time in the world

What if you had all the time in the world to do whatever you want? What would it be? This is going to be a short exercise. Start by making a list of everything you ever wanted to do. Pick one. Next, write a short narrative about it. What is it, what does it involved, what is your perception of what it means and the type of person who does it?

To give you an example:

Writing

Making homemade pasta

Feeding the homeless

Running a marathon

Adopting a kitten

 

For instance, I pick feeding the hungry.

What type of person does this? Do they work for a charity or does a suburban housewife suddenly decide to bring a homeless person home and look after them? Is it a child that gives up their lunch money to help someone and how does that affect them both?

Write a story using the framework above. Let’s see what comes out.

Better still write it up to 4,000 words and try entering a short story competition.

Good luck!

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