Writing Prompt:The Hardest Word

Apparently, the word most people find hardest to say to someone is “NO”. I’m not sure I agree with this, but it’s an interesting idea. Personally, there are about a dozen words I find harder. I find telling someone they’re wrong harder than refusing them something.

If you had to pick one word that you find hard to say to someone, what would it be? Not the whole sentence, just the action word within it.

Try this:

  1. Pick your word
  2. Construct a narrative around what that word means or represents

or

  1. Pick your word
  2. Write a scene between two characters where this word comes up and add a bit of conflict.

Good luck.

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: Random

My mind is going in a hundred different directions. It drifts to work and some intense meetings I had today.  I’ve been thinking about next year and the things I have to do to make it successful. I’m excited, but it’s going to be busy.  I have so many plans and ideas and there are so many people I want to share them with.

Thoughts have wandered to my family back in California and for the first time, I understand that if I wished it, I could leave and go back there. It would be hard, it would take a few months to get it all sorted, six at least, but I’m free to go when I choose.

I thought about Wanda, one of my dearest friends and how much I admire her independence. I wonder if the guy who invented paperclips still gets royalties. Titch is on the sofa with me asleep and although I know this is a long way off, just the thought of not having her with me makes my throat constrict and heart beat a little faster. The Terminator is on TV and I remember where I was when it was released in the cinema and how scary Arnold Schwarzenegger was to me at that age.

I feel restless and I wish my mind would sit still for just a minute. I’m hoping that by having a bit of a stream of consciousness brain-dump, I’ll feel better and have a chance to sleep, an activity that has avoided me for some nights now.

When I feel like this,expressing some random thoughts sometimes helps. I use this exercise in the morning sometimes, when my mind is still working, processing my dreams and trying to push them back until they’re nothing more that an indent on my pillow, waiting for the night to come again.

Try this, just write freehand for 30 minutes. Don’t edit, don’t stop. Just let your mind wander and see where it takes you.

Writing Prompt: Random

Writing Prompt: Creating the perfect fit

My tastes in books tends to be a bit eclectic. I have Japanese thrillers, historical fiction, contemporary British, history, philosophy, fantasy, horror and science fiction (to name a few).  There is no predicting what will capture my attention on a given day when I wander into Waterstone’s on Princes Street. When I go in, I tell myself that I won’t buy anything. I’ll just browse. I’ve written before about how libraries and bookshops calm me. You can measure my mood by the weight of my shopping bag.

As I looked at my overflowing bookcase at home, deciding what to read, I couldn’t decide. So, I selected five book at random and began to flick through them. I came across a passage in one of them and stopped.

“There’s only one way to overcome the fear: you’ve got to stab someone else with an ice pick.” (from: Piercing, Ryu Muurakami)

Interesting, I thought. Curious of what the others contained, I flicked through them and stopped at random pages. I closed my eyes for a moment, and letting my fingers guide me through the pages, I stopped somewhere in the middle of each. I opened my eyes letting them rest on any sentence they chose first, then marked the line. When I had done this with every book, I copied each line and this is what I got:

“I understand, though,” Mr. Lettreblair continued, “that she attached no importance to the money. Therefore, as the family say, why not let well enough alone?” (from: The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton)

“Before they has reached the top the painter threw the door wide open and with a deep bow invited K to enter.” (from The Trial, Franz Kafka)

“Oh Grady, I’m so glad you’re there. So many bad things are happening at once.” (from: Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon)

“He looks at his watch. It is twenty to one, which is not bad, and he won’t even mentions she’s late.  This is what he’d call within bounds.” (from: The Kiss, Joan Lingard)

These are all buried deep within the pages of very different books by authors that span from 1920 to 2002. The authors were Japanese, Scottish, American and Czech.

So, faced with the range of where the lines and books come from, it’s not impossible to picture a scenario where these lines might well fit together.

Try this: Pick five books, pick five lines at random and see if you can create a scene or a storyline where they might all fit.

Writing Prompt: Creating the perfect fit

Writing Prompt: Sweet, Sour or Savoury?

Quite often, in writing, description focuses on appearances, sounds, sensations or smells. What about taste? I’ve never really thought about it, but I think that deep down I’m a savoury kind of girl. I love spices, strong chilies, rich butter and I’m a total steak monster and shepherds pie is just the thing to make me happy when I’m tired and need comfort food.

Sure, I love my sweets too. Sticky toffee pudding with dates and ice cream, sugary lemon sorbet with a sweet wafer in the middle or in a sugar cone, strawberries dipped in milk chocolate, and oreos with milk send me off to sleep with a smile.

I love lemons, limes, oranges, tart pomegranates, and grapefruits.

With all the flavours the world has to offer, what’s your favourite? Describe the things you love to taste and work them into a narrative.

Writing Prompt: Sweet, Sour or Savoury?

Writing Prompt: Guilty Pleasures

OK, here goes. I love horror films, but sometimes, during the gory scenes, I keep my eyes half closed to protect my delicate little mind from anything tooooo unpleasant. I don’t cover my eyes because I don’t want the people in the cinema to think I’m a wimp.

If I like a song, I hit the repeat button over and over again. I make sure my headphones are in and the volume is low so that no one on the train can hear how sad I am…

I feel naked if I don’t have lipstick and perfume on. Not just any perfume, Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir mixed with Red Rose…not just any lipstick, something dark like a cranberry…I actually over apply sometimes and my coffee mug ends up looking like I’ve bitten my lip and bled all over the rim.

When I get a box of Celebrations mini chocolates, I pick out all of the mini Snickers and leave the rest.

I’m a bit of a softy and enjoy frock dramas. I’ve seen Sense and Sensibility and the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice 50 times each.

I dance in the kitchen and bounce on the living room sofas with my headphones in when no one is around. I also hum in the shower. I don’t out and out sing, I just hum while I’m washing my hair.

Everyone has a few idiosyncrasies, bugaboos, night terrors…what guilty little pleasures do you have that make you…well…you? Having broadcast some of mine, think about the little things that make you happy.

Write a character with some funny little quirks. Have fun, get creative.

Writing Prompt: Guilty Pleasures

Oh yeah…and I like Roxy Music

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