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: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: 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: The Daisy Chain

I’ve always been fascinated by how seemingly unrelated things can link together and form a chain of events that change people’s lives. Heavy for a writing prompt, huh?

Here’s a “for instance”…

I moved to a new town two years ago. I knew no one and so, I thought I’d start a book club to try to make some new friends. I announced the club on Meetup and put out a book to read and a date to meet. On the first day, no one showed up. I was disappointed, but no surprised. I sat comfortably with my book and a glass of red wine for an hour, then went home.

I tried again. I gave myself a month, pick a book I knew well and was comfortable talking about and by the time the date of the meetup came around, there were enough people signed up to the group to warrant hope that one or two might attend. I was rewarded for my persistence with the arrival of three attendees. We talked about the book, had a drink and a laugh and I went home, pleased with the evening.

Months went by and the attendee figures rose. A year later, and I now have 98 members and a consistent set of 12-14 attendees each month and a waiting list usually 6-10 people deep. Was my mission accomplished? You could say that. As a result of over a year of meetings and countless glasses of wine and a shared love of books, friendships have been forged not only within the book club, but outside of it. I’ve met wonderful people I’m proud to call friends.  Why did all this happen? Because I didn’t want to be the isolated new girl in the neighbourhood.

Another example of a chain of events leading to things is how I got into my career. Many many many years ago, when I first moved to London from the US, I was working as an administrator in a recruitment company. To say that is was a soul destroying glimpse of humanity is an understatement, but that’s a story for another time. So, there I sat, depressed, playing countless hours of Tekken on my Playstation and solo-drinking gin and tonics into the night.

What happens when you’ve been drinking gin and tonics alone at night and the only people you know who are awake are in a different time zone? You drunk-dial your brother, of course!

So, there I sat, sobbing into the receiver about my career options or lack thereof. My brother, who remains my career saviour to this day, said, “You love people and you can sell anything. You should be in PR or Marketing.” Hmmm…Marketing, I thought. I liked the sound of it.

A few weeks later, I found a job in a TV buying house in London, quit the recruitment agency, worked for one of the most terrifying bosses ever (good person, bad manager) and I was on my way.  Over a decade later and I’m still in Media and still loving it. I work with beautiful, talented people, so that helps.

From the examples above, it’s funny how big events can spring from small things. In my case it was a nearly-abandoned attempt at a book club and and gin, tonic and Tekken binge.

For this writing prompt, think of something significant in your life and work your way backwards. What are the links of the daisy chain that led you to that key event?

Have fun.

 

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.

Writing Prompt: In what order?

It’s interesting to see how people make decisions. I just had a conversation with someone and they asked me the following question…

“Imagine a scenario where you are in the house alone. The following things occur at the same time:

  1. Someone starts pounding at the door.
  2. The phone rings
  3. You realise the tap is running with the plug in
  4. It starts to rain and there’s a week’s worth of washing outside
  5. A baby starts crying upstairs

What is the third thing to sort out?”

Apparently, based on your answer, someone can make a judgement on your decision making process and priorities.

For this writing prompt, I’d like you to write a scene where these things happen to your character. What do they attend to and in what order? What happens as a result of their actions? There are multiple variations and threads possible with this one. Let’s see where it takes you.

Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself based on what you have your character do.

Have fun!

 

 

Writing Promopt: “All change here, all change…”

That is what the train conductor says when the train terminates and it’s time to get off.

There are times when I hear those words and I think they’re a metaphor for something else. For instance, is the universe trying to tell me that it’s time to change, to jump off this train and catch another?

This is not a small question and one that I’m sure will not be answered here, but it did get me thinking.  For a writing prompt, try something like this:

  1. Write a narrative about someone actually being asked to get off a train a few stops before his or her destination. The cause can be one of the following:
    1. Mechanical failure
    2. Someone is ill on the train
    3. A security alert
    4. someone brandishing a weapon
  2. Whichever cause you choose, have the main character make a life-altering decision.

Option 2

If you’re feeling brave, list several things in your life that you would like to change. Next, pick one and write out a list of possible options to make that change happen. Finally, write out everything that could happen to prevent it from happening.  Finally, write a statement of intent for making that change.

Have fun, safe journey…

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: A Thousand Words

They say a picture tells a thousand words. What about several pictures all mashed up together?

For today, write a short narrative incorporating elements of all of the images below. What’s nice about this exercise is that each image is opened to interpretation and its significance to the overall writing is entirely up to you. Have fun.

 

tree_rainbow_435w the girl on the steps letter o-GIRL-CRYING-facebookkey champersglass Beautiful_Animal_Wallpaper_rp5pe

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