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: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: Redrum!

As a tribute to the new Hitchcock film and the fact that I’m currently watching “Vertigo” with two of my all-time favourite actors (Kim Novak and James Stewart), I’d like to challenge you to write a simple murder plot.  I’ll try to give you some tools to proceed…. have fun and be adventurous. 

Motives: revenge, money, jealousy, impulse

Weapons: necktie, nail file, poison, drowning (method rather than weapon)

Cover-up: burial, burning, acid

 

You can go off the reservation on this one, but be sure you used the three elements: motive, weapon and cover-up. 

Happy Hunting. 

 

PS. If you decide to write this, let me know. I don’t often ask, but I’d be interested in seeing what people come up with. 

 

Writing Prompt: The Balloon

When I was little, one of my favourite treats when going to an amusement park with my parent s was to get a balloon. It made it hard to go on rides and of course. Mom or Dad would have to mind it for me while I enjoyed the carousel. Once I got it home, having kept it low in the car to avoid obstructing Dad’s rear view, I tied it to the end of my bed so that I could watch it sway in the breeze at night. I always went for blue, not the pink or red you’d expect a girl to gravitate towards. It was always a bit sad when the helium eventually leaked out and the balloon lost its ability to float around my room. Sometimes my brother and I would go out into the garden and release our balloons before they could die that way.

Try writing a story about a balloon. Have fun.

Is there anybody out there?

One of a writer’s fears is that there is no audience, that your words and efforts will never reach anyone. It does raise the question; are you writing for an audience or are you writing for yourself?

In the 600+ post I’ve left here, I’ve never asked for a comment, but I’m asking now. Why do you write?

Quote for the day

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
– Gustave Flaubert

Writing Prompt: Speed Dating

Ok – you’re in a room with a dozen strangers and you have to work out if the chemistry is right (business or personal) in 10 minutes. Can you imagine how much fun you can have when you have two people with a finite amount to make an impression? Set the scene, create descriptions and give five individuals a chance to talk about their speed date. Once that’s done, turn the tables and write what the people who met them had to say. Playing with point of view can be fun. Go to it.

Writing Prompt: Sunrise

There have been few bright days this winter. There has been snow, rain, fog, drizzle and general dim light over the past three months. For a sun worshiper like me, it’s torture waiting for the Spring. However, this morning, I looked out the window and saw broken cloud and bright light coming over the horizon.

I’m a late sleeper, especially at the weekend or on holiday. But every now and again, I have cause to be up before dawn. Fifteen years ago I was in Yosemite National Park camping with friends and couldn’t sleep. It was freezing and the ground was hard. I’m not great at camping, so I wrapped myself up, unzipped the tent, and wandered outside.

There was a faint light coming up over the mountains and as I stood there, I saw the most magnificent sunrise. It was filled with shades of yellow, orange, then reds before brightening a blue sky.

Another time I woke at 4am to catch a flight. It was dark when we boarded the plane, but as we took off, the sky grew light and soon, we were flight towards sunrise. From above the cloud I could see the sun spread out across the sky.

It filled be with feelings of both peace and humility before such a wonderful sight.

Think hard. When was the last time you saw a sunrise? Write about it. If you can’t remember the last time you saw one, get up early one morning and write down what you see and what you feel.

Writing Prompt: Broken

Things break all the time. Some intentionally, like eggs or piggy banks. Others are accidents, like dropping something on your iPhone or shattering a glass while washing up. Sometime things get broken without anyone even realising, like promises, hearts or relationships.

Draft a story around the concept of something broken. What happened, who was involved and what are the consequences? Dig deep and try to delve past the obvious.

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