What's it about?

This blog has a very specific purpose: it's a place to post prompts for creative writing during the time of the lockdown. Initially it was for the use of my writing group, as we cannot for the time being meet in person - but I want to open it up to anyone who'd like to have a go at creative writing. I very strongly believe that writing is good for you: while you're writing, you're off somewhere else - you've escaped! And that can only be a good thing during lockdown.

Do sign up to be notified by email when a new prompt is posted - usually on Thursdays - and I would love to hear how you're getting on in the comments. Have fun!

Thursday 22 February 2024

Heroes and villains

 I have to admit, I like the main chracter of a book that I read to be someone I like, someone I'm rooting for.

But that's not always the case. Sometimes, the hero can actually be a baddie. How hard is that to pull off?

See if you can write a story - or part of one - where the main character - the point-of-view character, the one who's leading us through the story - is really not very nice at all.

(Famously, Agatha Christie's break-through book was the one where the narrator turned out right at the end to be the murderer -and you don't know that till the last page! Very clever. Am not asking you to do that, though.)



Thursday 8 February 2024

Night Walker

Picture by James Maher Photography



NIGHT WALKER (From Writing Magazine)

What impressions could a person walking alone at night generate for your writing?

Who might the person be?

Why are they alone, and where are they going?

What do they feel, on their own, in the dark?

What can they see, hear, smell, that is different from in daylight?

What does the darkness amplify?

Who might they encounter?

What does the person associate with darkness? 

Is it a comfortable or uncomfortable environment for them? 

What might happen?


 

Thursday 1 February 2024

These shoes are made for... writing about!

Photo from Wikipedia

Either: simply brainstorm shoes that you remember, for one reason or another, and write about them:

Or try this - which comes from Writers Online.

'Give footwear a walk-on role in today's creative writing exercise!

The set-up is that a character picks a new pair of shoes, which in some way or another, precipitates something else happening.

Who is the character?

What are the shoes they choose? Why do they pick them? What do they look like? When does the character think they're going to wear them?

Do they fit? How do they make the character feel?

What happens as a result of them buying/wearing the shoes?

Write the story!



 

Thursday 25 January 2024

Stormy Weather


We've had some stormy weather lately, so let's use it in our writing.

Create a character - you could chose a name from the list we created a couple of sessions ago.

Now put them in danger. Imagine a situation from the recent storms. For example:

  • You're on an unfamiliar road in a remote rural area, and you're caught in a blizzard. The car can't go any further. In the distance, you see lights...
  • You're on our old friend the train. It's stopped - by a tree on the line, snow, floods - take your pick.
  • You've just arrived for a stay in a village in the Welsh mountains. It's very pretty - but it rains heavily, and you see that the level of the river that runs through it is beginning to rise...

You might want to introduce another character - perhaps someone you don't know all that well. What does the crisis reveal about this person's character? Does it bring you closer together, or does it drive you apart?
 

Friday 19 January 2024

Writing about an object

Here's a horseshoe. (Because that was the object I meant to bring to class on Thursday.)


Writing about an object

First of all, take a really good look at your object. Handle it - is it heavy, rough, smooth? Does it have a smell? (Unlikely, but you may have chosen a flower!)

Then, looking at it really closely, describe it in detail.

If there's already a story attached to it - a memory of when you acquired it, perhaps; or maybe it reminds you of a person or an occasion - then you could write about that.

If not, make it the focal point of a story. Make up a character. Was the object given to them? By whom? Was there some significance attached to it? Or was the object used in some significant way - perhaps someone was murdered with the horseshoe - or perhaps a florist saw it in a bric-a-brac shop, and was inspired to create a range of floral gifts centring on the horseshoe motif - which became so successful that they saved her shop from having to close...

Off you go!


 

Thursday 11 January 2024

Tarquin Mosse (or whoever)

 A few notes on how to approach the next task.

So you have your character - let's say he's called Tarquin Mosse. And you have chosen a problem for him to encounter - let's say his car has driven into a ditch.

First of all, make a few notes about Tarquin. Eg: 

How old is he?

What's his backgound? (Sounds quite posh, with a name like that. Or is he? Could he have adopted the name - might he have started off as someone quite different?) 

Does he have a secret?

What does he look like? What kind of clothes does he wear?

What are his weaknesses/strengths?

Then - think about the situation.

What kind of car is it - maybe a Porsche?

Does it belong to him?

If not, whose is it? Does the owner know that he's driving it? Why did he take it? What are the ramifications of the crash?

What is poor Tarquin to do?

NB: if creating an actual story seems too big a stretch, maybe just explore the character: give him/her a bit of back-story - just see where it goes.


Thursday 4 January 2024

Hanging on to Christmas!

 


One last nod to Christmas 23 before we leave it behind for ever! 

Here are two starting points for a possible piece of writing for us to share on Thursday 11th: choose whichever appeals.


Spoof Christmas roundup letter

I think it was Jude who suggested this: make up one of those round robin Christmas letters that some people include in their christmas card. You know the kind of thing: It's really been quite the year, with Freddie gaining a triple first at Cambridge, Beatrice starting her first job in a merchant bank (on £80 000 a year, lol - but with a promise of a raise in six months!), Mary writing her fifth best-seller (sorry, not meaning to boast!) - and me completing a one-man expedition to the north and south poles in the space of three months (it's okay, am nearly over the frostbite!)...

It could be from a made up person, or possibly from a well-known figure whom you find particularly inspirational - eg Suella Braverman? Michelle Mone? 


Ghosts of Christmas past

This doesn't have to include ghosts - it's simply an invitation to remember a particular Christmas in the past - or perhaps more generally, how Christmas used to be when you were a child. (Think of decorations, family traditions, food, presents, weather - and how Christmas felt then.)