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!

Friday, 30 October 2020

Two pictures that tell a story?

 These are two pictures by Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershoi of the same woman, Ida. (I am indebted to Phyllis's son, Martin, for telling me about this artist - I hadn't come across him before.) How about having ago at filling in the gaps between the two pictures? The woman is called Ida. Start with asking some questions.

Who is this young woman?

What do you think you can tell about her character, about the sort of person she is, about her situation?

What do you imagine her feelings are in the first picture, where she's wearing a white dress?

What about in the second picture?

What has happened in between? 

(Or you could take them the other way round, with the picture of her in the dark dress coming first.)

If you are a bit wary about telling a story, just describe what you see in the two pictures - and see where it goes. Have fun!

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Food, glorious food!

Two of my writing group have requested an 'uplifting' task centring on food, and thank you to them: I can't think why I haven't thought about it before. You only have to think of the shelves in bookshops full of temptingly luscious cookery books (I succumbed myself only the other day), or the popularity of gorgeous national treasure Mary Berry, or the runaway juggernaut that is The Great British Bakeoff, to be aware of what an important part food plays in our lives - apart, of course, from it being an essential component of, well, being alive.

So, food. Time to recall some special meals. Here are a few possible starting points. You can just enjoy writing about food memories (hoping for some mouth-watering descriptions here), or food could form the starting point for a story - a special meal where something goes wrong or something gets decided, perhaps.

  • How has food changed? Think back to your childhood. What were the foods you especially liked or loathed? I'm thinking puddings - we had a pudding every day, WITH custard almost invariably; tinned fruit and evaporated milk, fried potatoes and cold beef on Mondays; the excitement of Vesta curries, Angel Delight (well, -ish), prawn cocktail.
  • Special meals - feast days, celebrations, disastrous/amazing first nights out, birthday cakes.
  • Food you encountered on holidays - exotic, delicious, a little bit strange.
  • Particular foods you associate with particular people.

Lemon meringue pie was one of my great favourites as a child, and it still is.