Because I recently facilitated the painting of a mural on the side of my garage, I have circles on my mind. For this mural, based on a Kandinsky painting, over 20 members of my cohousing community (plus a few neighbors) pitched in to paint a circle or two. Aged 3 to 60, the painters added their unique perspectives to the mural.
Inspired by any of the circles depicted above, write about
- Orbits. Real or symbolic.
- Targets. Metaphorical and not metaphorical.
- Things that Spin.
- Enclosing and Being Enclosed.
- Write for 10 minutes without letting your pen off the paper. Write whatever comes to mind.
- When you finish, circle a favorite or a disturbing word or phrase and write it on the top of a new piece of paper.
- Write for 15 minutes more.
Stumped? Try including a conversation between two strangers, a man spinning on the ice, a woman spinning a top, or a child rolling down hill.
Write a poem, flash fiction piece or the beginning of a story inspired by this photo.
Incorporate at least four of these words: rough pie slant oboe smooth dirt bolt round home worn road deserted once must broom
Write for 15 minutes.
Wednesday, July 28, 2014 • Prompt #87
The element of time often adds suspense and welcome tension to writing. For this prompt, write about two people who agree to meet under this clock at 3 p.m.
Suggestions and Considerations
- Describe the day’s weather. How does that influence the story?
- Do the two people already know each other?
- Is one person new to the City? Is one a long-time resident?
- Why have they chosen the clock as a meeting place?
- Write for 15 minutes.
More Writing Options
- Write a piece where one person is wealthy and one is broke.
- Write about an illegal or illicit transaction.
- Write a piece in which the second person never arrives.
- Write a piece in which the second person brings a third person.
- Write a piece in which the first person is holding a box.
Tuesday, July 27, 2014 • Prompt #86
Write a poem or flash fiction piece inspired by a vintage illustration of an animal. Click here for illustrations or look for prints at a used book shop or library.
- Use specific, concrete details.
- Capture a moment in time.
- As (almost) always, use sensory details.
More Writing Options
- Try shifting perspective once or twice within the work.
- Write the piece as a traditional ode.
- Write as if you are someone who has never seen this animal before.
Here’s a piece I wrote influenced by both a bear safety pamphlet and this bear illustration.
twigs bugs fruit insects fish carrion.
Look for these signs:
of decayed logs stumps and berry patches.
Tooth and claw high on trees.
She is not far off.
bears do not go
into true hibernation.
Sleep is not deep
a few degrees
in caves, crevices,
Den with me.
© Ellen Orleans 2012
Monday, July 28, 2014 • Prompt #85
Write a poem or short fiction piece in a surreal or magic realism style. This genre introduces supernatural or unbelievable events or abilities into in an otherwise everyday realistic environment. (However you define that!)
Option #1: Write a new piece.
Option #2: Take an existing piece and add a supernatural element to it.
Need more inspiration? Try one of these options.
- A child comes home from school to discover his twin brother in his bedroom. When he left for school that day, he didn’t have a twin brother.
- An urban community garden produces vegetables no one planted and no one recognizes. What happens when an 80-year-old woman takes some home and makes vegetable soup?
- A janitor spills a new cleaning solution on her hands and discovers she can read people’s thoughts. Or heal people’s illnesses. Or …?
- A character wakes up to find he’s turned into a cockroach. (Oh wait, that’s been done.)
Looking for surreal realism inspiration? Read work by these two authors: Aimee Bender and Frankie Elizabeth Rollins.
Sunday, July 27, 2014 • Prompt #84
Write about buttons.
- Find two or three buttons.
- Hold them in your hand.
- Describe their weight, color, texture and material.
- What is your response seeing or touching these buttons?
- Write for 20 minutes.
Options and Springboards
- Write about a button found on the sidewalk.
- Write about an absent button, missing from a coat or sleeve.
Writing Group Options
- Each group member brings several buttons to writing group.
- Put them all in the middle of the table.
- Choose one to write about.
- Fashion a poem, story or creative non-fiction piece around it.
Saturday, July 26, 2014 • Prompt #83
- Write about a visit to a roadside attraction.
- If you’ve never visited one, write fiction.
- Write for 20 minutes.
Option and Springboards
- Describe the land that surrounded you.
- With whom were you traveling?
- How old were you?
- How were you traveling?
- What did you see?
- What were your expectations going in?
- Were you confused, wowed, disappointed, delighted?