For Friday, August 8
From small towns to big cities, window displays hold a special allure. For this prompt, stand in front of a window display for 5 to 10 minutes, writing down notes on what you see, the display’s design, who its intended audience might be, and most importantly, your emotional response to it.
Later, expand your writing by responding to one of these questions (or one of your own.)
- What emotions does the window display bring up for you (or your character)? What does the window seem to promise?
- If you could own one thing in the window, what would it be and why?
- Imagine stealing one item in the window? Who would steal it? Why?
- Is this the kind of store where you normal shop? Why or why not? If not, write about walking inside for the first time. If so, write about passing it by.
For Thursday, August 7
Write a poem or flash fiction piece that includes a sunset.
Playing off of yesterday’s post, try incorporating yesterday’s suggestions or work with some of these.
1. Write from the point of view of someone on the boat or on the island in the photo. Imagine they are eager for the sun to set. Why?
2. Write about the most dramatic sunset you’ve ever seen.
3. Write about waiting in relation to the sunset.
4. Sunsets are often symbols of conclusion or contentment. Try writing a piece in which a sunset conjures up opposite feelings, perhaps of new beginnings, agitation, or anticipation.
For Wednesday, August 6
Write a poem or flash fiction piece that includes a sunrise.
1. If there’s a person involved, write about their interior state of mind.
2. Write about the most dramatic sunrise you’ve ever seen.
3. Write about waiting in relation to a sunrise.
4. Sunrises are often signs of hope or renewal. Try writing a piece in which a sunrise conjures up opposite feelings, perhaps of frustration, disappointment, or despair.
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.