Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Guess what's for dinner


Today I’m going to offer a writing prompt based on a true-life experience. My husband and I lived next to an eccentric older woman (in her 80s). She was the widow of a B-list movie star from the 50s, and enjoyed a relationship with a much, much younger man who was young enough to be her great-great grandson. They enjoyed nude swims in her pool. She was wealthy. Enough said on that. 


This woman, Eleanor, walked around town (small island community) with a Yorkie on a leash and a cockatiel on her shoulder. She stuffed the dog in a cloth designer purse to take her to church or into restaurants where the woman enjoyed a few glasses of wine while the dog drank milk from a saucer on the table from the woman’s lap…with only her little head out of the zipped purse. This is just a little background to give you a fodder for today's writing prompt scene .


Pumping Your Muse Writing Prompt

Today’s writing prompt (in honor of Thanksgiving) will be based on a meal my husband and I were served when invited for dinner at Eleanor’s home. I challenge you to flex your funny bone for this one. Here’s the two things that must be on the menu:

  • Baked under cooked chicken, warm but still raw when sliced
  • Bread with spots of dark green mold
  • This meal is served in a small sit-in kitchen.
  • Around the table: Eleanor, her dog, bird, caregiver woman, and characters of your choice.
  • A touch of humor

Other than these basics feel free to add anything you need to make the scene work.

Have fun, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Photo credits: istockphoto, pxfuel

Friday, November 12, 2021

Photo writing prompt: Graveyard


People often ask me where I find ideas for my stories. Really, the world is full of inspiration. We just need to pay attention and actually seek to see it. I can find a story by describing the sky because it leads somewhere. Or I can stand somewhere ordinary and imagine I’m only an inch tall and voila, I'm in an alien world. At times I go out specifically to shop for ideas. I especially like to visit thrift stores, antique shops, and those side-of-the-road junk collectors. You never know what you’ll find. It could lead to historical fiction or a true life vignette.

Shopping for character inspiration

I also enjoy sleuthing for character inspiration by people-watching. You can do this anywhere, but if the weather is nice, I really enjoy sitting on a bench, or the edge of a fountain to watch people from all walks of life go by. They interact, or they stare at their phone without really paying attention to where they are going. Parents with fussy children offer one story while parents with spoiled, demanding children are another. People are everywhere, so we just need to open are eyes. Learn to do it purposefully and jot down little things you notice. (If you use your phone for notes, people will think you're texting.)

Listen for a story idea

Another way to find a story is through listening. Listen to dialog of people near you, grab a line as the first line of your story. 

Or, sit somewhere quiet and listen. What do you hear? Is the wind stirring leaves? Is a barking dog in the distance? Coffee brewing? You can find a story when you zero in on a sound, but to find it, you need to start writing about it.

When I don’t have time or energy to go out for a dose of inspiration, picture prompts offer visuals that help discover something new.

Pumping Your Muse writing prompt

That’s what we’ll do for today's writing prompt. I offer three pictures with similar themes. This prompt reveals that setting plays a big part in a story, but it is not the whole story. I challenge you to find the story in each photo. Then choose your favorite and cultivate it to create a short story.

Photo 1:

 Photo 2:

Photo 3:

If you really want a challenge, tell a quick story about each picture (to yourself or someone else) before you start to write. Then start to put it on paper. You might be surprised by the story you discover.

Photo credits: wallpaperflare, pixabay, piqsels, publicdomainpictures