Thursday, 20 August 2015

writing: A creative writing exercise

Sometimes I have ideas rattling around my head and they keep tickling me, but they won't quite come out. So here's one thing I do.

I take some brief ideas. The ones set out below came from the sentences I was recording on Vocal ID tonight. As I was recording them I was wondering if people ever said most of those sentences, which made me think about context, so I've taken some to act as prompts (thanks Vocal ID).

These ideas are supposed to be pretty general, so they can lead off in many directions, but they were ones that grabbed my fancy while my mind was being tickled by a particular thing so I suspect they may be more amendable to that thing... If that makes sense.

Anyway, you take six prompts.  Here are mine:

  1. No one else can help me.
  2. I should have asked him in.
  3. He looked so wistful as he went away.
  4. I know a story.
  5. I will not grant your wish.
  6. Now go and do not seek me again.
See what I mean? You're not likely to say most of those are you?

Right, as you've got six prompts you now fetch yourself a dice (or a dice app), roll and you've got your number.

I got 4.

Write your prompt down as a title. If you like, you can write it down as your first sentence too. Now set a timer for five minutes, and write whatever comes to mind.

It can be pants. That's allowed.

When you've finished writing for five minutes stop, and put it away. Later on you can get it out and see whether there's anything you want to convert into a poem, or find out more about.

So you can see what I'm on about, here's what I wrote:



I know a story.

I know a story. At least I know the bones. This is a tale of a girl, a beast, and a rose. Oh? You think you know the story? Which one have you heard? For there are many.

Is it the tale of the girl whose father picks her a rose, damning her to forfeit her heart? Or is it the tale of the girl who picks her own rose, forging her own path, and then dealing with the consequences herself?

Was one story begotten from the other? Or did both come from some ancient story that is older than we know?

What truth is in this tale?

You should be careful picking roses, you're likely to get hurt. And I'm not talking about the pricks, or am I?

Who is this girl? What colour her dress? Why is she picking this rose, or having the rose picked for her?

She must be young and beautiful to be idle enough to pick roses, and to merit having roses picked. But to steal a rose? Have you ever gone into a neighbour's garden and stolen a rose? Why would anyone do that?


Where to now? I definitely want to do some more research about the stories of the rose-picking/picked girl. I've already written a poem inspired by some of these stories, and I feel that there could be something else there. However, I have other fish to fry right now...

Why don't you give it a go? Let me know how you get on and if anything comes of it. I'd love to see where your prompts lead you.