Friday, February 15th, 2013

Writing Prompt – I Spy With My Little Eye…

Woman with a camera held up to her face, taking a picture.Question: Where do ideas come from?

Answer: They’re all around us.

But sometimes, they’re difficult to “see.” There’s a lot of visual stimulation around us, whether we’re visiting someplace new or sitting in our own writing spaces surrounded by the familiar.

Today’s writing prompt is a challenge. I want you to spend some time focusing on the objects around you and come up with a story (or a poem, or a memoir/journal entry, etc.) about one of the objects you see. Don’t let your eyes flick past the things you’ve viewed a million times a day. Instead, choose one to focus on, and think about some possibilities:

  • How did you acquire it? Was it given to you by a friend? What if someone else had given it? (An enemy? A teacher? An alien? What kind of story would that make?
     
  • How was it manufactured? What if it were made of something else? What if it had additional properties such as motion, magnetism, solubility, invisibility?
     
  • Who owned it before you did? Your brother? Your cousin? Henry the VIII?
     
  • Imagine this item in another location. What significance does the new location bring to the object? (Does it give you an idea for a story?)
     

Now…kick it up a notch by letting your imagination run wild. Start with the focus object, and continue to ask questions of it until the object of your study is no longer what you focused on. Instead of asking the “usual” questions, take a tangent… What does the color of it remind you of? How about the shape, or the texture? Maybe the gold-rimmed dinner plate which used to belong to your grandmother makes you think of the moon. Write a poem about the moon, or a story about a colony on the moon, or a fantasy about the moon’s pull on a witch’s spells.

Maybe the blue lamp is the same color of the ocean on a rainy morning. It makes you think of a secret at a beach house, a romance on an island, or a pirate shipwreck in Boston Harbor.

You get the idea.

Write that story (poem, vignette, journal entry, etc.) without the focus piece ever being mentioned in it.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Easy: Write something (a poem, a short story, a scene, etc.) using your object of choice, coupled with some of the questions outlined above (or more of your own!) Make certain that item is the focus of the piece.
     
  • Challenging: Start with a focus object, but transform it into a solid idea. Write something which was inspired by your focus piece.

Good luck!

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