If you’ve ever stared at a blank page, willing the words to come, then you’ll know that one of the hardest parts of writing is getting started. That first action of putting pen to paper, or typing the first sentence can be painful. The solution that works for me is to start my day with a bit of Random Writing. I use various different writing prompts, and then write for five or ten minutes. It has the dual benefits of getting my creative juices flowing, and improving my writing: the more I write, the better I get. And as a bonus, I often get a new insight or idea for one of my characters, or even the first part of a blog post from those random written ramblings.
So, just for fun, I thought I might start to share my writing prompts with you. For a bit of writing inspiration. I’ll even share some of the output, so that you can see it’s not about writing perfectly, it’s just about writing. And hopefully you’ll return the favour and share some of your stories with me. It’ll also help me to get used to sharing fictional stories, which will be useful for someone planning to publish their first novel later this year!
Here’s the first one. The inspiration for this story came from randomly choosing a Place, Person, and Object from index cards I’ve made up. This story had to contain a Supermarket, a Fortune Teller, and a Bottle of Perfume. This is what I came up with.
She entered the tent, already regretting the extra gin and tonic that had made her so pliable to her friends’ entreaties. It’ll be a giggle they had said. Go on, you know it makes sense. Maybe if you know what’s in store for you, you can stop moping around after Bill. Another failed relationship that she couldn’t understand. What was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she hold on to a man? She read all the magazine advice columns, and she thought she had put everything they suggested into practice. She hadn’t been too clingy, but she had shown interest in them. She didn’t complain about their ‘boys nights’ and instead suggested things they could do with their friends, with or without her. She had payed her way, not fished for gifts, and always kept herself well-groomed. At her time of the month, she had discreetly made herself scarce, and she always had their favourite food ready for when they came around. So it must be her. There must be something wrong with her.
She brought her attention back to the present and saw the woman sitting at a small table in the centre of the tent. She was staring at her with great interest, as if she was trying to delve into Kate’s mind. Kate shook her head to bring herself fully back to the present and took a seat at the other side of the table.
“Welcome my dear, I am Madame Equinaoul, and I come from a long line of psychics, or fortune tellers if you prefer.”
“Thanks.” said Kate, looking back towards the exit.
“Ah, I sense you don’t believe in my kind? Never mind, maybe we’ll make a believer of you. What question do you seek the answer to?”
“I suppose I want to know why I’m so unlucky in love. I do everything right, but nobody stays. Will I ever have true love?”
“Ah the age-old worry for young ladies. So much hurry to find ‘the one’. Let me see your palms, my dear, let’s see what they tell us.”
Kate tentatively advanced her hands across the table and turned them palm upwards. Madame Equinaoul studied them, tracing some of the lines with her index finger, and turning Kate’s hands this way and that. Finally she sighed. Kate looked at her with dismay and snatched her hands back.
“What is it? You can’t see anything, can you? I knew this was a waste of time.”
“On the contrary, my dear, I see a great deal. You will find your prince, and live a full and happy life with him. That I can promise you. But how will you know him? It sounds as though you have been finding the most unsuitable beaus until now. I want to help you so you don’t waste any more time on the wrong type of young gentlemen.”
“And how do you propose to do that?”
“Let me see if my crystal ball will tell me more.”
Kate couldn’t quite believe how this was going. The palm thing she thought might have some substance, but the crystal ball? How ridiculous. If her friends hadn’t paid for her to be here, she would have walked out then and there. She watched as the fortune teller brought out a large glass ball from underneath the table and put it on top. She did all that Kate had seen in films, which made her all the more disbelieving. Finally she looked up from the ball.
“Well?” said Kate, hardly able to hide her skepticism.
“You will find the answer in a bottle of perfume” said Madame Equinaoul.
“Perfume? Is that it?”
“It’s what I can see.” said the fortune teller.
“It’s what you can see. Great. Well, thank you. I’m sure that will turn out to be very useful.”
“It’s what I see. Go well, my dear, and good luck.”
Later that week, Kate was on her way to her local supermarket to do her weekly shop. The supermarket was part of a larger shopping complex, and in order to escape the rain Kate walked through the complex to get to the supermarket. She was lost in her thoughts when a particular shop drew her attention. A perfume shop to be exact. She thought back to the ridiculous fortune teller and laughed as she walked past the shop. But then she found herself walking backwards. What if she missed an opportunity? She thought she was being crazy, but reasoned that she had nothing to lose. As she walked into the shop, she slipped on the water from someone’s umbrella, and in trying to catch herself from falling, rammed into the back of another customer. She heard the smash of glass and cringed: this was going to turn out to be an expensive decision, never mind a crazy one. Then, just as the man she’d bumped into turned around, and she found herself staring into the kindest brown eyes she’d ever seen, the fragrance from the smashed bottle registered in her brain. It was her favourite perfume: Dolce and Gabana’s ‘The One’.
Have a go and see what you come up with! Of course there are no hard and fast rules here: you can write for as little or as long as you want to, and if you only want to incorporate one or two of the subjects into your story, that’s fine too. The aim is to get writing and have a bit of fun while you’re about it! I’d love to read your stories in the comments. 🙂