Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Random Words as Inspiration for a Short Story

January 6, 2022
mandyevebarnett


As writers, we find inspiration all around us, and incorporate sights, sounds, conversations, observations and more into our narratives. As many of you know, I enjoy using word and picture prompts to spark ideas. Some become a quick paragraph, others a short story and some a full blown novel. As host of my local writing group’s monthly meeting, I encourage the participants to engage their creative juices during the meeting in a ten minute prompt/writing exercise.

This was the case on Tuesday. The words were: puddle, tree, letter, steps, trail, ache. I am sharing my response here, but thought it interesting that the word puddle was the stimulus for me. A word association – puddle, rain, April showers. Hence this story.

April stamped her boot covered feet in the puddle. Murky brown water splashed in every direction bouncing off the stony trail and bordering grass. Little did her mother know when she named April that the name would be accepted by her adoptive parents.

The sealed letter with her birth mother’s arrived that morning, making April’s chest ache with longing and apprehension. As she stepped further into the park, she spied her tree. A special place, she would hide, when she felt uncomfortable or needed space from her step-siblings. Climbing to the thick horizontal branch, she made herself comfortable and took a deep breath.

Now was the moment, she would know her mother – well her birth mother anyway. She had so many questions. The envelope tore open and she pulled out several sheets of lined paper. The writing was cursive , but not difficult to read. This was the connection she had asked for – revealing words, memories and requests for forgiveness filled the lines. Tears ran down April’s cheeks. This letter changed her life.

Photo by Happy Pixels on Pexels.com

For example, a series of random picture prompts were the catalyst for my novella, The Rython Kingdom. Utilizing this method can refresh our Muse, or spark new ideas.

Do you use specific methods to inspire your writing? Care to share?

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