Creative Prompt: Time Waits For No Mouse

A few weeks ago my little family and I took a holiday by the seaside in the town of Worthing, East Sussex. While we were there I noticed quite a few little pieces of knitted art like this clock that we saw fixed to a lamp post. Most of them were fixed to various spots along the promenade at the sea front, which is a popular public space even when the air is cold, windy and flecked with rain.

I later found out that it was part of an art project called Time and Seasons by the local knitting group Make and Munch (for a nice article about the project read here). I really loved the quiet humour in these pieces, like the little mouse hanging on the pendulum.

It is inspiring to see people use slightly subversive artistic tactics in public spaces to prompt people to stop for a moment and maybe reflect on something important for a moment. Here the juxtaposition of the soft, ‘indoorsy’ feel of the knitting against the raw elements of the sea front caused me to stop and take a photograph, and to wonder what the piece was about.

Public spaces can often feel like they are corporate spaces, simply maintained and organised to sell people things that they probably don’t need. Art in these spaces can do the opposite, especially pieces that are as enigmatic as this one, they can invite people to spend time simply collectively looking and thinking and feeling. Sometimes they can induce a feeling of beloning, that these spaces may be ‘for us’ after all.

If you were able to reclaim a local public space with art, where would that be? What would the project look like?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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Creative Prompt: A Tribute to Mother Thames

When I saw this bike in the mud of the Thames I immediately thought of the references made to Mother and Father Thames in The Rivers of London series of books by Ben Aaronovitch (this is an affiliate link – if you buy this book using this link I’ll be sent a few pence as a referral fee). I’ve been a fan of the series for a long time and these books are definitely an influence on my own work.

I took the photo while out on a day trip with my family, so it was taken a little hastily. It’s also a little fuzzy because I was hanging over a wall a bit, looking down from quite a height while the tide was low, but I’m pleased enough with the monochrome feel of the snap.

The city of London marks a site of settlement that goes back until at least the Roman times, and in Pre-Christian times it was common for people to make votive offerings (Wikipedia has a nice entry on this here) to the local deities of the land and the water. It’s likely that the river will have received many, many offerings over the years for the local spirits from people seeking luck or protection, or giving thanks for a piece of good fortune. 

It makes me wonder, in a different time who may have made such a valuable offering and what did they want or need?

Would the local spirit have been enraged to receive the offer of a stolen bicycle, or entertained?

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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Creative Prompt: OK Computer!

I’m always intrigued when I see pieces of electronic devices laying around in places that you wouldn’t necessarily expect them. I saw this thing that I’m assuming is a computer chip of somekind (I’m probably wrong here) in a playground when I was out with my son. There were lots of kids running around and using the swings and slides and it seemed out of place, laying there in the dirt.

I’m quite attracted to the green colour and the pattern of lines on the front of the chip. It makes me think that it could encode something interesting, and provokes story ideas for me about a computer savvy child finding a computer chip and getting herself into a strange situation through her own curiosity.

What kind of information could be on this chip?

Where could it lead?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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Creative Prompt: An Empty Ring Box

I saw this ring box laying on the floor not far from one of the parks where I like to take my son so he can run around and say hello to the ducks. This little box evokes a sense of mystery for me, it could hold many different stories. The way the box gapes open on the grass, seemingly discarded, and is missing the little cushion that would usually contain the ring provokes a sense of loss or refusal.

Was the ring stolen, and the box discarded as a way of ridding the thief of the evidence?

When I first saw it, many possibilities came to mind:

Did someone buy a ring only to find their gift unwelcome?

Did someone discard the box and it’s contents after finding out that their love had not been true to them?

Was the ring stolen, and the box discarded as a way of ridding the thief of the evidence?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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WIP Sneak Peak: Location Sketch

I’ve been thinking a bit more carefully in the last few weeks about some of the settings and locations in my fantasy novel series (working title Feeding Jasmine Valentine). I’m in the middle of a new re-write at the moment and have a chance to go back and really think about what I may need to build on the first draft, and how some of the key locations can be more useful in the narrative if I do some more substantial world building around them.

I’m quite a visual person (which may be a Dyslexic thing) and having pictures and diagrams tends to help me, so I spent an hour one afternoon last week on some ‘first take’ sketches of a key location in the first book. There are bound to be problems with my initial ideas, and I’m going to work on these a bit more, but I thought it may be nice to share my first messy sketch here, if only to show I’m still working on it!

I’d be really interested to hear from other writers who use sketches in their world building. How do you do that? Do you think it’s really useful or a form of procrastination?

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you are interested in the process of creativity and want to get a copy of my free short book of creative prompts, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon page here.

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Creative Prompt: The New Broom

I saw this broom leaning against this tree the other morning and decided to take a photograph because i liked the design of the bristles. I tried a few different angles but couldn’t really get a great shot of them, although in this one you can see how they are bound together with different coloured threads of some kind. Close up the bristles were quite intricately arranged and this detail appealed to me.

I didn’t see anyone around, all the nearby shops were closed and I didn’t see any evidence of a huge mess that needed cleaning up. However the shops close by are all small independent shops, including a post office and a chicken take away, and I could imagine one of the shop keepers wearily resting the broom against the tree before they closed up for the night. It felt to me like quite a nice jumping off point for a character study, so I thought I would post it here.

Who do you think was sweeping up in the evening? What kind of mess did they need to clean up (ordinary, or emotional)?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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Creative Prompt: When the Wheels Come Off

We’ve had a couple of days of sun and I’ve been trying to get out to some slightly further flung spots around the area that I live than usual when I walk. This is another picture from the edge of a railway line, where I saw this wheel poking out from under the fence.

I really liked the juxtaposition of the wheel, which may be from a pram or a trolly, and the empty whisky bottle. There is a story in the image, the wheels coming off a situation, and perhaps as a consequence some commiserations aided by hard liquor.

What do you think could have happened here? What was the consequence?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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Creative Prompt: A Telly in the Rain

It had been raining for several hours when I saw this telly on the pavement. I was particularly attracted to the cheerful pink casing and stopped in the rain to take the photo. It was a bit difficult at the time to see what I was taking on the small screen of my phone because I was trying to keep it out of the rain. At the time I didn’t realise that I had captured the reflection of the telly on the wet pavement, so that was a nice surprise when I looked back at the photo to include it here.

It got me thinking a bit about how we don’t always see everything that is there in front of us. If we think about applying this to a character or a physical location in a story this opens the door to great narrative potential.

A stranger is charming and beautiful, but what secrets do they try to hide?

The hotel is elegant. That staff are attentive and professional. There is an elaborate glass chandelier in the entrance hall and the food is excellent. But why is there a locked door on the second floor without a room number, and what is behind it?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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Creative Prompt: Community Library

I saw these books lined up on the wall outside a house that I think is being cleared for rennovation. I was kind of in a rush and had to cross the road to get the photo but I’m glad I stopped for it. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the library that was built but never opened, that’s now been officially closed, and the murky buisness of the money behind it. This feels a bit like the opposite for me, someone has put all these books on a wall for anyone to take, no money involved.

When I walked past the next day, most of the books were gone. I like to think that they found new homes, and that even now someone may be finding inspiration in one of the stories contained in one of these books.

Sometimes an unexpected find or gift can inspire new thoughts, ideas or stories in us. If you saw a pile of books on a wall like this, would you take one? Where might that lead?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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Creative Prompt: Here comes the Sun

I saw this little guy in the road a few weeks ago. The sun was shining for what felt like the first time this year and it felt nice to be out and about. I chose this photo in particular because it represents a dichotomy for me, and also speaks to how creativity acts through our own biases and experiences.

I really like the cheerful face on the air freshner, but in general I avoid all air freshners (and most commersial perfumes) as they contain some kind of chemical that makes me feel really sick.

Some of the best stories I’ve read and films or TV shows I’ve seen have been about situations that appear to be calm and picturesque, while just below surface there are hints that all is not as it should be.

What situations or people can you think of that may appear to be one thing, while actually being another?

I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.

If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

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