Creative Prompt: A door in the floor

I saw this door laying on the pavement a few weeks ago. It had been dumped against the wall but had then fallen onto the pavement. When I passed it later in the day some helpful soul had propped it back up against the wall.

It’s not that exiting to look at is it? Just a block of wood on the pavement. But when I passed it was struck by the thought, I wonder where that opens to? It had a kind of Lion, Witch and Warbrobe feel to it for me (Affliate link).

For me, objects like this have great imaginative potential for fantasy/ sci-fi writers. What world would the lucky (or unluky!) person who opened this be confronted with?

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.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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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A year and more in creative prompts: all the links

Happy New Year!

It’s been a little bit over a year since I began posting regular (sometimes weekly) creative prompts for anyone who may find them useful. My normal format now is to post a photograph of something I find interesting or quirky, and to add some thoughts or observations of my own. This is a format that had developed over time – as you’ll see the prompts in 2020 posts were quite minimal, with a photo and a very simple caption. Over time the written parts of the posts have developed into longer, slightly more complicated thoughts or questions. This culminated earlier in the year in the production of a little book of prompts and thoughts about creativity, which you can get here for free if you sign up to my mailing list.

When I started writing this post I had an idea that I would wrap up the year by posting all of the creative prompts from 2021, but as I began going back through my posts I realised that I had actually been posting these for a little bit longer than a year, and that there were patches of time earlier in 2021 when I didn’t post at all. I had wanted to write a post that bought them all together in one place, as thank you for anyone who has been following along with these posts. So, here they are, all 49 of them, in one place. I hope this year proves to be a little kinder to the world than the last two have been.

Prompts from 2020:

Prompts from 2021:

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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: The Chariot (to take us into the new year)

We had a cold snap about a week ago, and while I was walking towards my home one morning I noticed this little car, dusted with frost, sitting on the wall. As we were approaching the end of another strange year, it bought to mind the idea of a chariot to carry us into the next one.

In normal times, for many people the turn of the year is a time to reflect on what has happened over the months that have past, and think about what they may want to do in the months to come. It is a time for resolutions. But these have not been normal times, and making any concrete plans for the next few months may feel premature to many.

I’m not a fan of New Year resolutions in any kind of time, as my ideas seem to shift frequently enough to make them feel outdated quite quickly. I have a list of projects that I have been working on for a while, and I’ll continue to inch towards the finish lines with those, but this doesnt feel like a new ‘resolution’, just a continuation of what I’ve been doing over the last few years. However I do think it’s quite a good time to stop and take stock, creatively speaking, of how things have been developing and to think about what may come next.

While this wasn’t part of the plan when I started them (like there was a plan!), these creative prompt posts are becoming quite in interesting space to explore ideas in a short form way that won’t necessarily make it into bigger projects. A few weeks ago I published a series about neighbourhood intrigues (here, here and here) that diverged a little from my usual format, and detailed strange little incidents or behaviours I had observed in my local area. I had begun to feel like I was writing the same thing over and over, so to do something a bit different was refreshing and enjoyable. I’m hoping to do a bit more of this, and to also explore some other sources of inspiration. I have wanted to take a deeper look into the idea of psychological archetypes for some time, and these posts may lend themselves quite well to this. So, look out for a few new approaches from me next year. I hope that this time provides you a similar moment of pause, that allows new ideas to flow.

Do you have new creative ideas that you would like to pursue next year? Where may this chariot carry you?

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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 key on the pavement

It’s getting close to the end of the year and I have been trying to spot some more festive creative prompts for the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately I’ve not actually come across many that I like yet. However, while I was out and about yesterday I did spot this key on the pavement in the lunchtime sunlight.

I was particularly drawn to this little key because of the rust on it. When I look at it I get the sense that it may have been lost for some time, dropped somewhere cold and damp a while ago, only to return to the light now, for reasons unknown. It brings to mind the opening sequences of those adventure movies I used to watch as a child, where some kind of object like a treasure map, or indeed an old rusty key, falls into the hands of a gang of children, who then decide to set off on their adventures.

This key is a bit more modern looking, but they mystery of what it may be the key to still stands. What kind of lock do you think this key opens? A bike lock? A security box? A burried box of treasure?

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.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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 (neighbourhood intrigue series #2): Character Study

When I write these posts I have a few rules about what I’ll include. I don’t take photos of things on private property, or of people, or of things in cars. I feel like this would be an invasion of privacy as the people involved are very rarely there to ask permission. 

But I have been very intrigued by someone I see on a regular basis, mostly for a behavior I have spotted him engage in. He seems to like to hang around by a pedestrian crossing which isn’t far from the local train station, and you can often see him kind of ‘standing watch’. There is a coffee shop with outside tables close by, and sometimes he sits there instead. A few weeks ago I was waiting at the crossing and a car raced through is, continuing along the high street at high speed. It’s a busy area, frequented by families and clusters of kids going to school, so speeding here is especially dangerous.

I saw our guy jump up and pull a note book from his pocket and try to write down the number plate. The car went too fast and he quickly replaced the notebook in his pocket with noticeable frustration. This little action really intrigued me. As far as I can see he is not a member of any official neighbourhood policing project, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen him involve himself if situations that may relate to that kind of thing.

I find this really intriguing. What does he think he’s doing? Why is he doing 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.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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 (neighbourhood intrigue series #1): Love Note

One of the things I find myself doing when I’m out and about is puzzling about things that I see that seem a bit odd, or intriguing. For creatives I think there can be great benefits in trying to practice a kind of mindful curiosity where ever you are, no matter how mundane or suburban that place may seem. Seeing a hint of something when you will only ever know part, or indeed nothing of the actual situation can give a creative mind free reign to invent something new.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to publish a collection of creative prompts that are based on some of the tiny neighbourhood intrigues that I have noticed over the last few months.

I saw this note on the pavement in the street outside my house. I didn’t open it or read what was inside as I felt this would be an invasion of privacy, and so I do not know who it was for, or what is said. But I was very taken with the little hand drawn heart on the folded flap. Someone had taken care when making this note.

It made me wonder how it ended up on the pavement, looking like it has been casually discarded. Had it been dropped by mistake, or thrown away? Who had written the note? What does it say? Did the person it was written for ever read it? What did they say?

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.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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: Lost in space

I saw this little guy while I was in a rush to catch a train, taking the picture with haste. This is why the picture looks a little blurry around the edges. But I’m not worried about that, I kind of like it. It gives the sense of him being lost in a much larger landscape than was the case on the day.

When I took the photo he was resting at the foot of a tree in the gravel surrounding it. It reminded me, for some odd reason I can’t quite place, of the old black and while TV series ‘Lost in Space’ that I sometimes use to watch in the morning on the weekend, even though he clearly belongs to another much more modern entertainment franchise. There is a much more modern version of this TV show now, which I have watched and liked, but new versions of an old favourite seldom live up to the nostalgia factor, do they?

The cheerful look on his face makes me think that he is looking forward to what ever adventure life may throw at him next. What do you think that may be?

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.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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: Broken Strings

I walked past this broken tennis racket a number of times, and each time I thought ‘that’s not what I’m looking for’. But I began to feel more and more intrigued as I noticed the racket had moved each time I saw it. The first time I saw it, it was in a dark corner under an overhanging building where I would not have been able to get a good shot. But slowly it seemed it inch more and more out onto the pavement, as if creeping into the light, maybe wanting to be seen.

When I finally decided to stop and take a photo, it had manged to move several hundred meters down the street, and was almost in the middle of the pavement, right in my path. I felt as is it was asking me to take the photo, so I did stop and get out my phone.

The way the strings curve and wind against each other, and the way the frame, although broken, still sits in almost it’s original form is both beautiful and sad to me, as if the shape of it tries to suggest better days that are now past.

Once I had taken my photo, I did not see the racket again, as if satisfied, it melted away. Of course it is just a broken old object laying on the pavement, and someone has probably thrown it in the bin. But there was something about this episode that spoke to me, as if the racket wanted to be seen, and to be documented, to say ‘I existed’. I think there is something in this sentiment that we as humans can relate to.

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.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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: Soft Toy

I spotted this little guy on the way home from dropping Baby Magpie off at nursery. My best guess from their anatomy is that think they are a skate. There is something about the shape of the toy that caught my eye, and the contrast of the soft fabric used to make this toy, with the cold slick surface of the real fish prompted me to stop and take a photo.The variety of greys in the cloth are also attractive to me.

However, now I am writing this post I find that I don’t have any deep, or even any shallow thoughts to add to it. Today I decided to post the photo because I liked it. I think that is enough sometimes.

The next day when I walked along that road the fish was gone. I hope they were reunited with their owners.

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.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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 Prompts: Experiments on YouTube

Over the last year or so I’ve been posting creative prompts on a semi-regular basis. The format I’ve settled into recently has been to take a photo of something I find quirky or interesting, and to post that with a short explanation of what it makes me think of, or the story of finding that thing.

Over time I’ve noticed that I’m really drawn to things that people leave behind, and my photographs frequently feature objects that have been lost or discarded on the streets near where I live. These things often catch my eye, and provoke thoughts that could form the beginning of a story, so I offer them up in the hope that they may so this for other creatives.

However, getting too comfortable with a particular format can lead to it growing stale, so I have recently been thinking about branching out and experimenting with different types of media. As long time readers of this blog may know, I have a very neglected YouTube channel that I’m still trying to work out what to do with. YouTube have recently launched their Shorts style of video, I think in an attempt to rival TickTock. The idea is to post short videos that are less the 60 seconds, and I think are made ‘in the moment’.

While I’m not really an ‘in the moment’ creative, I was attracted to this short format for playing around with my creative prompts. So I have posted a couple of clips on the channel of things that I’ve filmed over the last few years that I find kind of interesting because of the atmosphere they create, or their ability to suggest a story.

The video above is a series of clips I shot several years ago when I was doing a course in documentary film making. I have cut them together in a way that I think suggests a story, and thought that this may be a good starting place for someone to write a scene or a story. Please go and have a look, drop any ideas, pieces of writing, or links to other forms of art in the comment here or on the video itself.

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.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. 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.