Just an everyday writing prompt
So far this month, I’ve been using my own unfinished ideas and moving them forward for writing prompts. By developing those ideas, I may be able to add them to other ideas to make another story or a novel down the line.
Other writing prompts that are out there to give writers ideas to free write about. They come in the form of written statements, description of a scene, pictures or even songs. These ideas are found in books, online or in daily postings. These can be used as practice exercises or the start of something bigger. On some of my Facebook writing groups they are also referred to plot bunnies.
Writing Prompt – Writers Unite!
One of the Facebook writing groups that I belong to is Writers Unite. This is the paragraph that they created to introduce a writing prompt for the group. Usually it is in the form of a picture and it is used to start the creative juices going.
“We don’t put up prompts expecting a novel or even a novella. We put them up to get the creative juices flowing. All we ask is a paragraph or two to extend the prompt to what you see as the next step or the quick conclusion. Your imagination is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. So… give it five minutes and tell me what your mind comes up with. This image is being used simply as a writing exercise and is not free to use for any professional purposes at all since we do not have the rights to this picture.”
I have a book on my writing shelf called 642 Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. I think I’ll pick that one up and randomly pick something and use it as a writing prompt. Here’s the writing prompt that I picked for this blog entry from 642 Things to Write About.
You wake up by the side of the road lying next to a bicycle with no memory and no wallet. What happens in the next hour?
Gingerly getting up from the ground, she looked around the ditch she was sitting in. She didn’t know where she was or how she got there, but it was on the side a two two lane country road. She brushed herself off and noticed some road rash on her shin. Had she swerved to avoid something? How did she end up in the ditch? She didn’t remember, but got up and picked up her bike.
As she pushed her bike back up onto the road, she was trying to decide which way to go. She looked both ways and saw a sign to her right that said Smithville 5 miles. She decided that it was a doable ride to get there, so she got on her bike and started to pedal. She looked at the area around her and still didn’t recognize anything. She hoped that once she got to Smithville that she would.
After about a half hour on the road, she saw the city limits sign for Smithville and a gas station just beyond it. She decided to stop and ask for some information. She was hoping that someone could help her with who she was since she didn’t seem to remember that either.
She pulled into the gas station and parked her bike in the bike rack. This place must know something about riders to actually have a bike rack. That made her feel a little more confident about all of this unknown around her. Walking into the gas station she headed right to the bottled beverages section, feeling the need for a bottled water. She didn’t know how long she had been laying in the ditch before she came to. As she walked up to the register to pay, she reached for a couple of dollars that she carried in the pocket of her biker shorts. She found it odd that she couldn’t remember where she was, but she knew where the cash was.
“Will that be all for you today?” the clerk asked as he took the money from her. “Where is Smithville?” “Why do you ask that? Don’t you know where you are Wendy?” “My name is Wendy?” “Yes, Wendy Wilson. Did something happen to you on the ride?” “I must have swerved to avoid something and hit my head. I woke up and didn’t have any idea of where and who I was.” “Are you ok? Do we need to call a doctor?” “No, I just have a little road rash on my shin. I should be able to bike home. Where do I live?” “You live in Smithville. A little place out by the lake. Been in your family for years,” the clerk replied, “let me take you there. I can put your bike on the back of my truck.” “This is going to sound like a crazy question, but do I know you?” “I’m Ian. I’m your cousin.” “I’m sorry. I must have hit my head pretty hard, but I don’t feel any bumps.” “Maybe something else happened to your memory. I’ll be able to take you home in about twenty minutes. I’ll be done with my shift. Can you wait until then?” “I probably should anyway. Since I don’t seem to know where I am.”
She took a seat in a little eating area that was located next to the deli. She was relieved to learn that she was close to her home. It would have been harder to deal with this if she were farther away where she didn’t know anyone. Wendy was glad that she found Ian here, he seemed nice. She sat there drinking the water wondering why she didn’t recognize anything if she did live here. She smiled as Ian walked over.
“Are you ready?” “Yes, let’s go and get my bike,” Wendy replied as they walked out of the store together.
They walked over to the bike racks and unlocked her bike. She followed Ian as he rolled her bike over to his truck where he put it in the cargo area in the back. After closing the tail gate, he walked over and opened the passenger door for her.
“Here we go,” Ian said and started the truck.
He pulled out on to the same road Wendy had come into town on. He ran through the middle of town and took a left where the road ran into a dead end at Lake O’Brian.
“What a pretty lake,” Wendy said. “Yes. It’s a beautiful place.” “Is this the lake I live on? You said that I live on a lake.” “It is Wendy. You live there with your husband Joel.” “I’m married?” “Yes, you have been married for a long time. You guys just celebrated your fortieth anniversary last month.” “Wow. I can’t say that I remember that. Now I feel kind of sad.” “We’re almost to your place. You’ll get to see Joel in a minute.”
Pulling off of the road and turning to the right, they drove onto a gravel road. After a couple of curves on the path through the woods, a two story log cabin appeared ahead of them. There was a man walking out of the house towards the spot where Ian’s truck stopped. Joel walked over to the passenger side and opened the door.
“Did you go out on a little adventure honey?” Joel asked her. “I guess that I did. I don’t remember where I was, but I made it to the gas station and found Ian.” “I’m glad that you found him, I was a little worried about you.” “Why don’t I remember?” “You are suffering from the onset of Alzheimer’s. You can remember things great sometimes and then times like this happen and you lose your train of thought or memory for how to get back home.” “When did this start?” “About six months ago, with smaller things. This is the first time you’ve taken the bike and not come back on your own though.” “Do I like to bike?” she asked and started to cry. “Yes, you do,” Joel replied in a very patient voice as he put his arms around her, “You love to bike all over.” “Why can’t I remember it?” she asked through her crying. “It’s a terrible disease that takes your memory from you. I’m sad about it too.”
And that’s how a random writing prompt works. I was able to come up with a short story that took this prompt on my own writing journey. Some of the inspiration for this was based on a book we just read for book club last month called Still Alice by Lisa Genova. And some of it is from a tough time that a good friend of mine is currently going through with her Dad and his dementia. She’s on my mind quite a bit lately, so that probably played a part in my experience with this one.
Writing journeys can definitely be affected by what is going on or has happened in our lives. It’s the experience that we can write from that can make our words more meaningful to us.