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JPC Allen Writes

Inspiration for Beginning Writers

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Monday Sparks

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: What’s the Story?

peoplew-2592030_1280As distressed as the people are in this photo, they provide a wealth of inspiration for a story. Who are these women? Sisters? Mother and daughter? Friends? Are they sad? Worried? Scared? I think the woman on the left has confessed something, and the one on the right is very moved, either to sadness or anxiety.

What story do you think is the behind the photo?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: What’s the Story?

lovew-2706241_1280So many stories have been written about cats and dogs, usually as enemies. This photo inspires a fresh perspective. So why are the cat and dog friends? Are they stranded on the frozen tundra together? Did one save the other’s life? Here’s my inspiration.

Cat: Thanks for scaring away Louie.

Dog: That’s what brothers do. Louie is just a bully. But I suppose he can’t help it since he’s a bulldog.

Cat: Do you think I look much like a cat?

Dog: Don’t listen to that dumb bulldog! Mom says your a dog, same as the rest of the litter.

Now it’s your turn. What’s the story behind the photo?

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts

water-play-2273051_1280For February, my theme is love and friendship. So my prompts will be about relationships. Who are these two boys? Brothers? Friends? They are having a good time. What happened that made them share a laugh? What happens next?

Let me know how this photo inspires you!

Writing Tip — Writing with Senses: Writing about the Sense of Taste

french-friesw-1851143_1280Because the sense of taste can only occur in certain settings, writers may overlook it and not take advantage of it where it makes sense. But writing about the sense of taste can bring a fresh perspective to a scene that is dominated by sights and sounds.

How a meal tastes can show the emotional state of your point of view (POV) character. If your character is eating a favorite food, and someone tells her bad news, she will find the food tasteless or disgusting. Conversely, your character eats something he usually avoids, but he’s in such a good mood, his distaste disappears.

Describing what tastes your character likes and dislikes gives readers insight into her character. If your character is critical or spoiled, then she would harshly describe how certain foods don’t meet her high standards. Or your character may eat something he hates so as not to hurt the feelings of the cook, giving readers clues about his personality. For more on food as writing inspiration, click here for my post from November.

Words may be compared to tastes. A character makes a confession, and the words taste bitter. He says the name of a loved one, and it tastes sweet. For some people with a rare form of synesthesia, certain words really do stimulate a sense of taste. Check out this article to learn about his interesting condition.

Since smell and taste are so closely link, you can bring in taste to give a different spin on a smell. The odor of burning metal leaves a metallic taste. Sweet-scented flowers, the ocean, and fires all have a tastes to them.

How would you use the sense of taste in your writing?

 

Monday Spark — Writing Prompts: Describe this scene using all five senses

beach-1246646_1280The ocean breeze blew my hair across my sunglasses as I sat at the table on the porch of the beach restaurant. The fragrance of grilling shrimp and garlic stoked my hunger after a morning of swimming.

“Glad you made it, Hailey,” said my younger sister Emma, flipping back her long, chocolate brown hair. “You swam so much this morning, I didn’t think you’d have the energy to climb up the steps to get here.” Her piping soprano didn’t blend well with the soothing murmur of surf and wind.

Our older brother Brandon dropped his linemen bulk into the seat at the head of the table. “Eat fast. We need to catch the ferry to Bear Island at one-thirty.”

I sipped from the glass of ice water. Then I gulped. I was thirstier than I thought, the water carrying away sea salt from my lips.

“What if we skip Bear Island?” Our cousin Logan sauntered out of the dark interior of the restaurant.

Shielding my eyes from the sun’s glare, I looked up to him where he leaned against a post.

“What’re you doing up?” Brandon placed his glass on the table. “It’s not noon.”

“I wanted to ask all of you if you want to go some place else this afternoon.”

“Where?” asked Emma, pulling at the purple T-shirt covering her swimsuit.

Logan didn’t answer. With his sunglasses on, it was hard to guess where or who he was looking at.

Then he said, his subdued voice slipping into between the rattle of dishes and bursts of laughter behind us, “How about Rook’s Cove?”

My brother and sister went rigid as chill skittered up my spine that had nothing to do with the sudden gust blowing in from the sea.

*******

Since my mind runs to crime, this scene inspired me to write about something sinister. I like the contrast between the glaring bright day and the dark, disturbing suggestion.

How would you describe this scene using all five senses?

 

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