Thursday, July 2, 2009

July Creative Writing Prompt

A few fellow bloggers and myself, have the last few months been taking turns coming up with a monthly creative writing prompt.

The whole thing started off waaaaay back in March, when during one of the blog chains, we had to write short stories based on a poem. Enjoying the chance to be spontaneously creative, and to also be able to share those small bursts through our blogs we decided to make it a monthly thing.

And now it's my turn to pick the prompt.

For the May's prompt Elana chose the subject of flowers, and for June Christine was into waves.

This month I wanted to play with the place where inspiration and music intersect. I often read on other writers' blogs the ways in which music inspires what they write. Many even create soundtracks to go along with their works in progress.

I, however, have never been one of those writers. In fact, I usually write with the kind of silence that comes only when a toddler is sleeping, as my accompaniment. I must admit though, when I read about those other writers' and their use of music, it makes me want to tune in with them and hear what they hear.

So, here's the prompt that I gave myself and that I challenge everyone reading this to as well:

Pick a song. Any song. You can listen to it once, or until you can't get it out of your head. And then write. You can let the song directly influence your writing, by playing it in the background, or you can let it become part of the story itself.

I also have others goals that I make for myself with these prompts. One goal that I have been trying to stick with each month during these prompts is to keep it short, preferably under a thousand words. For myself it's a good exercise in keeping my writing tight. Also, as mentioned in a QueryTracker blog post just this week, there is a market for these type of short short stories also known as flash fiction.

My other goal is to let myself experiment with different styles, and just have fun with it.

So, the song I picked is called Pills, by the band The Perishers.

Pills - The Perishers

Feel free to play it in the background while reading.


She looked at him and thought of the man he had once been, and the man that way back then she had thought he would turn out to be. Of course, nothing had turned out the way she had thought it would. Not that it was all bad. No, some things were better than she could have imagined, and others were just… different.

He looked at her, and knew as he always did that he would be lost without her. Once that had seemed like a sign they were meant to be together, now it was just one more thing to resent.

At the airport baggage claim, waiting for the carousel to spit their bags out, they stood side-by-side, more like strangers than all the strangers surrounding them.

“It was a lovely trip,” he said now, feeling he should say something.

The trip had in fact been miserable, and they both knew it.

“It was,” she quickly agreed, feeling it would be churlish to do otherwise.

Gears clanked; the baggage carousel creaked to life, and luggage began to spill down the ramp, beginning its rounds.

After that they busied themselves examining every black bag that went by, and there were so many black bags, making sure that it wasn’t one of theirs. Too soon though, he plucked hers, and then his own, from the carousel.

“Thank you,” her words radiated the same weak warmth she presented to store clerks and bank tellers. She called it smiling with her voice. He said nothing, but gave a slight nod and an actual smile back.

The moment lingered, both of them believing this could all be fixed if only the right words were found. Or maybe they already knew the words, but simply couldn’t get them out. Either way, as other passengers took their bags and hurried from the airport moving on to other places, they continued to stand together. Silently.

“The trip really was,” he said at last, needing to say something.


They said it together, having found at least this little bit of common ground.

And then, each taking their respective bags, they walked off in separate directions.

She looked back, wishing he would too. He didn’t. His back was straight and certain, not betraying a single doubt. Turning forward, she picked up her own stride.

He looked back, but she was already gone.


Okay, now it's your turn. Sometime during the month of July, using the writing prompt, post what you came up with on your own blog and leave a link back here in the comments. Towards the end of the month, I'll compile all of the links into one blog posting so everyone can find your bursts of creative genius.

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!


  1. awesome :) and I loved listening to the music while reading it! It's like your own little private movie - wonderful idea :D

  2. Oooh, that was so good and the music totally added to the mood.
    I loved the line where you wrote that he used to think being lost without her meant they should be together, but now it just was another thing to resent. Awesome!

  3. OOHHHH - Love this! and I love the flash fiction tie in, and the topic. Hmm - now I HAVE to write something.

  4. Loved this story, Kate! The music goes with it perfectly. Love the bittersweetness of what once was and missed chances.

    Love the prompt too! I'll have to come up with something before the month's out :)

  5. Finally had a chance to be inspired by some music! I wrote a cyberpunk/urban fantasy piece called Go Fish :)

  6. Better late than never - here is mine :D