Prompt – Place

In my early twenties like Dick Wittington  I ‘set out’ for the big city of London.  It was exciting, vibrant, fast-moving as I immersed into the background of the rich and famous, attended first nights and iconic concerts.  Then, once in a while I would travel to Paddington and board a train.  As we travelled past Tiverton Parkway my body would begin to feel warm and start to twitch, my chosen reading book became uninteresting, I was too young for a hot flush.   A little further on from Cullompton I would sit tall and rue the fact I took after my short mother rather than tall father because only a few extra inches in stature would surely allow me to see over the hills to my destination; home. By Stoke Bridges (about 10 minutes before Exeter) I could no longer sit in a seat and would be stood waiting for the train to stop, so I could be the one to put their arm through the window and open the carriage door from outside.    And, there he was; Dad always ready to greet me and take me home.  The world was at one.
There are a couple of places that can still bring that feeling of belonging, inner peace and deep relaxation.   This weekend we travelled up to the valley that has the ability to bring me almost to that childhood euphoria. It is the holiday cottage deep at the bottom of a valley surrounded by mill ruins, running behind a bubbling river deep in the ravine. I might meet another dog walker but heron, ducks and fish nestle amidst the flora and fauna and are my daily companions.   Unbelievably, I only need to climb the steep steps either side of the river to find myself in a modern metropolis of shops, pubs, and railway stations.
I feel at home with the ambience of history which has fuelled many a short story. My phone and internet reception is as precarious as the gorge’s steep cliffs but unexpectedly invigorating not being on 24/7 call.  We are here on sad business but the thrill of feeling totally at home will comfort my week bringing only solace and inner peace to my troubled soul.   I already feel revitalised with belonging and a need to capture some of the history in a story.
So let’s think this week about:
Following on from this week’s workshop, think about how to show your character, use their actions to portray the feelings to the reader.   Use the colour, tastes, and sounds to enhance your story and bring it to life showing your reader that same place.
This could be a place from your childhood or your main character’s youth.  In my case, there is an inner peace at my place but your character may have grim memories – do they have to face their fears by going back.
Think about competitions, take it outside the box and give it a different spin. Who won 1st Place in a writing competition and is off to claim their prize?  What rank could the character reach or lose, what is at stake if they don’t attain it?
Place is a word with many meanings play on it and have fun.
Please remember if you have your own project to work on, keep going with that and only use the prompts if you feel you need them.  If a prompt triggers an emotion in you and you find you don’t want to write about the prompt itself let your heart dictate what you commit to paper.  Sometimes that can be the most powerful writing when it is triggered by a strong emotion.
100 words are just your start, try doing 100 words today and another 100 words each day until Friday gives you a competition piece of 500 words!  100 words can take about 15 minutes.  Can you steal that time back from your daily routine?  Just a quarter-hour!

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