Part of my job as an English teacher is to think up themes and prompts that students can use as a focus for creative writing lessons. I’ve used the odd prompt myself over the years when I’ve been struggling to get the creative juices flowing, but I’ve never really gotten into the habit of using them regularly. But I’ve seen first hand how it gets my students into creative writing, builds up their stamina and encourages them to try ideas and techniques they wouldn’t normally use, so why shouldn’t I be doing the same myself?
Starting this month, I’m going to craft a series of prompts built around a particular theme. I’ll have a look in the news, on social media, get a feel for something relevant to the world at the moment and use that as my inspiration. This month, I’m focusing on the theme of nature. I’ll give you a few ideas for stories that you could write about this, but it really is a blank page. You could write about anything to do with nature, animals or the environment. Me – I’ve been writing about this:
Nature is flourishing
A couple of things have happened over the last month or so that made me decide to choose this theme. I think it’s fair to say that the planet has taken a bit of a beating in the past few decades. If it’s not wildfires and floods then it’s deforestation and oil spills and mother nature was long overdue a break. When the world went into lockdown, it was as if humanity had been put in time out while
mum tidied the house and made it liveable again. The West Moorland Gazette made a full summary on how the wildlife is thriving now that people, cars and planes are less common than they were at the start of the year. Scientists seem thrilled that this is happening and talk about how great it will be for the environment and perhaps it will be… but I’m a writer with a much darker disposition than them and my mind is already taking me down some seriously Orwellian back alleys.
Prompt 1 – It has been so long and society has decided to stay indoors forever – technology is advanced enough to allow this, so why not? But now the animals are emerging to build a society of their own and they are in danger of making the same mistakes…
Prompt 2 – Which of the animals is the best to rule this new world? How would they run their society and would it be a utopia or dystopia?
All the small things are in danger of disappearing
Bizarrely, despite the above good news, Britain is probably going to lose a quarter of its wildlife, including much of the cast of The Animals of Farthing Wood and The Wind in the Willows combined. It’s a strange paradox that nature should be doing so well and so badly at the same time, but it also gives us ideas for our stories and sometimes those stories can make people stop and think.
Prompt 3 – An old man sits telling stories to his grandchildren about the animals of England. Animals that they have never seen.
Prompt 4 – The other animals have flourished in the new world, but the fox is all alone. He leaves on a journey to find another of his kind.
So there you have it! There are our writing prompts for this month. If anyone feels inspired by anything I’ve put here, please share your work with me, I’d love to see what you can create! I’ll be trying these out myself, but my biggest goal this week is to get my next short story up, so watch this space!