Picture Prompt – Use sparing language

You are standing at the bottom of these stairs looking up.

Why have you come down them and what is waiting for you at the top?

Alternatively, what is behind you at the bottom?

Write about your situation without telling the reader exactly where you are or what is at the top of the stairs – or behind you. Use descriptive language to convey a picture that the reader can build up in their own mind. Make them use their imagination.

Use sparing language and make your reader feel the chill in their bones – whether it is the chill of air temperature or fear.

Remember; it is often what you cannot see that is the most vivid. Hitchcock used this to great effect. He rarely showed violence, he left you to imagine it. Think Psycho and the shower curtain scene.

Picture Prompt: Abandoned Buildings

Abandoned and decaying spaces fascinate us for all sorts of reasons. It might be the imagined history of the place or even knowledge of it before it fell into disrepair.

We can imagine the place is full of ghosts, but it will certainly be full of memories echoing down the corridors.

What does this space conjure up for you?


Picture Prompt – Figure amongst the trees

I couldn’t resist this one. It’s so atmospheric and a bit spooky at the same time.

Where is this and who is the figure amongst the trees and what is she doing there?

Picture Prompt – Faces

Woman in car behind rain splashed window

I always wanted to use this photograph. It looks so atmospheric and moody.

Forget, if you can, that it belongs to a famous face and imagine instead that she is anyone you want her to be.

Is she looking out from the rain-streaked window of a car? Or is she in a building?

She seems to have a far-off look in her eyes. What is she looking at (if anything) and what is she thinking?

Picture Prompt – Doors

Italian Door

Doors are great visual prompts for imagining something that lies beyond. We immediately want to know what is inside, or outside, a door.

Doors are entrances and exits, whether to a house or another room.

The door itself begins to set the scene by what it looks like. Is it modern and clean-cut or old and decrepit? Its appearance will set the mood of what you imagine is beyond. Does it look inviting or threatening?

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Writing Prompts – Pictures of People

onceuponatimeThere are hundreds of things we see every day that can spark a story. Watching people on the street, in cafes, in the park, can set us wondering what their life is like and what has brought them to where they are now.

Below are ten photographs of people in different situations. Pick the one that immediately grabs your attention and sets your imaginative juices flowing, and see if you can write a story about it.

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Writing Prompt: A bride waits by the door

What’s going on here?

Photo credit:

Scott Walsh

Writing Prompt: An old man smoking a cigar

Write about this old man’s past.

Where does he live? What has he done in his life?

Photo credit:

Ellen Carlson Hanse