Last night while roaming around Pinterest like one often does, I stumbled upon a pin of three writing prompts composed of three objects. As the clock neared midnight, I challenged myself to come up with short bits of stories that, in only a few paragraphs, would invite the reader into a fascinating (and possibly even foreboding?) world by the time I end it.
Let me know in the comments if I succeeded!
Prompt No. 1
- A mustard sweater
- Curly black hair
- A crackling log fire
The fire spat bits of ash, nestled in the back of the room and persnickety as ever. She adjusted her mustard sweater and peered over her shoulder at the bickering flames, eyes narrowing. The fire drew backwards, sniveling, and finally receded into merely the thought of embers.
“Just keep reading,” she told herself, snuggling into the flimsy blue armchair and holding her book a bit closer to herself. “It’ll be here soon enough.”
But she couldn’t focus on the story. The words were meaningless, just strange black shapes like crows on a phone wire.
Prompt No. 2
- The feel of velvet
- A rusted key
- A broken clock
She crushed the velvet beneath her fingers, watching the broken clock’s lifeless arms.
It was 4:06.
It was always 4:06.
Panic swelled over her, but why? She knew something was happening. Something had happened at 4:06, but it wasn’t 4:06 anymore.
The clock seemed to glare at her, yet she could’t look away. The silence was worse than an ominous clicking of the hand would’ve been. Her fingers dug at her palms even through the fabric.
What had happened at 4:06?
She ripped her eyes away from the pale, disdaining clock, only to see the metal shining from bits of paisley-covered carpet. The colors swirled together, all burgundy and olive and gold and royalty.
It was too much, much too much.
4:06. The dreaded 4:06. Don’t let the clock chime. Don’t let the hands start moving again.
Prompt No. 3
- Chipped red nail polish
- Round glasses
- A pale blue typewriter
Her glasses were round, the kind of glasses that come into style every five years but only stay in style for a couple of months.
Those months were over.
Crooked, crooked, crooked. Always crooked. She didn’t even bother adjusting the glasses. She’d grown accustomed to seeing the world at a slant. Her life was lopsided; why shouldn’t her spectacles be too?
People were always trying to tell her how a practical girl should live. Well, she wasn’t a practical girl. She didn’t have a practical job or live in a practical house. So, by all means, why on earth should she have practical spectacles?!
It was a tirade, she knew. She wasn’t mad at the world for looking at her and thinking her odd for wearing crooked bifocals.
The pale blue typewriter sat before her, empty as always. If she could just find that one word, the one perfect word to start her story with—she’d finally have it. The story would come to her, the characters would breathe their first infant breath, and then she’d be rich and famous.
She picked up her fingers, a flower bud of inspiration tickling at her mind . . . she stopped to stare at her nails. Red. Chipped.
She set her fingers down again. The idea was gone. She was ashamed. How could she expect to write something anyone would read? What a daft idea. The girl with the crooked glasses and chipped fingernails. How could she string together a coherent sentence when she couldn’t even take care of herself?
But she’d show them: crooked, round, out-of-fashion glasses and all.