Writer In Motion Round 2: The Prompt

Writer In Motion is back for round 2, and I am so excited!

I participated in the inaugural Writer In Motion event this summer. Not only did I write a short story that I adore, but I met many amazing writers and editors that I am now proud to call friends.

What is #WriterInMotion you ask? Simply put, it’s a multi-week event where writers receive a prompt (in this case, an image) and develop a short story. The idea is to show the writing process from the moment of inspiration through the final draft. You can learn more about the project and how to participate on the Writer In Motion website.

The fabulous Jeni Chappelle selected the prompt image for this round:

When I first saw the image, nothing came to me. Not. A. Thing.

Oh no.

During the first round of WIM, a story idea hit me almost immediately when I looked at the prompt image, and I honestly expected something similar to happen this time. I walked away, came back to it later, still nothing.

And then I stopped looking at it literally. I focused so hard on discovering a story with that literal image in it that I missed the interpretive angle and didn’t let my imagination wander. As soon as I released my death grip on the need to immediately find a story idea, thoughts and images began to flow.

A story idea began to form in my head based on the emotions that the image evoked in me. The woman’s all-black outfit reminds me of someone cloaked in darkness, despair, or desperation. Her pose and the way she clings to the white post gives me that impression also. She’s in a rough place, desperately clinging to the last bit of goodness in her (the white post) while sending up a flare of hope for a way off her edge of the cliff.

Overall the prompt left me with an emotional vibe (trapped, desperate, clinging to hope, searching for freedom) and an aesthetic (shrouded in darkness, holding on to light, raw, down to basics).

I’d been thinking a lot recently about an idea I have for an epic fantasy trilogy I’m currently calling The Summoner’s War. When I considered the emotions and aesthetic of the prompt, a scene popped to life in my head from that story. It wasn’t one I’d imaged for the novels themselves (thus far) but rather backstory for my main character, which puts her on the path where she’ll be when the novel opens. Of course, now that I see this scene, I know it’s going to find its way into those stories someday. Actually, it’s become so critical to the heart of that trilogy and my character that it will HAVE to be there.

I’ll share more of my thoughts on this when I reveal my first draft later this week.