Archive for October, 2013

Writing prompt: barking up the wrong tree

Peeling bark on a eucalypt tree

I enjoy the challenge of getting a good photo of many things in nature. One of my minor interests is photos of trees, especially the trunks of trees and in particular those with interesting or arresting colours or patterns made by the bark.

The above eucalypt tree caught my eye while birding in a park near my home some time ago. The colours stunning the bark are quite special. When combined with the light and shadows cast by the sun, this is quite a noteworthy picture in my opinion.

While looking at it the idiom “barking up the wrong tree” came to mind. (For a definition of an idiom click here.) It’s an expression we use, especially here in South Australia, to indicate that we – or another person – is wrong, or misguided in some way. For example, if I was adamant that we had been to a certain restaurant on a certain date, and keep on insisting that this was correct only to find out I was wrong when later my wife produced proof that we were actually interstate on that day, I could be said to have been “barking up the wrong tree.” Plainly, I was wrong.

Writing prompts:

  • Write a story about a time when you were completely wrong.
  • Use the expression “barking up the wrong tree” in a short story.
  • Have a character in your story use this expression – but incorrectly.
  • Write a descriptive piece about how a dog chased a cat up a tree – but kept on barking at the wrong tree.
  • Write an imaginative piece explaining how you think this expression was first used.
  • Write a poem which is an ode to trees.

Good writing.

Writing prompt: country scenes

Rural scene in Morocco

During our tour of Morocco just over a year ago we were amazed at the many similarities with country South Australia. Sure, the houses looked quite different, as did some of the animals. For example, we don’t get too many donkeys pulling ploughs here in rural SA. Nor do we generally get large flocks of goats and the sheep are a quite different breed. Apart from those differences we were constantly remarking on the similarity of our two countries.

Writing prompt:

  • Look at the photo above of a rural scene in Morocco – it could be in many other places, of course. Or you could find a similar country scene in a magazine, book or online.
  • As a warm-up writing exercise, describe the scene.
  • Imagine what it would be like to live there. Describe how you would feel.
  • Add some imaginary characters to the scene. What are they doing, feeling, dreaming?
  • Respond to the photo in poetic form.
  • Let your imagination soar; the sky – or your imagination – is the limit. Let it break through that limit!

Good writing.