Writing prompt: the secluded garden

Secluded garden in the Kasbah des Oudaias, Rabat, Morocco

While on a tour of the Kasbah des Oudaias, Rabat, Morocco we went through this delightful secluded garden, walled in on all sides by the walls of an ancient fortress.

Imagine being there two, four or even six hundred years ago.

Writing prompt: transport your mind back a few centuries or so. Imagine what life was like in a different era, a different culture and in an exotic location like Morocco. Give your  imagination full rein to think of exciting scenarios in this exotic location. Imagine colourful characters living in this era, and the possibility of marauding hordes trying to take over the city, only to be thwarted by the strong walls of defence.

Or perhaps a romantic and secret assignation between lovers in this garden in the light of the moon.

Good writing.

Flower in a secluded garden in the Kasbah des Oudaias, Rabat, Morocco

Writing prompt: what happened?

Cafe in Rabat, Morocco

While wandering through the streets of Rabat in Morocco we happened upon this lovely looking cafe.

Not a single customer despite the establishment being open at the time, and with a wonderful view over the river estuary and the Atlantic Ocean.

I wonder what happened?

Writing prompt: let your imagination run wild with the possibilities. What happened to all of the customers? Is there any significance in all of the furniture being painted blue?

Good writing.

Musician, Rabat, Morocco

Musician in the Kasbah des Oudaias, Rabat, Morocco

On our visit to Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, we were exploring the Kasbah des Oudaias with its twisting lanes and narrow streets when we came across this musician. He was singing while playing his three-stringed lute – I think it’s called a guinbri or santir and is common and popular throughout western Africa.

Writing prompt:

  • Who is this man?
  • Why is he singing in public?
  • What is his background story?

When I am faced with writing a short story based on an image or photograph or something I’ve seen, I start with the person’s name. I don’t know the name of the man in the photo, so I will have to make one up. I try to be authentic to the setting. I ask a few questions, like those above. Other questions like “what is he doing – and why?” often start a stream of ideas.

I let the story take over, directing my thoughts and just getting down the words as they come.

If the character takes over the narrative and demands to have her story told, that’s exciting. Just go with the flow. Get the words down quickly; editing and rewriting come later.

Good writing.

Writing prompt – what’s behind the window?

Windows in the Kasbah des Oudaias, Rabat, Morocco

On our visit to the Rabat, the capital of Morocco, my attention was grabbed by this intriguing, yet, beautiful, set of windows in the Kasbah des Oudaias.

The writer in me started wondering: what’s behind the windows?

Who lives here? What are the stories of the people living here?

If the windows could tell, what stories would they weave.

This quaint, simple scene is evocative of the mysterious, magical Morocco we experienced throughout our tour.

Could this be the setting for a poem?

A short story?

A murder mystery – or a tearful romance?

Good writing.

Pots on a wall

Pots on a wall in Rabat, Morocco

We saw these beautiful, ornate pots while visiting Rabat, the capital city of Morocco. Our guide took us on a meandering walk through some narrow lanes in the Kasbah des Oudaias. I was fascinated by this set of large pots on a wall next to someone’s front door. They appear to have been recently cemented in place. Why? I have no idea.

We visited a number of sites while in Rabat, this older part being a UNESCO World Heritage area.

Writing prompt:

Use your imagination to answer one or more of these questions:

  • Why are the pots on the wall?
  • Who put them there?
  • What have they been used for?
  • Who lives behind the wall?

Incorporate some of your answers into a story about a person who lives in this old city. Or tell the story from the point of view of one of the pots.

Good writing.