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.

Drumming up a story

Colourful character in Rabat, Morocco

During our visit to Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, we went to see part of the old fortified city. As we alighted from our bus this colourful character came towards us banging on his drum. This was obviously part of the experience of visiting this spot, but our guide didn’t explain why the drummer was there. He was also trying to drum up business, but I was too mean-spirited to give him a tip. Seeing he knew I had taken a photo of his, he was probably a little miffed that I didn’t give him a tip.

Writing prompt: use your imagination to tell the following:

  • What is this man’s story?
  • Where has he come from, and what is his background?
  • Why is he dressed in this way?
  • What significance has the drum?

Short story starters

It has been a long time since I last listed here a set of story openers. So I thought it was an opportune time to add another in this popular series.

1. Jacinta knew it would be the last time they would meet. Sadly, she turned away and walked…
2. Kelly froze. The shattered glass had crackled under her shoe. She took another step, hardly daring to…
3. Lauren strolled to the door and opened it enough to see who was there. “Peter! You’re the last person I would have expected to…
4. It took all of twenty seconds for Morris to realise what the strange sound meant. By then it was almost too late. He…
5. In the distance Nat could see dust billowing skywards. “At last,” he said to anyone within hearing range. “About time too…
6. Penny slowly dressed in her favourite colours, including her favourite blue top, picked up her phone and purse and firmly locked the door as she left the house. This was to be the last time she…
7. Quentin hated his name. In fact, he hated most things about himself, his job, his home and even his so-called friends. He decided to…
8. At last Ros reached the decrepit building on Seventh Avenue. It was just as she remembered it the night she had…
9. With a delighted grin, Steve climbed into the cockpit and…
10. Terry never knew what hit him. Observers say he never had a chance. His fate was sealed the moment he…


Conditions of use:

  • Feel free to use any of the story starters listed above. Change anything to suit your needs.
  • Give it your best shot.
  • Edit your work carefully before sending it off to a publisher or posting it on your blog.
  • Let me know in the comments section how it went.
  • If you publish your story on your web site or on your blog let me know so I can make a link to it for others to read.

Writing prompt: visiting family

Over the last year my wife and I have probably travelled long distances more often than normal to visit family in different parts of our state, interstate and even overseas (when we went to Ethiopia to visit our daughter who was teaching there).

Family visits can be interesting times – from very pleasant through to totally forgettable. Some are necessary, some are overdue and others sadly generate renewed friction. On three occasions this year already we have travelled long distances to spend time with our two grandchildren (age 4 and 1). These are times of delight as we bond with them, get to know their developing characters and play with them. It can be a bitter/sweet time as well – especially when we say goodbye because we need to travel home again. Skype is a great blessing, but you can’t give hugs over the internet.

Today’s writing prompt: write about your last visit to a family member, either close-by or far away. Describe how it went and what happened. Was it an enjoyable occasion? Or a visit to forget?

Good writing.

PS: I must apologise for the long gap since my last post here. I have been very busy with my lecturing commitments, as well as being very ill over the last two months. I think I’ve turned the corner as far as my health is concerned, and the semester at university is drawing to a close. Stay tuned for more frequent and regular posts here on this site.

Writing prompt: Donkeys and other animals

Donkeys in the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

When one travels to other countries, your eyes instantly pick up interesting contrasts to what you experience in your home town. I don’t ever see too many donkeys roaming the streets of my home town, Murray Bridge here in South Australia. Sure, the odd kangaroo ventures down the road past our home but this is quite rare. The occasional fox, hare or rabbit will make an appearance quite often, as well as the usual snakes and lizards. Even a sheep or two and horses pass by – I’ve even seen a riderless horse gallop by.

But never donkeys. Though there is one living in someone’s paddock about a kilometre away from our home; we sometimes hear him braying.

So when we went to visit Ethiopia and Morocco last year we were interested to see so many donkeys in the streets, on country roads and in farm yards. They are a very common beast of burden in those countries and are frequently seen in the streets of the large cities. Drivers have to be particularly careful to avoid colliding with them.

Writing Prompt: write about the animals you have as pets, or animals you see in your region. If you are writing a short story, incorporate one or more of these animals in your story to enhance the setting. If what you write is only a few hundred words, you could even post it in the comments section for other readers to comment.

Good writing.