Locative Writing Prompts


This is an idea had during a shower so expect all the rigour and quality which is expected of ideas had while washing hair.

A lot of fiction is about place. Fantasy fiction and science fiction have a central element of world building embedded within the philosophy of the genre. Location can be used , and is, to exaggerate themes and ideas in any story with vivid descriptions of the landscapes that the characters are placed within by the author.

Starting a tale in the same mood as “it was a dark and stormy night” does not usually indicate a comedy.

One thing I have learned running Kick1 is that prompts made of words and sentences, also pictures, can be effective starting points for creative writing2. But they are at best two-dimensional. They are sentences, and they are pictures cut from magazines or printed from the internet. You aren’t there, you are just looking at an image or using it to trigger your imagination.

So I am thinking of doing something bigger and more immersive. I am thinking of going to some fantastic and wild places to write on location. Whatever comes to mind as I am standing in the place. There is a long history of this. Because I’m writing this prior to lunch and coffee I’m not going to go find examples.

But the point is that to write about place and evoke the sensation of a place you need to have a bank of experience to draw on. Second-hand from books is great, but to get the small details you need to have been there, or at least somewhere roughly like the imagined landscape.

Maybe what will get written is just lists of words and phrases that occur to me while in a place. I might write some flash fiction or a short story there. Who knows?

Within Leicestershire I can think of half a dozen interesting places. From a Iron Age fort to a supposed druidical alter stone to an Anglo Saxon Christian cross in a graveyard near my house.

There is also a lot of interesting sites in the Peak District. Like really interesting. How about a broken road? There are barrows above that and a medevial castle in a village called, er, Castleton nearby.

Anyone interested in coming on some literary adventures?

1The Kick School of Creative Writing
2 – I still dislike the phrase, but it fits my needs here.

One Comment

  1. Bram August 10, 2010

    Great idea Will, particularly if you live surrounded by cool ruins and stuff. I’m still searching for the perfect dystopia-generating landscape in Edinburgh. Think Glasgow’s probably more promising…

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