This book is for anyone who wants to use creative writing to feel better by externalizing their inner apocalypse. Using 25 writing prompts with evocative photographs, readers are encouraged to make meaning of their life experiences by discovering, emphasizing and illuminating changed perspectives. Every character and every story we write, is autobiographical. This means that though we may have felt like the walking dead at times, we have a chance at redemption. Writing apocalyptic stories can convey a message of change, and even hope. Ultimately, though your stories may be seeded from people you know, these characters have traveled through the system of you; your heart and spirit and mind. Consider writing a clearing of sorts. Our writing can transform us by offering opportunities to explore, examine, and understand outcomes from our lives, and to imagine alternatives. You can evoke a sense of justice and peace, not by changing outcomes (usually it’s too late for that), but by changing perspective.
How and why we take our leave from a place can define who we become – and it can make us unreliable narrators of our own lives.
Write the character who has lived here, beginning with the moment they walk away. Capture the ways in which memory (back-story) is influenced by their reason for leaving, more than by what may actually have happened.
A metaphor is an implied comparison between two things that are unlike each other but have something in common. When used with restraint, metaphor is an economical way of conveying depth and complexity without ‘telling’ your reader what to think.
Think about how an eggshell conveys fragility, an icicle conveys chill, or a shredder conveys destruction.
Select a moment in your life, and use this image to convey how it felt, without specifically referencing the comparison – avoid the words ‘it was like’ or ‘it felt like’ – which can feel cumbersome or contrived.
‘All advice is autobiographical’ Austin Kleon
This woman is about to give advice that will unintentionally reveal who she really is. Write her life story as it becomes evident in this phone call.
photo: Bill Branson
This is the front door of the Dalmore House in Scotland, completed in 1881, deemed uninhabitable in the early 1960s, and destroyed by fire in April 1969.
Life is short, and we are transient.
Walk through these doors and discover who lived here, retrieve their stories, reveal who they were by what they believed and what they built. Begin with: “In ruins we find out what was impossible after all.”
A bubble can can look like a world.
Bubble: 1) a thin, liquid sphere, filled with air or another gas; or 2) time limited good fortune that is isolated from reality.
Writing prompt: create a 150 word story titled The Bubble, in which the character(s) have been living a seemingly idyllic life, isolated from reality – until a triggering event changes everything.
Foreshadow the ‘trigger’ in the opening sentence.