I'd never used writing prompts until a year or so ago. I hadn't needed them. I had a million zillion ideas already. But then a chance encounter with a wooden box full of story prompts produced a short piece I never thought I had it in me to write, a comedic monologue about a girl getting her own way. Since then, I've dipped in occasionally, taking prompts from website generators or being inspired by something I've seen. Today at writing group, I drew a hilarious prompt - My brother does this weird thing with turtles. Well, that could have gone anywhere, but here's where I went in the twenty minutes we had. This is the unedited first splurge that came out.
Seth is different. Not the type of different that prompts people to take a second look, or the type of different that makes you want to be part of his gang. He’s - a different type of different. You see, my brother does this weird thing with turtles.
‘Seth,’ I call, ‘Are you ready?’
I look at my phone, checking the time again. The beach is empty but I know it won’t be long.
Seth finishes dressing, zipping up his black wet suit. ‘Yes, just need my bag.’
He fishes around in the dark searching for his bag amongst the rocks. The salt hangs thick in the air. I can taste it on my lips.
In the moonlight, I catch a glimpse of movement. It’s not just the ebb and flow of the waves wrestling against the shore.
‘Quick,’ I hiss, ‘they’re almost here.’
Seth retrieves the bag. ‘Okay, got it. Have you got the notebook?’
I check my pocket. ‘Yes.’
‘And the translator?’
I roll my eyes. ‘Yes.’
‘Good. Make sure you document exactly how many there are.’
Of course I will. It’s been twelve months exactly. Twelve months since Seth discovered he could speak to turtles.
Seth gives me an ear piece and a mike. I fit it snugly into my ear and wait while he clips his mike into place.
‘Go over there and test it.’ Seth points to the hollow of a large rock.
I head towards it picking my way over the shells and weed that are crusted onto the rocks.
‘Can you hear me? Testing, testing.’
Seth’s voice rings clearly in my ear. ‘Perfect. Can’t wait for this one, Bee. This is the best night of my life.’
The sentence ends in a squeal. ‘Quick Bee, they’re here. Come back.’
Scrambling, I grab my phone, flicking the camera on, swiping it onto night mode.
Seth is down at the water’s edge. One by one, the turtles emerge, surrounding him. He crouches down and I hear him murmur in the language that I have become accustomed to but can’t understand.
‘Be careful,’ I whisper, my stomach suddenly twisting with nerves.
Seth climbs onto the back of the largest turtle. ‘Bye Bee.’
He raises a hand in salute, then is gone, leaving me alone on the cold beach.
Crazy! I had no idea where I was going, but am quite happy with what came out. Of course there is cleaning up to do, but you can see how a sentence formed into the beginnings of something more.
Why not have a go yourself! Forget about grammar, plot, tense - just write! Google writing prompts, or stab your finger in the dictionary and pick three words that you must include somehow. Either way, you'll have something to shape, which is better than where you were twenty minutes ago.
Leave me a comment with where you think this turtle tale could go!