Day 9: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Day nine, all is fine.

And since it’s wintry ‘n’ all, perhaps it’s time we did a seasonal prompt, hmm? (We realise it may not actually be very cold where you are but for the purposes of this exercise let’s go with the traditional north-western hemispheric winter imagery of snow and frost and the long dark night, shall we? And if you’re enjoying warmer climes spare a shivery thought for the rest of us!)

Gif of a man shivering with cold in the snow

The brrrrrrr-y frozen months conjure up a whole load of conflicting feelings and sensory imagery, eg: 

  • A snowy landscape can be disorienting and make everything look the same—or it can make landmarks even more prominent…
  • The very coldest temperatures can sometimes feel hot in a bizarre sensory mash-up…
  • The cold outdoors can be an inhospitable place—or it can make us grateful for the warm comforts of home… 
  • The winter can be a long, hard slog—or it can be a welcome period of rest and hibernation for the rebirth of spring… 
  • The darkness can feel endless—or it can be full of twinkly little lights…

Take a look at the following chilly picture prompts. 

Image of a tiny house almost buried in the snow.
A close up image of cripsy, frosty leaves
Image of a bridge or walkway running through a city street, flanked by frees and lamp posts. Everything is covered with snow and mist obscures the road ahead.
Image from the perspective of a sledge being pulled by huskies. Ahead is a flat snowy landscape and the northern lights glow green in the dark sky above.
Image of a lighthouse caked in ice. Icicles hang from every surface. The sky behind is grey and stormy.
Image of a snowy forest path covered with fresh snow. Golden sunlight falls across the path, showing tyre tracks that curve ahead.
Image of a dark ice surface with white cracks through it.

Atmospheric af, right? 

We’ve notably chosen images that don’t include people because this is your task today: to put a fictional person into the scene and discover what they’re doing there… 

Pick a picture or two and really focus in on the atmosphere and sensory details of the image. 

Now imagine someone appearing in the frame and ask a whole lot of whos, hows, whys and whats, eg:

Who are they?

What are they doing there?

Are they in a familiar place or are they completely lost?

Are they safe or in danger?

Where are they going?

How are they feeling?

What do they want?

What happens next?

Take 20 minutes to brainstorm some ideas, have a go at describing your scene and imaginary person, and see where the frostiness takes you!

Then come and tell us all about it in the forum and warm up with a nice hot chocolate or something because brrrrrr it’s cold out there…

We’ll see you back here tomorrow for day TEN! Wooo you are smashing it, writer-buddy!

Useful Stuff & Things:

Enjoying the landscape? Here’s another helpful exercise on creating vivid settings in your writing: Location, Location, Location

And if you need help with the character creation side of things, check out our masterclass in plucking fictional peeps out of thin air: Making People!

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