Writing Kindling #6

Writer’s block may seem like a terminal illness, but sometimes the smallest of sparks can “kindle” your craft. Today we have the painting “Film Noir” by Jeremy Norton.

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Ask yourself: Who is he? Where is he? What is he feeling? Why is he smoking? Who is the person in the background? Write about who he is, what situation he is in, and what he will do next. It can be a poem, short story, long fiction, anything — let the kindling commence!

As a bonus, I’ve compiled a jazzy playlist chock full of gritty, undercover agent, noir music to accompany your writing:

I’d love to hear what you come up with. Feel free to share your writing in the comments!

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A Secret Room

More than a lot had changed, I guess. As kids, the two of us used to climb up to the Roost and play with her dolls and stare out on the Cove, making up wild tales about what foul beasties lived beyond the sea. She always swore that there were others like us, other lost children looking for a way across that dark, watery infinity. I always swore that there were sea dragons and ghost pirates and slinky mermaids, but I guess that just went to show the difference between her and me. Her and her hopes and me and my magic. Back then, we could walk around in the Roost without risk of denting our heads on the ceiling. I guess you could say it was a short time, in more ways than one.

My earliest memory of her, actually, was when she yanked me aside after dinner one night and hissed through her teeth that she wanted to show me her “secret room.” A place no one knew of but her. A place where she could spy down on the courtyard and laugh at the smith when he dropped the ingots on his toes and dream of fantastical lands beyond the gray skies of this boulder . “But you can come up, if you want,” she had said to me. “You just have to promise not to tell my brother or any of his brutish friends. They’d just spoil it.” I promised. Of course the others would find a way to ruin the room, to make it not ours. I promised and it became ours. She called it “the Roost” because up there, she said, “I’m an eagle who flies above everyone, and if any one bothers me, I can swoop down and carry them off over the sea, where the serpents will gobble them up!” And I guess she was an eagle, and I was a hawk, and there was something simultaneously freeing and confining about looking out of a window onto the world that no one else could see. And she knew that. And I knew that. But she insisted that there were others like us out there, and I only talked of monsters.

I guess that said something about us.

I guess I should’ve known.


Just a quick writing exercise to motivate inspiration for my novel. I tried to reach into a character’s mind for a memory and then tell it from their point of view. Which was both a challenge and interesting insight to the character’s motivations, considering that I usually write in third person limited.

Happy writing!