There is a barking dog in today’s creative writing prompt. Can you hear it?
Is it in your room, or next door, or outside in the garden, or in your neighbour’s garden?
Is the dog aggressive and loud, or sad and whiney? Is it trying to cross a busy road or hiding under a country hedge?
Is it a young dog full of life and energy excitedly waiting to be taken for walkies? Or is it an arthritic old dog pining for its recently deceased owner? Is it a working guide dog or a sniffer dog on a mission?
Is it hungry or tired? Is it a big hound or a pocket-sized pooch? Perhaps it is a much-loved family pet who has gone missing?
What is the story? Has the dog been witness to something scary, criminal or scandalous? How do you know?
Writing as if you are the dog is tricky to pull off well, so don’t even try on this occasion. Instead, attempt to tell the tale as if you are someone watching what is happening. Try close third person POV, where only what the narrator can see happening is reported.
I’ve given you quite a tricky *challenge this week – as the narrator you can’t tell me how the dog got there unless you know because you were witness to that happening. You could be the owner, of course, although we may not want lots of back story here.
But isn’t all that barking driving you really crazy? What will you do about it?
Try to write a piece of flash fiction of up to 1,000 words which has one or more dogs as key players in the action.
Don’t like dogs? That’s a good enough reason to write a story where there’s a snarling guard dog about to rip an intruder to bits. You love dogs? Try not to be too mushy about how clever, handsome or special your central canine character is.
Me? I love the dog in this picture, despite calling myself a cat person. This is Tully, who often wishes she was a cat in our house. How do I know that? Ah well…
* Every Wednesday afternoon at 5pm (Dublin time) I post a prompt and suggest a way in which you can use it to generate new creative writing. I usually include suggestions for short stories, flash fiction, poetry, memoir or creative non-fiction.
Knowing 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams explains in full), I began this in March 2020 as a Lockdown project for my creative writing group friends, creating 42 days of writing prompts and exercises. It began here.
After that, I decided to go weekly, as always just for enjoyment, no pressure, no hassle, no worries – and I will continue until I’ve had enough (or someone insists I stop).