To celebrate our new DD book bundle and reacquaint you all with our beautiful backlist, we put together some writing prompts, each themed to tie in with one of our books, and asked our wonderful community to respond to them. One lucky writer wins a DD Book Bundle!

Read on for the entries and featured writers . . .

The prompts

Let Me Know When You’re HomeWhat’s the last intense feeling you felt in a friendship? Joy? Anger? Sadness? Try and pin it down in a short verse or prose poem.

What She’s HavingTake inspiration from the last dinner party or family meal you attended. Recreate it in a short scene. Share the smells, the sounds, the conversations – and include one revelation.

Tools for Surviving a StormThe seasons are changing. Time is passing. How do you notice this in nature? What does it bring up for you?

So Long As You WriteWrite a letter to a favourite writer. What would you absolutely want to tell them? How does their work make you feel? Write it all down.

The Winner

Congratulations to Leilia Dore, who wins a DD book bundle for her response to the following prompt!

Leilia Dore

The seasons are changing. Time is passing. How do you notice this in nature? What does it bring up for you?

I am swimming towards winter, again. Today, leaves flit around me as I peel off layers, pouring off branches. We race in our eagerness to sink under the surface. We make ripples companionably, the leaves and I. We sigh, and release our tension into the cold.

The cold greets me as an old friend. It plays pranks on me to make me smile, as it always does. My toes go so numb they become awkward interlopers in my trainers and I trip. The cold laughs, affectionately. It flourishes a towel and like magic, the space under my ribs, inside my organs, makes a reappearance, burning. It’s been missing since spring. Only the cold can coax it out.  

It’s always the way when you see yourself through the eyes of someone who knows the darkest parts of you and loves you still. Suddenly, with the cold beside me, I am myself. 

Thanks to everyone else who submitted a response to one of our prompts or tried them out yourself – we loved reading your words and hope you enjoyed getting creative.

Featured entries:

Josie Kirk

The seasons are changing, time is passing, how do you notice this in nature? What does it bring up for you? (TFSAS prompt)

You took your last breath at the beginning of spring. Now some months have passed, it’s easier to imagine. I see you, in endless sleep. Diamond frost outside thaws and the end of your life brings about the new – budding blossoms creep through your window and paint daffodils on your cheeks. I missed it this year, but I’m told it was a brilliant spring. The air was warm and dashes of purples and yellows covered the ground. Time was stolen from you, but you didn’t hold this against us. Instead, you gave yourself to the earth, which became a more beautiful place. I see you, in endless sleep – but life explodes around you. You will always be here. Each year the buds will bloom, and the soft clouds will dance, and even though we’re forever apart now, you smile, and I smile too. For together, we are spring.

Cecily Harper

Meat Suits (WSH prompt)

Friends around a table.

One talks of spirits; one of death; another of loss: the final, of the delights of the food slowly steaming away below their noses.

A macabre essence swallows the scene, until it collapses under social expectation – the expectation for a lightness to lift the room away from the depths of an impending existential crisis among fellow meatsuits.

Flesh and blood. Flesh and pasta. Pasta and wine. Flowing, coursing, editing the
temperament of its consumers. Food soothing the appetites of its devourers. The suits expand. Yet the soul is hungry.

Deconstructing minds, crafted uncarefully through the greedy consumption of fermented grapes; the souls release for consolation, as the entrancement of the bodies commences. Eyes scrutinise frolicking flames, dancing atop sticks of unnatural shades. Words flow freely from their lips, unconsciously waltzing a perfected dance of equal voice to silence.

Connection above the confines of expectation.

Connection through separation.

The deliberation of the dinner party.

Danielle Shaw

What’s the last intense feeling you felt in a friendship? (LMKWYH prompt)

Friendship is expected to come easily, like how a freshly hatched sea turtle follows their instinct into the big blue – you just know.

Or was the lesson on how to do it right scheduled the day I was scratching my chicken pox at home?

Maybe it’s luck of the draw, an alphabetical seating chart allowing friendship to blossom over glittery gel pens, giggles, gossip.

Meredith and Cristina, Sookie and Lorelai, six New Yorkers with six coffees in Central Perk. Closer to home, you four posing as bride and bridesmaids while I sit across the room too queasy for the canapés. The distance no different from being last place in your MySpace Top 8’s.

The focus at 30 is finding the one for marriage and a mortgage. Not for me. I’m still trapped at the school gates waiting for you, the friend who chooses me, to who I am enough.

Elizabeth Colcombe

Daffodil (TFSAS prompt)

In another life
she was a daffodil.
Impermanent existence,
a fleeting fancy
bloom and wilt with each year’s seasons
of inconvenience and pain.
Growth ephemeral as she tries to heal
from the pain with which you watered her.

A brief yellow glow in the dimming light
of your love.
Petals drooping from your touch
as the fluoxetine wears off
and your deceptions set in.

In this life, she is their bulb.
Hidden beneath the dirt,
Soaking up the nutrients to revive;
self-love, patience,
Creating beauty where she can
…when she can.
Patience is a virtue in this work.
To live and pull through the seasons.
To feed the soul.
To take care of a body,
so fragile and exposed to the harsh elements
of your love.

She is no longer the daffodil.
She wants only to create beauty,
sprout buds of acceptance, kindness,

She is no longer a fleeting fancy,
no longer a momentary attraction.
Picked and left to fade,
until you replace her with new beauties,
in the vase of your conditions, expectations,
false love.
She is no longer accessible,
instead watch her create softness in petals untouched
by you.
Watch her photosynthesise
in the warm rays of her resilience.

Laura Trott

The seasons are changing, time is passing, how do you notice this in nature? What does it bring up for you? (TFSAS prompt)

I missed them for many years, those shoulder months, the seasons where everything metamorphosises. I missed the punctuating moments between summer and winter. Being back among the russet tones of falling leaves and the blossoms emerging with the coming sun, I felt at home again. Back in a land where distinct seasons come and go, time is an entity with solidity again. Time had been slipping through my fingers in the repetition of dry and rainy seasons. The subtropics of Australia pivoted too quickly. I was all at once hot, then in an instant, I was, well, less hot. Back in the temperate home of my beginnings, I could feel a slowness returning, a slowness I didn’t know had been missing. I felt again in sync with the ebbing and flowing of time, living alongside it as the autumnal winds blew and the spring snows began to melt.

Bethan Keogh

Eat Pray Love (LMKWYH prompt)

What they didn’t understand was that up until the day she left, 
we’d been all we had. 
Every milestone, every heartache, 
every moment of joy 
had been shared like our secrets whispered in the dark. 
People write books about what to do when your romantic partner suddenly packs their bags. 
It’s normal to go a little wild 
or even to eat, pray, love. 
But when girl who’s shared your soul follows her dreams and that means she leaves, 
it’s the worst heartbreak you’ll ever feel. 

Thanks again to all our writers for taking part in this prompt challenge. If you’d like to get your hands on any DD books, you can do so here – and save a fiver with our bundle!

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