Weekly Writing Prompt #41

This week, one of my favourite books, Little Women, celebrated its 150th anniversary. Before Little Women, books for young people were mostly preachy tales in which the good and virtuous were rewarded and the wicked punished. Girls, in particular, were little more than dull collections of moral qualities.

Then came the four March sisters — trying to be good but forever getting into trouble provoked by their particular character flaws: Jo’s hotheadedness, Meg’s vanity and Amy’s shallowness. Beth, as the stock ‘angel’ character, appears to have no flaws except perhaps her selflessness, but we all know what happens to Beth..

The book, especially in its creation of Jo — an independent, unconventional, irreverent and impatient young woman, devoted to her writing and proud of her ability to earn money from it — has been an inspiration and a favourite of many since it was first published. Though often criticised for her selfishness, Jo has always appealed to tomboys, rebels and freethinkers, her passion for creativity providing aspiring writers with a glimpse of how to operate in the world.

This week’s prompt comes from Jo in the hope it inspires you to write as well.

Annie Spratt

Weekly Writing Prompt #38

Happy Hump Day! Which reminds me of a book. Have you ever read Tracks, by Robyn Davidson? Before the hype of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (which I also love), Australian Robyn Davidson, trekked the Outback from the Glen Helen Tourist Camp to Hamelin Pool, Western Australia, 2,700 kilometres, In 1977. She hiked through the hot sun with her four camels and her dog, Diggity, for nine months (after three years of preparation in Alice Springs). According to Davidson (reluctantly dubbed ‘The Camel Lady’), although the trip appeared to be a case of ‘inspired lunacy’, there was a method to her madness, as she sought to test and push herself to the limits of survival.

It became a seminal trek that would inspire other adventurers, spawn a movie adaptation and see her memoir never out of print.

The book is as much about Davidson’s pilgrimage as it is about the Australian landscape and I can’t recommend it enough. This week’s quote comes from the opening page.

Annie Spratt

Weekly Writing Prompt #29

Charlotte Brontë sent her manuscript of Jane Eyre to a publisher in London on this day in 1847 from the little railway station near her home at Haworth in the north of England. Fearing prejudice against a female author, Charlotte chose the pen name of Currer Bell. The first review of the novel from the Quarterly Review of Smith, Elder & Co was mixed, stating that it was 'a very remarkable book...it is impossible not to be spell-bound'. Their thoughts on the character of Jane, however, were decidedly less positive:

Jane Eyre, in spite of some grand things about her, is totally uncongenial to our feelings from beginning to end. We acknowledge her firmness – we respect her determination – we feel for her struggles; but, for all that the impression she leaves is that of a decidedly vulgar-minded woman – one whom we should not care for as an acquaintance, whom we should not seek as a friend, whom we should not desire for a relation, and whom we should scrupulously avoid for a governess.

Nevertheless, many applauded the work. It has even been said that the author William Makepeace Thackeray was so moved by it that he wept. Over the years, it has remained consistently in the bestseller lists and claims an affectionate place in bookshelves across the world, including mine.

This week's prompt is one of my favourites from the book. Enjoy!

Mahir Uysal

Weekly Writing Prompt #28

I love movies based on books but I also love movies based on the authors of those books. One of my 'to watch' movies right now is Mary Shelley.

When Shelley (then Godwin) was 18, she had a dream that changed her life. It was in 1816, during a rainy holiday in Lake Geneva, Switzerland, with poets Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley (her future husband) and the physician John Polidori. Shelley and the group entertained themselves by reading from a book of German ghost stories. Afterwards, Byron set a challenge; they would each write their own ghost stories and vote for the winner. Shelley based hers on a dream. 

I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion.

Byron described her story as 'a wonderful work for a girl' (urgh!) and she decided to turn it into a novel. It was considered such a masculine novel that when published anonymously in 1818 (as was common for works written by women), many people attributed it to her husband. Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, was an instant hit. It is now one of the most popular gothic novels of all time and it was written by a teenager.

This week's prompt is a quote from the very book that sparked an entirely new genre; science fiction.

nour c

Weekly Writing Prompt #7

Last week was International Women's Day. The day itself is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and a call-to-action to progress gender parity.

We are witnessing a significant change and attitudinal shift in society's thoughts about women's equality right now. Unfortunately, women are still not paid equally to that of their male colleagues, we are still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, things are changing. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, women can work and have a family, and we do have real choices. So each year, the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements through International Women's Day, March 8.

Use this weeks prompt to write about a great female role model in your life? Why is she so important to you? Or, write about yourself and how fierce you are!

Ian Schneider