Tuesday, 16 April 2013


“Nostalgia is a seductive liar.”
 George Wildman Ball

Today's writing warm-up for my A to Z Challenge is N for Nostalgia.

It has to be said: everyone is partial to sentimentality. Even creatures with no soul, such as myself.

1. You come across your old childhood toy. Describe the toy in vivid detail (throw in the senses: touch, smell, hear, sight and - dare I say it - taste). Does it stir up positive/negative emotions? Does it remind you of other aspects of your childhood, such as old friends, or family members long since passed?

2. Sketch a mind-map using the key word as the nucleus, then branch out in whatever direction you please. You might find yourself going in completely unrelated paths (which I personally prefer). Do a five-minute freewrite incorporating as many (or few) branch words as you like. Here is my mind map (created using the SimpleMind app on my phone).
3. Choose one of the following sentence starts and freewrite for a few minutes, letting the words tumble out without a second thought:

  • She always thinks the grass was greener...
  • He wanted to go back to a simpler time...
  • I couldn't believe she'd kept my teddy bear, after all these years, and after everything I'd done to her...

I find it best not to read my freewrites for at least a few days. Why not stuff them in a drawer and surprise yourself? It's blatant evidence that our minds work in mysterious ways. Plus, I defy you not to find an array of story seeds amongst your work.

Do you have any writing warm-ups you'd like to share?

Take care,
Catherine x

Note: All photo prompts in the A to Z Challenge 2013 are my own. Feel free to use/copy/share to your hearts content. Help yourself. :)  



Melanie Schulz said...

I pray- does that count?

Catherine Noble said...

It does if it works for you, Melanie :)

Jackie said...

Photos from childhood bring back memories. Great exercise with the mind map!

michelle said...

Hi Catherine.

Your comment over at Alex's place today brought tears to my eyes... thank you.

I did mention this at the beginning of the challenge: you could start a weekly series with these prompt warm-ups because the A to Z madness means that I haven't had time to check out all these posts... so if you discover stalkers at your place after the challenge, you'll know why...
Writer In Transit

Donna K. Weaver said...

What a great exercise. Love your mind map. Nostalgia. Easy to forget another name for it is selective amnesia. lol

Catherine Noble said...

@Jackie: Thank you, I really enjoy doing the mindmaps, they spring up all manner of eccentric stories haha.

@michelle: Aww, I meant every word of it. I'll definitely have a think about doing it as a weekly series. I'll definitely be compiling the A-Z ones into a PDF or something for people to use at their leisure. I hope you get some use from it :)

@Donna K. Weaver: Selective amnesia haha... how very accurate! I'm glad you like the excercise *reads back frantically for past perfect errors* :)

Christine Rains said...

Excellent wwarm-ups! Childhood pictures are also a good trigger to emotions and memories for characters.

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