Friday, June 3, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Fiona Robyn: Small Stones

Richard J Thompson |

This weekend we are having a Stone Festival at Prompts for Writers.  That means, that I am asking you to please contribute your "small stones" here in the comments this weekend. 

Our guest prompter today is Fiona Robyn.  I met her by coming across her blog, River of Stones (check it out for the "Blogsplah of Wedding Small Stones."

I love the concept of writing "small stones," because I believe anybody can do them.  From now on, no excuses for "Writer's Block" because when we write a small stone, we are writing an observation.  There is no "can't" when it comes to observing. 

I think you will all love writing small stones.  A small stone is writing only a little, so there is no pressure.  See how Fiona guides you through the process in her post below, and I'm sure you'll discover something if you try.

Many thanks to Fiona for her contribution to the creative writing prompts today.  I also wish her and her fiance Kaspa all the best as they prepare to marry in a couple of weeks!

I look forward to seeing your stones posted here this weekend as part of our Stone Festival.  Let's see how many stones we can get!


Fiona Robyn

Thank you, Anjie, for inviting me to share my writing prompt with your readers.

I would like to invite you to write a ‘small stone’ every day this week.

What is a small stone? It’s very simple. Pay close attention to something that you notice, and then write it down. That’s all!

Here are three different exercises you could try as you write your small stones:

1.       Use a different sense every day. On the first day, think about all the different things you can smell and choose one (or more) of these smells as the focus for your small stone. Then think about what you can hear, touch, taste, see, feel and think, and then on the last day put them all together.
2.       Try and notice the forgotten corners of your world. Pay attention to the over-grown patch at the bottom of the garden, or the cupboard under the sink. Look for your small stones where you don’t expect to find any. See what you can find.
3.       Practice praise. When you look around for your small stones, appreciate as much as you can – enjoy the colour of the sky, notice the wild flower growing in the street, make the most of the coffee aroma as you walk past the coffee shop. See if you can find something to praise in everything.

You can try polishing up your small stones after you’ve found them by thinking carefully about which words you’d like to use, in which order, and whether you’d like to include line breaks or not. Take out any words that aren’t essential. Say your small stone out loud and see how it sounds. Fiddle about until it seems as accurate as it can be. Try to avoid writing about yourself unless it’s an observation of yourself – leave your opinions out. The more concrete the better!

The main object of writing small stones is to help us pay attention to the world around us. As you look for them, you should notice yourself becoming more engaged with the world around you. A happy side-effect of paying attention is that small stones are often very beautiful too. Here are some examples of small stones from our recent book, Pay Attention:  A River of Stones.

If you get bitten by the bug, we have a small stone writing challenge during July – find out more at the river of stones blog. And do leave me some of your small stones in the comments section – I’d love to read them!
winter sun
an old bramble blooms
with frost  

Polona Oblak

On pale straw stalks brown bulrushes sway, slowly being feathered by the wind.

Sam Pennington

in the half-light
my neighbour
rakes her garden
dusk gathering
silently around her

Liam Wilkinson

Through the front window at 42 rue des Champs Elysées: a dozen yellow tulips lazing over the lip of their vase.

 Jeannette Cook

early morning
four hills newly popped
happy moles

Daphne Ashling Purpus

About Fiona Robyn
Fiona is on a mission to help the world connect through writing. She runs a free community at Writing Our Way Home, where she offers e-courses and creativity coaching. She is a published novelist. She started writing ‘small stones’ in 2005, co-curates the ‘river of stones’, and edits the blogzine, ‘a handful
of stones’. She lives in Malvern in the UK with her soon-to-be-husband Kaspa (the 18th of June!) and her two cats, Fatty and Silver.

Fiona’s website:
Free community:
A river of stones:

1 comment:

  1. The messy room shows me all that I have to be grateful for.


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