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Write Before Christmas

Prompts to help you start and finish a seasonal project.

I love, love, love this time of year, not least because as a writer it conjures up all kinds of interesting characters and scenarios. As there are only a few weeks before Christmas, I think it’s a great time for writers to have fun and complete something festive.

The key words are fun, short and completed: think a short story or flash fiction, an outline for a Christmas-themed picture book, a festive poem or a seasonal monologue. If you’re really strapped for time, a merry limerick will suffice.

What will you choose?

If you’re opting for a Christmas short story, consider a different viewpoint. What about a Christmas tree telling their story? Or a Christmas wreath? What about an angel that’s been sitting on top of a tree for generations and is ready to retire? In order to finish a story by your December 24th deadline, give yourself a word count. 1000 words should be doable, otherwise opt for flash fiction and write something under 500 words. If you normally write emotionally charged, serious stories, mix things up and try something comic. Have a go at writing a short story in a diary format or tell your story using only dialogue.

If you want to write a Christmas themed picture book, you only really have time to write a good outline. But, that in itself is a completed task. Ask yourself these questions: Who’s the protagonist? What do they want? What will make my story unique? Is this a rhyming picture book? If so, take a look at Julia Donaldson’s books for inspiration and a master class in rhyming. Who will do the illustrations? Could you give it a go for this early outline? Yes, you can! If you can’t draw at all, cut out pictures from magazines and make collages. Write about a grumpy snowman, a lost Christmas present, a gingerbread house or a Christmas train journey.

For those wanting to write a festive poem, decide on the overall message and tone of your poem before you begin. Then: Is it for young children? Will it be something you read out over Christmas dinner? Or is it a poem meant for one particular reader? Read some Brian Bilston for inspiration and use these titles as prompts: The Christmas S/he Forgot, When The Snow Fell, The Very Last Christmas, The Christmas Row That Never Ended.

Monologues are a perfect project for this time of year. Short (ish) and straight to the heart of a character, anything goes. What does your character think of Christmas? Are they too excited to sleep? Are they longing to escape from the fuss and expense? Are they desperate to have some time to themselves? Are they negotiating where the children will spend the holidays? Are they homesick? What will make your monologue stand out?

And, if you’re really stumped for time, have a go at finishing these limericks:

A) There was a tired Santa from Kew…

B) A reindeer landed in York…

You can substitute any place name to help with your rhyme.

Let me know what Christmas project you opt for.


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