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Writing prompt: tragedy


It’s finally time to write about tragedy.

Today’s writing prompt:

Write a scene that takes place immediately after a tragedy. Don’t mention the tragedy.


It was now early evening and the streets had gone quiet. There were no more sirens, people screaming or loudspeaker announcements. Far beyond the skyscrapers, the smoke and the dust, the sun was slipping below the horizon.
The only movement outside came from a single cleaning crew, moving slowly but methodically. Under their skilled hands the smell of blood and death would be replaced with the smell of chemicals. They could wash away everything but the memories.
Slowly, the twilight deepened and the movement of the cleaners became harder to see.
Then the silence was broken by a pigeon starting to coo. It sat far above the ground on a balcony railing, a gutter rat oblivious of grief and destruction. Still, it rolled out its soothing tune until the sun fully set, and eased the weight of the dark.

Word count: 139
I wrote this little piece so long ago. Actually it was the first writing prompt that I completed when I started this series. But the time was just never right to publish it. 2016 has obviously had more than its fair share of tragedies and bloodshed, and every time I came close to publishing this piece something would happen. And then I replaced it with something else because I didn’t want to be seen as trivialising someone else’s pain.
If you use this writing prompt, leave me a comment. I’d love to see what you do with it!
As always, constructive criticism is very welcome.
The writing prompts series is based around shorter-form fiction. In this series, I take writing prompts from various sources and write short scenes inspired by those prompts.
Personally, I don’t enjoy writing short stories as I feel they don’t leave me enough space to achieve a goal. However, I recently discovered that I do very much enjoy writing an even shorter form of fiction: single scenes. Those single moments within a timeline just overflowing with events – those are where humanity really shines through. So that is my goal with writing these scenes. I want to express those little stand-out moments in a character’s life without using too many words.

2 responses

  1. Dee Jay

    Wow! Very nicely written, i love the way you write!

    August 25, 2016 at 10:44

    • Aw, thanks for the nice comment! 🙂

      August 28, 2016 at 12:07

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