Writing Prompt- Snapshots

Inspired by Carrie’s line “cloudy snapshot,” I came up with a short little prompt that comes in two parts.

The First Part: Write a snapshot moment.
The goal is to capture a very minuscule moment, freeze everything in time, and then describe it in depth. Focus on feelings. On images. On the sights and atmosphere of the moment. Once you’re down with that move onto the next part of the prompt.

The Second Part: Look at your moment through a lens.
In life, memories can be tainted, tinted, or obscured by our feelings and/or surroundings. The idea is to pick some sort of lens to look at this snapshot through. It could be more of an emotional lens, such as a personal black rain cloud orĀ  rose colored glasses. It could be natural lens afternoon sunlight or cloudy morning light. It could even be more of an actual type of lens like a microscope, a camera lens, or a sepia/black and white filter.

If you’re really low on ideas for lenses, I’d suggest using a gypsum wedge. It’s part of the petrographic microscope that we use in Mineralogy. A gypsum wedge is basically just a slice of gyspum (a slightly colored, but still translucent mineral) that slows down the light reflected off of the microscope slide, which results in a color shift. It looks something like this:


I hope this prompt was helpful, and happy writing! (or revising!)

(picture from here: https://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/earthscienceandengineering/rocklibrary/viewminrecord.php?mID=76&showimages=1)

One Reply to “Writing Prompt- Snapshots”

  1. Lizzie,

    I love this prompt. I’m someone who LOVES to write from images (photography is one of my sort of interests in that I think it’s pretty dope but also have no real skill or knowledge beyond how to use a basic DSLR). But what I love about this prompt is that it forces you to write from an “image” that, in a sense, doesn’t really exist. Writing from a photograph, everything is there for you. Of course, you have to create emotion, sound, temperature, things that aren’t tangible in the picture. But you are provided a solid visual base. In creating a snapshot, you have no base except for memory (which we know is incredibly inaccurate). Thus, the snapshot you create is bound to be full of impossibilities, or things that didn’t actually happen, things that weren’t actually there.

    When you suggest using a gypsum wedge: a. Where does one acquire a gypsum wedge (I’m genuinely interested)? b. Do you suggest literally looking at a scene of your life through this wedge and writing via that literal lens, or were you more suggesting to understand the idea of writing the snapshot through a lens similarly to the way the gypsum wedge functions as a lens? Either way, cool idea.

    Thanks for this!


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