Writing Prompt: Neglected Apple Tree

I’m cheating a little bit for my first A-to-Z post by stealing a prompt I thought was really cool from my old blog. If you’d like to read the original background story, you can check it out here, or click this link for the original prompt (which is exactly the same as the prompt below).

To summarize, last Fall, as I was living at home with my parents, I offered to help out with picking up apples in our back yard a couple times a week. On one of my rounds picking up apples, I made this little discovery: in the hollows of a couple of amputated tree limb nubs, there was a huge mushroom growing with a sack of spider eggs attached to it. Depending on your point of view, this could have been fascinating and beautiful, or it could have been creepy and disgusting. Both reactions are totally legit. And I’ll tell you what, it made me glad I wasn’t a neglected apple tree, because I’m pretty sure I would not be happy to have fungi and spiders nesting together in my open wounds.

Prompt: Neglected Apple Tree

Pretend that after an unusually nice, warm November it snows for the first time. And it doesn’t just snow, it’s a blizzard out there! You then realize you still have to go out and pick up apples today. When you do, you find this in the hollow of an apple tree trunk:

Oh, look! A giant mushroom with a spider egg sack attached to it!

Make a list of ten reasons this discovery is horrifying to you, and ten reasons this could be beautiful. Look at the list that was more challenging for you to come up with ideas and write a story in which this point of view is featured (if it was more challenging to come up with reasons you find this beautiful, for example, write a story in which you highlight the beauty and wonder of this image, etc.).

Alternatively, go on your own “back yard” adventure and think about something interesting you encounter. Come up with ten ideas for how this situation could be horrifying and ten on how it could be beautiful. Write the story that takes you beyond the familiar and stretches you out of your comfort zone–whether the beauty or the grotesqueness inspires you best. Ponder what you learn about yourself and what makes you tick in the process.

Beauty of Decay Writing Prompts (F/T)

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Sarah E. Seeley is a fantasy and horror author, and an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association.
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