#GetWriting: Christmas Writing Prompt


Hello, I’m Alan Parry, the Editor-in-Chief of The Broken Spine, an independent publishing press known for its dedication to poetry and flash fiction. I’m also the author of three collections: Neon Ghosts (2020), Echoes (2022), and Twenty Seven (2023). My journey in the literary world extends beyond my own writing; I have edited sixteen collections and anthologies of poetry and prose, collaborating with esteemed writers like Dr. Kate Evans, Cathleen Miller, Persis Karim, Casey Bailey, Matthew M. C. Smith, Elisabeth Horan, Ellie Rees, and Jordan Rafferty, among others.

I also host both online and in-person poetry readings, and have written and performed a one-man show showcasing my work. In addition to my role at The Broken Spine, I am a Lecturer in English at a Further Education college, where I share my passion for literature and writing.

This Christmas, I’m excited to introduce the first of our #GetWriting prompts, a regular feature that aims to inspire and engage writers of all levels. For our inaugural prompt, I invite you to delve into the festive season by exploring the unique perspectives of diverse characters. I encourage you to submit your responses through our #GetInvolved submissions form. Selected pieces that resonate with me, both in their creativity and depth, will be featured on our site. Let’s celebrate the season of storytelling together!

You are invited to create a vivid and engaging domestic setting for one of the following characters during the Christmas season. Your task is to bring to life the unique circumstances, emotions, and experiences of your chosen character in a way that captures the essence of Christmas through their eyes.

  1. A child in a new foster home: Imagine a child spending their first Christmas in a new foster home. Describe their feelings, the atmosphere of the home, how the foster family prepares for the holiday, and the child’s interactions with them. Consider the mix of apprehension, hope, and the longing for stability and warmth that this child might feel.
  2. A new employee at a Secret Santa event: Picture a scene where a new employee, having joined a company just a few weeks prior, participates in a workplace Secret Santa. Focus on their attempts to fit in, the process of choosing a gift, and the moment of realization that their choice might be entirely inappropriate. Explore the dynamics of the office, the employee’s feelings of awkwardness or anxiety, and the reactions of colleagues.
  3. A vicar spending their first night in jail: Write about a priest who finds themselves in jail for the first time during the Christmas season. Describe their first night behind bars, away from their congregation and usual Christmas traditions. Delve into their inner thoughts, the stark contrast of their surroundings, and how they try to find the meaning of Christmas in such a challenging environment.

In each scenario, pay close attention to the emotional landscape, the physical setting, and the interactions between characters. Your aim is to create a story that not only paints a picture of these unique Christmas experiences but also explores the deeper themes of belonging, self-reflection, and the true spirit of the holiday.

Submit to #GetWriting here.

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