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Scotland's Stories writing prompt: Into the wild

A writing prompt inspired by our Scotland's Stories: Adventure campaign.

Language: English

Last updated: 05 June 2023

An illustration of a shoe print made of icons on a green background. The icons include a microphone, pens, books, a map of Scotland and the letters BWS

You can also access this prompt in Gaelic.

When you think of heading 'into the wild', which images does your mind conjure up? Is it a mountain hike? A winter sea swim? Or could it be entering your teenager's bedroom? Whatever it is, hold that thought. 

There are times from all our lives where we have had a sense of heading into the wild, and to tell a good story about those experiences, we need to engage our audience's senses. What did you see there? What could you smell, taste and touch? By using sensory detail in our writing we can create a truly memorable experience for our readers.

Warm-up: Go wild!

Visit somewhere wild near, or inside, your home (this could be your garden, a local burn, an overgrown hedge – it doesn't need to be a rugged mountaintop). Using a mind-map or lists scribble down the sensory details you experience under the headings: sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. 

On your way home, think about how you would describe this place to a friend using all the sensory details you have captured. 

Brainstorm: A wild adventure

Are there days, experiences or everyday events in your life that have felt 'wild'? Grab a blank piece of paper and write down days and experiences that stand out in your memory as having an element of wildness to them. Life events where you felt overawed by where you were, or truly alive. Scribble your notes anywhere on the page – don't worry about making lists or keeping it neat. 

If it helps, you could break your life down into parts and think of experiences from your childhood; then move onto your teenage years; your young adulthood; and so on, all the way up to last week. 

Take a good look at your notes and spend time thinking about each experience. In amongst all your scribblings, which day or experience floods your memory with the most sensory detail? 

Start writing your adventure

It's time for the real adventure: writing your story. 

Like in our warmup exercise, write down all the sensory detail you remember from the experience you've chosen to focus on. Doing this will give you a foothold in your story. An 'in'.

Perhaps one of these sensory details could be your story's opening moment – the sight you saw, the arresting sound that froze you in your tracks. Whichever way you choose to open your tale, having your sensory detail notes to hand will help you to plot your path through it as you head back into your wild experience.