Writing Prompt: Inspiration from the Natural World


Today’s visually stunning prompts are from photographer Donn Delson. An avid traveler, Donn’s collection features images from trips to the Galapagos islands, Europe, Canada, and around his California home. I had the good fortune of meeting Donn, also a dedicated writer, at the Writers’ Studio at UCLA. He’s currently working on a semi-autobiographical YA novel. I’ve selected some images from his incredible collection, and offered prompt ideas to nudge your writing practice. Enjoy!

Donn Delson

This intimate portrait of a Galapagos Island iguana defies time, and if you’re a SciFi or Fantasy writer, it might even defy reality. It looks like it could be the eye of a ginormous alien monster threatening a far-away planet. Or, the benevolent, watchful eye of an old dragon with magical powers. Who is it watching, and why? What secrets does it hold?

Donn Delson

I love this image of Queenstown, New Zealand. It has a mystical quality, and blends the natural world with a modern city. Anything might happen here, from the fantastic to the post-apocalyptic, to the present-tense contemporary. What do you see? Is it dusk, midnight, or is the city waking to a new day? What is hidden in those mountains across the water? Who lives in these homes? Who is skipping town, today? Why?

DDcanoesI’ve always adored canoeing, and I fell in love with kayaking this year. As an ex-pat Canadian, this image from Lake Louise, Banff speaks to me. There is a story in each of those boats, a different tale from every paddler. Would you write a story in the vein of Cheryl Strayed? Perhaps a murder mystery in the mountains? A group of at-risk teens given one last chance on a nature get-away trip? What happens, and how does each paddler change as a result of this canoe trip?

As one who has found great peace in meditation, Donn believes photography afford him spiritual nourishment and artistic expression. He believes successful photographs compel curiosity and evoke emotion. He’s drawn to images conveying tranquility, symmetry, and balance, utilizing negative space, or an unexpected perspective. See more of Donn’s breath-taking work at www.DonnDelson.com and on Instagram.