The Writing Prompt Project, part 6: SADNESS, IN FOUR WORDS

Today’s writing prompt is an interesting one. I tend to veer toward the long-winded when I write, and I find myself trimming big chunks when I revise. Word count isn’t an issue for me. Keeping a project within my upper ceiling, however, is.

So when I found this one, I recoiled. Brevity is important, but it’s a little scary. But what the heck, I thought. What’s the point of doing this if not to push my own boundaries?

It’s a simple prompt, but one that demands a remarkable amount of thought. I don’t consider myself a poet, but I suppose this is treading the line. Either way, it was an interesting prompt to explore, and a different process to discover.

Disclaimer: I do not take credit for the writing prompts featured here. These are outside suggestions I am using to flex my imaginative muscles.

found on Facebook, @mybookquotes


Then, her hope died.


As I discovered, a prompt like this more about concept than the words themselves. It’s easy to write a heart-wrenching scene, to put your characters through tragedy and loss, making them face the chasm in its wake. But then, your theme is driven by its context. With four words, there is no room for context.

Instead, I had to decide what sadness is to me. Where do I feel the real core of sadness stems from? After a lot of thought, I decided that sadness, for me, is the moment of accepting unattainment. It’s the lovers separated by a pane of glass, knowing they will never touch again. Or it’s the accident that claims a leg from someone who just discovered a love of running. Or, yes, it’s when a loved one dies, and their presence is removed from your life.

Sadness is different from endings. There is recovery from sadness. But after true sadness, that deep sense of loss that fills your gut and steals your joy, you will never look the same again.

I hope I captured that in my four words.

Share your own four words in the comments, and learn a little more about yourself in the process. 

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