Writing Prompts

From trash to treasure

trashcan2Sit down in your character’s office or bedroom. Glance in the waste basket. What’s inside? A photograph? An orange rind? A half empty bottle of whiskey? What we throw away can reveal surprising things about us. Write a paragraph that describes the contents of a character’s trash can.


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  • He lay on a chaise lounge, moving his eyes between the picture in his hand and the trash can at a distance from him, thinking why he should not throw the picture of the newly discovered son and continue his miserable life, and wondering how many pieces of his heart in that trash can.

  • TheBonninator

    My trash can was evidence of my incipient refusal to let “it”
    go. It looked like I felt — ready to
    vomit the accumulated detritus of my past on the floor. I had to decide, yet I still yearned to look
    at it once more hoping that maybe this time I could make sense of it all.

    Just do it! No one
    will ever know.

    I grabbed the can and scurried out the back door like a
    ghostly figure in the night. I lifted it
    over the dumpster, and shook it. Nothing
    came out because the papers were packed so tightly. I grabbed the contents one handful at a time,
    throwing them fiercely to their fate, until I felt the small notebook in my
    hand. It was as if the souls represented
    by the names it contained demanded recognition.
    I couldn’t bring myself to let it go.

    I pulled it tightly to my chest as I turned and walked
    slowly back to my house, my head bowed down like a mourner in an endless
    procession. It was the price I had to
    pay, holding the secret and the only proof of their existence.

  • caleb

    She is a girl that’s 12 and she loves reading she is very CAUCIUS.

  • Michael Eaton

    my trash is digital so it does not have anything i write in it. However I do use a single folder for each “pending story” and then write one story an hour. So at any one time I might be working on six or seven stories.