On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 21

There’s a particular image in Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot that made a lasting impression on me—that of a lone shoe. The shoe itself is essentially meaningless; it’s the context surrounding it and all that the image represents that holds meaning. The shoe in question is a kid’s sneaker. It’s found in the basement of a creepy old house with a horrific history and an eccentric new owner. A young boy has recently disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The reader can infer from this context that the lone shoe might belong to that missing boy. Given other strange events that have begun to happen in the town of ‘Salem’s Lot (and knowing the premise of the story), the reader can also conclude that this shoe is likely all that’s left of that missing boy.

For this week’s writing prompt, I give you not one shoe, but a pair of them and these two details: they’re a pair of children’s shoes and their location is next to a high-top table at a restaurant. You must supply the context and other details.

Think about the owner of these shoes—who is that kid, how old are they, what do they look like? Also think about exactly where and what type of restaurant this is as well as how and why these shoes ended up here next to a table. What details will you make explicit and what will you allow the reader to infer?

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