Think of the place that is home for you. It might be where you live today, or perhaps where you grew up. Wherever you choose, be sure to pick a place that you know well. Take one minute to write down every detail about this place that you can think of.
Done with the first part? Now we’re going to twist it around. Take the rest of your time to write about three changes that would make this place utterly altered for you–changes that would mean it was no longer home.
What sort of changes? That’s entirely up to you. Perhaps you’ll change how home looks, or smells, or where it’s located. Or maybe it’s the people there who make it home.
This prompt aims to help you draw rich details from familiar settings into your fiction, and to also see how they can be altered to be something entirely different for your stories. Think of it as taking a favorite pair of pants to the tailor and coming home with a pencil skirt!
The cottage is ramshackle with a musty smell as you open the door. Spiders spin their webs in the windowsills undisturbed in all the seasons but summer. A Franklin stove in the corner warms up cool mornings or toasts marshmallows on cool evenings. The cottage is really one big room so you never have any privacy, but it is this togetherness that makes vacations memorable. The kitchen with its tin brown cupboards, working at the 50's stove with a view of the lake while you cook, the old farm table where we gather for meals or to play cards in the evening, the overstuffed, rough fabric chairs and couch for lazy afternoons. The cottage was built by my husband's grandpa in the 1940's and has never lost the feel of those times: a slower time, a world known only to me from books. It has an outhouse out behind that we now use as a shed that definitely brings to mind earlier times!
Twist: The new "cottage" is complete! The three story mansion overlooks the lake with beautiful views out of the picture windows and patio doors. The state of the art kitchen has every feature a gourmet cook could wish for. We gather in front of the massive stone fireplace for a family meal under the rustic chandelier. The smell of fresh pine emits from the new wood throughout the building. The cottage is built so that each family has its own sleeping quarters, so everyone can go their own way. During the day we hardly see anyone, so each person can pursue their own interests and only join the group when it suits them. There is a sauna and a whirlpool bath in each sleeping area, with windows that overlook the lake or surrounding woods for a peaceful, relaxing reverie.