Archive for March, 2016

10 more short story starters

Popular articles

Over the last few years, the posts in this series have remained some of the most popular articles on this site. You can use the search facility at the top of the page, or the cloud of topics on the sidebar to search for more of these writing hints.

They are designed to get you thinking before you write. Use any of these story starters to get you going whenever you are struggling to come up with an idea for a story. I have received plenty of positive comments from writers (and teachers) who have used these ideas.

Over to you.

Short story starters

  1. Adele froze on the spot. The eerie noise continued to come from somewhere just ahead of her. She had no idea what it was.
  2. Before Betty could react, most of the ceiling collapsed onto the furniture below, except for the spot where she stood.
  3. Carl sprinted down the path in the direction of the explosion. As he ran he fumbled with his phone.
  4. It was almost midnight when Dave finally dragged himself to his bedroom. As he slowly undressed, he was aware of a presence in the room.
  5. On the first day in this strange land, Ella’s stomach was jittery with anticipation. She could barely wait to explore her new surroundings.
  6. As the storm clouds gathered to the north, Harry lengthened his stride as he hurried towards home. Flashes of lightning lit up the dark cloud, and the thunder cracked ominously.
  7. ‘How could I ever think so poorly of you,’ asked Julia, ‘when I have done so much for you these last five years?’
  8. Katie stood and stared at the sign. ‘Oh, no! Not today. Of all days – this has to happen. I can’t believe my rotten luck.’
  9. As Nola opened the old book, a paper fluttered to the floor.
  10. ‘Can it get any better than this?’ said Peta. ‘This has to be the best place ever.’

Conditions of use:

  • Feel free to use any of the story starters listed above.
  • Change anything to suit your needs.
  • Give it your best shot.
  • Edit your work carefully before sending it off to a publisher or posting it on your blog.
  • Let me know in the comments section how it went.
  • If you publish your story on your website or on your blog let me know so I can make a link to it for others to read.
  • Now start writing.

Good writing.


Writing prompt: you call that a bridge?


Is that a bridge?

You call that a bridge?

No way.

That was my first reaction when I saw this structure over a river while on a holiday a few years ago. I was hiking through some interesting country with a small group when our leader took us to this location. He told us that this was where we had to cross the river.

We all hesitated at first, but our leader was adamant. We had to cross here or face a three-hour trek back to our starting point. It was either cross here or go back.  Our bus was waiting on the other side of the river, a short 50-metre walk. The only stipulation was that we had to cross the bridge one by one. He couldn’t guarantee that it would hold up more than one person at a time.


My wife, daughter and I were enjoying this adventurous holiday. That was part of the reason why we were there, faced with this little challenge. Thankfully, the bridge looked far worse than it actually turned out to be. All in our party crossed safely and we were soon on our way on the bus, heading for the next adventure.

Writing prompts

Use the information I have already given to kick-start your own writing. If this has not prompted some ideas already, use – or adapt – one of the writing prompts I have listed below.

  1. Relate the most adventurous thing you have ever attempted – successfully or otherwise.
  2. Write about the most dangerous activity you have ever undertaken.
  3. Has anyone else ever put you in a dangerous or potentially disastrous situation? Write about what happened.
  4. Use the photo as inspiration for a poem.
  5. Use my photo as a starting point for a flash fiction story (under 500 words – or whatever limit you place on your piece of writing).
  6. Imagine that you had been in the hiking party with me. Write about how I fell off the bridge and how you came to the rescue – or the bridge collapsed when you were crossing.
  7. Write a page or two leading up to this point where you have to cross a bridge. As you approach, someone blows up the bridge. Write a story featuring the events which follow.
  8. Imagine you are a poor farmer living in the place featured in the photo. Write about your life and struggles and how this bridge is critical to your survival.
  9. There is a path leading from the river crossing. Write about where you think that this path is heading, and what you will find there.

I haven’t stated where the photo was taken. I don’t want to restrict your thinking by telling you. If you really, really must know, use the “Contact” form at the top of the page to send me an email, and I will reply privately.

Conditions of use:

  • Feel free to use any of the story starters listed above.
  • Change anything to suit your needs.
  • Give it your best shot.
  • Edit your work carefully before sending it off to a publisher or posting it on your blog.
  • Let me know in the comments section how it went.
  • If you publish your story on your web site or on your blog let me know so I can make a link to it for others to read.
  • Now get writing.

Good writing.


12 New Short Story Starters

If you are anything like me you are both a writer and a procrastinator.


Let’s be honest now – how many times have you told yourself, “I should be writing?” And then you go and do something else – like water the roses, trim the hedge, check your email, make a coffee, take the dog for a walk.


Until half the day is gone – and you haven’t written a word. I know that scene far too well. We all do it – unless you are one of those highly self-motivated beings from another planet who can write at the drop of the hat and make great progress all day, every day, month after month.

What can I do to help?

Below is a list of 12 new short story starters in my very popular series of story starters – go to the cloud of topics on the sidebar to access more of the same – or just do a search of this site.

The idea is to read through these ideas, pick one and then start your short story with the words that I have provided. Simple as that. Oh – you might want to read the ‘Conditions of use’ at the end of this post for more ideas.

12 Story Starters

  1. It had never occurred to me that this might be the scariest day of my life.
  2. ‘How could you be so stupid?’ I yelled. ‘The last thing we need right now is to have yet another cat!’
  3. I could see the line of animals steadily coming closer. At first, I thought that they were horses, but as they approached I realised that they were actually camels. At least five camels being led by someone wearing a djellabah.
  4. I instinctively ducked as the plane screamed low overhead. It missed me by barely five metres. The bus coming towards me braked hard, but still the plane ploughed nose first into it.
  5. The children, their scared eyes wide open, instinctively crouched under their tables as the explosions rocked their classroom.
  6. Our canoe slipped silently through a break in the reeds lining the river. We could see our destination ahead.
  7. Silence settled on our cottage as the snow wrapped us up in its soft, chilling beauty. I could tell that this was going to be a long wait.
  8. The almost imperceptible flutter of his hanky, like a small flag unwillingly waved, was the dreaded sign for us to move. I felt my heart thumping, like some demented elephant trampling inside me.
  9. On a better day, Pete might have made a saner choice, but this was turning into a disastrous day, and his brain had long ceased to function normally.
  10. As the ship forged out past the headland, I began to feel free at last. I was no longer under her spell which had kept me almost like a prisoner all those years.
  11. As I opened the door, I was aware of a strange rubbing on my leg. I looked down to see a kitten rubbing against my trouser leg. ‘Where did you come from?’ I asked. The cat didn’t reply.
  12. As the old clock in the hallway struck midnight, I realised that the events of the day would mean I might have trouble getting any sleep at all.

Conditions of use:

  • Feel free to use any of the story starters listed above.
  • Change anything to suit your needs.
  • Give it your best shot.
  • Edit your work carefully before sending it off to a publisher or posting it on your blog.
  • Let me know in the comments section how it went.
  • If you publish your story on your web site or on your blog let me know so I can make a link to it for others to read.
  • Now get writing.

Good writing.


Writing prompts – who is this woman?


Who is this woman?

That is the main question I am posing for this series of writing prompts. I should add that I know who she is, and what she was doing in this photo, but I will keep that to myself. I don’t want the ‘truth’ to influence your creativity in any way.

Possible writing ideas

Below is a list of possible ideas or prompts for your writing. You can follow any one of them in your writing endeavours, or you can take an entirely different tack to any I have suggested.

Over to you:

  1. Who is the woman in the photo? Describe her and imagine her background, writing a fictional biography of her.
  2. What is she doing? Write a descriptive piece about what she is doing, or has just done, or is about to do.
  3. Why is she smiling? Write a short story – even a flash fiction piece – giving the back story of what has caused her to be so happy.
  4. What the significance of the way she is dressed? Do some research on the different ways of dressing in different cultures, and write a report on your findings. Or use this information to give colour to a story you are writing set in that culture.
  5. Write a poem about this woman – perhaps an ode, or a sonnet of admiration.
  6. Write a short story in the first person starting with the words: “I thought I would never see the day when I…”
  7. Incorporate in a short story a significant event in the life of this imagined woman, making sure that the date palms in the background play an important role in the story.
  8. Write a personal account of a time when you visited an exotic destination. What did you see and experience, how did you feel, and why do you want to return?
  9. Write about a time when you saw a person dressed in an unusual or a memorable way. Describe your reaction. How did your encounter change you, or make you feel?
  10. Write about a time when you dressed in a special way for a party, and how you felt. Imagine that you were the only one dressed in a costume, and how that made you feel. Craft these feelings into a short story, or even the opening section of a novel.

More writing prompts

You can access many more prompts for writing here.

And you can find many hundreds of short story starters here.

Good writing.


Happy 10th Birthday to Trevor’s Writing


Goodness, me.

Is it really ten years today since I started this site about writing, reading and books?

Today is the tenth anniversary of Trevor’s Writing. Originally, I started blogging because family members wanted to keep up with what we were doing. This very quickly changed as I saw the potential of such a site very early.

Around the same time I started two other sites, Trevor’s Birding and Trevor’s Travels. I bit off a little too much, but over the intervening years, I have written over a thousand articles on these sites as well. More recently I have maintained and written many articles on our church site here.

I decided that I would use this site as a platform to share my writing, share my ideas about writing, sharing insights from the books I was reading and bringing to my writing my extensive experiences as a primary school teacher. I had retired only a few months earlier. In retirement, I planned to write as close to full-time as I could manage. It had been a dream of mine throughout my life. Now I had the time.

Over the last ten years I have included the following on this site:

  • Poetry, including many haiku
  • Short stories – mainly flash fiction up to about 500 words
  • Reviews of books and films
  • Writing ideas and hints
  • Short story starters to help my readers who are writers
  • Writing prompts to start the ideas rolling for writers
  • Reflections on the writer’s life
  • Personal reflections on attempting and achieving my Master of Arts Creative Writing degree
  • Outlining the process of writing my novel which was the main component of my MA degree. I actually quoted portions of this site in my thesis paper.

How to access articles on this site

Readers of this site can access the articles in a variety of ways:

  • Use the search facility at the top of each page
  • Use the cloud of topics in the sidebar
  • Click on the Archives button at the top of the page and scan through all the articles (now over 1000 of them)
  • Click on one of the items under Contents on the sidebar
  • I also post quite a bit on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – click on the buttons near the top of each page to follow me.

The Future

What am I planning on this site in the months and years to come? Basically, more of the same. I am also planning to publish a range of eBooks. Stay tuned.

Good writing.