Archive for the 'Short Fiction' Category

More short story starters

Over the years, I have posted many of these articles. They have become some of the most popular posts on this site.

These story starters are designed to get your creative juices flowing. We all have those dreaded times when we just can’t think of an idea to write about. These story starters are designed to get you going. You may end up not using the exact wording I have given. You may even change any names I have used. The setting I have proposed could also change. It is really up to you. Accept my ideas if they suit you; change what doesn’t ring true for you.

These short story starters could be used exactly as I have suggested. They could be the start of a story which you finish, polish up, rewrite, edit, proofread and send off to a journal or magazine or even a writing competition. Or, you may just use some or all of these ideas just as writing exercises – warm-up writing attempts to flex your writing muscles before your work-in-progress gets attention for the day. It is entirely up to you how you use these ideas. Or not.

Short story starters:

  1. Frank found what he was looking for, but not where he had expected. He felt totally perplexed. How did it get in the washing machine?
  2. It was moments like these that Greta enjoyed. The sudden appearance of her best friend in the cafe opened up the day to untold opportunities.
  3. How on earth could Harry complete this task in the time allotted? He knew that his fate was in his own hands. What he did in the next hour would determine the course of his life, one way or the other.
  4. ‘What are we to do now?’ asked Ingrid. ‘That was the last chance we had.’
  5. Finding her husband lying on their bed in his pajamas was the last thing Jenny expected that day.
  6. Karen raced to the check-in desk and stopped. Hardly able to breathe she waved her boarding pass and waited to be served. ‘What if I’m too late?’ She suppressed the thought and smiled.
  7. Tony and Lauren knew from the first day that it was going to be a struggle. Despite the challenges ahead, they stepped out believing that they were up to the task set before them.
  8. At the beginning of the week, Murray had believed that he was on top of the workload for the month. What he hadn’t foreseen was the accident.
  9. Naomi blinked. She couldn’t believe what she had just witnessed.
  10. The children ran screaming towards the open door. They crowded around the visitor, jumping and reaching towards the box he carried.

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.

Trevor

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.

Trevor

Writing prompt: you call that a bridge?

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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.

Great.

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.

Trevor

Writing prompts – who is this woman?

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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.

Trevor

Short story starters

Over the last few years I have written many posts similar to this one. Many of them have proved to be very popular with my readers and consistently draw many readers. I have also had good feedback from readers who have used them.

The idea behind these lists is to start your thinking off on a certain track – and then to let your imagination run wild. Use any of these ideas as you like, adapt the ideas to suit your thinking and away you go.

Each one could be used as an opening line, or a finishing line, or a sentence somewhere in your story.

Story starters

  1. ‘How on earth could you think that about me?’ shouted Nancy.
  2. Olivia hesitated as she came into the room. Her handbag was not where she had left it.
  3. ‘Now where have I put my glasses?’ muttered Peter.
  4. It was strange how Queenie always found a way out of her frequent moments of embarrassment. Like yesterday.
  5. As Robert closed his front door, he drew his coat tighter against the bitter wind. ‘What a night.’
  6. Sam raced to the letter box, flung it open and grabbed the only letter. “Yes! This must be it!’
  7. ‘How can you be so sure it was me?’ demanded Tina. ‘I wasn’t anywhere near you when it happened.’
  8. ‘If that is how you feel,’ said Ursula, ‘this is the final straw.’
  9. Vince was completely flummoxed. How was he going to get out of this toxic relationship?
  10. ‘That will do!’ yelled William. ‘That is the perfect spot for my pride and joy.’

You can access many more short story starters here.

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.