Archive for the 'Short Stories' Category

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?

IMG_3187

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

12 New Short Story Starters

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

Ouch.

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…

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.

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.

Writing prompts

Farmer in the Ziz Valley, Morocco

In the Ziz Valley, Morocco

I took the photo above while on a tour of Morocco in December 2011. You can read more about my travels on Trevor’s Travels.

My wife and I found that our experiences over just two weeks in Morocco were not only fascinating – they were almost overwhelming. The colours, the sounds, the aromas, the food, the masses of people in the medinas, the amazing mosaics everywhere and the silence of the Sahara. Everywhere we looked we saw new things, different things, amazing and downright perplexing things.

I found it easy to write a daily journal during our trip. I also wrote many poems along the way. (You can read some of my poetry here.) Unusual experiences, or undertaking activities which are out of our usual realm of experience are often excellent stepping off points for writing.

Today I want you to focus on the photo of the farmer shown above. I am assuming he is a farmer on his way to, or just coming back from, the market place. Here are some ideas to help you with your writing.

Writing prompts:

  1. Imagine you are the farmer in the photo. Reminisce on your day so far.
  2. Write a poem (or poems) inspired by the photo.
  3. Imagine the man in the photo has had a tragedy in his life recently. Describe how he is feeling, what happened and how he is going to respond to his changed circumstances.
  4. Use the photo as a jumping off point for a short story. It does not have to be set in Morocco.
  5. Where is the man going? Where has he been? What is his purpose in travelling along this road? Let your imagination soar.
  6. Imagine that the man has just heard some bad news. Describe his feelings, trying to get inside his head, his thoughts, his emotions.
  7. Write a story about the man in the photo assuming that he is not a farmer. What is he doing? Where is he going? What is his background? What happens next?

Good writing.

Trevor.