Short story starters

My series of short story starters and writing prompts on this site continue to be very popular with readers, so here is another set of ideas.

Just copy one (or more) of these sentences as the opening to your story.

The rest is up to your imagination.

Warm up exercise: consider using one of these ideas as a short, 15 minute warm up writing exercise before you start on your work-in-progress.

Writing prompts:

  1. James hesitated when he reached the basement, wondering if it was safe to enter.
  2. Katrina knew she shouldn’t be walking through this unfamiliar part of the city.
  3. Leanne picked up the book with the strangest of titles.
  4. Malcolm couldn’t resist; he just had to phone his brother and find out the result.
  5. Five hours had elapsed since Nanette had called.
  6. Paris had always intrigued Olga, but not for the usual reasons.
  7. If I had asked Peter a week ago that this was going to happen, he would have laughed in my face.
  8. She had dreaded this day coming for many weeks, but Ronya was pleasantly surprised by the actual outcome.
  9. Setting off at midnight was not Sam’s idea, but it was the least of his troubles that day.
  10. “How can we go on,” said Tony, “when this has just happened?”
  11. “Unless you let me have the gun,” whispered Vanessa, “we are never getting out of this place.”
  12. As soon as Wendy opened the rusty gate, she knew that this visit was going to be different.


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.


Good writing.