It happened one night. Your protagonist is driving along a country lane at night. Something dashes across the road in front. They stop to investigate, find nothing and set off again, only to find the car won’t start. Take that simple, every day situation and think about what would happen. Now take the story back 50 years to the 1960s. What would be different? Suppose you went back further, to the 1860s, how would the story go? Pick a point in time and write the story of that night.
It was a dark and stormy night… A famous (or perhaps infamous) story starter. What do you expect from the story? Write a story which entertains, but isn’t quite what you’d expect.
Career Counselling. Write a story about a girl having difficulty deciding on her career path. For some reason she meets her own great great grandmother. How will the conversation go? Will her great great grandmother understand the problem and sympathise? What would she say and why?
First Lines. Choose one of the following famous first lines, and write your own short story.
- The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. – William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
- For a long time, I went to bed early. – Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way (1913; trans. Lydia Davis)
- I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. – Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (1911)
- The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. – L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)
- Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. – Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups (2001)
- All children, except one, grow up. – J. M. Barrie, Peter PanLooking for more writing prompts? We have creative writing prompts for high school students for every month of the year!