Saturday, 15 January 2022

A fatal shot


Alcohol, Shots, Bar, Drink, Glass, Beverage, Cocktail

Someone has been tampering with the drinks. Just one shot of something you or your character drinks leads to some disastrous events.  Tell the story.

Perhaps the most obvious story here is that of someone’s drink being spiked and the victim is then robbed or raped.

There are, however, several other possibilities:

·         What if the drink acted as a portal to another world for you or your character?

·         What if the drink made the protagonist speak the truth – not just in the sense of not lying but in being outspoken?

·         What if the drink made the protagonist more understanding of the world around them?

Who is your character and why are they in the bar at this particular time? What is the atmosphere like as they arrive? What makes them take the drink?

What happens after they have drunk the shot?

How long does it affect them for?

Which disastrous events follow?

How do they get back to normal? Do they get back to normal?

What do they learn from the experience? How has their life changed?   

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Strange flight

 Fantasy, Light, Fractal, Balloon, Flight

Write an article, poem, script or story about flying.  Maybe you or your protagonist is flying for the first time.  Or perhaps this is some new sort of flying machine. Perhaps you go somewhere where you’ve never been before.

Article ideas

You could write about:

  • The history of flying
  • Fear of flying
  • The impact of air travel on the environment
  • The busyness of the airports
  • Tourism
  • Careers in the air travel industry

Structure your article

Think of forms you might use:

  • An essay
  • A newspaper article
  • A newspaper feature

Poem ideas

  • Imagine what it would be like to fly.
  • Write with the senses from a bird’s point of view.
  • What about a few haiku?
  • Capture the atmosphere of a busy airport.
  • What is it like if this is your first flight?
  • Can you get the rhythm of the engines into your poem?

Script ideas

  • What about a conversation amongst the cabin crew?
  • How would your characters deal with an emergency?
  • Pure fantasy: where does the magical flight take your characters?
  • Is there a tense situation about a failing airline or about one company taking over another?
  • Tell the story through dialogue of a nervous traveller.
  • Is there tension between the flight crew and the cabin crew?

Story ideas

  • Tell the story of the struggling flight engineers.
  • What about someone who grew wings and then could suddenly fly?
  • Tell the story of an alternative type of flying machine?
  • Create a world where humans fly.
  • What about a flying machine that can transport people to other worlds?
  • What about the metaphor of the fledgling leaving the nest?

Have fun writing about flying. If you can, make your flight strange.  



Sunday, 12 December 2021

Not quite as safe as houses

Home, Mountains, Fantasy, Floating, Lake

Your home or your protagonist’s is under threat .What is the threat? What happens? Do you manage to confront the threat and / or make it go away?

Establishing the home

What is the home like? Is it a house or a flat? In the town or the country? Is it super smart or a bit shabby? How long have your character(s) lived there? How will you show this without going into too much detail?

Establishing the characters

What are the people who live there like? Remember:

·         The physical

·         Emotional

·         Intellectual

·         Their greatest desires and greatest fears

·         Their motivation in this story

What is the threat?


Storm and tempest?

A sink hole?


Your plot

Remember to develop your plot through its stages:

Inciting incidents

Growing complexities





Will this be a tragedy or comedy? Could you write a story that one of the homelessness charities could use?   

Sunday, 21 November 2021


Writing, Wall, Woman, Eyes, Facebook

You or someone else unexpectedly gains a fan.  What do they do? Is it pleasant or unpleasant for you?  What is the outcome?


There are two main characters here. Is it really you or are you going to invent a new character? And then there is the fan. You might even think about writing the story from the fan’s point of view.    

Remember to think about what these two characters are like physically, intellectually and emotionally. What are their personalities like? Is there a tension between them? Why is the fan a fan?

Progression of the story

Does the “fan” situation start suddenly or has it been there for a while? What sparks the action? How does it progress? What brings things to a head? Do the two characters reach a point of stasis?  Do they get what they want or what they need, or both?

The setting

How important is the setting? Where does this all take place? Does the setting impact on what can happen? What about any personal circumstances of either character? Do some current general circumstances affect them?

Other characters

Do you need to involve other characters? A mentor or a friend? Interesting minor characters. Remember to give them as much attention as the main characters.

Happy writing  

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Someone has stolen Christmas


Lightbulb, Light, Electricity, Energy

Maybe the lights don’t work. Or perhaps a village has become cut off. A major retail outlet stops functioning.

How do people react?



Think about the place where this happens. Is it a large city, a small town, a big town or a large village? A tiny village or a hamlet?  In an urban conglomeration, in the mountains, in the countryside or by the sea? What sort of people live there? Where do they work?  Why ae people there? If it’s a shopping centre and it really is 6 November perhaps it’s part of the Christmas rush.


Precise spot

Is this a general power cut? Are the phones out too? How does this affect the people who live there? How does it become evident that you are cut off? Or if this happens in a huge shopping centre, how do people react? What’s it like when the lights suddenly go out? How do people get out of the building? Can they get home then? Perhaps the barriers on the car park don’t work and the tram is no longer running.


Mina players

Whose story are you going to tell?  Does this situation bring out the best or the worst in people? Or both?  Does someone take charge? How do others react to this?


Chain of events

What has actually happened? Is this just one of those things or has something sinister occurred?

How does it all resolve? Are people changed by it or do they just carry on from where   they’ve left off?  

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Happy ever after?


Fantasy, Clock, Time, Light, Magic

Her happy ever after ending was my worst nightmare. Subvert a fairy tale and show it as a nightmare.

From an original idea by Allison Symes

What will be your nightmare?

Did you run away from the prince at midnight because you didn’t want to have any more to do with him? Was it a real pain that the shoe fit?


Would you have rather been left sleeping than woken by a man who wanted to marry you and keep you under his thumb?  Maybe you’re more into women anyway.


You have the magic lamp and you now feel obliged to use it. You are surely the envy of the world. But you had been doing quite nicely with your laundry business, thank you very much.  You want to succeed on your own terms.


Is there also here an element of be careful what you wish for? Can the big lottery win turn into a nightmare?


More philosophically are we ever really happy for ever? We get one thing and then we long for another.


Plenty of story ideas here. Look for more in Prompts 2021.     


Happy writing.