Stories & Prompts,  Writing

Writing Prompts from Life


People often ask me how I come up with ideas for stories. I’ve never had a problem with finding ideas as they are all around us. Things you hear, things that happen in the news, or places you’ve been to, can inspire you. I was once in a 50s retro coffee shop where all the waitresses wore clothing of that era, and before my cake had been served, I was jotting down notes about a story that involved a 50s cake shop that was the heart of the village of Cranbury!

Sometimes I like to remember situations I’m in or places I’ve been, by taking a photograph. Other times I like to remember the occasion by writing a story. For example, when I visited the war graves at Verdun, I felt that I wanted to commemorate my visit with more than photographs. So I took a random name of a soldier from the wall in the ossuary and wrote a fiction story about him. I was able to find a copy of his actual war record and he became real to me. I wrote a story called Full Circle which can be found in my short story collection Shorties

Message in a Bottle is another story from that collection, which I was inspired to write after a little adventure I had, where I found a real message in a bottle on the beach.


Why not try this writing prompt: I was travelling by train to Leeds one day and there was a rowdy, but happy bunch of girls in my carriage. One girl was talking about a guy they all knew. He was a nice guy apparently, but his wife was having an affair. Everyone knew it, except him. Then one day he found out what she was up to and was really hurt – and here’s where the writing prompt comes in – the girl said:

“He turned up on my doorstep with his cannabis plant and his dog Barney.”

Now go write a story with that sentence in it somewhere and see where it takes you!

Let me know how you get on.

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