Character Prompt for a Short Story

After starting the month with a setting prompt and an object prompt, this week I’m offering a character prompt for a short story. I chose this photo because the expression on the little boy intrigued me. He’s holding a plane, like he’s been playing with it, but he looks so serious or stunned. Like I did with my other short story prompts, I’m answering what, where, when, who, why, and how to spark my imagination.

What?–A toy plane.

Where?–In the neighbor’s woods.

When?–During a spring shower in the afternoon.

Who?—A six-year-old boy and an elderly neighbor.

How?–The little boy was throwing his plane. It sailed into the woods owned by his grouchy neighbor.

Why?–The little boy looks stunned because he retrieved his plane but now sees his neighbor walking into the woods

I can’t decide whether the little boy learns that the neighbor isn’t really grouchy or is much meaner than he ever suspected. What do you think?

How does the photo inspire you to answer the questions?

3 thoughts on “Character Prompt for a Short Story

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  1. What a great picture! I love your idea of retrieving the plane and meeting the intimidating neighbor! Here’s my thought…
    What: a model of a boy’s favorite plane
    Where: at a WWII reenactment convention
    When: the end of the final reenactment of the day
    Who: an elementary boy and a soldier actor who briefly steps out of character to wink at the boy
    How: only a handful of spectators stuck it out through a rain shower to watch the final show
    Why: the boy doesn’t know it yet, but the actor who winks at him is his uncle

    1. Wonderful! There’s a lot to work with here. Why doesn’t the boy knows who is uncle is? Has his uncle been away? Maybe his mom, who is the uncle’s sister, is estranged from her brother, and the reenactment gives them a chance to bury the hatchet. Now you’ve got my imagination firing!

      1. I don’t have the Why totally figured out, but I was thinking something along the lines of your idea here – maybe Uncle was a wild child and is finally settling down, or maybe he was in active duty and Mom chose not to tell her son about an uncle who might die….now I’ll ponder this all day!

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