Opening Scene Prompt

Here is my last opening scene prompt to wrap up January’s theme of beginnings. The instructions for it are the same as last week’s prompt. Write down your first impressions of this photo for characters, setting, and plot. Then use those impressions to write an opening scene for a story.

Characters 

  • Workers on their way home
  • People bundled against the cold
  • Everyone looks alike

Setting

  • Winter
  • Cold
  • Dismal
  • The world is gray

Plot

  • A worker is depressed.
  • A worker is frustrated with the every day dullness of routine.
  • A worker wants to break free.

Here’s my opening:

If I don’t make a change soon …

I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, my left boot sliding on a patch of ice hidden under the charcoal-streaked snow.

People, workers leaving their jobs like me, bundled to their eyes against the freezing weather, trudged past, heads bent. Were they watching for slick spots or could think of no reason to lift their gaze?

Fat flakes drifted from a putty-colored sky. Even if enough snow fell to cover all the dirt, it wouldn’t change the fact that underneath, the snow was stained, spoiled.

I turned my face to the sky, the flakes brushing against my skin on their way to oblivion. That’s where I felt I was heading.

For more prompts to start a story, click here.

Opening Scene for a Story

This week’s photo prompt combines all the ones from the last three weeks. Instead of focusing either on characters, settings, or plot, write down your first impressions of this photo for all three. Then use those impressions to write an opening scene for a story.

Characters

  • Two girls, not older than ten
  • Wearing summer clothes
  • One girl is holding summer flowers, the other maybe leaves or a turtle
  • Look enough alike to be sisters or cousins
  • The one on the left looks slightly older

Setting

  • In the woods or in a park
  • Paved path or road
  • Summer
  • Girls are comfortable in setting

Plot

  • The girls are making up from a fight
  • The older girl is telling the younger one about something she saw
  • They are chatting while they wait for something
  • The older girl is suggesting something to do

Here’s my opening:

My cousin Lucy and me sat on the empty road. We wouldn’t get squished. Nobody used the road any more except hunters in the fall and winter. The road was a little warm because the sun ooched between the branches of the tall maples and sycamores.

I stroked the baby turtle I’d found near the car where the man and woman were arguing. I said, “I wished they’d leave.”

Lucy wiped some hair away from her mouth. “I know. We can’t play Princess Rescue with grown-ups around.” She tilted her head, listening, so I did too.

I heard a kind of buzzing but it wasn’t bees. But I wasn’t sure if it was the man and woman talking either.

Lucy looked at the asters in her hand. “Do you recognize those people?”

“Nope. Nobody ever comes around here since Old Mr. Hardy died and nobody works his farm.”

A scream made me and Lucy jump up. Then it got real quiet, creepy quiet.

I stepped closer to Lucy. “Was that a happy scream or a scared scream?”

How would you use this opening scene for a story?

Character Story Starter

This week’s prompt is a character story starter instead of one for a setting, like I had last week. Who is this girl? Or is she a woman?

Again, like last week, right down your first impressions without analyzing them.

  • Careful of her appearance
  • Fashionable but not trendy, individual taste stands out
  • Thoughtful
  • Stunned and trying to hide it
  • Disturbed
  • Masking strong emotions

Here’s my opening to a story with this character:

So that’s why Mom’s been so secretive. Well … more secretive than usual.

Pressing against the restored train depot, I tugged at a stray hair as Mom bent her head toward the mouth of a man who was dressed better than I was and might have been old enough to finish his undergrad degree.

“Hey, Ava.” Sydney Townsend popped up in front of me, blocking my view of Mom and her new boyfriend. “What’re you doing at the park? I thought you hated fresh air.”

Forcing on my cool expression, I said, “I decided I hadn’t given fresh air a fair chance, so I came out here today. But I was right. It’s as horrible as I thought. I’d better get home before too much contaminates me.”

I ducked around her. Mom and Boyfriend were gone, but they couldn’t have gone far. I walked as quickly as my high-heeled boots let me in the most likely direction.

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