Plot Story Starter

For this week’s prompt, use the above photo as a plot story starter. I always find inspiration for plots from my characters and settings. Using the same technique I suggested for the character story starter and the setting story starter, write down what you observe about this photo without analyzing it too closely.

My observations are:

  • Two elderly men
  • Could be chatting, could be arguing
  • Looks cold, they’re wearing warm clothes
  • The bicycle and hats make me think European

Here’s my opening to a story:

I heard them before I saw them.

Mort and Lester’s raised voices could be heard a block away this early in the morning when most citizens were just crawling out of bed. Every morning, except one, since I’d taken the job as a security guard at the university, the two old men would meet at the corner of 12th and Broad Street and usually end up yelling at each other and stalking away. After a night on patrol, I really didn’t want to listen to another confrontation. Not that they paid much attention to me. All my “Good mornings” had been met with grunts. I called them Mort and Lester because they reminded me of my grandpa and his brother. But Gramps and Uncle Lester didn’t cuss each other out every time they met.

I ducked down the alley between the empty house and the pawn shop. The voices died away. They were probably stalking away now.

As I stepped onto the sidewalk on Townes Street, a shout reached me. I jerked toward it, then picked up my pace. It had sort of sounded like one of the old men, but the cry seemed more like a shout of surprise. And not a pleasant one.

I reached 12th Street, looked to the intersection with Broad, and ran. Mort, the one who always pushed a bicycle, lay on the ground moaning. Lester was nowhere in sight.

For more plot story starters, click here.

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.

Setting Story Starter

Welcome to 2022, and the new theme for my blog, beginnings. This month, I’ll focus on all sorts of beginnings related to writing. And my prompts will help you kickstart a story. The first one is a setting story starter. Without thinking too much, what are the first words that leap to mind?

Here’s my list:

  • Old
  • Abandoned
  • Ancient
  • Creepy
  • Dracula
  • Decrepit
  • Mysterious–could hold a hundred secrets

Here’s how I would start a story with it:

Tucking my thumbs under the straps of my backpack, I peered at the crumbling stone buildings through a fine mist and believed every tall tale and legend I’d heard or read about the abandoned Krimm estate. Up here on the ridgeline, all sort of horrible deeds could be committed, and who would know about it?

I tightened my jaw and stepped onto the first crumbling step that scaled the steep slope. Even if the place was packed to the rafters with ghosts, vampires, and werewolves, I couldn’t turn back. Mace had said he was heading this way. If I was going to find out what happened to him, I had to get up there.

Place your list or the opening paragraphs of your inspiration in the comments below.

Click here for more setting story starters.

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