Writing tips

Writing Prompts

Sometimes the hardest thing is to find a starting point. You can spend so long trying to find that opening line that is 'just right' that the pen never quite finds the paper. And we all have bad days (or weeks) when, even though we want to write, we can't seem to find the way in. Short exercises can help to loosen up the writing muscles and get the ideas flowing again. So we've created a series of prompts and suggestions that might help you to get going. We'll update these regularly, so there's always fresh inspiration for you. Here are our prompts for you for March. 


1. Pick an object

1. Pick an object

Look around the room you are in. Without thinking too much about it, let your eyes fall on an object in the room. It can be anything - a lamp, a cup, a picture. Write the (fictional) story of this object and how it came to be there. 

2.  I'm sorry, I forgot

Write a story or poem about someone who has forgotten something - a birthday, their house key, someone's name - and what happens as a result of this forgetfulness. This could be a comic tale or something more serious linked to memory loss. Aim for the act of forgetting something to have some consequences. 

3. It wasn't me, honest

Write a story or poem in which your protagonist is being accused of something, which they are vehemently denying was their fault. It's up to you to decide what they are being accused of and if they are, in fact, at fault. 

Opening lines

Sometimes it can be good to work with a given starting point to see where it leads you. We've updated our opening line prompts to give you something to get you started. We'll keep this updated regularly, so check back soon for some fresh ideas!

1. The lights dimmed and the audience chatter fell away to silence. 

2. It happened on a seemingly ordinary Tuesday afternoon, which was very much like many Tuesdays that had gone before.

3. He tucked his scuffed shoes under his seat and pulled the hem of his coat close over his knees.

I was thrilled to hear that my story had been Highly Commended in the Bridport Prize and would be printed in the 2017 Anthology. That unexpected validation restored my excitement for my existing stories and has spurred my creativity in writing new ones.

Stacey Swann (USA), Highly Commended, short story competition 2017

What now?

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