The Write Practice

Top 150 Short Story Ideas

by Joe Bunting | 129 comments

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Do you want to write but just need a great story idea? Or perhaps you have too many ideas and can’t choose the best one? Well, good news. We’ve got you covered.

Below are 150 short story ideas for all your favorite genres. You can use them as a book idea, as writing prompts for writing contests , for stories to publish in literary magazines , or just for fun!

Top 150 Short Story Ideas

Editor’s note: This is a recurring guide, regularly updated with ideas, new story prompts, and information.

If you're in a hurry, here's my 10 best story ideas in brief, or scroll down for the full version.

Top 10 Story Ideas

  • Tell the story of a scar.
  • A group of children discover a dead body.
  • A young prodigy becomes orphaned.
  • A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost.
  • A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her.
  • A talented young man's deepest fear is holding his life back. 
  • A poor person comes into an unexpected fortune.
  • A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate.
  • A long journey is interrupted by a disaster.
  • A young couple stumble into the path of a psychopath.

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Table of Contents

Why Creative Writing Prompts Are Helpful How to Write a Story General Story Ideas Thriller Story Ideas Mystery Story Ideas Romance Story Prompts Sci-fi Story Ideas Fantasy Story Ideas Horror Story Prompts

Why Creative Writing Prompts Are Helpful

Below, you'll find our best creative writing prompts and plot ideas for every genre, but first, why do we use prompts? Is it just a waste of time, or can they actually help you? Here are three reasons we  love writing prompts at The Write Practice:

1. Practice the language!

Even for those of us who are native English speakers, we're all working to improve how we use our language. To make progress, you have to practice, and at The Write Practice, believe it or not, we're really into practice! Creative writing prompts are easy, fun ways to practice.

2. When you have no ideas and are stuck.

Sometimes, you want to write, but you can't think up any ideas. You could either just sit there, staring at a blank page, or you could find a few ideas to help you get started. Even better if the list of ideas is curated from our best plot ideas over the last decade that we've been publishing lessons, writing exercises, and prompts.

Use the story ideas below to get your writing started. Then when your creativity is warmed up, you'll start to come up with your own ideas!

3. To develop your own ideas.

Maybe you do have an idea already, but you're not sure it's good. Or maybe you feel like it's just missing some small piece to make it better. By reading other ideas, and incorporating your favorites into your   story, you can fill your plot holes and generate creative ideas of your own.

Use the story ideas below to develop your own ideas.

4. They're fun!

Thousands of writers use the prompts below every month, some at home, some in classrooms, and even a few pros at their writing “office.” Why? Because writing prompts can be fun. They get your creativity started, help you come up with new ideas of your own, and often take your writing in new, unexpected directions.

Use the plot ideas to have more fun with writing!

How to Write a Story

One last thing before we get to the 100 story ideas, let’s talk about how to write a great short story . (Already know how to write a great story? No problem. Just skip down to the ideas below.)

  • First, read stories. If you’ve never read a story, you’re going to have a hard time writing one. Where do you find great stories? There are a lot of places, but check out our list of  46 Literary Magazines  we’ve curated over here .
  • Write your story in a single sitting. Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible, and if you’re writing a short story , try to write it in one sitting. Trust me, this works. Everyone hates being interrupted when they’re telling compelling stories. Use that to your advantage and don’t stop writing until you’ve finished telling yours.
  • Read your draft. Read your story through once, without changing anything. This will give you a sense of what work it needs going forward.
  • Write a premise. After reading your first draft, get your head around the main idea behind your story by summarizing your story in a one sentence premise. Your premise should contain four things: a character, a goal, a situation, and a special sauce. Not sure what that means or how to actually do that? Here’s a full premise writing guide .
  • Write, edit, write, and edit. Good writing is rewriting. Use your second draft to fill in the plot holes and cut out the extraneous scenes and characters you discovered when you read the first draft in step #2. Then, polish up your final draft on the next round of edits.
  • Submit! Real writers don’t keep their writing all to themselves. They share it. Submit your story to a literary magazine , an anthology series , enter it into a writing contest , or even share it with a small group of friends. And if it gets rejected, don’t feel bad. You’ll be in good company.

Want to know more? Learn more about how to write a great short story here .

Our 150 Best Short Story Ideas, Plot Ideas, and Creative Writing Prompts

Ready to get writing? Here are our 100 best short story ideas to kickstart your writing. Enjoy!

10 Best General Short Story Ideas

Our first batch of plot ideas are for any kind of story, whether a spy thriller or a memoir of your personal life story. Here are the best story ideas:

  • Tell the story of a scar, whether a physical scar or emotional one. To be a writer, said Stephen King, “The only requirement is the ability to  remember every scar .”
  • A group of children discover a dead body. Good writers don’t turn away from death, which is, after all, the  universal human experience. Instead, they look it directly into its dark face and describe what they see on the page.
  • A young prodigy becomes orphaned. Orphans are uniquely vulnerable, and as such, they have the most potential for growth.
  • A middle-aged woman discovers a ghost. What do Edgar Allen Poe, Ron Weasley, King Saul from the Bible, Odysseus, and Ebenezer Scrooge have in common? They all encountered ghosts!
  • A woman who is deeply in love is crushed when her fiancé breaks up with her. “In life every ending is just a new beginning,” says Dakota Fanning’s character in Uptown Girls.
  • A talented young man’s deepest fear is holding his life back. Your character’s biggest fear is your story’s secret weapon. Don’t run from it, write about it.
  • A poor young boy or girl comes into an unexpected fortune. Not all fortunes are good. Sometimes discovering a fortune will destroy your life.
  • A shy, young woman unexpectedly bumps into her soulmate (literally bumps into him). In film, this is called the “meet cute,” when the hero bumps into the heroine in the coffee shop or the department store or the hallway, knocking her books to the floor, and forcing them into conversation.
  • A long journey is interrupted by a disaster. Who hasn’t been longing to get to a destination only to be delayed by something unexpected? This is the plot of  Gravity ,  The Odyssey , and even  Lord of the Rings .
  • A young couple run into the path of a psychopath. Monsters, whether people who do monstrous things like serial killers or scaly beasts or a monster of a natural disaster, reveal what’s really inside a person. Let your character fall into the path of a monster and see how they handle themselves.

Now that you have an idea, learn exactly what to do with it.  Check out my new book The Write Structure which helps writers take their ideas and write books readers love. Click to check out  The Write Structure  here.

More Short Story Ideas Based on Genre

Need more ideas? Here are ideas based on whichever literary genre you write. Use them as character inspiration, to start your own story, or borrow pieces to generate your own ideas. The only rule is, have fun writing!

By the way,  for more story writing tips for each these plot types, check out our full guide to the 9 types of stories here .

20 Thriller Story Ideas

Thriller story ideas with picture of hand reaching through mail slot in door

A thriller is any story that “thrills” the reader—i.e., gets adrenaline pumping, the heart racing, and the emotions piqued.

Thrillers come in all shapes and forms, dipping freely into other genres. In other words, expect the unexpected!

Here are ten of my favorite thriller story ideas :

  • She just started a new job when a cryptic message comes across her desk that she can't ignore.
  • An undercover agent is in a race against time to find out who is behind a pate of disappearances.
  • A stuntman realizes the star is a target of a conspiracy theorist on set and their life is in danger.
  • A government agent arrests the wrong man and he begs his wife to find evidence before he becomes the scapegoat for a coverup.
  • Murder victims keep appearing at a popular tourist destination. She must find out who's behind it in this action thriller.
  • A new neighbor seems friendly enough until a series of unsettling events rattles the neighborhood.
  • A thriller writer's compelling characters begin showing up in real life crime scenes, and they become the prime suspect.
  • Mysterious circumstances always surrounded the sudden retirement of a megastar, until a nosy investigative journalist uncovers a clue that would unravel everything.
  • Artificial intelligence took his job after he created the very code that launched the company into eye-popping profitability. And now he's out for revenge.
  • A criminal mastermind has shut down essential services in the city, and only a retired recluse of a hacker can stop him. If they can convince him to take the case.

Click for ten more thriller short story ideas

25 Mystery Story Ideas

a short creative writing story

Enjoy a good whodunit? Then you’ll love these mystery story ideas .

Here are a few of my favorites, but find the rest here :

  • A librarian happens across a crime scene when they clean the basement archives.
  • A murder mystery party goes wrong and potential suspects point at each other to avoid arrest. (Especially effective if set in an enclosed location.
  • A secret society of mystery readers realizes that there is a real killer still on the loose and the clues are hidden in a dead author's books.
  • A murder scene on a movie set becomes reality when the star is found dead, and the prime suspect discovered missing.
  • A new restaurant owner in a small town uncovers a long-forgotten mystery from the town's past but the mysterious circumstances unearth a real killer.

Click for the mystery story ideas

30 Romance Story Ideas

30 Romance Story Ideas title against wood grain table with pink flowers

Ready to write a love story? Or perhaps you want to create a subplot with a secondary character? We've got ideas for you!

Hint: When it comes to romance, a sense of humor is always a good idea. Have fun! Here are a few of my favorite, but find twenty more love story ideas here :

  • A character's high school sweetheart shows up and it turns out the school crush feelings haven't gone away.
  • Two characters find an unexpected connection during a key scene that confuses one of them.
  • He gets a letter from a secret admirer and goes on a quest to uncover the identity of the sender.
  • They work together and a secret romance would be a terrible idea, putting both their jobs at risk, but the pull to each other is hard to resist.
  • She returns home when her family's had a tough time after the death of a parent. He's been helping them sort through the mess, and while she disagrees with how he's helping, she can't stop thinking about him.
  • At their large ten year high school reunion, he asks her to dance and she slowly realizes he's the brother of someone she doesn't want to ever see again, but there's an instant connection.
  • A romance writer can't find her own happily ever after until she meets…
  • It's conference season and he has to present all over the country. It's usually a boring string of business trips, but when he's put on a panel with a fiesty and brilliant woman who the night before had kissed him in a bar, he knows this conference season is going to be very different.
  •  It's her first road trip after a bad breakup and she's determined not to depend on anyone else until…
  • A pop star and an astronaut in training meet at a benefit dinner and can't avoid each other's orbits.

Click for romance story ideas

20 Sci-Fi Story Ideas

sci-fi story ideas

From the minimum-wage-earning, ancient-artifact-hunting time traveller to the space-exploring, sentient dinosaurs, these sci-fi writing prompts will get you set loose your inner nerd.

Here are a few of my favorite sci-fi ideas :

  • In a future society, neural implants translate music into physical pleasure, and earphones (“jacking in”) are now the drug of choice. Write either from the perspective of a music addict, OR the Sonforce agent (sonance + enforcer) who has the job of cracking down.
  • It’s the year 5000. Our planet was wrecked in the great Crisis of 3500, and remaining human civilization survives only in a half dozen giant domed cities. There are two unbreakable rules: strict adherence to Life Quality (recycling doesn’t even begin to cover these laws), and a complete ban on reproduction (only the “worthy” are permitted to create new humans). Write from the perspective of a young woman who just discovered she’s been chosen to reproduce—but she has no interest in being a mother.
  • So yeah, ancient Egypt really was “all that” after all, and the pyramids turn out to be fully functional spaceships (the limestone was to preserve the electronics hidden inside). Write from the perspective of the tourist exploring the ancient society who accidentally turns one on.

Click for the other seventeen sci-fi story ideas

20 Fantasy Story Ideas

a short creative writing story

Need a dose of sword-in-the-stone, hero and/or heroine packed coming-of-age glory?  We love fantasy stories!

Just try to not have fun writing (or even just reading!) these fantasy writing prompts. Here are a few of my favorite fantasy story ideas:

  • Bored high school wizards decide to throw a party to celebrate tomorrow's graduation. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
  • Weddings are stressful. They're especially tricky when one family is magical and the other hates spells, and both mothers want to control the celebration.
  • A bored housewife wakes one day to find all her dishes are singing Hey, Jude . (Alternatively, if you want to make this a darker story, have them sing  The Sound of Silence. )
  • A witch living secretly in suburbia casts a spell to speed up the laundry, but it backfires—just in time for trick-or-treaters to deal with dancing underwear.
  • Capitol Hill wakes one day to find thousands of fairies protesting for better media representation. Unfortunately, no one can understand what they're saying.
  • A fed-up genie, sick of being over-sexualized and paid in wishes, throws a magical tantrum which turns everyone in the world into the opposite gender.
  • One bright morning in May, all domestic pets start talking.
  • Eating food turns one's skin the same color as one's last ingested item, which makes cheating on diets a challenge of strategy as well as taste.
  • Giants are REALLY into reality TV, and one day stomp down from their hidden mountain homes to convince Hollywood to create a show about them.
  • Mythological creatures, tired of being portrayed as gym rats, confront their creators on a popular combative talk show.

Click for the fantasy story ideas

20 Horror Story Prompts

20 Horror Story Prompts

  • Three college students take a final road trip during spring break of their senior year, not knowing that each of them harbors a dark secret about one of their college professors who was murdered in the fall. As revelations begin to stack up, they each begin to suspect the other.
  • A quiet golf community is upended after a series of grisly murders begin happening on the greens, and a golf pro's seemingly perfect life begins to unravel with each body they find. She isn't the killer, but she has a terrifying idea of who might be.
  • A police officer on terminal leave before retirement finds himself in a bar where he suddenly realizes the art on the walls shifts and reveals pictures of serial killers from the last twenty years. And his best friend and former partner, who is still on active duty, is there on the wall too.
  • A grieving daughter revisits the libraries and locations where her famous horror writer mother penned her most famous works. And finds out her mother's stories weren't quite the fiction everyone believes.
  • A teacher returns to teach at the school where they attended to find that their entire class is made up of the children of every bully and enemy from their life. But no one claims to remember them.
  • A cursed siren hunts a fishing village looking for the boat and man that killed her true love.
  • A hoarder dies and the mother-daughter team hired to clean up the mess discover a dead body and the horror of how it all began might connect to a shape-shifting monster from their own family.
  • A yacht party veers off course during a summer squall and lands on an island. Their relief gives way to terror as they realize they aren’t alone and worse, they’re prey.
  • Radioactive scorpions escape from a lab and begin to attack a small desert town.
  • An experimental romance rehab resort goes into lockdown after a therapist and a participant are found dismembered and clawed to shreds on the beach. But the threat is inside the compound.

Ten more spine-tingling horror story prompts here . 

The Secret to Choosing the Best Story Idea

Stories, more than any other artistic expression, have the power to make people care. Stories have the ability to change people’s lives.

But to write a great story, a life-changing story, don’t just write about what your characters did, said, and saw. Ask yourself, “Where do I fit in to this story? What is my personal connection to this story?”

Robert Frost said this:

If you can connect your personal story to the story you’re writing, you will not only be more motivated to finish your story, you might just be able to change the lives of your readers.

Next Step: Write Your Best Story

No matter how good your idea, writing a story or a book can be a long difficult process. How do you create an outline, come up with a great plot, and then actually  finish  it?

My new book  The Write Structure  will help. You'll learn how to take your idea and structure a strong plot around it. Then you'll be guided through the exact process I've used to write dozens of short stories and over fifteen books.

You can learn more about   The Write Structure  and get your copy here.

Have a great short story idea?  We'd love to hear it. Share it in the comments !

Choose one of these ideas and write a short story in one sitting (aim for 1,000 words or less!). When you're finished, share your story in the Pro Practice Workshop (or our latest writing contest ) for feedback from the community. And if you share, please be sure to comment on a few stories by other writers.

a short creative writing story

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Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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129 Comments

Bruno Coriolano

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” —Robert Frost

Joe Bunting

Great quote, right?

Your site is just awesome!

ellery battle

asome i rily like that

Ayesha

My latest project has been working on a TV-format screenplay. In TV writing, there are B storylines, which are plot lines that span the course of a season (or several seasons). Each episode, however, has an A storyline, which is the plot of the events in that particular episode. Each A storyline is essentially a short story, and churning them out is surprisingly difficult! Lately I’ve been outlining episodes for my own story. I’ve just completed one that I particularly like, and would love to hear what you all think!

The Vampire Cat

The episode opens with Leiko telling the rest of the crew The Dream of Akinosuke. She finishes the story and they all head off to bed. Leiko walks Shannon to her room. On the way, Shannon asks Leiko if the events of the story were the main character’s dreams or if they were real. Leiko replies that for the Japanese the line between dreams and reality is very thin. They say goodnight and part ways.

The next day, the crew touches down on planet Lorraine. Their mission is to rob an auction house of a valuable piece of art if their client is not able to purchase it. They attend the auction. The client is outbid, so that night they return to the auction house to steal the sculpture. While looking for it, Leiko uncovers a dimension hopping machine, which she assumes to be a piece of junk. The crew is surprised by the auction house’s guards. Shannon is shot in the fight. Leiko tries to help her, but is intercepted by a guard. They fight, and Leiko falls inside the dimension hopping machine. She falls against a lever. The doors to the machine close and it begins spinning very fast. Leiko is thrown to the floor and the impact knocks her unconscious.

When she awakes, Leiko is no longer in the machine or the auction house. She is in a 16th century Japanese barracks, surrounded by soldiers. Furthermore, she is dressed like them and they address her as Soda. When she catches a glimpse of her reflection, she realizes to everyone else she looks like a Japanese man. Unsure if she is dreaming or not, Leiko decides to play along. She hears from the other soldiers that the prince of the region is seriously ill, and thinks maybe with her advanced medical knowledge she can help. She sneaks into the castle to see him. On the way, she passes a group of court ladies. The most beautiful of them smiles at Leiko and her eyes flash yellow. Leiko shakes it off, assuming she must be seeing things. She reaches the prince’s room and is shocked to find Shannon lying close to death, surrounded by attendants. She is discovered and thrown out, but she begs to be told what’s happened to the prince, and is informed he has a mystery sickness no doctor can diagnose. It is feared he will die. The prince’s attendants suggest that if she is so worried about her sovereign, she should pray for his health. Before she leaves, she uses to her dagger to look at Shannon’s reflection, and sees that her reflection is in fact that of the prince. Leiko feels the whole situation is somehow strangely familiar, but unable to put her finger on why, she decides there is nothing for it but to follow the attendants’ advice.

That night she goes to the holy quarter and bathes at the well before praying to the statue of Buddha for the prince’s/Shannon’s recovery. A voice calls to her, and she looks up to see a figure in a window above her. The figure asks her to come up. Leiko goes into the building and finds a priest who introduces himself as Ruiten and tells her he has been brought to the castle to find the source of the prince’s illness and asks for her help. Leiko finally realizes why this all seems familiar to her – she is in the story of The Vampire Cat of Nabeshima, playing the part of the young soldier Ito Soda. She makes a conjecture: the dimension hopping machine really worked and has brought her to the spirit world. Shannon, after being shot, is dying, and her spirit has taken the place of the prince in the story. If Leiko saves the prince, she saves Shannon. Ruiten agrees that this may be possible. Leiko agrees to help him. Knowing how the story goes, she now has a hunch as to what is causing the prince’s sickness.

Leiko goes back to the castle, and straight to the house of the court ladies. She digs under the verandah and finds exactly what she thought she would – the body of the beautiful lady, with puncture wounds in her throat.

The next day, Ruiten obtains permission for Leiko to keep watch over the prince with his attendants. That night, all the attendants fall asleep. Leiko keeps herself awake by stabbing herself in the leg. Later in the night, the beautiful lady comes to the room. She says her name is O Toyo, and she is the prince’s favorite companion. Under Leiko’s watchful eye, she cannot harm the prince, so she leaves.

The next morning, Leiko goes to confront the false O Toyo. They fight. Before Leiko can kill her, the false O Toyo shifts to her true form – a demonic black cat – and escapes the castle. Ruiten sends soldiers after her. Just then, there’s a scream from the prince’s room. Leiko and Ruiten rush from to the room and are told the prince is dead. Leiko pushes her way to the bed and, taking Shannon in her arms, pleads with her to wake up. In course of this, Leiko realizes she’s in love with her friend. Suddenly Shannon opens her eyes and says Leiko’s name.

Leiko wakes up in the med bay of the Perseus, surrounded by the crew. Shannon is in the bed next to her, weak but alive. Leiko gets up to tend to her. Shannon asks if one of the crew was holding her, because she could have sworn she felt like she was lying in someone’s arms. Kaya jokes that she must have been having a good dream. Leiko remarks that maybe it was something more.

This is great! Seriously, I really enjoyed it. Now you have to write it! 🙂

Chineomohhamad

Hey Sunny! Loving this website

Abaneish

Opps that was my grandma 🙂 But she right

Evolet Yvaine

Do you know of any Romance magazines that offer short story romances or literary magazines dedicated to just romance? Just curious.

I’m not familiar with any, but try googling “romance literary magazines” or “romance short stories” and I’m sure you’ll find some. Reply back if you find any that are particularly promising.

John Doe

I just want to say, there are so many good stories on this website. This show the amount that you have helped all these people, maybe one day I will add myself to those people, thank you.

Elle

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-genre/romance-by-writing-genre/romance_markets

Nada ahmed

بدأت تمطر ورأيت الناس يسرعون للإختباء من قطراته فابتسمت لذكرى جميلة عبرت خاطرى ..تذكرت امى عندما كانت ترقص تحت المطر بفستانها الوردى..الهى كم كنت أعشق هذا الفستان عليها..كان يناسب بشرتها الفاتحة ونحولة جسدها .جذبتنى من يدى يومها واخذنا ندور فى حلقات لا تبدء ولا تنتهى. شعرت ببرودة يديها تصعق يداى وبرودة المطر تبلل وجهى أحسست وبالسعادة تغمرنى لانك اخيرا بجانبى واخيرا تبتسمين اشتقتك يا اماه ..أشتقت لتفاصيلك وابتسامتك. أشتقت لمعنى وجودك جانبى ..المطر يهطل، أعلم أنك لو كنت الأن معى لجذبتينى ورسمنا بأقدامنا دوائر حتى تبتل عظامنا ..سأرقص لك فقط وسأبتسم لك فقط. بدأت عيون الناس تتجه نحوى ..تستنكر فعلتى ولكنى لا أفعل شئ.انا فقط أخبر أمى إنى بخير وأنى أشتاقها..ولكن للمطر طعم غريب يا أمى. له طعم ألم فراقك ،طعم الحياة بدونك ؛هو المطر وهى الحياة ولكن طعمهما مؤلمين يا أمى

LaCresha Lawson

I’m writing a “Thriller.” I’m very excited. A short story. Thank you. Right on time as usual!

Fun! Good luck LaCresha.

rosie

I’m wondering about “the sagging middle” in story structure right now. I’m happy with my beginning and ending, but the middle isn’t as dynamic as I want it to be. Does anyone have any experiences or advice about this? (It’s a 25 000 word story that’s due for a competition in about four months.)

Hey Rosie. We have a few resources on that. First check out our structure and plot cheatsheet: https://thewritepractice.com/plot-structure . Then, a great guest post on story structure with a hole in it: https://thewritepractice.com/story-hole . And I always recommend Save the Cat, which is a book for screenwriters, but is also very helpful for story structure in general: http://amzn.to/1TNpv2F . Highly recommend it.

Eliese

The story grid is a good site and podcast for story structure. 🙂

But longer than 15 min but here it is.

I rub my fingers into the soft fuzz on the big brown chair. I can make designs if I move my fingers up or down. A dot makes one eye. Then another. A line for a smile finishes my chair picture. ‘Why would Daddy take money and blow it into the wind?’ I wonder as I draw.

A wet spot lands by the mouth, making the brown turn dark. I try to wipe it away, but the face disappears instead. I lay back in the chair, bumping my twin brother and making the dim room spin. My pink and orange stripe shirt is soft as I wipe my eyes. James’s tears fall to the chair like rain, his mouth open like one of the squishy balls we play with. His cry is loud. I join the noise.

Mommy’s hair, as dark as the wet spot on our chair, poofs around her face. Her green eyes seem small with her eyebrows close together. Teeth and gums show as Mommy screams like a roaring lion. Daddy points a finger at her nose. He looks so big. He yells, trying to be louder than her. James and I try to cry louder than them. Maybe they will hear us. Maybe they will stop.

Mommy lets out one last angry scream and tries to push Daddy away. A long red line comes on his arm. Red water comes out of it. Daddy’s eyes widen. His face turns red. He grabs Mommy by her arms, lifts her, and pushes her to the door like a rhinoceros. The wood breaks as they go through.

The noise has stopped, except for sirens in the distance. I curl into a ball in the chair, James’s knee sticking into my back, and close my eyes.

James and I get to sleep in the same bed tonight. It’s strange having Daddy read and tuck us in by himself, but he tells us Mommy will be home soon. I still don’t understand why she went to jail. I thought jail was for bad guys, but Daddy says everything will be ok.

The lights go out bringing shadow monsters. I hug my brother.

Bit longer than 15 minutes, but here it is

‘Scars’

The noise has stopped, except for sirens in the distance. I curl into a ball in the chair, James’ knee sticking into my back, and close my eyes.

Ghost

This was so good! You have a really good writing style!

Tom

“The wall, he decided, will always be there”

He awoke, or at least it seemed he did, for he could not tell if he had been dreaming or if he were dreaming now. He pushed the woollen, scratchy blanket away from his body. There were no sheets, and his skin stuck to the plastic mattress that smelled of others sweat and urine. After prying his flesh from the tenacious bedding, he managed to sit up. He was more tired than he had remembered. He was still dirty and thirsty and his eyes hurt as they squinted in the dim hazy light. He drew his legs up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. For long moments, he sat that way fearing punishment for doing anything that might be wrong.

Eventually, however, his eyes grew accustomed to the shadowy light and he began to see things. Across from him he could see a wall. He wondered how long the wall had been there. The question struck him as absurd. The wall he decided would always be there. In this confusion, he meditated on the hardness before him until a thought of beauty entered his mind and the nakedness upset him. “There are no pictures…it has no pictures hanging from it.” Lacking the courage, or cowardice, to look away he continued staring blankly until his sight improved still further and he found something within the wall that excited him. “I forgot…about…colour…I can see the colour now!” He tried to give the colour a name. “Dirty…” he thought. “Filth.” he said out loud. “It is a filthy colour.” he whispered silently to himself.

Quickly, the excitement left him and he began to grow tired of looking at the wall, even the colour began to bore him. The boredom gave him a sense of courage and he became bold. He decided to explore. Cautiously he moved his eyes to the right where he saw…a corner, Then the head began to turn to follow the lead of the eyes. They continued past the corner until they gazed upon something he recognized.

He hated what he saw, the familiar object that hid in the shadows…the thing that kept him here. He glared at it, but the closed and bolted door remained unmoved. It was then that he turned back to the wall he had grown to know and the boredom…he had grown to love.

Justin

incredible first sentence!

Marie Ryan

Incredible first sentence and incredible last sentence. Shivers up my spine. Thank you.

jakey the snakey

3 words…. copy and paste

Camellia G

Omg how why are people so good at writing stuff?!?!?

abigail

idek!?!?!!! i’m a freshman in high school and i can’t even write a simple short story.

TerriblyTerrific

Give it time…

Brianna

This was a wonderful read ^_^ Short and enticingly written. Drew me in right away with that first bit, and especially the way it was all tied together by that first sentence. Lovely!

Mihau

I know it’s been two years but it’s still very good and still deserves praise. I like this trippy atmosphere, you managed to convey it very nicely.

Bridget at Now Novel

Some great story ideas here. You could even combine some of them in interesting, tenuous ways for a multi-location epic.

Thanks Bridget! Absolutely. And there’s nothing I love more than a good epic.

George McNeese

These are great ideas. I like the idea of prompts. Though sometimes, I get stuck when I write from a prompt. And sometimes, I’m not able to write a story in one sitting. I have to think about how I want the story to play out. I might have done it once, and they were pretty short. But most of the time, it takes a couple of sessions. That’s how I’m wired, I suppose.

Trinity

Ten years of therapy, about a million different types of pills and three psychiatrists have helped me enough to write this. I was eleven when it happened, my older sister, Quinn, was almost sixteen, and my best friend was ten. I’ll never forget it… I doubt anyone ever will.

It was a warm summer day, early June, my best friend, Harper was over and we were playing in the backyard. We were laughing and singing along to a song that I couldn’t tell you the name of now. It was the middle of a normal day, but that’s what they always think just before everything goes wrong. Well, anyways,Harper and I amused ourselves doing everything and nothing for a while before we decided that we wanted to go to upstairs and bug Quinn, who we thought was doing her online drivers ed. courses. We raced up to her room, giggling like the little girls we were. When we got to her room, Harper grabbed the doorknob and tried to fling the door open, but it was locked. That should have been my first sign that something was wrong, Quinn never locked her door, we weren’t allowed to. We yelled, laughing, “Let us in! Let us in!” We giggled and knocking on her door again and again. There was no response, so I remember grabbing the key my parents always had, it opened all of the doors to me and my sibling’s bedrooms… I wish I would’ve known what I know now. I wish I wouldn’t have opened that door.

That day was the last happy day for a long time. I remember everything clearly, the breeze ruffling my short hair, the sound of Harper screaming the lyrics to our favorite song at the top of her lungs. I especially remember the thing that has haunted me for the past ten years. I remember my sister’s lifeless body lying in a pool of her own blood on her bed. I remember the look on her face being more peaceful than I’ve ever seen it. I remember screaming as I stared at the image of Quinn, her wrists bleeding and her skin pale. I remember the sound of Harper frantically dialing 911 and I remember the ambulance arriving. I remember the paramedics calling my parents and hearing my mom’s piercing scream from the phone. I remember the paramedics forcing me out of Quinn’s room, while I kicked and screamed at them, begging them to let me stay with my sister. It was the last time I saw her face. I remember collapsing in my dad’s arms. That was the first time I heard him cry, it wouldn’t be the last.

She was already dead when the ambulance got there. Suicide, they said, she killed herself. It took a long time to convince myself that it wasn’t my fault. If I had only went to see her sooner I could’ve saved her. The funeral was closed casket and everyone cried. I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was too numb. I don’t remember much of the funeral, it was just a blur of black and navy blue, with the occasional apology thrown in there. I never got why everyone apologized, it wouldn’t bring her back.

I was just a little girl and there I was with my childhood torn away from me. I was a younger sister and then I was an only child. A piece of me has been missing from me ever since that die and I doubt I’ll ever get it back again.

Caleb Pratt

This was based on the boy or gets an unexpected fortune. I flushed out the typos, but its okay. Check it out! 😀 Caleb Pratt

Mistaken Divinity

My bar drinks of the wooded timberland were one of the most profound expeditions in my walk into becoming a god. I cupped the glass of cool bud light, and sipped it up at the mini bar table. I rested my hand on the wooden counter top, my fans and companions gambling each other on some high level daredevil match.

“Hey, Lexan, where you at,” I turned to see my friend Rodriguez. Fun man to have around with. He was had long grey hair, even for a guy. I pushed off the table and stood straight. I kept my hand in my pocket.

“You have a lot of realty in the new diversion your causing. Sherman hasn’t even sighted any more Divine Partakers, let alone, any Christian circumspect.”

“I know I know, but… we are, what they are… except the for the grace,” Rodriguez said.

“Right,” I narrow my eyes down towards the ground. I didn’t want to hear what he had to say about us Mormons being what the Christian Community isn’t. I mean, there almost all extinct, if not a hundred percent. We are the erected believers… who are in sure denial of the forthcoming of any later day saints.

“So where is your ceremonial magic been taking you,” Rodriguez said. “Anyhow I could help in the cemetery on Route 430?”

“Uhh… I mean… yeah unless you have a cloak and a specialized dagger. I’d have to get you one of those. You’ll be all dressed like a Celtic.”

We laughed.

Rodriguez was a good friend of mine. Much older though. I was in my teen years and he was in his fifties.

“Man, Lexan, you need to grow a beard. Your seventeen years old… yet you look like you’ve graduated college. What happened to your power to manipulate appearance? Funny… its a shame Christians don’t have this kind of power… even heathens can’t do anything we can.”

“Yeah I can tell Rodge. Tell me, why haven’t you been practicing your divinity? You seem a little out of shape to be wrestling with angles and demons….”

“Well I… yeah I mean, sure. Lets say I’m kind of in a predicament.”

“What…?”

I lay my back against the counter.

“Well, down on Armenia Rd. there was a cross fight between me and some other foe. Not sure what to suspect of him, but the “man-woman” was between two others working for her, or he… I don’t know.”

I rest my chin on my thumb and index finger. I realize and hear there are other phenomena of some other cultist group here in Sherman. Our cult is wacky on its own. Though I don’t know what to think of this “he-she man” thing….”

Escee Noah

BZZZZZ! BZZZZZ!

‘I heard you! Shut up!’

‘Enough, you asshole!’

WHACK! Pieces of metal and plastic shattered on the wall.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she muttered softly as she fights her every being not to shed a tear. Alas, she lost once again.

It’s been days since she last saw light. The shadows on the walls seemed permanently etched. Her sanctuary once filled with love, lust, and happiness, now wreaks with despair, anguish, and palpable desperation.

‘How did I get here?’ she thought. The same desperate thought she’s been clutching onto for days. Or maybe weeks? Months? Years?

It doesn’t matter. To Emma, time no longer exists with this unrelenting pain.

Once in a while, the light would sneak through the thick, heavy curtains. And Emma would almost succumb to a hint of a smile until it haunts her again.

His resilient hands on her supple breasts. His soft lips caressing her neck and slender sternum. His sturdy chest against her trembling body. His whole palpitating manhood devouring her salacious being. Every ridges of Paul haunt her. Now, it all has to be distant memories. Unshakeable, soul crushing memories.

After what seemed like a lifetime of horizontal desolation, she finally mustered some strength to sit at the edge of her bed. She slowly opened her bulging eyes, and finally saw the mess she was in. Rotting pieces of food in cardboard boxes, sea of crumpled tissue strewn with nauseating piles of laundry, and dismantled pieces of her once chirpy alarm clock scattered all over her dingy floor.

As she moved her gazed from the floor, she noticed the dent on her pristine white wall. She couldn’t help but stare. ‘That dent will be there for a long time,’ she thought.

With a throbbing grunt, Emma slowly stood up and shuffled towards her once chirpy alarm clock. She picked up the pieces and followed the faint light peeking through her bathroom door. As she turned the door knob, more tears rolled down her cheeks. It was excruciating, but this time it was different. The door closed and the room was dark once again.

Miss.Bridget

“His resilient hands on her supple breasts. His soft lips caressing her neck and slender sternum. His sturdy chest against her trembling body. His whole palpitating manhood devouring her salacious being. Every ridges of Paul haunt her. Now, it all has to be distant memories. Unshakeable, soul crushing memories.”

Stella

He had left his Gameboy behind. There was nothing to do without it, nothing to do but kick his feet and stare at the dull blank walls. Even annoying Di-Di had lost its colour. He didn’t care what Ma or Papa said. He had to get his Gameboy back.

He pushed into the room. Ah Boy, wait outside ah. Don’t come in! Papa had seemed firm, but he was old enough now to know how to get out of trouble. He would run to Ma, hide behind her legs, maybe tearfully declare that he would run away from home because Papa was so mean. Anyway, Papa seemed so busy with Ah Gong nowadays. He wouldn’t bother to cane a little boy like him.

Where had everyone gone? He couldn’t have been in the corridor for so long. The room that was once packed full of relatives was empty. It was only Ah Gong left in the hospital bed.

Immediately he noticed that the mask over Ah Gong’s nose and mouth was gone. Who had removed it? Without the strange alien-octopus-thing perched on his face, Ah Gong looked like the grandfather he remembered. He moved closer to get a better look.

As he approached the bed he realized the mask was lying on the chair. The inside was stained with a rustlike substance he did not recognize. He held up the mask to the light, and rubbed the stain with a cautious index finger. A powder came off in his hand. With a shiver of disgust he realized it was dried blood.

“Di-Di!” He didn’t know if he was terrified or excited. Where was his brother? Ma had always rushed to daub up any blood in their house – whether from Di-Di falling when learning to ride his bicycle, Di-Di scratching him during one of their many fights, Papa tripping over a wire and later needing stitches in his forehead. He couldn’t pass up this golden opportunity to share with his brother: the chance to investigate blood without an adult present.

The Gameboy lay in the room, forgotten.

Wrote on ‘a group of children discover a dead body’. In case it wasn’t obvious.

Dejon Dequonihjuan

“I do like llamas very much,” said Charleston, “In fact, they even have names.” “You are one freaky man, Charleston.” stated Larry

Aaroc

Very well said!!

Iflis Richenstar

Jeremy Reynolds had a party one day. He decided it would be a special theme. Deez Nutz, he decided would be a fitting title for a beach party.

rainbowcliffords

*I am only 14 so please, don’t mind me if there are any mistakes. I am still in the process of learning, but I tried really hard*

He could write. He could write and he knew it. No one else knew. He’d never show them his pieces; his collection of fantasies and mysteries. He wanted his friends to know. No, he wanted the world to know. But he was fearful. He was fearful of his stories failing, of him failing.

Abram had written many short stories and novels, all of them printed in manuscript and hidden in a black lock-box under his bed. He was unmarried, for he didn’t need any other love than that of his trusty typewriter and parchment. Writing was frowned upon, in his country. Books were burned. Even the classics. They were all burned in a pile on the streets.

He wouldn’t risk it. He didn’t want that fate for his books. He worked to hard. He spent too much time revising and perfecting the novel; there was no way he would let them die.

Sighing, Abram cracked his knuckles and stood. He yawned and walked over to his bed, where he bent down and grabbed the lock-box from beneath the bed. Abram had kept the key underneath the mattress, in case anyone were to find this box that contained all of his treasured secrets.

He opened the box he hadn’t opened in many years. Removing the pieces of parchment, he sat on floor, listening for the sounds of Nazi vehicles who somehow sensed the unpublished books. But none came. There was only silence, which, to Abram’s surprise, seemed to grow stronger as each second passed.

Before he knew it, Abram had been sitting on his hard floor for hours, thinking. Thinking about what he knew not. He just knew he was thinking.

Abram stood slowly; carefully as if he was trying not to disrupt the dust that covered the dark floor. Walking over to his desk, he left his lock-box open; something he’d never done in the years past. He sat and placed some more parchment into the typewriter and began writing, or typing, you could say. But this time, something was different. Abram wasn’t writing just for fun, he was writing for purpose. This time, he thought, this time, I will be published and my work may fuel the world. And with that, he revealed his talent to the world.

malberga

Thank you so much!!

Samurai

much thanks <3

LAIE AKANA

I’m sorry I’m late but I just wanted to say this story is fantastic! Soon enough this will become a book! I’m from Hawaii and all I do is write and draw all day… Keep up the work and never give up! God bless and aloha!

Pranaydiya Verma

Yours was the best story that I read on this page…

thank you!!!

Very empowering!!! I was also around your age when I started writing on this site.

Anyways, that short story was so full of meaning. We just happened to be doing an essay on the value of literature in English class so this really fit in nicely for me with that. Lovely! 🙂

oh thank you sooo much!! I greatly appreciate it!!

LilianGardner

I enjoyed your story. Thank you for sharing. I especially liked how Abram developed his talent, and despite the fear of having his manuscripts destroyed, he decided to publish his work. Well done and well told.

Jonathan

I have noticed some tiny grammatical mistakes in your Story and correct it for you as I know that this short Story has potential to go very far. Here is the corrected version: He could write. He could write, and he knew it. No one else knew. He’d never show them his pieces; his collection of fantasies and mysteries. He wanted his friends to know. No, he wanted the world to know. But he was fearful. He was fearful of his stories failing, of him failing.

Abram had written many short stories and novels, all of them printed in manuscript and hidden in a black lock-box under his bed. He was unmarried, for he didn’t need any other love than that of his trusty typewriter and parchment. Writing was frowned upon, in his country. Books were burnt. Even the classics. They were all burned in a pile on the streets.

He wouldn’t risk it. He didn’t want that fate for his books. He worked too hard. He spent too much time revising and perfecting the novel; there was no way he would let them die.

He opened the box he hadn’t opened in many years. Removing the pieces of parchment, he sat on the floor, listening for the sounds of Nazi vehicles who somehow sensed the unpublished books. But none came. There was only silence, which, to Abram’s surprise, seemed to grow stronger as each second passed.

Abram stood slowly; carefully as if he was trying not to disrupt the dust that covered the dark floor. Walking over to his desk, he left his lock-box open; something he’d never done in the years past. He sat and placed some more parchment into the typewriter and began writing, or typing, you could say. But this time, something was different. Abram wasn’t writing just for fun, he was writing for a purpose. This time, he thought, this time, I will be published, and my work may fuel the world. And with that, he revealed his talent to the world.

I hope my effort has helped!

Is it OK if I put this on a website I’m making. It will get me money I need to have. You said your only 14, 9 months ago, so you could be 15, well I’m only 12. I need to learn to save up and this will help me. Everything I said here is true, please help me. Also, this is a great story and that is why I chose your to be on my website.

3am_moon_and_stars

dude thats like literally directly stealing someone’s work for money that only goes to you. Just write your own story instead of stealing someone else’s.

Admit it. I am probably some dude who can’t even make a website, well I am, so don’t worry.

This is the story I am working on now. I wrote it a long time ago, but I am upgrading it now. Changing all the errors, making the vocabulary more sophisticated:

In a valley close to a river where melt-water splashed and where rhododendrons and roses bloomed, where linnets flew with doves above the clustered trees, lay a cave, mostly hidden by the immense pines and the crag. In the cave, out of reach from the sunlight, was a portal. The portal’s frame was the darkest shade of gold, with glowing orange lines carved into it. Glowing flecks of bright blue glow in the darkness of the cave. The portal lay un opened, but the frame still glowed in the shadows of the sombre cave.

In a desert of torturing, immense heat, where scorching light, too blistering to be called sunlight, burns the dehydrated ground, was a tunnel, buried under the sand. In the tunnel there was an ever-growing fortress of burnt leaves and sand with over-boiled water dripping the top. This is all that remained of the desert, nothing could survive in the world above, nothing except from the portal. The fortress was built around the portal; the portal was the darkest shade of black, with red around the rims of the frame.

The sound of water hitting the cold tiles that topped the floor brought a sense of entertainment to the girl sat in the small room covered in a mixture of scars and bruises, awaiting the next blow of the hammer upon her fragile body which shivered in the night air and soft breeze which entered via the half barricaded window. Again and again, almost as if it was a cruel rhythm the metal tool came down, never missing a hit, always landing upon her chest. The storm brewing outside was bad enough without the maniac and his hammer. These are soft blows for a man of his build, she thought, she was certain he intended to make this last all night long. She wanted to struggle, to scream! But the leather bindings made it impossible, who cares anyway, she thought, no one near this basement would care.

The sticky taste of iron filled her mouth, blood. Her body started to shudder, shock. By this point the inmate hitting had dropped the hammer and injected another load of hydrocodone, such a waste of such an effective pain killer. At last she tried to struggle, but even with the drugs numbing the sharp pain shooting trough her body she still couldn’t gain the strength to fuel her ineffective hope of escaping the inmate, after all, even if she did escape, in a mass breakout like this? She could die in a more demanding way.

With my free hand I felt the imperfections, holes, scratches, patches of long since dry blood that covered thee wooden operation table I lay on. How old was it? Thirty years? Forty? Who cares, it had to be old to be in the basement of Twin Rivers Asylum. This psychiatric institution had housed many atrocities, after all, Nazis built this asylum, catered the inmates…put them to work. We are only barely off the English channel; here in Channel Island’s Twin rivers asylum we have many an inmates. Young and old, French and British, they are all welcome here, hell, we have a Swedish inmate, talks to himself all day and night, his names Toby Buchman, we call him Toby-Talkative, how very fitting being his nurse I should die by his hand…

Ouch, be gentler Toby. Even through my drugged up husk of a body I felt that one. I and the staff thought you were joking when you said you were very strong, looks like you weren’t joking…

For such a shrivelled blotch of bones you have surprisingly good and when it comes to instrument of torture, your quite strong, why wouldn’t you be? Killing young women is why your here, Toby, you are one hell of a sociopath, brilliant mind, you’re like a more sadistic Hannibal Lecter minus eating his victims after all, I’m so helpless you could take a couple of bites out of me as I lie here, in the dark basement…

Fun fact, a goldfish’s attention span is three seconds, the average lunar eclipse takes 11 minutes to pass, and a wooden hospital bed from 19th century takes an average of 63 hits to break trough, 54 if you incorporate a body which weighs approximately 130lbs, and guess how much I weigh.

Suddenly I heard the wood buckle under the next hit a glorious hit as well as my straps loosening. Come on Toby, you brilliant old sociopath, you can do it, one more well made hit could send me free. What could go wrong? Toby stood motionless on the spot for a moment later Toby took another blow. I couldn’t breathe. The pain was so intense I felt every cell in my body explode in a chain reaction. The pain was so intense that it felt like a piece of heated iron had been pressed onto my skin. Despite that, a strange sort of calm fell over me: I was dying. I wasn’t coming back from this. Part of me thought, All right. Make it count. I wobbled on one foot about to run to the door, but unfortunately Toby kicked me at the wall. He was so strong, I thought All froze the leaves on the trees didn’t clatter, Toby didn’t stink anymore, Then it was gone all the memories of life returning to me. Then it all went away, my life was It was the end, nothing could stop that now…

I awoke in a bed, in a white room with a marble floor and a silver carpet at the foot of the bed; the wall behind her was a fancy, white wallpaper, decorated to look like a real wall. The wall on the left of the bed and in front of the bed were normal and white, on the right of the bed was a window, now covered, with a beige curtain. In the bed- where the girl lay were multiple cushions, all lay side by side at the top of the bed; the blanket covering her was soft and light. On the sides of the bed were two bed-side cabinets, one with a lamp and the other one with a vase, holding tulips and rhododendrons, on books by her favourite author, many she didn’t recognise. Promptly, she got up noticing there was a small, white table- shaped as a cylinder, with a transparent glass top; also noticing the chair behind it too. The chair was a traditional, leather armchair with four small metal legs holding it up. Then she turned to the door. It was white made, smooth and made out of oak, with a metal handle, a small, square keyhole under it.

As soon as I placed my hand on the door handle, it flew open with a tall, handsome man in the way with bright blue hair shaped as a fire and red eyes. “Welcome, Kayla to Valhalla. Where are you off so fast” he shouted with glee. “I was going out,” Kyla said trembling on the spot. “I didn’t think this is where I should be.” “In this hotel we are all dedicated to make you feel like home, for you will be staying here for the rest of your life. Sorry for my wrong vocabulary, you are already dead. For the rest of the time you need to practice.” “What !?” she yelled. “Are you saying I’m dead” “Yes I am,” the man asked confused.”May I introduce you to your new home”

So the two walked through what seemed to be a endless tour, but eventually came to an end. “And this is the dining room where you have dinner… Here is your breakfast room you can freely come here and invite friends if you are feeling lonely…” “So you are saying this is the place where all people go if they are an extremex and if they died they come here and become an extraextremex” “Yes,” said he.”And also that you are our leader because you can see what specie people are also take away their powers if needed.” “Can I take away the powers of sociopaths or weaken them with my mind beams whatever things.”

“Yes, you can but if you do that you will be weakened too. Also that is a high level trick, you are not high level- no offense” “Offense taken,” said Kayla, with her head down. So they continued on their tour and went walking through all the different floors and introducing Kyla to all the different people and members of staff. On they went about the limits of people and a lot of different stuff. After time, they started her training.

“Focus on me, ” Blaze was explaining to her how to see what specie he was.”Do not think of anything else. Not the colour of my nose, not what room we are in just on me the thoughts and memories of me. Now listen to the sound of my voice. You should be in a universe of darkness; are you?” “Yes I see black in the background and there are flying things in it.” “Yes those are my thoughts.” “I can also see images swirling around” “Those are memories” “I can also feel heat and cold environment when I move around. Are those your emotions” “Yes, the heat is happiness and the cold is anxiety or sadness. Now let’s focus on the specie part. To determine if I’m an Extraextremex, a normal Extremex or even an Oigreog. If I am an Extraextremex then you will not feel motion. If I was an Extremex then you would sense tingling and if I am an Oigreog then you’ll sense shaking. Which one do you sense?” “I sense tingling and shaking so you are one of the Oigreog in the times when Extremex where starting to populate the world. This that means you are an Exremog or an Exoiig” “I am an Exoiig. I have not died yet.” “But how are you here?” “Because I was the first Exoiig alive. I made this place” “But how?” “I used my powers to do it. That is why all the walls are shades of red, orange and yellow.” “Why didn’t you make mine a different colour.” “Because I need to keep track of what specie everyone is. I used Conjuration and Mysticism to make sure that every specie got the same shade of red or whatever.” They blabbered on about what it was like when Oigreog ruled the world, what Black Magic could do and how to control Extraextremex powers…

Kayla went to bed with the thoughts of how the world was made and how it transformed into this planet, when at the start it was billions of monsters – the Oigreog – fought and then somehow transformed into normal people who never fought in their lives. She also didn’t understand how there was only one person who had the power to see what specie one was… She woke with her hair curled up covering her face.

Once she tossed the hair off her face she noticed there was a book on her bed-side cabinet beside the lamp. When she picked it up, she noticed it was a book called “The Arts of Necromancy and Enchantments”. She soon noticed it was the book Blaze used to learn Black Magic. She was filled with a mixture of joy and shock. Then the door flew open. A small brown-haired boy was standing in the way. “Hi,” he said, holding a hand out to shake, “I am Logan, someone from you floor” “Hi,” Kayla said, shaking his hand, “I’m Kayla, an Extraextremex” “Do you want to go and have breakfast” “I guess so” said Kayla.

In the hallway, my neighbours were starting to emerge. Thomas Jefferson Jr looked about my age. He had short curly hair, a lanky frame and a rifle slung over one shoulder. His blue wool coat had brass buttons and chevrons on the sleeve – a U.S. Army Civil War uniform, I guessed. He nodded and smiled. ‘How you doing?’

‘Um, dead, apparently,’ I said. He laughed. ‘Yeah. You’ll get used to it. Call me T.J.’ ‘Kayla,’ I said. ‘Come on.’ Logan pulled me along.

We passed a girl who must’ve been Mallory Keen. She had frizzy red hair, green eyes and a serrated knife, which she was shaking in the face of a six-foot-seven guy outside the door marked X.

‘Again with the pig’s head?’ Mallory Keen spoke in a faint Irish brogue. ‘X, do you think I want to see a severed pig’s head every time I step out of my front door?’

‘I could not eat any more,’ X rumbled. ‘The pig head does not fit in my refrigerator.’ Personally, I would not have antagonized the guy. He was built like a bomb-containment chamber. If you happened to have a live grenade, I was pretty sure you could safely dispose of it simply by asking X to swallow it. His skin was the colour of a shark’s belly, rippling with muscles and stippled with warts. There were so many welts on his face it was hard to tell which one was his nose. We walked past, X and Mallory too busy arguing to pay us any attention.

We entered a small elevator and the doors closed, making the elevator sound. “One question: How does everyone get here.” “People called Collectors fly around the world collecting souls of dead Extremex. I am a Collectors.”

‘And you?’ I asked. ‘How did you become a Collector? Did you die a noble death?’ She laughed. ‘Not yet. I’m still among the living.’ ‘How does that work exactly?’ ‘Well, I live a double life. Tonight, I’ll escort you to dinner. Then I have to rush home and finish my calculus homework.’ ‘You’re not joking, are you?’ ‘I never joke about calculus homework.’ The elevator doors opened. We stepped into a room the size of a concert arena. My mouth dropped. ‘Holy –’ ‘Welcome,’ Logan said, ‘to the Feast Hall of the Slain.’

Rows of long tables, like a stadium, curved downward from the nosebleed section. In the center of the room, instead of a basketball court, a tree rose taller than the Statue of Liberty. Its lowest branches were maybe a hundred feet up. Its canopy spread over the entire hall, scraping against the domed ceiling and sprouting through a massive opening at the top. Above, stars glittered in the night sky.

Eh

What’s supposed to be your point? If you are receiving money from something YOU DO NOT OWN then it is obviously theft. YOU DO NOT PUT SOMEONE ELSES WORK ON YOUR OWN WEBSITE AND USE THAT MONEY FOR YOURSELF. That is just pathetic, really. I hope you honestly realise what your doing here, because its seriously stupid.

niggy

kys nigga my bitch loves the cocaine nigga gucci gang nigga iwill fuck your bith tongiht nigga, drose out nigga fag nigga

stupid

I am very disappointed that there is not 100 of the story idea selection

Marlene Samuels

I’m glad to see Joe’s book, Let’s Write a Short Story! is still availalbe and going strong! I purchased it as soon as it was published, still refer to it quite regularly to remind myself of some important but often over-looked elements of short story. Although my work has been published a number of times, we’re never too experienced to learn and to be reminded of what makes for a great story.

A short story idea: When I was very young, one of my best friends learned she had been adopted. We all know that people really can and do say some incredibly stupid things to children. Because my mother had very blond hair and blue eyes and both my hair and eyes are dark brown, strangers often said to me,”And just whose little girl are you?” I began to wonder whether I, too, was adopted and my parents simply weren’t telling me. What if, as an adult who never questioned your origins, you learned you had been adopted. Conversely, because I myself DO have an adopted child, what if you were told you were adopted but in fact, learned you were not. Write a short story!

Jayden

here’s my story

Uncle joe was talking to his 5 year old nephew jane about how he’s getting old and how she’s going to have to start doing all the chores in the house joe is a little challenged in his life because he was bullied and doesn’t know how to control his anger. he gets in an argument with jane and Joe felt anger go through his mind his temper over flows and he got so mad he started hitting her. 2 years later she was still helping around as Jane’s face would turn red and she would start throwing tempers and joe would hit her. Over the years her fachel expiration started to change form because of all the hitting. Joe heard a scream of dying devastating noise outside and went to go see what it was he lifted up a bucket and under it was the phone book. Since he had anger issues he decided to call the evil scientist and ask him to fix bullying once and for all after he went to the evil scientist house something went wrong he came back as the demon he unlocked his nephew’s room there she was. she was crying.Jane slowly turned around she was mad crazy. He ordered her to clean the dishes. Since she was so mad crazy she didn’t listen to him and she smacked him across the face the Demons face turned red he felt like someone pierced him with a needle he got so mad that he trapped her in the mirror. She was screaming for help but it just circulated around in the mirror as she was she was trapped there another duplicate appeared it was a boy. He said his name was michael. He was 7 years old the evil demon erased the kids memories and put them in a microchip. Then he put him on the streets. Someone had found him and brought him home and He had been with his new parents for years.He was great at figuring anything out a after a while he found out about his uncle Joe. Since he was so good at researching things he even found directions to his uncle’s house so he decided to go on an adventure to find his uncle joe/the Demon once he found uncle Joe he wasn’t at all happy.

Joe hit Michael and he fell to the ground and fainted .when he was just slightly awake he found a microchip it said Michael’s memories michael picked it up Joe was coming towards him with a knife

Michael woke up right away and put the microchip to his chest if he dies Jane will vanish for ever Joe stabbed Michael in the chest.luckily the microchip blocked the knife from stabbing him and the microchip went into his chest it felt like a rainbow bursting through his skin the light went into his eyes and he got his memories back. He knew everything he knew that his clone was abused and everything he was ready to sacrifice himself for his clone so he ran inside the house and did bloody jane spinning around in circles and said bloody jane bloody jane bloody jane.

He trapped himself in the mirror and Bloody Jane was back Jane through her self out of the house and went to Joe in and punched him on the floor and they had a sword fight and Joe died and bloody Jane turned into the evil bloody demon.

(I like to write with comic characters (Peter Parker, ect.) so here we go… Based on the scars short story idea)

“Where did these come from?” I flinched and hurried to cover my back and arms up. “They’re old… They don’t hurt anymore…” I frowned, remembering the pain from each one of the marks that stained my skin forever. “That’s not what I asked…” I flinched as he slid the thin jacket off my shoulders to get a better look at them. I didn’t meet his eyes as he traced over them. Long and thin lines from knives. Round ones from cigars or cigarettes. Jagged ones from glass. The giant one that curled from just below my neck, all the way around my body before stopping at my right hip. I remembered the pain from each one, the cause of each one, the people who caused each and every one of them… “Pete, It’s a really long story…” We had been dating for about a month and I didn’t want to scare him away with my sob story. “I want to know.” His voice was soft as he had me sit on the bed facing him. I looked at him for a while, trying to sort my thoughts out. We had been friends since we were six, but I had hidden everything from him. He had no clue, and I wish he still wouldn’t… I took a deep breath and began to tell the story. “I’ve kept this from everyone… Please let me tell the whole story before you ask questions or leave me. I wouldn’t blame you if you did…” “Go ahead, I’ll let you finish. But I promise, I won’t leave you.” He grabbed my hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “We’ll see… It began when I was six. My parents weren’t the best as you know… They weren’t home much. Mom went out drinking until she was hammered, Dad went out on “business” calls. He would leave almost every night, coming home with perfume on him. Mom didn’t want to believe it. She was in denial, believed that he still loved her as he did in the past… She would come home smashed and would start sobbing. I tried to help as much as I could, but I didn’t know much. I would let her hug me, and would do my best to comfort her. I learned fast that I needed to take care of her. She would wake up with a hangover and the best I could do was give her one of my favorite juice pouches and a cookie. She would start crying again and tell me that I was such a good girl. Remember when I missed school for a week?” “Yeah, the teacher said you were really sick.” “Dad and mom got into a fight. They were screaming at each other, I didn’t know what to do… I ran away from home, I went to my cousin’s house. I got to stay there the week even though he called mom. When I got home, Dad was gone and mom was passed out on the couch surrounded by empty cans of alcohol. Dad never came back after that, and mom got increasingly depressed. I didn’t know what was happening, Dad wouldn’t come home, mom was sad, I learned how to do things for myself quick because I had to support myself and mom. When I turned seven the nice elderly woman from next door began to teach me how to cook, and clean. I would make her little crafts to sell in her shop as a “payment” for the lessons. Mom barely noticed I was gone for an hour afterschool. She tried to be there for me, she would ask me how my day was, and would constantly give me hugs. I thought life was going good, that everything would be okay. Then when I was eight, everything went downhill…” He squeezed my hand slightly. “Dad came back to the house. He… He said nasty things to mom. I didn’t understand that well back then but as I grew older I understood what he said to her. He.. broke her… She wouldn’t talk anymore, refused to eat, refused to drink… After I came home from the sleepover at your house, I saw her… She, She was hanging from the ceiling, tears running down her face.” Pete looked horrified, pulling me into a hug as I continued. “The elderly woman heard my scream, and rushed over to see me staring at my mother screaming and sobbing. She called the cops, quickly getting her to the ground, checking her pulse. I was taken to the woman’s home, the police announced her dead and found a letter…” “I knew she passed but didn’t know what happened exactly…” Pete’s voice was quiet. “Dad got custody over me. He didn’t like the fact that I looked like mom. He… He did things. He let his ‘friends’ do things. I was nine at the time, and he sold me to his ‘friend’ for the night. Gave him 10 bucks to have his way with me. I tried to fight back but…” Pete looked livid. “I felt sick, the bad thing is that I couldn’t feel anything. I was numb, emotionally and physically. You and the others were the only ones that made me feel something… It continued until I was twelve, I had tried to fight but it was pointless. One day, Dad had enough of it. He slapped me, kicked me, cut me, burned me… He let his ‘friends’ have their way with me. The reason I began to miss more and more school was because of him. I got lucky sometimes and was able to sneak out and see you. He would add a new mark to the collection each time. Then when I was fifteen, he got drunk. He.. Had his way with me, then threatened to kill me if I said anything. Aunt May was the one to notice, the one day I came over she saw a glimpse of them… I confided in her, I didn’t want you to know because you would look at me differently. Or give up on me and that would have killed me… Dad found out when May called the cops on him. He was not happy, the longest scar was his attempt to kill me. The police did a search, and the court plead him guilty. I was in the hospital that month I missed school… My cousin got custody of me, then the accident happened, and I got my abilities. That’s pretty much it… I guess you’ll be leaving then?” I lowered my head, waiting for the rejection. “I told you. I’ll never leave you. I love you too much to do that. I’m glad you told me…” He pulled me into a tight hug, kissing the top of my head. “Really?” I teared up a bit. “Really.” He held me as I cried. I really felt loved for once in my life… All I know is that it felt good to get that off my chest. “I don’t care about the marks. Because these scars make you look even more beautiful to me.”

Sharmi

( I have no idea if I did this right and I’m quite sure I might have made few mistakes but it’s worth a try)

Sometimes there are instances when you can see your own life flashing before your eyes and it gets you thinking ” Is this where I want to be? Is this the place I still want to be in another 5 years?”

I had a minor problem, a fault perhaps. I was surely and indefinitely addicted to Alcohol. Don’t get me wrong it was not that type of addiction where one would kill for a bottle of beer or something far more stronger that leaves that burning sensation down your throat and a sting behind your eyelids. It was a addiction where when I didn’t know what to do-how to react- specifically, I turned to my new found companion. It didn’t shout back at me, didn’t call me names, didn’t say that I was a worthless mistake.

Infact it welcomed me with open arms and I embraced the feeling of not caring. Sure it was a great weight off my shoulders just to forget everything for a moment and just…… be. But then I’d wake up regretting every single thing I did the night before. Trust me that plus having a blasting headache ? not the best hangover tonic.

Now here I am in front of my car trying to think yet failing since I can’t even think straight to even start thinking about thinking.

That’s when I feel it. something poking at the back of my head. A shadow looming behind me.

”Leave the keys on the ground and turn away without a second glance and you won’t get hurt.” His vice was rough and he reeked of old garbage and dried up voldka.

There I see it again. All The time I’ve spent wasting away drinking without actually doing what my 21 year old self was supposed to be doing.

I took my parents money for granted and had the time of my life. A Audi sports car, expensive designer clothes, latest IPhone, all the girls I could ever imagine. And yet I felt hollow. An empty nutshell disguised as a perfect fruit.

This is the moment I change that. This is the moment the fight back. I’m not going to whole away anymore. I won’t be that worthless mistake any more. I am Rane Alexander after all and I won’t let a label define me. I’m going to get past this hazy fog and I’ll see the horizon again.

So I turned back and grabbed the man by his arm and sling him over hard sending the gun skidding across the dim lit parking lot.

” Not today” I breathed.

Nice…well done. I thought the ending was empowering…

Emma Palmer

Standing Still

I would like to tell you a story about a girl. There was nothing special about her at all-she was simply a girl. Every day she lived in pain. She lived in her shared room feeling so alone. Everything was white: the walls, the beds, the furniture. There was no creativity in the room, no evidence of the girl’s individuality-no posters, no color, nothing. Although, she did have one orange throw pillow that she didn’t want nor like. She hated the bland, bland room. Until she was forced to live in this room she saw white as a symbol of purity, harmony, and peace. Now she saw white as a toxic color, something that wasn’t even really a color at all, something that was devoid of emotion. Every day the girl took a shower in an attempt to wash away her skin that had been tainted by the room, but that simple act of cleansing soon became tiresome and it eventually stopped working. The girl felt dirty, impure, and alone. She was afraid-so afraid. She was afraid of being alone in her shared room in a shared house of seven people. She was afraid of not being heard, of not being able to speak. She didn’t know how she felt and she didn’t know how to express it. One day, the girl stepped into her shower, and stared at the white walls and the white floors and the white curtain and the whiteness of it all and she felt numb. She felt as if the blandness of her room and of her life had finally driven her emotionless. She stood there, feeling every singular drop of water sting her skin as if she was on fire and she felt nothing. Nothing-the absence of anything-shouldn’t feel as if the world was being torn apart around her, it shouldn’t feel as though everyone and everything were pitted against her, and yet this is the way the girl felt. She forgot that she was in the shower, where she was supposed to feel refreshed and cleansed, and she forgot herself. She leaned her head against the shower wall she wondered why the walls looked as if they were in so much pain. It was as if the very walls around her were feeling just as she felt. She stood and she thought. She wondered how long she would be able to stand there, with her head resting on a cold, hard surface. She stood in the shower too long, she stood there until the hot water turned cold and even past that. She stood there until she felt as though the pain building up inside her couldn’t take it any longer. And then, she moved. She placed one hand against the tile wall and she pushed, testing her strength-the wall remained still. She thought about how meaningless her life was and how she couldn’t possibly do anything important or memorable and she felt selfish. She felt selfish for wanting to be important. She felt as though all of her thoughts were not her own and that society had simply conditioned her to think them and she felt nothing. She felt trapped. She had nowhere to go, nowhere to be, no friends to run to, nothing. She felt alone. Her worst fear was unfolding as she began to panic. She thrashed in the shower as she desperately gasped for air, feeling nothing. Maybe she should stop gasping for air, maybe she should just give up. But no, she had to keep fighting. She turned and she turned the dreaded water off and it stopped. Just like that, it stopped, and she felt nothing yet again. She stood there, water dripping down her body, and she thought. She thought about how many mistakes she made and how many lies she’d told. She regretted everything. She wanted to stop feeling. She wanted to undo all of her wrongdoings and she wished she could fix the people she’d broken. She wished so desperately to fix herself. She stopped, she told herself to snap out of it and she felt nothing. She turned and she pulled back the bland, white curtain. She slowly took a step and then another. She stood right outside the shower and let herself feel the cold, rigid air on her skin because feeling something was better than nothing, right? She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around herself to shield her small, fragile body from the cold. She stood there outside of the shower, and she felt vulnerable. She felt neglected. She felt as if nobody cared at all. She truly thought that she had no one. She sat down on the cold tile bathroom floor and she felt defeated. She felt as if she could no longer go one. She stared at the water dripping from the faucet and she thought about how easy it would be to corrupt these white walls with her own blood just as they had tainted her with pain and sorrow and misery. She sat for what felt like hours and she thought. She realized that she couldn’t do what she so desperately wanted to do because she was just too afraid. She thought about spilling her own blood, just to leave at least a little bit of herself in that lonely room that would never truly be hers. She came so close-oh so close-to giving up, but then she remembered. She remembered a person and how that person made her feel. She remembered a smile like no other. She remembered arms that held her so tight and close that she actually felt safe. She remembered a face, a gorgeous face, that lit up the moment its eyes layed on her. She remembered feeling loved, so she stood up, turned to the door, walked into the white room, and the girl lived on to see another day, another sunrise, and another beautiful moment.

And I have a secret-that girl, that terrible terrible girl, is me.

I have a blog and have uploaded 190 articles and short stories averaging 1000-1400 words. 70% were political. My writing is purely a hobby although I did send one story to a publisher and they wrote that they liked it but being an unknown author I would be required to contribute £2,500 towards the cost of publishing this children’s picture book which was 800 words long. Is this normal?.

So far I have had 43,000 hits worldwide on my blog I am now writing fiction for girls aged between 12-17 and children’s picture books..

I have a blog and have uploaded 190 articles and short stories averaging 1000-1400 words. 70% were political. My writing is purely a hobby although I did send one story to a publisher and they wrote that they liked it but being an unknown author I would be required to contribute £2,500 towards the cost of publishing this children’s picture book which was 800 words long.

IS THIS NORMAL?.

Miss.Bridgit

Is this normal ?

I will get up off the chair and head for the PC, I will type two lines. At this stage they are nothing but the release of vague reflections triggered by my imagination. I may not use them but they have to escape the clutter and disarray of my thoughts and be planted like a seedling. Those two lines on a blank screen when germinated can blossom into an article, a story or a book; the blank computer screen is not unlike the painter’s blank palette waiting for the first glimmer of his/her artistry. A line of text can do the same, although it need not even be a line of text, one word can suffice.

The first line read “It was the evening of the annual Concert and Dance at……….. ” I turned the Pee Cee off and I went to bed. The next day the story took root and blossomed… ….

I will get up off the chair and head for the PC, I will type two lines. At this stage they are nothing but the release of vague reflections triggered by my imagination. I may not use them but they have to escape the clutter and disarray of my thoughts and be planted like a seedling.

Those two lines on a blank screen when germinated can blossom into an article, a story or a book; the blank computer screen is not unlike the painter’s blank palette waiting for the first glimmer of his/her artistry. A line of text can do the same, although it need not even be a line of text, one word can suffice.

The first line read “It was the evening of the annual Concert and Dance at the Denham College” I turned the Pee Cee off and I went to bed. The next day the story took root and blossomed… ….

Those two lines on a blank screen when germinated can blossom into an article, a story or a book; the blank computer screen is not unlike the painter’s blank palette waiting for the first glimmer of his/her artistry. A line of text can do the same, although it need not even be a line of text, one word can suffice. The first line read “It was the evening of the annual Concert and Dance at the Denham College.

I turned the Pee Cee off and I went to bed. The next day the story took root and blossomed… ….

Dori Acuff

Here a poem…

Roses are red Violets are blue I love you Do you love me?

Times I sit and think of you In hope as you think of me Your smile just makes me melt As I know my makes you melt.

I know you think I’m silly But you love me for it.

I hope this puts a smile on your face As it does my as I wrote it.

The sky is blue, the grass is green and the sun is warm just like my heart that beats for you. You make me smile more then the beautiful flowers that bloom under the warmth of spring and you put a sparkle in my eyes more then the stars shine in the night sky. You light my path better then a full moon in a clear night sky.

You are beautiful and I love you too.

It lights up my heart to see the words I write to you. I never thought I would ever meet someone like you. I have told you things happen for a reason and so they do. I want spend every waking moment to show you how I feel. My heart belongs to the moat amazing woman I know. Baby, that is you. I know here lately I’ve been hard to love but I promise things will get better. You are my rock and sanitary you keep me going when I think I can’t. I love u with all my heart, mind, body and soul. You’re my FOREVER. Just one more thing to say.

Don’t give up on me because I will make all your dreams come true in one way or another. I will love you until I take my last breath. Just keep on loving me for I know I am you’re Forever Love…..

That is the biggest poem I’ve ever seen

Arikateku

Merp, I like this

Chris Jones

Beware: Bad language. These are two dispicible people being told honestly.

————-

Stew bent down and grabbed the dead man’s feet. “Because they’re faggots, that’s why. Why you care?”

Phil bent over and grabbed the dead man’s shoulders. “I just don’t think we should generalize people like that. That’s all.”

“One. Two. Three. Up.” They lifted the dead man off the pavement and shuffled over to the trunk of their Volkswagen. “I don’t give a fuck what you don’t think, they’re still dick-suckers. On three again. One. Two. Three.” They tossed the man into the trunk. Stew grabbed the dead man’s legs and contorted them in such a way that his fat ass fit inside, then he tossed a sheet over the body and slammed the trunk shut. “Queers, Phil. God ain’t got no love for a man sucking off another man.”

Phil was wiping his hands with a kerchief. When he was done he stuffed it back in his back pocket. The left one. “Maybe God doesn’t care, neither? Maybe we’re the ones, as a society, making a bigger deal out of it than it really is.”

Stew licked his thumb and rubbed it on his left tail light, smearing a dot of blood and making it worse. “Gimme’ a rag, would ya’?” Phil fetched a rag out of the backseat of the VW and tossed it to Stew. He spit on the rag and then wiped the taillight raw. “It’s in the fuckin’ bible, man. God said a man and a woman, not a man and a man. Now, don’t get me wrong, I got no problem with women dating women. I mean, come on, it’s sexy as hell. But two guys wagging their weiner’s in each other’s faces? Fucking gross.”

Phil stuck a cigarette between his lips and lit it, closing his eyes and inhaling. He opened his eyes and exhaled. A kid on a bike rode by, tossing a newspaper wrapped in a blue bag on the edge of the driveway. Phil watched the boy as he pedaled away, dumping papers on every driveway down the street. “Maybe the bible does say that,” he said, turning back to Stew. “Why’s it our business, though? Long as they keep it between them, how’s it hurting you?”

“It’s the principle of the motherfuckin’ thing,” Stew said, tossing the rag to Phil.

Phil sidestepped out of the way and let the rag fall to the ground. “Fuck off, dude. I don’t want his fucking blood on my new suit.”

“Well at least put it in the trash.” Stew wiped his hands down his pants, at which Phil cringed, then walked over and opened the driver side door. “We gotta meet Don in half an hour and we’re runnin’ late. Let’s go.”

“Stop for a taco?” Phil asked, bending over and grabbing the rag between two fingers.

“Sure. I’m starving.”

I Tried This is what i have so far…:

Isra Sonnet liked the quiet. Which was why she wished she were back home with her parents back in California, her cousin Eric was snoring very loud on the top bunk of the beds. She tried to block out the noise, but he seemed to be getting louder, and louder with each snort. Having enough of this, Isra grabbed her pillow and climbed up with it.

Holding steady onto the ledge of the bed, she smacked him with it. Hard.

Waking up with a start Eric looked at Isra annoyed.

“What is wrong with you? I was trying to sleep!” He flings the pillow on by his face,to the floor.

“You’re loud enough to wake the dead. Stop snoring like an old man.”

“If you’re so mad about it go sleep somewhere else…” Eric says drifting back to sleep, too tired to argue.

Sighing Isra climbed back down to her bunk bed. She knew it wouldn’t be long before Eric would start snoring again. Gathering her pillow from the floor and the blanket from her bed, she walked out of the room closing the door behind her.

Now, it was quite dark in the house. Though, Isra knew her way around the house from memory. She was careful to go down the stairs, and not to make too much noise to wake Eric’s parents.

In the living room Isra made herself comfortable on one of the couches. Placing her pillow down and wrapping herself in the warmth of her blanket comforted her. She sighed in relief. Now she could finally sleep.

Arianna

I really like it. It’s very detailed in my opinion. I’ve read a book like that called… “Wish”. I want to publish all six of my books when I get older. I’M ONLY NINE so maybe when i’m in my 20’s

isabelle

dont worry about your age. you can be just as good as any other writer. i am only twelve and i am almost finished writing my book that i am hoping to publish. go for your dreams, dont let your age stop you.

Erin J Scorgie

I’m 16 and have published my first book, best experience of my life, I am very close to publishing my 2nd book and sooo excited! Don’t worry about your age, the younger the better I say! You go girl and good luck with your writing career. You are a very gifted young lady! Xx

Kawiria

If you want to publish your books, why not now? There isn’t a law against young authors. I’m not much older than you, but my book is being published this year. All you need is the money to publish–that’s the REAL hard part for a younger writer.

DumDumDeeDoooo

Hey, don’t worry, I’m eleven and I deeply enjoy writing, and I’m looking to get a book published very soon. There’s no law forbading youngsters from getting books published… In fact, becoming a young author is one of the VERY BEST things you could do to benefit you in the future.

Quiet_Kitten

Yea I’m 11 and I’m gonna start writing stories on an app called Wattpad

Rachel Sanpaka

It’s a great way to get feed back and to start sharing your stories.

Arigato

The temperature was searing. Tara squinted her eyes as wavy lines of heat danced in the distance. Michael shuffled out of the taxi behind her and bent to drop 30 pesos in the driver’s expectant hand. “Why did we have to come all the way to Acapulco just to get our teeth cleaned?” Tara whined like a child dreading the dentist. “We’re not just getting our teeth cleaned”, Michael explained, “I need 4 crowns, you could use some fillings, and dental work is so much cheaper in Mexico. Plus, it’ll be like a vacation as soon as we’re finished. I have 3 days of the most romantic stuff planned for us, just wait.” Tara smiled at the thought of what Michael’s idea of “romantic stuff” could be. It was 9:15 am Thursday, if all went to plan, they would be partying on the beach Friday night. The shop they had been dropped off in front of was a modest, stucco covered building with one dark window bearing a small sign that read “Dentista”. They were 45 minutes early for their appointments but hopefully that meant they would be done sooner. 30 minutes and 16 pages of paperwork later, they were ushered down a brightly lit corridor to a room containing an x-ray machine. Once finished there, they were led to adjoining rooms. Each contained nothing more than a large, green dental chair, procedure light, and metal rolling cart filled with shiny, sharp instruments. “The dentist will be right in,” said the plump assistant in a thick Mexican accent. Since the office saw so many tourists, the staff all spoke in English, and this reassured Tara that it wasn’t so bad after all. She was looking up at a poster of an aquarium filled with fish that was taped to the ceiling when the dentist strode in. He was tall, about 6 feet, with dark hair, dark eyes, and a brilliantly white smile. While peering at her x-ray films, he rattled off a list of work that she needed, and she agreed, not really understanding just wanting to get it over with. The plump assistant appeared and placed a mask over Tara’s nose and mouth as she crooned, “To make you comfortable!” The last thing she noticed before she lost consciousness was the poodle print scrubs the assistant was wearing. Tara woke up being shaken by Michael. “Come on let’s go, I’ve been finished for an hour.” She groggily sat up and placed her hand to her warm, swollen cheek. The assistant was back, handing Michael prescriptions for pain killers and giving him instructions not to eat for 2 hours. They stepped outside into the bright sun and began walking slowly towards the nearest intersection where they could hail a cab. After a short taxi ride they arrived at Hotel Catedral, a quaint, boutique inn on the outskirts of the city. The room was cramped, but clean, and after a quick shower, they both laid down and quickly fell asleep. The next 2 days were spent drinking, lounging on the beach, and making love. Tara awoke late Sunday morning and started packing. While she would miss relaxing on the beach, she couldn’t wait to get back home to her apartment. Her stomach had been bothering her on and off throughout the trip and she thought it may have been the water she was drinking. They took a taxi to the airport and the trip home was uneventful except for a few severe stomach pains Tara had on the flight. She took a few more pain pills and they eased up enough for her to take a nap. They barely had time to walk through the door when Tara felt a sudden urge and bolted to the bathroom. “Are you okay?” Michael called from the hall. “Fine, just gimme a minute!” Tara snapped, and Michael went in to the living room and laid down on the couch. When Tara had finished in the bathroom, she stood up and saw something strange in the toilet. It looked like what appeared to be several small balloons floating in the water. “What the…” Tara stared confused, and called for Michael to come into the bathroom. He popped his head in the door and looked at her questioningly. She pointed to the toilet and he shook his head as if to say, “I’m not going in there.” Tara walked to the sink and grabbed a pair of tweezers sitting near the mirror. When she reached towards the toilet, Michael yelped, “What are you doing?!” “Shush, hold on!” she said. She pulled back the tweezers and pinched in the end was one of the balloons. She carried it to the sink and quickly rinsed it off. Michael came closer and said, “That came out of you?” ‘Yeah, gimme something to cut it open.” He produced his pocket knife and she proceeded to make a small slice down the center of the balloon. A white powdery substance spilled from the cut. “Oh my god, it looks like drugs! Tara exclaimed. “How did this get inside me? It must have been the dentist! I told you we shouldn’t have went down there for dental work! What are we gonna do?” “Maybe we should go to the emergency room and get checked out? Michael suggested. “Ok but we should just say our stomachs are hurting and not say anything about the drugs. We don’t want them thinking it’s ours and taking us to jail.” After spending 4 hours in the ER, a CAT scan and bloodwork, the couple was assured that they were in perfect health and probably ate something bad. They headed home, relieved there were no more foreign objects in their bodies but worried about what to do about the dentist. “He can’t get away with this, said Tara excitedly, he probably does this to tourists all the time!” “But if we call the police and tell them our story, they might think we’re involved somehow,” said Michael. They arrived back at their small Austin apartment and decided to eat some dinner and think the matter over some more without rushing to alert the police. After all they were safe at home and had no plans on leaving the country any time soon. Maybe they could just put this whole thing behind them like a bad dream. A crazy story to tell the grandkids. Once the dishes for dinner had been washed and Tara was settling down on the sofa next to Michael, a knock sounded at the door. “Who could that be? “Michael asked. He got up, slowly walked to the door, and peeped through the eyehole. On the other side of the door were 3 well-dressed Latino men. The one standing closest to door was dressed in black pants and jacket with a tucked-in turquoise shirt. He spoke first. “We know you’re in there and you have something that belongs to our boss.”

Crystal Fresneda

I wrote two stories so far Murderous Twins (Mystery) and Pregnant at 18 (Drama n Romance) total words for both 27000

Christine

THANK YOU FOR THIS. I LOVE TO WRITE AND I NEEDED INSPIRATION!!!

Husnain sheikh

My First Story.. I woke up late that morning, too excited to sleep at first and then I don’t remember when I dozed off to sleep early morning. Bright sunlight hit my half open eyes and I jumped off from the bed. It was 8:00 am already.

“Mama … why didn’t you wake me up? Has he left already?” Mother smiled “Its Sunday! Didn’t felt like waking you up from deep sleep you were in, besides you must have been dreaming, there was beautiful smile on your face. And don’t worry Papa won’t go without you.”

I was super relived and ran to hall, where my dad was ready, waiting for me. “We are going to City, right?” He simply nodded and smiled “Now get ready else we will miss the bus”

I ran to bathroom for shower and within seconds was out and in front of mirror combing my hairs. “Dry them properly, your hairs are wet, you’ll catch cold”

But here I was holding my dad’s hand and pulling him out of the door. We took bus from the bus stop and were on our way to City.

Finally the day had arrived when I was going to get my first Bicycle. It all started when my dad promised to get me Bicycle if I score good marks in final exam next year. All my friends had their own bicycle. Even my juniors had their own.

I patiently waited for one year to get my dream bike.

On the result day I was very nervous. When there was announcement that I stood first in 5th C, I jumped up in air and almost snatched my report card from our class Teachers hands.

I was telling everybody on my way back that I was going to get bicycle, since I stood first in class. After reaching home I told mom about the result and she was very happy. Then dad came back from work in the evening, he was very happy to hear about my results and patted on my back.

“So you are going to get me Bicycle” I said with glimmer in my eyes. “Let’s see” he simply said taking off his shoes

I was almost broken in tears to hear those words. He had not said no but neither did he say yes. I broke down “this is not fair, you promised”.

Next day, mom broke the news to me that finally I am going to get my Bike this Sunday.

Squeezing sound of halting break of bus brought me back to present. “We have reached, Lets go” said dad.

We reached the Big Bicycle store in Gol market. There were so many bikes, I just couldn’t take my eyes off. I picked the one with Marron color. Salesman explained the features to me. I looked at dad expectantly, he nodded and I hugged him.

Dad went in to meet the shop manager, I waited outside to see my bike being assembled by the worker. I saw dad having conversation with the shop owner. I don’t know what was wrong but dad came out.

“Let’s go now we will come next week, and take this Bike home” dad said with his fingers in my hairs. I couldn’t believe my ears. After waiting for almost a year I am getting my bike and now he is saying to wait for one more week.

I threw his hand away in disgust and ran away to hug my bike and started crying. Dad tried to convince me that He had assumed the Price of Bicycle to be lot less. And now he doesn’t have enough cash to buy this bike.

But I refused to budge down. I was so much carried away by anger, I couldn’t see the nervous face of my father. It must have been really awkward for him to face this situation.

“Okay. Let me see what can be done!” he went in. I waited outside partly sobbing and partly smiling.

Few moments later dad came out smiling. I knew he had bought the bike and we were going to be taking it home today. This was happiest day of my life.

It took me few years to understand that my dad had sold his ring that day to fulfill my wish!

Marsha McCroden

This is what I’ve got so far:

Capt. Lee asked for interrogation volunteers. The Interrogation Rooms were full and there weren’t enough interrogators. Lt. Jones volunteered. She told him thee was a suspect in Interrogation room D. Should be easy — a straight-up homicide. Just tape the confession.

Entering IR D, he saw an inconspicuous middle-aged man. Inconspicuous? Maybe 100 years ago.

Lt. Jones introduced himself and sat down. He sat down and said he was there to get the man’s side of the story. Then he turned on the recorder. The man looked at him with amusement. “Do you really want my confession” he asked. Jones said he needed the man’s name and address first. “All right. I am Daniel Alan James, address 132321 Atlantic Avenue, Plot D3.”

Jones looked up sharply. “That’s a cemetery. Your real address please.” I get the nuts, he thought.

“I am not ‘pulling your leg’ as you so quaintly think. That is my address.”

“As to my confession. In 1869 in Palm Beach, I burgled May Palmer’s house I got a sackful of jewelry. I also hacked off her head. Sternly he looked at Jones. “You kept that back. He acted like that fact should have been publusged,, like he wanted credit for it.

“In 1920, in Miami Beach, I attended a speakeasy. I abducted a somewhat plump girl, Cynthia Handel, and eventually disposed her of in the Dismal Swamp.” Chuckling, he continued. You could say the alligators had a fine meal that night.

In 1936, Cleveland, Ohio. I presume you’ve heard of the Torso Murders there? The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run? It was never solved. Poor Eliot Ness — he wanted so badly to be Mayor of Cleveland and not just Safety Director. That case would have given him the Mayor’s office. I denied him that.””I

Above the gables of the orphanage roof, a tremulous, gentle sound began to keen. It began quietly, as oh so fragile a thing. I held my breath where I had awakened in my bed to keep from drowning it out- the sound of a human singing through a violin.

I knew exactly who it was that sang. She had come in just that day, eyes wide, mouth closed, and a violin case clutched to her chest like it was the only thing she had left in the world. I was older than her and so in a different dormitory, but still the sound found its way, sorrowfully, lovingly, through the still night air.

The sound of it made me want to cry, as it stirred in me a pain I’d long ago learned to shove away, the origin of which was the only thing that me and the little virtuoso child shared. It unfurled itself deep within me, reaching out for the sound as it grew, grew louder and more powerful as the beginning upset turned to something more violent, something filled with righteous indignation at what had happened to her… to… to me. Tears welled up in my eyes and I curled into my pillow as I fought the onslaught of emotions. The anger, the injustice, the harrowing *grief*. It all slashed and dove and resonated through the air- through my soul. I curled around the reopened wound, feeling the unreleased cry of pain inside of me. But the tears still fell. They were like rain.

Suddenly the vibrancy in the tone fell flat. The last ringing note was undulating through the air, twisting with fading passion, as a quieter, stiller strain took its place. Dispirited and exhausted, the muted notes struggled to find me, and I imagined them getting lost. It was both a relief and a loss as I felt the raw emotions drain away. It felt… hollow. It was like how I usually felt only much, much worse, the sheer weight of it making it a pain all its own, although it signified the absence of it. It was a rock I couldn’t push off my chest, or a vacuum inside of me. It *hurt*.

Still, my eyes dried as I listened to the dispassionate, lilting notes. They bumped into each other with pattern but no passion. The lack of colour in it compared to everything else the little violin girl had played almost made me want to cry again- for her this time, instead of me. I wanted to comfort her. To tell her that she could find a family here again… even if it wasn’t the same.

But then- then something magical happened. I heard something in a note shift. Just ever so slightly, regaining some of its lost fullness. My heart jumped against my rib cage at it, like a baby bird too eager to be out of the nest. The sound broadened and deepened, spinning and growing to an unimaginable size and intensity, filled with such thought and memory as one can only know inside themselves. I couldn’t imagine that something of such monumental size was coming from such a tiny person and her instrument- no, her partner. Her friend. It had to be her friend to join her in all this.

The graceful creature grew and grew on when I thought it could grow more. Time had lost all meaning to me as it tapered and streamlined itself into something lighter- losing its weight and despair- but not its memory. That stayed. I could feel it within me, too- the warmth that was spreading through the song. It touched at my fingers and toes, the tip of my nose, and the center of my belly. I let out a breath as the weight- the vacuum, whatever it was- released, no longer afraid of it or drowning out the soaring melody that cozied into the corners of the resting place of me and so many others that had experienced what this other child was experiencing right now.

But I knew, as the music carried on through the night, a peaceful balance between love and light and sorrow, that she was going to be just fine. We were all going to be just fine.

zainab

This inspired me so i tried it came up with this so far

Things have been difficult lately. Even breathing seems to take a lot of effort. But grief often shuts people down. And everything seems to blur out. You must be wondering what broke me? Nothing just the same old heartbreak that broke souls in every time period.

That night I made my way Aden’s house. We had been dating for almost four years. He had asked me to marry him a week ago and I had to ask my parents if they accepted they’re daughter to get married at 21. To my surprise my parents had said yes and I was on my way to blow Aden’s mind with the amazing news. I rang his doorbell several times even though I knew where they key to the door was kept but manners were still important. After fifteen minutes of standing out the door my mind started exploding with thoughts I shouldn’t be thinking about. Aden’s car was still parked in the garage which meant that he was still home. I rushed to get the keys from under a plant pot and opened the door. Aden’s house was a mess but Aden was a clean freak. I made my way to Aden’s room and gently opened the door to see my whole world crashing in front of me.

Aden lay in bed with another women pressed to his side as they slept. No words, no tears just an apology. Just two words “ I’m sorry “ and I ran down the stairs, across the street and away from the person I had given my everything.

You see every person leaves a mark behind. But Aden , Aden left behind the deepest scars.

Mark Robson

(please don’t judge, I’m only 12. And btw I’m a girl. I’m using my dad’s account)

It’s dark. My own shadows drown me. This is nothing new to me though, I’m not shocked or scared. Just lonely. Nothing to look forward to I’ll thing myself sitting and think, hoping. I don’t know how long this lasts, seconds, minutes, hours. I can’t sense the time passing, I don’t fully understand it. I don’t know how I got here or when I’ll leave. My life feels like it has no meaning. But yet, somehow I feel like I’m waiting for something, this longing for something to happen. But at this moment in time…I’m not really sure. I must have had more than this life, I must have lived in something different, color, happiness, friends, family….love…maybe, or is that me dreaming?

Have I lost my mind completely now. Maybe I’m not even here, In this darkness. Am I just mad? Why am I even asking…I’ll never get an answer. Sitting here hoping dreaming will do me no good! I must fight back. I’m not sure what I’m fighting for but if I do have a motive to fight then it must be worth it. Without thinking I lunge into the dark clouds. Fighting, not with any weapons but just by my longing for whatever is outside this lonely cage. The chains of my fear and uncertainty tug at my arms pulling me back but using all my force I shake them off and continue forward through the endless darkness…This place must end. There must be an ending for me, more than this dark realm. I jump forward, ready to scream as I hit the floor but I don’t have to. I didn’t fall…Am I..floating?

No, I don’t feel like I’m standing. I feel something on my hand but I can’t see what it is or even move to shake it off. Then I suddenly realize. The thought that I’ll no longer be lonely, this thing I feel, it’s a person. These thoughts, my feelings they allow me to take control. I slowly open my eyes. It all shoots my at once colour…light! I’m lying down on a bed, a hospital bed. My memories come soaring back. I look over to my right hand and see the lady holding it, in shock, but smiling brightly. It’s my mother! And in what seems like the longest time ever…I smile.

Courtnie

Clark stood at the window and watch as the first snow started to fall. He thought back to when he was a little boy and how he loved to go outside and play in the snow. The snowmen him and his sister would build, the snowball fights him and his friends would have. Then his smile changed to a sad face. He remember the last first snow fall that happen when he was a kid. That was the last time he was happy about seeing the snow. Clark’s father Ernest was at the local convenience store, when two mask men came in to rob the place. One of the robbers told Ernest to give him his wallet. He did but a long noise from the back of the store in scared the robber that he jumped and the gun he had pointed at Clark’s father went off and shot him in the chest.

Clark was home in the bed, but he jumped up out of his sleep, he felt that something was wrong. He got out the bed and went looking for his mother. When he got to the end of the hall he saw his mother at the door talking to some police. She turned when she heard the floor Creek. ” Clark honey, what are you doing up”? His mother asked with blood soaking red eyes . ” mother is everything alright? ” with every step he took closer to his mother he knew that what ever reason the police was at his house it wasn’t good. Every since that Dreadful night Clark, the night his dad was killed, he has hated the snow. It always seems to remind him of that night. It’s like all the good times he had in the snow was replace by the death of his dad, his hero, the man he wanted to grow up and be. They never did find the guys that robbed that convenience store.

Pradeep

Conceited Conflict

Simon did not die…

The inviting aroma of freshly brewed coffee had been enough to persuade him to walk straight into the little beach-side shack without as much as a second thought. He had made a mental note to thank Danny–his colleague and friend–for suggesting the place for a quick getaway.

People close to Simon knew that he savored these small pleasures of life: a peaceful evening relaxing at the beach, the blushing horizon as the sun set for the day, the scents of the tropical sea, the areca nut trees swaying to the music of the breeze, the waves at the shallow end lightly caressing his feet, the warm texture of the sand slipping away beneath his toes, children running around flying colorful kites… cocoa-rich dark chocolates, and fresh coffee.

And why not? After all, he thought, what was life without these? Nothing but a stressful grind, it was. To fight the distressing official battles day in and day out. To struggle to defeat the unethical schemes of the back-stabbing lot who lurked among colleagues and friends. To come back home to the nagging demands of a materialistic spouse. All that did nothing good for the soul.

It was late evening when Simon had walked toward the shack. When he got closer, he had noticed two men standing engulfed by the dark shadows behind the shack. Although he could not discern their features, and they were speaking only in whispers, their body language had betrayed the fact that they had been exchanging an agitated conversation.

As Simon was about to enter the shack, one of the men thrust a wad of money into the other’s hand. The other man briefly regarded the bundle before stuffing it into his trouser pocket.

A drug deal, likely–Simon had thought–or some other such shady business. How could these people come to such spectacular and peaceful places and engage in such disreputable and squalid acts? What a disgusting lot!

He had shaken his head to clear his thoughts, and inhaled deeply as he entered the shack. Freshly brewed coffee! He had smiled as he sat at a small, round, plastic table in a corner. All other concerns would have to wait for half an hour, at least.

Outside, unknown to Simon, the deal had been concluded. The men had followed up by exchanging a small vial of some sort. Then one of them had raised the hood of his jacket over his head and walked away swiftly without turning back, with his hands in his pockets. The other man had vanished into the darker shadows behind the shack.

The next afternoon…

Although–when it concerned professional life–Danny lacked severely in the department of moral and ethical values, he was regarded in their circles as a gem when it concerned friendship. He had rushed to the hospital at once when Simon’s wife had called. Dysentery–she had told him, repeating the doctor’s diagnosis–perhaps acute food poisoning. Very severe symptoms. Quite unbearable. Must have been something he ate yesterday.

Danny had stayed on at the hospital with Simon’s wife to lend her moral and emotional support. He wanted to make sure–he had said–that she got all the help she needed; he wanted to make sure that Simon recovered all right.

The third evening…

Simon rested motionless on a bed at St Sebastian Hospital. Motionless. Still. He wasn’t even breathing. He was finally free of all suffering.

Epilogue 1…

Normally, convincing a chemist and obtaining the required substance might have been the biggest challenge. On this occasion, however, a well-maintained friendship with a pharmaceutical assistant had proved quite rewarding.

The rest was simple to plan and execute. Simple did not mean without risk, but in this case the desired reward would be sufficient compensation for the risk.

The dosage would be just right. The doctor would have only the patient’s symptoms to go on, which would be easily mistaken for those of common diseases such as food poisoning or dysentery.

It would all be over even before anyone suspected foul play. Even if other signs did manifest afterwards, there was no incriminating evidence.

Epilogue 2…

Simon had felt the first signs of fatigue when he was almost half way back home from his getaway spot. He had believed that the nausea was caused by travel-sickness. Later that night his condition had become worse, and next morning he had tried home remedies for diarrhea. By afternoon, he had started discharging blood, and had to be hospitalized immediately.

Danny had stood by his bed in the hospital, looking in his weak eyes, holding his hand reassuringly. Behind those heavy eyelids, in those weak eyes about to close, Danny had seen a faint spark of realization. The reality of the deal he had witnessed behind the coffee shack had dawned on Simon. I wish you understood, my friend–Danny had thought–that it was nothing personal, that everything is fair in professional rivalry. In any case, it was too late now. There was no turning back.

Don’t strain yourself trying to talk–Danny had said–Just close your eyes, let go and relax.

— End —

(I’m only 12 so don’t judge me, I tried :D)

I’m alone. I’m surrounded by darkness. I’m lonely, I have no-one except silence to keep me company. I’m not sure how long I’ve been here…Minutes, hours….days? They mean nothing to me, I don’t know how time passes and why it matters. I’m too close to giving up. Surely my life must mean something. I can’t have been made to just be nothing, to exist only feeling, loneliness and fear. The fear of being forgotten, by this world, by myself. If I’m not already.

There must be meaning for me, something bugger, better. It’s all I want, all I ever dream about. A life with meaning, color, happiness…family. But that’s just a dream. That can’t be real, I have no memories out of this place why would I be suddenly be gifted such happiness. Is this it? I am going mad? Have I been here so long just lost my mind? No. That can’t be. I can’t give up, I must try….try escape this realm of darkness. I stand up, shaking slightly. No, I must be strong! I run forward, not sure where I’m going. Not sure if this place even ends.

I start hearing voices, they’re speaking to me… “stay…strong…everything’s going to be ok” I hear the voice saying. It was comforting, gentle and kind sounded. It sounds familiar….I run faster, using all of strength. I race through the darkness, wind smacking my face until I come to what looks like the edge. It was a drop, so deep I couldn’t see the bottom. Without thinking, using all my desire, the want to be somewhere with meaning and happiness I lunge forward and jump.

I…I didn’t fall. I’m alive, I think. I don’t feel like I’m standing. Wait, am I floating? No, don’t be silly. I’m…lying. I feel something touch my hand but I don’t have strength to even shake it off. I can’t see anything…Then suddenly reality hits me. I slowly open my eyes…It all hits me at once: Color, sound, people. I look over to my right hand to see who was holding it. She was crying but smiling at the same time. It was mother. And for the first time in what seemed like forever, I smiled.

Lykke

“I’m borrowing one of your geese.”

Asta jumped in her seat by the fireplace, woken from her accidental nap. She whirled in her seet to see Jeppa, the slightly unhinged neighbour, filling the doorframe. He looked like any regular farmer, brown coveralls and pipe dangling from the side of his mouth, but sported a permanent wide-eyed stare that made the children (and everyone else) wary of him. Asta had half a mind to go back to sleep and let Jeppa be Jeppa, but curiousity got the best of her.

“Pardon?” She asked, slowly getting up, her arthritis crackling in her knees. “You’re borrowing what?”

“I’m borrowing one of your geese,” He repeated, unblinking. Then he turned on the spot, as if the conversation was over and done with.

“But why?” Asta exclaimed, hopping after him on stiff legs into the front yard. Three of her large, snowy geese were drowsily waddling through the hole in her white fence as Jeppa marched over and seized one of them by the neck. The other two hurried into a nearby hedgerow, abandoning their brother to fate. Jeppa stood there for a moment and admired the view over Asta’s fields, completely obvious to the furious flapping and hissing of the goose.

“What are you doing? Let go of him!” Asta cried, but Jeppa remained blissfully ignorant to the chaos he created.

“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” Jeppa sighed happily, still unblinking. Then, remembering why he was strangling a goose, he heaved it up under one arm and took off towards his own rickety cottage a few hundred yards down the gravel road.

“Wait!” Asta cried, limping after him. When she finally caught up to him he was crawling up a worn ladder propped against his roof, hissing goose tucked into his armpit as if it was nothing more than the daily newspaper.

Finding her best old-angry-crone voice, she howled; “Jeppa! Get down this instant! What on earth are you doing with Herman?”

This seemed to reach the decision centre in Jeppa’s head, and he stopped on the topmost rung. He stared at the wobbly chimney for a moment, as if pondering its existence, before replying. “I can’t afford a chimney sweep,” he commented simply. Then, with both hands, he heaved the goose up in one fluent motion and dumped it into the chimney. The hissing and flapping increased in volume, projected into the open air by the narrow chimney, until it became unbearable to listen to. Then it stopped. The goose must have fallen into his fireplace.

Asta’s mouth fell open. She sat down on her bum like a baffled toddler.

“Are you alright there? You look like you saw a ghost!” Jeppa chuckled obliviously as he descended from the roof and moved to let the goose out of his kitchen. The moment the door opened, a great, fluffy black thing scuttled out and down the road, hisses and quacks flying about it like the soot covering it.

“That,” Asta said, her voice quivering, “was my prized competition goose, Herman.”

Jeppa finally seemed to realise the extent of his actions. Wringing his hands he inched towards the door, hoping to use it for protection when she exploded, which she was bound to do.

“Isn’t… isn’t there a competition for black geese, perhaps?” Jeppa asked, hopefully unblinking.

Sebastian Halifax

Most short story ideas I have are too big write in just one sitting. The first one I wrote took months. It’s why I can’t write flash fiction.

I’m trying to write Flash Fiction. I love the challenge. It’s amazing how you can cut out redundant word from each editing. Try it, Sebastian. It’s good practice.

Edlyn

Okay, here goes: Persephone, Persephone Akeldama. She was a beautiful girl, slender waist, flowing blonde locks, petite figure. This quiet girl was often referred to by her fellow students as the “perfect doll”, due to her stunning looks and the love she received from the teachers. In a the darker half of this world, her nickname was not much different. The flawless puppet, she was called. Flawless because of her swift assassinations, and puppet because of her emotionless features. No one in school knew her profession, and no one in the dark world knew her real age, or even what she looked like. She was a complete mystery to both sides, only this was known about her: She is a prodigy. Of course, “Prodigy” meaning different things in either sides of the world. There was a large gap between prodigy killer and prodigy student. Not many assassins are born into their jobs, Persephone being an exception. At three, she was already trained to fight, and at the early age of twelve, she was already a well known assassin. due to her quick learning, her parents payed even more attention to her, punishing her whenever her actions did not fit into the range of perfection, training her more than any twelve year old should ever have to endure. And of course, making her kill. One by one, Persephone’s emotions died, every person she killed, every order she received. She carried them out with swift and deadly accuracy, losing all her innocence. Her purity was lost long ago.

So she found nothing wrong with killing her parents.

Persephone never loved anyone, because she was a killing machine, exactly how her parents had designed her. Her mothers last words: I’m so proud. Her fathers? :I’ve trained you well. A now orphaned Persephone felt no remorse, no guilt, no grief. Only a small pang of loneliness.

And that was the last emotion she would ever feel.

Ummmm, I got the juices flowing, just need my writing to flow……in the right direction.

Sapphire Emmaton

So I combined all 10 of the “general ideas” into one premise. I think this is more the premise of a collection now… Oh well. Here’s the premise (or the rough draft)

As a child, Kell, a painting prodigy, discovers her parents’ dead bodies, leaving her emotionally scarred. Later in life, she clings to her boyfriends for moral support, which leads to many failed relationships. Her Fiance and colleague breaks up with her because he needs to spend more time on his work, even though it crushes both of them. Kell doesn’t look when she’s walking down the street, sobbing, and she bumps into her rich soulmate, Neil. They have a whirlwind romance, which ends up with their marriage. On their honeymoon, though, Kell’s mother’s ghost confronts her and warns her to delay the journey. Kell and Neil go anyways. A hurricane strikes, and the couple is stranded with a phycopath who just so happen to be Kell’s parents’ murderer. The couple doesn’t make it out alive.

I know that’s pretty dark, especially for a 17-year-old. It’s also not that great. But hey, I hope it gave you an idea or two! Happy writing!

Emily Cummings

You should really think about turning this into a novel! You’ve got quite the imagination.

Maude Kate Potgieter Bester

The last laugh Kate Bester

“What? Oh heavens no! When?” Faye dragged the pink sweatband back from her forehead and shook her shoulder length blonde hair off her neck. She had just returned from the gym when the house phone rang.

“…sometime last night, peacefully. She had to go sometime, Faye.” Debbie’s longsuffering voice was irritating.

Faye sighed and shifted the weight from one shapely leg to the other. She crossed one ankle over the other and stared at her Reebok trainers. She bit her tongue before she could blurt out what came into her mind – why now? She had a very special and important occasion coming up and serious shopping to do!

“Mom was nearly eighty, you know Faye, but death is always unexpected, I know,” Debbie went on. Was she imagining it or was there a touch of accusation in Debbie’s voice? Deborah, her older sister, had never married. Instead, she stayed with Mom after Dad passed on ten years ago and took charge of the rambling old house in George. Come to think of it, when Debbie gave up nursing, moving in with Mom was the natural thing to do.

Faye had to muster all the self-control that she could to sound genuine and concerned. It was Mother after all…

“When is the funeral, then? Do you want me to come and help you with the arrangements?” she kept her voice low and even in case Debbie thought she was serious about the offer to help.

“No thanks, Faye, everything is fine. Mom had everything in place as usual. It will be a cremation of course…”

Debbie’s voice trailed off and Faye could just about suppress the groan that escaped from her chest before she said goodbye to her sister. She sank down in the closest, huge, overstuffed chair after she had put down the receiver. Of course. That is Mother. Well, was she corrected herself. Nothing ordinary or conventional. A cremation no less, so that all her old hippie friends could attend in their colourful rags and long hair and chant and blow their flutes and shake their tambourines. Faye had to admit to herself that a cremation at least would be better than embalmment. Her mother was quite capable of having them roll her in the scales of the boophone bulb like the Khoisan did with their dead.

Faye groaned again. She must be in shock otherwise why wasn’t she crying. Crying? No, she’d done enough crying after the second divorce in eight years. The last one was particularly messy but this time she stuck to her guns and got the house and a stiff alimony. Not that it’s about the money, which is never enough anyway, but one has to keep up appearances. She had spent a fortune on refurbishing the gazebo next to the pool. Oh gosh yes, and she must still pay for the embroidered voile curtains around the patio. And for the plant containers and cane furniture from Bali…

Faye sighed as she levered her challenged limbs from the chair. She will have a warm shower and then make her calls. Damn! Now she will have to drive all the way to George. She smiled. Yes, she will have to. Because of Mother’s pendant. She had to have it. Must be worth a small fortune by now…

That pendant was given to her mother by a very grateful Indian businessman. Mother had met him on a plane to Mumbai all those years ago when she travelled to India to see for herself what mysteries lay behind the lotus curtain. She ended up in his luxurious home and taught the whole family to speak English while she enjoyed every facet of that exquisite culture. If memory doesn’t fail her, the pendant has a top quality eleven carat flawless ruby, enhanced by… a shiver of delight passed through Faye’s body despite the warm gush of water.

At the garage to fill up and prepare the vehicle for the trip, she remembered how bored she was on weekends as a child. They travelled endless dusty roads, slept in tents, either sweating or freezing. Her botanist parents would be off in the veld , ooohing or aaahing, clicking their tongues and cameras. Deborah would be whooping somewhere in a shallow river. In her tent, her feet against the anchor pole, Faye swore she would never live this way. She would have money and everything it could buy. These bunny-hugging weirdo’s – her family – may enjoy the outdoors but she despised the smell of citronella candles, morning coffee and tinned food. Not to mention the squatting behind a bush when nature called. Ugh!

At nine o’clock the next morning, Faye was over the Overberg Pass and heading for Caledon. She would stop for tea at the Blue Crane and buy some of her mother’s favourite dried herbs. Yes, some buchu and lavender and rosemary. She’ll keep them on her lap during the cremation service and speeches to soothe her mind. Afterwards she will let them join her mother’s body to nirvana…

It was exactly twenty past one when she saw the huge pine trees and the red brick house behind it. The garden was a botanist’s dream. Like her mother exactly – colourful, mysterious, exciting and completely unusual. Faye’s eyes followed the garden path up to the porch. Handfuls of laurel tied with raffia or beads or leather thongs garnished the pathway from the gate to the porch and around the open door’s frame where fairy lights twinkled.

She opened the car door and slid off the seat. The manicured feet in the Blahnik sandals stepped together neatly on the tarmac as she automatically pressed the remote lock. Gingerly she approached the garden path and as daintily as possible made her way to the house.

Then it hit her. This wasn’t a welcome for her. The laurel symbolized Apollo’s way to remember his Daphne! Daphne didn’t want to marry Apollo and begged her father, Perenaeus, to hide her. He promptly turned her into a laurel tree. From then on Apollo worshipped the tree, hugged it, spoke to it and let all heroes and kings wear a laurel wreath on the head as adornment. This was for Mother.

Suddenly, there was her sister. Oh heavens, clad in a flowing caftan, pearls, beads, feathers and leather thong sandals, she could’ve been Mother!

Quickly Faye went over and folded her sister in her arms. While her sister was yoga-breathing against her shoulder, she took in the room behind. She smiled to herself . Ostrich feather boas were draped over the window frames, door frames and thrown over the backs of chairs. Huge black and white photographs of ostriches in all poses adorned the walls. Ostrich eggs and paraphernalia were displayed everywhere. This was a shrine to the ostrich as Nieuw-Bethesda was to the owl…

She let go of Debbie and cleared her throat. She took a deep breath, “Debs, what are we going to do with all this stuff ?” she hoped her chicanery would go undetected. Back in her mind there was an image of Mother’s ostrich leather handbags, shoes and purses she had collected before it became export posh. Her heart went on a gallop from excitement and anticipation.

At last they were alone. They cleared away the last few cups and plates. In the kitchen, Faye poured two large tumblers of Merlot for her and her sister.

“Sis, if you’re up to it, we can go through Mom’s things and decide what to do about some of it.”

“Of course, my dear.” Faye gulped.

Then the pendant was in the palm of her hand. This was a testing moment. She wanted to hang it around her neck immediately but thought it would seem callous. She let the heavy gold chain slide sensuously through her fingers while the ruby’s red eye winked at her.

“You have it, Faye, it’s too ostentatious for me. Mom also never wore it for that reason.”

“And these, Sis.” Debbie was on all fours in front of a deep drawer. She was pulling out ostrich leather gloves in every colour, handbags, clutch bags, more boas. They lay on the Kelim carpet like offerings to a queen. Faye stared and stared. “Oh yes!” her mind sang.

After breakfast the next day, Faye took her leave of Debbie who promised to visit as soon as everything was tied up and settled. When she was passing Mossel Bay, she started to relax and fingered the pendant at her throat. A warm glow filled her and she stretched to see it again in the rear mirror. It was an exquisite piece! She still felt surprised at how nonchalant Debbie was.

She decided to stop for refreshments outside Swellendam. She enjoyed stretching her legs in the shade of the old trees and watching the goats, chickens and ostriches they kept there for entertainment. She parked in the shade of a huge oak tree and went to the restaurant. She carried her fruit juice over to the enclosure on the lawn. A billy goat came towards her. Behind him a young ostrich craned its neck. A sheep, two lambs and a kid trotted up. Faye leaned forward.

She shrieked, jumped back and feverishly fumbling at her throat, she saw it

Ostriches also like jewellery.

Evangelin

I have not written a very long piece. It a quite short story. So…here it is…

Sydney woke up with a start, as beads of sweat adorned her furrowed brows. Next to her was her twin sister, Tanya, sleeping peaceful as Sydney had been a couple of moments before. She looked around as if searching for something or someone. Sydney almost dismissed the episode and went back to sleep when she heard it again, this time, even evident. The sound that had woken her up from her slumber. The sound that made her shiver and was even vexing than the sound of nails on chalkboard.

And then, it stopped. She looked around her for the source of what she heard. She decided to get some fresh air and walked out of the room she shared with her twin.

As she walked to the porch, she glanced at her reflection in the mirror. She couldn’t put her finger on what was wrong but she knew something was. She leaned in to get a closer look at her reflection when something hit her head and she fainted. When she regained her consciousness, she looked around her. She was in the porch and it was dawn. She went back into her house when she glanced at the mirror again. She could see her mother, her sister and her father. They all looked around as if searching for someone. What she couldn’t understand was why she couldn’t see her reflection in the mirror. Then, realization struck her like a ton of bricks. She was in the other side. Of the mirror.

Then the ending credits rolled in. Though it was just a trailer, it was well shot. Everyone couldn’t wait to see the full movie. We congratulated our friend, Mills, who had shot the film and went to hang out at her place.

Cortney Swar

Wonderful ideas. Thanks for inspiration.

Alia Moore

*I’ve been wanting to write for a long time but never really got the push until right now. Sorry if it’s bad, it’s my first short and I’m 14* “One, two, three. Perfect, now I can go…” I quietly say to myself. I have something called Pure-O. Some people think that it’s worse than “normal OCD”. The others think that it’s completely unreal and it’s made up. What people don’t know about me is that I have Pure-O and it’s completely real and my life revolves around it. I make sure that people don’t find out about it because I am considered “ popular and high-status” where I live. “ Happy, good thoughts. Nothing bad.” I think to myself. “They won’t find out….hopefully. I am Claire Williams who has the best makeup and the straightest hair. Not the Crazy Williams girl that broke down in front of everyone because her presentation wasn’t how she planned it.” I think. Then the flashbacks swoop in and fill my brain. “Hi my name is Claire Williams and I am doing my presentation on the Economic Downfall of 2008…” I pause and look around. I see people snicker and talking. The teacher is just looking at me and gesturing for me to continue. I get scared and forget everything that I worked so hard to memorize. “Umm. I’m sorry ma’am, I can’t finish.” I tell my Economics teacher. When I try to move and collect everything, I can’t move. “No no no no no this can’t be happening. I can’t be having a panic attack at school.” I think to myself. I feel tears well up into my eyes. They slowly fall down my face and I taste the warm salty fluid. I suddenly tense up and can’t breath. Because no one knows about my condition, no one can help me. “Look! Williams is going crazy! Crazy Williams.” I hear people snicker from the back and the attack gets worse. I hear something new in my flashback…. It sounds almost as a ringing. I realize the bell is ringing for the students to get to class. I come back to reality and hope for the best on my first day of Senior year. I mean after all, it’s just school. Nothing bad could happen right?

Helen Kudatsky

PEN-082a 694w Anne Frank, Bella and Me by Helen Kudatsky

At nine, I bought my mom, Bella, a birthday gift on June 12th, a magenta lipstick for 19c. I was so proud. First present I ever purchased. She made me return it; It was too extravagant, and besides, she said, “every day is my birthday.” I cried. I knew her secret though. although a proper Jewish woman, sometimes she longed to be a gypsy.

Now, 60 years later, I’m reading “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank, here in the home where I live. Though nursed, I’m often blue that I can’t dance or paint anymore. But I love to read and write, and my friend, Julie, the librarian, kindly brought me Anne’s book, which I am now devouring.

Anne was an eloquent writer, describing her schoolmates and boyfriends. She began the diary at 13, disclosing her first period, having a special secret and becoming a woman. I too began to menstruate at 13, pondering the mystery. It’s horrid to imagine eight people in 1944, crammed into the Secret Annexe, handling eating, sleeping, hygiene and trying to stay alive, while whispering and tiptoeing to avoid discovery by the Gestapo.

To maintain normalcy, the adults set up a plan. The children continued their studies: Dutch, French, English, history, geography and art. Although Anne liked most subjects, she found algebra notably loathsome. I’m in that club too.

Her people have become my friends and family: Anne Frank herself, Edith, her Mummy, Otto, her beloved father, Margot, her sister, and the others hiding with them: the VanDaans, their son, Peter who was first, her friend, then later, her crush and confidant, Dr. Albert Dussel, the dentist and Moortjie, the cat. Four of Otto’s devoted employees provided food, supplies and world news, which kept them alive and boosted their morale.

After the war, Miep, a helper, found Anne’s diary in the demolished remains and rubble of the annexe. She gave it to Otto, the sole survivor of the group. He was stunned by Anne’s maturity and the breadth of her feelings. The Diary has been published in 67 languages, portrayed on stage and screen, and is considered one of the most moving accounts of the Holocaust.

For those of us beholding atrocity, Anne Frank is a beacon: humorous, inquisitive, forgiving, cheerful. Sometimes moody, though, she was nicknamed “the incurable chatterbox.” as she’d quarrel with others in the Secret Annexe they occupied for their 25 months in hiding.

My mom, Bella, shared a birthday with Anne Frank, June 12th, but didn’t know of it until years after Anne’s death. Bella lived to be 95. She loved reading as much as Anne did, and she wrote poetry and stories, but didn‘t start until middle-age. Anne, 15, died in March 1945, just two weeks before the war’s end, when she would have been liberated. In two years of hiding, Anne was devoted to writing in the diary, at times prosaic, sometimes distraught, frequently terrifying, but often funny, spiritual and uplifting.

If the war had only ended sooner, I imagine the writing that Anne could have produced and I envision Bella meeting her. Bella, born in 1913, Anne in 1929, 16 years her junior, they could have been aunt and niece; I see them sharing a Shabbat dinner, singing a Hanukah song; I picture them speaking one of their languages. They believed in the same things. Finally, I dream of them proudly sharing their writings, a mystery, a story of love and longing, a poem, and of course, on June 12th, their mutual birthday.

I dream of them walking hand in hand, pale wrinkled fingers holding a smooth teenaged palm. They come to a table set before them, on it matzoh brei with applesauce, a plate of potato latkes with sour cream. There are apples and honey, wine and rugalech. Bella and Anne eat heartily and shout for joy, no longer whispering or tiptoeing, no longer afraid to be Jewish women writers, no longer afraid at all.

PEN-082a-Anne Frank, Bella and Me.wps by Helen Kudatsky w:09/03/17 ei 09/19/17 694 wds 08 mn 99 Park St.#104 Brookline,MA 02446 C-617-939-3387 e-m: [email protected]

Luke Johnson

My story plot is of the fantasy/adventure type.

In the fictional town of Surron, Colorado (which is surrounded by high mountainsides from every angle, a tragedy occurs on September 5, 1963. Six-year old Robert “Bert” Aruson witnesses his drunken, abusive father murder his mother with a broken beer bottle. Advancing on him, the father sleeps on another discarded bottle and trips, impaling himself on the bottle with which he killed his wife. Robert runs off into the forest to escape his father to look of help, unaware of his father’s death. With his parents living far back into the woods, he ends becoming lost and spending the night in the forest. A mother bear, Dewa, with two cubs of her own, the boy Gemape and girl Biha, discover the young boy and adopt him into their family, christening him with the new name Nuun. Ten years later in 1973, Nuun has led a happy existence with his loving and supportive new family, having even made new friends like the crow Hai and the mouse Naeene. He even prevented unnecessary violence between his family and a wolf pack led by Dande and Gupa. Any hunters that come into the forest have their weapons stolen and permanently disposed of in the night by Nuun. By this time, Nuun and his actions have become something of an urban legend in Surron. Back in that town, the mayor Aaron Burdon (who resides upon a hill overlooking the town) runs the town, though he views it with contempt due to one incident. His younger brother, Reagan, was beaten by thugs hoping to steal money off of his rich person, leaving him with brain damage. Despite this, the townspeople started treating him and his brother differently afterwards, cruelly even. This has caused his hatred to ferment over the years until he comes up with a plan to destroy the town’s population with explosives at the upcoming July 4 picnic. His wealth and power make the workers unable to resist him, as they will become jobless should he imprisoned. “Nuun” comes across one of Burdon’s worksites and almost steals workers lunchbox, but is chased away. News soon spreads through the town and Nuun finds his happy life in danger of being shattered once again unless he can have assistance from friends both human and animal.

Luba

Nikita This is the story of me, Nikita, an orphaned girl, who didn’t know anything about her family. I was kept in the orphanage with a bunch of other girls. Ms.Keeper, the owner of the orphanage doesn’t tell anyone anything about themselves or their family. I didn’t know anything about myself, but everyone knew that in Ms.Keepers room there was a filing cabinet with documents of the real stories of our lives. Nobody ever dared to go in there though. Ms.Keeper looked like she was somewhere in the 30’s, she had grey hair, bags under her brown eyes, a slim body and a huge pimple on her long nose. She was not married. I have brown hair, brown eyes, freckles and a healthy, slim body.

I always thought of running away. I felt like I was in that orphanage forever. I remember growing up in there since I was a child and now that I’m 17 years old, I’m still here, hoping to find my family. But that, I thought was too unrealistic. I was sitting in an orphanage, hoping to find my family. No, I wanted to DO something to find my family. The only thing that held me back was Ms.Keeper and the thought that I really had no family. Ms.Keeper was always afraid of one of the girls running away, that’s why she made some workers put a stronger fence around the orphanage property. Ms.Keeper was also afraid of talking to the government. I thought so because the government will shut down her orphanage. One time, I overheard Ms.Keeper talking on the phone to the government and they said that it was illegal to not show the orphans their identity and who they are, but Ms.Keeper ignored them and kept talking about something else. Also, at 18 years old, you are free to leave the orphanage and become independent. I just turned 17. No one else was my age except another girl, aged 14 and all the rest were smaller than her. There was once a girl named Gabby who was the only person who was older than me. Just last year, she turned 18 and was supposed to go. On her birthday, Ms.Keeper made an announcement at the last moment that Gabby was leaving right now and is right by the door. Every girl ran out to give her hugs and goodbyes. Ms.Keeper didn’t even move. She didn’t even say bye. It was so cruel of her. We didn’t have a birthday cake with Gabby because Ms.Keeper threw her out the door on her birthday!

Everyday, Ms.Keeper lets us go outside for one hour, three times a day. We ate mostly sandwiches and drank water and sometimes juice. We also had some snacks, which were mostly fruits. We did school during the day too but this wasn’t real school. Ms.Keeper taught us everything. Ms.Keeper also bought us a TV, which was in the dining room. We mostly had everything we needed, except a family.

One day, when Ms.Keeper let us go outside, I was lying on the grass by myself at the farthest point from the orphanage. Then all of a sudden I heard someone coming. I looked up but saw no one. When I turned around, I saw a boy, looked like he was 15. He had brown hair, blue eyes and was tall. He said “hi” to me and I said “hi” back. We talked to each other for awhile until Ms.Keeper called us in. I really hoped that Ms.Keeper didn’t see me talk to that boy because she would punish me.

For the next three days, I talked to that boy over the fence every recess. He told me about his life and it really surprised me. He said he had a house as big as the whole orphanage (the orphanage is as big as a hotel). He said he had his mom and dad living with him, that he has money, any kind of drink, and lots of junk food. He played video games everyday and watched TV and also he quit school. His mom and dad don’t care about what he does as long as he’s home by midnight! When he told me this, I started thinking, is every life out there like his? What is everyone’s else’s life like? I couldn’t sleep that night or any other night after that day.

Soon, we became friends and he asked if the orphanage was boring. I didn’t even know what to say because it was alright living in the orphanage but compared to his life, it was nothing. I didn’t say anything and he asked if I wanted to run away to his house. I, of course, was surprised and didn’t say anything for awhile but then I said I would think about it. Ms.Keeper called us inside, and I don’t know why but she never caught me talking to him. Ms.Keeper usually stands by the door of the orphanage, looking into the field of how we are playing. I was farthest away from her so maybe she doesn’t see so well.

After those days, I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking of running away. But how was I supposed to run away? If I got caught, I would be punished and I would have to be a slave to everyone, washing dishes, sweeping, and cleaning. Besides, I couldn’t run away because we all slept in rooms with four people to each room. Our room was the farthest away from the exit. I would have to tip-toe (at night?!?) through the whole orphanage just to get to the exit. No, I couldn’t do it. I was too scared. But that boy kept assuring me that everything will be okay.

I talked it over with the boy and I decided to run away with him at night, at 11pm because he had to be home by 12pm. By 8pm, all the girls in the orphanage would be sleeping, but Ms.Keeper stays up till 10pm, listening to classical music in her favourite rocking chair. As not to wake Ms.Keeper, the boy suggested that he would come to my window at night and I would climb over. Our room was on the lowest level – level one- so it was the closest to the ground. It was supposed to happen in two days from then. I was very nervous and scared, and I kept looking at Ms.Keeper if she had any suspicions, but it didn’t look like it.

It was the day of the run. I packed all my stuff, which wasn’t really much. I put all my clothes in my pockets (it fit perfectly). I was wide awake that night, listening till Ms.Keeper turned off her classical music and went to bed. It was perfectly silent. You could hear every single breath of the girls. My tummy had a trillion butterflies in it and I couldn’t stop my heavy breathing. At 11pm, there was a quiet knock at my window and I knocked back. That was our signal for letting each other know we were ready. I then looked at everyone in the room. They were sound asleep. I opened the window and it’s super squeaky. I waited a moment to see if anyone woke up, but no one moved. I climbed over the window to the boy. I closed the window with a loud squeak and started running with the boy to wherever my feet let me go. It was a dark night and only the half-lit moon was our source of light. The boy led me through streets and streets of houses until we came to a huge house. It was so pretty. It looked like the orphanage but it had no spiderwebs. It was clean and super nice. It looked like they were rich to have all those diamond stuff on the door.

They boy opened the door and the light hurt my eyes. It was so bright in there, so big. The stairs were curved, like I only saw in fairy tales, and there was his mom standing in the doorway. She first smiled, but when she saw me, she made a confused face and came closer. I was so scared. What would his mom do? Did he tell his mom about me? My brain threw me a thousand questions to answer of which I didn’t know the answers for. The lady came closer and asked the boy slowly who I was. He told his mom that I was a friend from the orphanage. His mom got angry, her face started to turn red and she started to talk louder. She started saying that I’m filthy and that she doesn’t want to see me ever again and to get out off this house. I looked at the boy. He started to cry. I tear went down his cheek. He begged his mom to let her stay for the night but his mom didn’t budge. The boy’s mom shut the door on me and I was outside in the cold.

All of this was for nothing. This meet we had. All the recesses we talked, all the nights I didn’t sleep, and I couldn’t go back to the orphanage now. I was alone. I didn’t even know where to go. I got off the boys lawn and I sat down on the sidewalk, crying and I realized I didn’t even know what the boy’s name was! Suddenly, I heard a door open. I looked back to see if it was the boy’s mom. No, it wasn’t. I looked around and saw that the boy’s neighbor has opened the door and was calling me. The person at the door was a grandma. She told me to come in. I stood up and came inside. She told me that she heard the neighbors talking loudly so she went to see what the commotion was about. She asked me if I wanted to eat but I refused. She sent me to bed, not knowing anything about me. She was so kind to me. She sent me upstairs where I had my own room. I fell asleep very fast, and I slept till lunch the next day. I forgot all about the orphanage and went downstairs to meet my hero. She was making breakfast for me. We sat down at the table and she told me her name ( Grandma Laura ) and I told her all about my life. Every single thing. When I came to the part about the orphanage, her eyes widened.

Grandma Laura told me that many many years ago, she was the owner of the orphanage! The government fired her because they thought she wasn’t suitable for the job. When she went away, she made photocopies of the documents of the girls and kept them because the girls were so precious to her that she couldn’t just leave them. Grandma Laura stood up and went upstairs to go get them. When she came back down, she had a whole ton of documents! She found one by the name of Nikita.

That morning changed my life. She let me read my own document. It figures out that my real mom died while having me. My dad was still alive. My dad’s name was Walter Eggons. The grandma’s eyes widened when I told her the name of my dad. She told me that that was her husband! So Grandma Laura was my mom? She didn’t die? But Grandma told me the whole story. My dad, Walter, first married a lady named Agnes, and they had a baby named Nikita ( that was me) and during childbirth, Agnes died, but I lived. Later, my dad could no longer care after me so he dropped me off at the orphanage when I was 1 year’s old. For my dad, that was a hard decision. He had to work but he couldn’t leave me at home and there was no one to look after me. After my dad’s wife died, he married Laura. Laura was sitting in front of me, tears in her eyes and on her cheeks. She then told me the saddest news- my dad died of cancer a couple months ago. I started choking back sobs, and then tears. Grandma Laura was the only family I had. She was my stepmother.

It has been seven years since that happened and right now I am sitting with tears in my eyes, telling you this. I live with my stepmom and my husband, Jeffrey. Turns out that after that day, I lived with my stepmom for a couple months but then the boy’s mom found out that I was still in this neighborhood. The boy was so happy to hear that, and he told me his name- Jeffrey Jones. We soon joined our friendship together and a couple months later, we were married. Also,he wasn’t 15 years old, like I thought, he was 17.

-Written by Nikita Eggons-Jones

Nora

I hope you like this so far tell me what to improve on.

Gunnvor is the daugter of a powerful samurai but that is only thing that they have in common. Her father is a ruthless man who fights for war, on the other hand Gunnvor fights for humanity, no one can see her true colors because they want to believe she wants bloodshed as well like her father. She hates their thoughts, imprisoned in her fathers hand, the only way to escape, is for some one, like her, to save her in the outside.

As she swoon her sword with grace she sliced the broom like heads off. Her father and mother were observing her progress as a warrior, when she was do she went to her parents and bowed. She left leaving them behind a cold chill settled on them, the mother knew why the father ignored. Gunnvor loved to walk in the town down below her house, all the people were Good-hearted and kind in every way. She sometimes is jealous of the children for having such free lives. But she does not listen to her selfish conscience, she walked across the flower bridge as a gentle men suddenly bumped into her. “Oh sorry about that I didn’t see you,” Gunnvor quickly got up embarrassed for fall. She looked up and saw man that was strong but kind, she then noticed that he didn’t recognized him, he look like he was from another country. She then suddenly pulled her sword pointed it near his neck. the man was taken aback, he looked shocked and then said ” Yes did I say some thing offensive.”

“your not from here are you,” She moved a little closer, her sword started to dig into skin. “Yea I’m just traveling, I came from the neighboring kingdom, I thought they were in good terms…..right?” He backed away a little from the sword cutting his neck. Gunnvor then lowered her sword slowly, The man rubbed his neck just to find that it is bleeding “by the way what is your name,” she sheathed her sword in it’s case. “My name is gunnvor,” He quickly whipped his head to her “What the, Gunnvor, the daugter of the samurai.”

“Yes.” she turned and started to walk away and stop slightly turned her head ” And you,”

“Uh my name is Cota.” he said then Gunnvor walked away, when she arrived at home she swept past her father to her bed room. That night she could not stop thinking of Cota, she thought how strange he was dressed and the way he looked. The next how ever her father again trained gunnvor, the train this time was diffrent, he was pushing her to far.

Many days have past and Gunnvor noticed that Cota was spotted many times near her house. Then when she training with her father which was basically torture, Cota came up to her father ” You will stop hurting her,” He said slowly and manically. However he was not moved “My wife has convinced you to protect her,”

“No I came In my own accord.” The father then spun and grabbed his sword and pointed to cota. “Well then can fight me,”

“We”l see,” cota grabbed his sword and the two fought, they fought for a few hours and the father was vanquished. Cota then went to Gunnvor and asked her hand in marriage.

Luba Lishchenko

Nikita This is the story of me, Nikita, an orphaned girl, who didn’t know anything about her family. I was kept in the orphanage with a bunch of other girls. Ms.Keeper, the owner of the orphanage doesn’t tell anyone anything about themselves or their family. I didn’t know anything about myself, but everyone knew that in Ms.Keepers room there was a filing cabinet with documents of the real stories of our lives. Nobody ever dared to go in there though. Ms.Keeper looked like she was somewhere in the 30’s, she had grey hair, bags under her brown eyes, a slim body and a huge pimple on her long nose. She was not married. I have brown hair, brown eyes, freckles and a healthy, slim body. I always thought of running away. I felt like I was in that orphanage forever. I remember growing up in there since I was a child and now that I’m 17 years old, I’m still here, hoping to find my family. But that, I thought was too unrealistic. I was sitting in an orphanage, hoping to find my family. No, I wanted to DO something to find my family. The only thing that held me back was Ms.Keeper and the thought that I really had no family. Ms.Keeper was always afraid of one of the girls running away, that’s why she made some workers put a stronger fence around the orphanage property. Ms.Keeper was also afraid of talking to the government. I thought so because the government will shut down her orphanage. One time, I overheard Ms.Keeper talking on the phone to the government and they said that it was illegal to not show the orphans their identity and who they are, but Ms.Keeper ignored them and kept talking about something else. Also, at 18 years old, you are free to leave the orphanage and become independent. I just turned 17. No one else was my age except another girl, aged 14 and all the rest were smaller than her. There was once a girl named Gabby who was the only person who was older than me. Just last year, she turned 18 and was supposed to go. On her birthday, Ms.Keeper made an announcement at the last moment that Gabby was leaving right now and is right by the door. Every girl ran out to give her hugs and goodbyes. Ms.Keeper didn’t even move. She didn’t even say bye. It was so cruel of her. We didn’t have a birthday cake with Gabby because Ms.Keeper threw her out the door on her birthday! Everyday, Ms.Keeper lets us go outside for one hour, three times a day. We ate mostly sandwiches and drank water and sometimes juice. We also had some snacks, which were mostly fruits. We did school during the day too but this wasn’t real school. Ms.Keeper taught us everything. Ms.Keeper also bought us a TV, which was in the dining room. We mostly had everything we needed, except a family. One day, when Ms.Keeper let us go outside, I was lying on the grass by myself at the farthest point from the orphanage. Then all of a sudden I heard someone coming. I looked up but saw no one. When I turned around, I saw a boy, looked like he was 15. He had brown hair, blue eyes and was tall. He said “hi” to me and I said “hi” back. We talked to each other for awhile until Ms.Keeper called us in. I really hoped that Ms.Keeper didn’t see me talk to that boy because she would punish me. For the next three days, I talked to that boy over the fence every recess. He told me about his life and it really surprised me. He said he had a house as big as the whole orphanage (the orphanage is as big as a hotel). He said he had his mom and dad living with him, that he has money, any kind of drink, and lots of junk food. He played video games everyday and watched TV and also he quit school. His mom and dad don’t care about what he does as long as he’s home by midnight! When he told me this, I started thinking, is every life out there like his? What is everyone’s else’s life like? I couldn’t sleep that night or any other night after that day. Soon, we became friends and he asked if the orphanage was boring. I didn’t even know what to say because it was alright living in the orphanage but compared to his life, it was nothing. I didn’t say anything and he asked if I wanted to run away to his house. I, of course, was surprised and didn’t say anything for awhile but then I said I would think about it. Ms.Keeper called us inside, and I don’t know why but she never caught me talking to him. Ms.Keeper usually stands by the door of the orphanage, looking into the field of how we are playing. I was farthest away from her so maybe she doesn’t see so well. After those days, I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking of running away. But how was I supposed to run away? If I got caught, I would be punished and I would have to be a slave to everyone, washing dishes, sweeping, and cleaning. Besides, I couldn’t run away because we all slept in rooms with four people to each room. Our room was the farthest away from the exit. I would have to tip-toe (at night?!?) through the whole orphanage just to get to the exit. No, I couldn’t do it. I was too scared. But that boy kept assuring me that everything will be okay. I talked it over with the boy and I decided to run away with him at night, at 11pm because he had to be home by 12pm. By 8pm, all the girls in the orphanage would be sleeping, but Ms.Keeper stays up till 10pm, listening to classical music in her favourite rocking chair. As not to wake Ms.Keeper, the boy suggested that he would come to my window at night and I would climb over. Our room was on the lowest level – level one- so it was the closest to the ground. It was supposed to happen in two days from then. I was very nervous and scared, and I kept looking at Ms.Keeper if she had any suspicions, but it didn’t look like it. It was the day of the run. I packed all my stuff, which wasn’t really much. I put all my clothes in my pockets (it fit perfectly). I was wide awake that night, listening till Ms.Keeper turned off her classical music and went to bed. It was perfectly silent. You could hear every single breath of the girls. My tummy had a trillion butterflies in it and I couldn’t stop my heavy breathing. At 11pm, there was a quiet knock at my window and I knocked back. That was our signal for letting each other know we were ready. I then looked at everyone in the room. They were sound asleep. I opened the window and it’s super squeaky. I waited a moment to see if anyone woke up, but no one moved. I climbed over the window to the boy. I closed the window with a loud squeak and started running with the boy to wherever my feet let me go. It was a dark night and only the half-lit moon was our source of light. The boy led me through streets and streets of houses until we came to a huge house. It was so pretty. It looked like the orphanage but it had no spiderwebs. It was clean and super nice. It looked like they were rich to have all those diamond stuff on the door. They boy opened the door and the light hurt my eyes. It was so bright in there, so big. The stairs were curved, like I only saw in fairy tales, and there was his mom standing in the doorway. She first smiled, but when she saw me, she made a confused face and came closer. I was so scared. What would his mom do? Did he tell his mom about me? My brain threw me a thousand questions to answer of which I didn’t know the answers for. The lady came closer and asked the boy slowly who I was. He told his mom that I was a friend from the orphanage. His mom got angry, her face started to turn red and she started to talk louder. She started saying that I’m filthy and that she doesn’t want to see me ever again and to get out off this house. I looked at the boy. He started to cry. I tear went down his cheek. He begged his mom to let her stay for the night but his mom didn’t budge. The boy’s mom shut the door on me and I was outside in the cold. All of this was for nothing. This meet we had. All the recesses we talked, all the nights I didn’t sleep, and I couldn’t go back to the orphanage now. I was alone. I didn’t even know where to go. I got off the boys lawn and I sat down on the sidewalk, crying and I realized I didn’t even know what the boy’s name was! Suddenly, I heard a door open. I looked back to see if it was the boy’s mom. No, it wasn’t. I looked around and saw that the boy’s neighbor has opened the door and was calling me. The person at the door was a grandma. She told me to come in. I stood up and came inside. She told me that she heard the neighbors talking loudly so she went to see what the commotion was about. She asked me if I wanted to eat but I refused. She sent me to bed, not knowing anything about me. She was so kind to me. She sent me upstairs where I had my own room. I fell asleep very fast, and I slept till lunch the next day. I forgot all about the orphanage and went downstairs to meet my hero. She was making breakfast for me. We sat down at the table and she told me her name ( Grandma Laura ) and I told her all about my life. Every single thing. When I came to the part about the orphanage, her eyes widened. Grandma Laura told me that many many years ago, she was the owner of the orphanage! The government fired her because they thought she wasn’t suitable for the job. When she went away, she made photocopies of the documents of the girls and kept them because the girls were so precious to her that she couldn’t just leave them. Grandma Laura stood up and went upstairs to go get them. When she came back down, she had a whole ton of documents! She found one by the name of Nikita. That morning changed my life. She let me read my own document. It figures out that my real mom died while having me. My dad was still alive. My dad’s name was Walter Eggons. The grandma’s eyes widened when I told her the name of my dad. She told me that that was her husband! So Grandma Laura was my mom? She didn’t die? But Grandma told me the whole story. My dad, Walter, first married a lady named Agnes, and they had a baby named Nikita ( that was me) and during childbirth, Agnes died, but I lived. Later, my dad could no longer care after me so he dropped me off at the orphanage when I was 1 year’s old. For my dad, that was a hard decision. He had to work but he couldn’t leave me at home and there was no one to look after me. After my dad’s wife died, he married Laura. Laura was sitting in front of me, tears in her eyes and on her cheeks. She then told me the saddest news- my dad died of cancer a couple months ago. I started choking back sobs, and then tears. Grandma Laura was the only family I had. She was my stepmother. It has been seven years since that happened and right now I am sitting with tears in my eyes, telling you this. I live with my stepmom and my husband, Jeffrey. Turns out that after that day, I lived with my stepmom for a couple months but then the boy’s mom found out that I was still in this neighborhood. The boy was so happy to hear that, and he told me his name- Jeffrey Jones. We soon joined our friendship together and a couple months later, we were married. Also,he wasn’t 15 years old, like I thought, he was 17. -Written by Nikita Eggons-Jones

Retarted Stuff

Yoyoyo its generikb here and today we are playing roller coaster tycoon

John Smith

Anyone got ideas for a short story titled as Leornard’s Fatal Oversight. In need of help asap.

Mary M

Ugh, this is getting do frustrating! I thought to myself as I struggled through the streets. My ankles kept twisting every time I slipped. Heels are so not comfy. I shouldn’t have worn them. As if my struggle wasn’t enough, people were pushing me as they passed me by. I was being shoved left and right amidst the bustling sidewalks of New York. Feeling fed up, I decided to lean onto a nearby store to regain my balance. What an awful idea it was. Unfortunately, I have miscalculated the distance between me and the store and I ended up leaning on thin air. I tried to right my footing before it was too late but I ended up tripping on my own feet. With a loud oomph I slammed into a passerby. Papers went flying around us as we both fell to the ground.

“Oh my gosh! I am so sorry.” I tried to hurriedly stand up but I ended flat on the ground again. “I didn’t mean to! I was just trying to lean on the wall to regain my balance since it’s the first time to wear heels, and oh my god, it is very hard and painful.”

The person nodded quietly and started gathering the papers. I got to my knees and tried to help. “I was supposed to be looking smart for today’s meeting, but I don’t think it’s been working out so well. I bet I look as smart as a baboon’s butt.” I heard the person chuckle but I went on with my rant, “I also bet that I am a total mess; I don’t how will I meet everyone at work this way. Oh man! They sure will give me an earful of criticism!” I didn’t realize I had been holding on to the few papers I collected while he tried to pull them from my grasp. “Oh, I am so sorry, once again,” I said still holding on to the papers while I got up, “I didn’t realize I was holding on to the documents…it’s not like I’ve read them; I’m just guessing they were documents as your suit looks neat and yeah.” I tugged gently on the lapel of the suit and finally raised my eyes to his face. My eyes probably widened as I saw him for the first time. To cut it short, he was hot! Like smoking salmon hot; or more like hot chili pepper that Indians eat hot! Now I’ll give all the details, I know you want them…I would want them if I was listening to one of my friends telling me such a story. Anyways, he stood a good foot or so taller than me. He had light brown hair styled backwards. His angular, defined jaw was covered with a five o’clock shadow. Bright hazel eyes shone with amusement as a slight smile covered his lips. “I don’t usually talk to strangers as much as I do. God! I’m coming off as talkative! I am not usually the talkative type; I seriously don’t know what is wrong with me today. And whoa, you look handsome,” my eyes widened in shock as he raised both eyebrows, “Did I say that out loud? Oh my god, I said that out loud. I didn’t mean to say that…I don’t mean you’re not handsome, because you’re one hell of a man; I just mean…Ugh! Now I’m coming off as a weird man-gazing half-crazed stalker. That is if I’m not fully crazed. I don’t think I’m making any sense…I should probably get going.” I went to turn around when I felt a tug onto something I’m holding to. With a confused look I looked to my hands and found the stack of papers. With a not so faint blush, I handed him the papers, “I’m sorry again.” I threw my hand behind my shoulder pointing in the opposite direction, “I should probably get going,” I said with a sheepish smile. I turned to leave again, but I was stopped…again. He cleared his throat, “I think you’re forgetting something.” “Um…no, I think I’m,” I turned his way to find him holding my bag. I awkwardly stepped to take it and said, “Thanks. I’ll see you around, not that I know where you are…I’ll just get going.” I took my bag and headed off in the opposite direction before I could embarrass myself any further. As I waited for the subway, I recalled what just happened and face palmed. I took the short ride to the office to compose myself. I was in for a surprise once I entered the meeting room, though. The man I bumped into was standing at the head of the table. “Good morning everyone, before starting today’s meeting, I would like to introduce you to the company’s new CEO…” Well, I wasn’t expecting this. I sat rigidly on the chair once we were told to. “Good morning everyone, I am Nathaniel and I am looking forwards to working with everyone on this team,” he said with a smile on his face. “Mr. Nathaniel, I would like you to meet our best employee, Ms. Felicity Brown.”My boss pointed my way and I wish he hadn’t. Nathaniel’s eyes found mine. They were filled with amusement. Oh this was going to be a long day.

And this, kids, is how I met your father.

Joseph West

A great (and family friendly) writing site is http://www.storybird.com

I might write a story about a girl who was born a princess but all her family died on a ship except her aunt and cousin…she gets taken to an orphanage and everyone else thinks she died too and she gets adopted a few Years later she goes to school and everyone is talking about her…one days she finds out that… oh u want to know well I’ll probs write a story about it on wattpad so u can look for it, it will be called…A princess???

Dianelwnz

Four new members have a look at couch on top of Crestwood center ship

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WRIGHT TWP. In all perhaps had to be the most significant reorganization matching presented among Luzerne regional 11 institutions zones, Crestwood school panel swore located in four sign ups compared to the ne member, repairing incumbents which are either of them missing in action unique reelection tenders belonging to the primary or elected to get not to research another phase.

wayne Brogna, Stacey Haddix, Kimberly Spath and thus Lauren McCurdy got been sworn appearing in thursday night. The four bought conducted completely considering that the to produce enhancement community. really earning incumbent from a big part that do survived habitual grievance in past times two very long time came anna Hollock Bibla, which will garnered your ex first four year terms the particular snowboard. you become a member of in 2017 because of profitable an exclusive two year sitting.

The aboard had been proven a good solid director in just cost Jones deleted the primary. He extended in the direction this quite get-together ahead departing the barrier. But contact considering his or place for year isn an exciting new face. really 5 4 election with all four rookies in opposition of, james Costello vice president in the past year came branded president.

following the meeting, Brogna documented can lone even talk to gain themselves even so that he fully Costello ran into finished loads of dubious ballots the actual game board during the last two growth cycles. he explained he’s talked containing Costello together n’ your own questions that can the pup, but admitted no sign ups may possibly well most try out the us president job, if he or she. so which he wasn safe voting for Costello.

barry Boone is unanimously specified as vice chairman, Maureen McGovern came chosen assistant, and after that Brogna been recently branded as treasurer.

all of the reconstituted block have their first finding for normal establishment votes arrange for Dec. 19, Five days right after the contract over curious law firms in order to post proposals on a structured feasibility study, sense my blackboard can have to be able to merit a legal contract.

Four newbies your day Crestwood their school panel accept the promise of health care office at some stage in thurs reorganization talking. right between lead are actually Stacy Haddix, Kimberly Spath, Lauren McCurdy and as a consequence randy Brogna. 17 public speaking.

while prompt wednesday authorities chairman paul Belusko should become aware of if will probably be at center arena this booked careers class a better or at site of the event thus more people beautiful vietnamese women may easily give priority to.

Belusko proclaimed she will be polling an additional four authorities musicians in email’s over the past weekend on recommendation mayor choose George light brown undertaken especially during tuesday night time seeing replace the to and time production for the.

looking to you can keep them respond back to me made by the following thursday, Belusko considered that Friday.

maybe authorities decides to transfer an appointment it provides a week in order to place and with seating rather than a unique fourth area chambers.

was regarded as thinking that it is recently doing open talking long before the performance visit someplace (home buyers and thus local authority or council) may questionthings just to associated with us transfer to the author’s your job session. which unfortunately whatever i thinking about, Belusko claims.

you will most likely plumbing service in sunday night-time show results demonstrations that when local authority or council could not vote on awaiting the law. comments together with inquires are allowed even though council monday date the general public get togethers. timetabled start.

village owner david Gazenski suggested it authorities call on which direction to start.

over council if that they move this approach to a different store, Gazenski alleged.

nearly as Belusko may reaching out to authorities, so too will white because of main receiving area for the mans professional recommendation.

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The short story is a fiction writer’s laboratory: here is where you can experiment with characters, plots, and ideas without the heavy lifting of writing a novel. Learning how to write a short story is essential to mastering the art of storytelling . With far fewer words to worry about, storytellers can make many more mistakes—and strokes of genius!—through experimentation and the fun of fiction writing.

Nonetheless, the art of writing short stories is not easy to master. How do you tell a complete story in so few words? What does a story need to have in order to be successful? Whether you’re struggling with how to write a short story outline, or how to fully develop a character in so few words, this guide is your starting point.

Famous authors like Virginia Woolf, Haruki Murakami, and Agatha Christie have used the short story form to play with ideas before turning those stories into novels. Whether you want to master the elements of fiction, experiment with novel ideas, or simply have fun with storytelling, here’s everything you need on how to write a short story step by step.

How to Write a Short Story: Contents

The Core Elements of a Short Story

How to write a short story outline, how to write a short story step by step, how to write a short story: length and setting, how to write a short story: point of view, how to write a short story: protagonist, antagonist, motivation, how to write a short story: characters, how to write a short story: prose, how to write a short story: story structure, how to write a short story: capturing reader interest, where to read and submit short stories.

There’s no secret formula to writing a short story. However, a good short story will have most or all of the following elements:

  • A protagonist with a certain desire or need. It is essential for the protagonist to want something they don’t have, otherwise they will not drive the story forward.
  • A clear dilemma. We don’t need much backstory to see how the dilemma started; we’re primarily concerned with how the protagonist resolves it.
  • A decision. What does the protagonist do to resolve their dilemma?
  • A climax. In Freytag’s Pyramid , the climax of a story is when the tension reaches its peak, and the reader discovers the outcome of the protagonist’s decision(s).
  • An outcome. How does the climax change the protagonist? Are they a different person? Do they have a different philosophy or outlook on life?

Of course, short stories also utilize the elements of fiction , such as a setting , plot , and point of view . It helps to study these elements and to understand their intricacies. But, when it comes to laying down the skeleton of a short story, the above elements are what you need to get started.

Note: a short story rarely, if ever, has subplots. The focus should be entirely on a single, central storyline. Subplots will either pull focus away from the main story, or else push the story into the territory of novellas and novels.

The shorter the story is, the fewer of these elements are essentials. If you’re interested in writing short-short stories, check out our guide on how to write flash fiction .

Some writers are “pantsers”—they “write by the seat of their pants,” making things up on the go with little more than an idea for a story. Other writers are “plotters,” meaning they decide the story’s structure in advance of writing it.

You don’t need a short story outline to write a good short story. But, if you’d like to give yourself some scaffolding before putting words on the page, this article answers the question of how to write a short story outline:

https://writers.com/how-to-write-a-story-outline

There are many ways to approach the short story craft, but this method is tried-and-tested for writers of all levels. Here’s how to write a short story step-by-step.

1. Start With an Idea

Often, generating an idea is the hardest part. You want to write, but what will you write about?

What’s more, it’s easy to start coming up with ideas and then dismissing them. You want to tell an authentic, original story, but everything you come up with has already been written, it seems.

Here are a few tips:

  • Originality presents itself in your storytelling, not in your ideas. For example, the premise of both Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ostrovsky’s The Snow Maiden are very similar: two men and two women, in intertwining love triangles, sort out their feelings for each other amidst mischievous forest spirits, love potions, and friendship drama. The way each story is written makes them very distinct from one another, to the point where, unless it’s pointed out to you, you might not even notice the similarities.
  • An idea is not a final draft. You will find that exploring the possibilities of your story will generate something far different than the idea you started out with. This is a good thing—it means you made the story your own!
  • Experiment with genres and tropes. Even if you want to write literary fiction , pay attention to the narrative structures that drive genre stories, and practice your storytelling using those structures. Again, you will naturally make the story your own simply by playing with ideas.

If you’re struggling simply to find ideas, try out this prompt generator , or pull prompts from this Twitter .

2. Outline, OR Conceive Your Characters

If you plan to outline, do so once you’ve generated an idea. You can learn about how to write a short story outline earlier in this article.

If you don’t plan to outline, you should at least start with a character or characters. Certainly, you need a protagonist, but you should also think about any characters that aid or inhibit your protagonist’s journey.

When thinking about character development, ask the following questions:

  • What is my character’s background? Where do they come from, how did they get here, where do they want to be?
  • What does your character desire the most? This can be both material or conceptual, like “fitting in” or “being loved.”
  • What is your character’s fatal flaw? In other words, what limitation prevents the protagonist from achieving their desire? Often, this flaw is a blind spot that directly counters their desire. For example, self hatred stands in the way of a protagonist searching for love.
  • How does your character think and speak? Think of examples, both fictional and in the real world, who might resemble your character.

In short stories, there are rarely more characters than a protagonist, an antagonist (if relevant), and a small group of supporting characters. The more characters you include, the longer your story will be. Focus on making only one or two characters complex: it is absolutely okay to have the rest of the cast be flat characters that move the story along.

Learn more about character development here:

https://writers.com/character-development-definition

3. Write Scenes Around Conflict

Once you have an outline or some characters, start building scenes around conflict. Every part of your story, including the opening sentence, should in some way relate to the protagonist’s conflict.

Conflict is the lifeblood of storytelling: without it, the reader doesn’t have a clear reason to keep reading. Loveable characters are not enough, as the story has to give the reader something to root for.

Take, for example, Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story The Cask of Amontillado . We start at the conflict: the narrator has been slighted by Fortunato, and plans to exact revenge. Every scene in the story builds tension and follows the protagonist as he exacts this revenge.

In your story, start writing scenes around conflict, and make sure each paragraph and piece of dialogue relates, in some way, to your protagonist’s unmet desires.

Read more about writing effective conflict here:

What is Conflict in a Story? Definition and Examples

4. Write Your First Draft

The scenes you build around conflict will eventually be stitched into a complete story. Make sure as the story progresses that each scene heightens the story’s tension, and that this tension remains unbroken until the climax resolves whether or not your protagonist meets their desires.

Don’t stress too hard on writing a perfect story. Rather, take Anne Lamott’s advice, and “write a shitty first draft.” The goal is not to pen a complete story at first draft; rather, it’s to set ideas down on paper. You are simply, as Shannon Hale suggests, “shoveling sand into a box so that later [you] can build castles.”

5. Step Away, Breathe, Revise

Whenever Stephen King finishes a novel, he puts it in a drawer and doesn’t think about it for 6 weeks. With short stories, you probably don’t need to take as long of a break. But, the idea itself is true: when you’ve finished your first draft, set it aside for a while. Let yourself come back to the story with fresh eyes, so that you can confidently revise, revise, revise .

In revision, you want to make sure each word has an essential place in the story, that each scene ramps up tension, and that each character is clearly defined. The culmination of these elements allows a story to explore complex themes and ideas, giving the reader something to think about after the story has ended.

6. Compare Against Our Short Story Checklist

Does your story have everything it needs to succeed? Compare it against this short story checklist, as written by our instructor Rosemary Tantra Bensko.

Below is a collection of practical short story writing tips by Writers.com instructor Rosemary Tantra Bensko . Each paragraph is its own checklist item: a core element of short story writing advice to follow unless you have clear reasons to the contrary. We hope it’s a helpful resource in your own writing.

Update 9/1/2020: We’ve now made a summary of Rosemary’s short story checklist available as a PDF download . Enjoy!

a short creative writing story

Click to download

Your short story is 1000 to 7500 words in length.

The story takes place in one time period, not spread out or with gaps other than to drive someplace, sleep, etc. If there are those gaps, there is a space between the paragraphs, the new paragraph beginning flush left, to indicate a new scene.

Each scene takes place in one location, or in continual transit, such as driving a truck or flying in a plane.

Unless it’s a very lengthy Romance story, in which there may be two Point of View (POV) characters, there is one POV character. If we are told what any character secretly thinks, it will only be the POV character. The degree to which we are privy to the unexpressed thoughts, memories and hopes of the POV character remains consistent throughout the story.

You avoid head-hopping by only having one POV character per scene, even in a Romance. You avoid straying into even brief moments of telling us what other characters think other than the POV character. You use words like “apparently,” “obviously,” or “supposedly” to suggest how non-POV-characters think rather than stating it.

Your short story has one clear protagonist who is usually the character changing most.

Your story has a clear antagonist, who generally makes the protagonist change by thwarting his goals.

(Possible exception to the two short story writing tips above: In some types of Mystery and Action stories, particularly in a series, etc., the protagonist doesn’t necessarily grow personally, but instead his change relates to understanding the antagonist enough to arrest or kill him.)

The protagonist changes with an Arc arising out of how he is stuck in his Flaw at the beginning of the story, which makes the reader bond with him as a human, and feel the pain of his problems he causes himself. (Or if it’s the non-personal growth type plot: he’s presented at the beginning of the story with a high-stakes problem that requires him to prevent or punish a crime.)

The protagonist usually is shown to Want something, because that’s what people normally do, defining their personalities and behavior patterns, pushing them onward from day to day. This may be obvious from the beginning of the story, though it may not become heightened until the Inciting Incident , which happens near the beginning of Act 1. The Want is usually something the reader sort of wants the character to succeed in, while at the same time, knows the Want is not in his authentic best interests. This mixed feeling in the reader creates tension.

The protagonist is usually shown to Need something valid and beneficial, but at first, he doesn’t recognize it, admit it, honor it, integrate it with his Want, or let the Want go so he can achieve the Need instead. Ideally, the Want and Need can be combined in a satisfying way toward the end for the sake of continuity of forward momentum of victoriously achieving the goals set out from the beginning. It’s the encounters with the antagonist that forcibly teach the protagonist to prioritize his Needs correctly and overcome his Flaw so he can defeat the obstacles put in his path.

The protagonist in a personal growth plot needs to change his Flaw/Want but like most people, doesn’t automatically do that when faced with the problem. He tries the easy way, which doesn’t work. Only when the Crisis takes him to a low point does he boldly change enough to become victorious over himself and the external situation. What he learns becomes the Theme.

Each scene shows its main character’s goal at its beginning, which aligns in a significant way with the protagonist’s overall goal for the story. The scene has a “charge,” showing either progress toward the goal or regression away from the goal by the ending. Most scenes end with a negative charge, because a story is about not obtaining one’s goals easily, until the end, in which the scene/s end with a positive charge.

The protagonist’s goal of the story becomes triggered until the Inciting Incident near the beginning, when something happens to shake up his life. This is the only major thing in the story that is allowed to be a random event that occurs to him.

Your characters speak differently from one another, and their dialogue suggests subtext, what they are really thinking but not saying: subtle passive-aggressive jibes, their underlying emotions, etc.

Your characters are not illustrative of ideas and beliefs you are pushing for, but come across as real people.

Your language is succinct, fresh and exciting, specific, colorful, avoiding clichés and platitudes. Sentence structures vary. In Genre stories, the language is simple, the symbolism is direct, and words are well-known, and sentences are relatively short. In Literary stories , you are freer to use more sophisticated ideas, words, sentence structures, styles , and underlying metaphors and implied motifs.

Your plot elements occur in the proper places according to classical Three Act Structure (or Freytag’s Pyramid ) so the reader feels he has vicariously gone through a harrowing trial with the protagonist and won, raising his sense of hope and possibility. Literary short stories may be more subtle, with lower stakes, experimenting beyond classical structures like the Hero’s Journey. They can be more like vignettes sometimes, or even slice-of-life, though these types are hard to place in publications.

In Genre stories, all the questions are answered, threads are tied up, problems are solved, though the results of carnage may be spread over the landscape. In Literary short stories, you are free to explore uncertainty, ambiguity, and inchoate, realistic endings that suggest multiple interpretations, and unresolved issues.

Some Literary stories may be nonrealistic, such as with Surrealism, Absurdism, New Wave Fabulism, Weird and Magical Realism . If this is what you write, they still need their own internal logic and they should not be bewildering as to the what the reader is meant to experience, whether it’s a nuanced, unnameable mood or a trip into the subconscious.

Literary stories may also go beyond any label other than Experimental. For example, a story could be a list of To Do items on a paper held by a magnet to a refrigerator for the housemate to read. The person writing the list may grow more passive-aggressive and manipulative as the list grows, and we learn about the relationship between the housemates through the implied threats and cajoling.

Your short story is suspenseful, meaning readers hope the protagonist will achieve his best goal, his Need, by the Climax battle against the antagonist.

Your story entertains. This is especially necessary for Genre short stories.

The story captivates readers at the very beginning with a Hook, which can be a puzzling mystery to solve, an amazing character’s or narrator’s Voice, an astounding location, humor, a startling image, or a world the reader wants to become immersed in.

Expository prose (telling, like an essay) takes up very, very little space in your short story, and it does not appear near the beginning. The story is in Narrative format instead, in which one action follows the next. You’ve removed every unnecessary instance of Expository prose and replaced it with showing Narrative. Distancing words like “used to,” “he would often,” “over the years, he,” “each morning, he” indicate that you are reporting on a lengthy time period, summing it up, rather than sticking to Narrative format, in which immediacy makes the story engaging.

You’ve earned the right to include Expository Backstory by making the reader yearn for knowing what happened in the past to solve a mystery. This can’t possibly happen at the beginning, obviously. Expository Backstory does not take place in the first pages of your story.

Your reader cares what happens and there are high stakes (especially important in Genre stories). Your reader worries until the end, when the protagonist survives, succeeds in his quest to help the community, gets the girl, solves or prevents the crime, achieves new scientific developments, takes over rule of his realm, etc.

Every sentence is compelling enough to urge the reader to read the next one—because he really, really wants to—instead of doing something else he could be doing. Your story is not going to be assigned to people to analyze in school like the ones you studied, so you have found a way from the beginning to intrigue strangers to want to spend their time with your words.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or want to publish your own stories, you’ll find great literary journals for writers of all backgrounds at this article:

https://writers.com/short-story-submissions

Learn How to Write a Short Story at Writers.com

The short story takes an hour to learn and a lifetime to master. Learn how to write a short story with Writers.com. Our upcoming fiction courses will give you the ropes to tell authentic, original short stories that captivate and entrance your readers.

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Rosemary – Is there any chance you could add a little something to your checklist? I’d love to know the best places to submit our short stories for publication. Thanks so much.

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Hi, Kim Hanson,

Some good places to find publications specific to your story are NewPages, Poets and Writers, Duotrope, and The Submission Grinder.

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“ In Genre stories, all the questions are answered, threads are tied up, problems are solved, though the results of carnage may be spread over the landscape.”

Not just no but NO.

See for example the work of MacArthur Fellow Kelly Link.

[…] How to Write a Short Story: The Short Story Checklist […]

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Thank you for these directions and tips. It’s very encouraging to someone like me, just NOW taking up writing.

[…] Writers.com. A great intro to writing. https://writers.com/how-to-write-a-short-story […]

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Hello: I started to write seriously in the late 70’s. I loved to write in High School in the early 60’s but life got in the way. Around the 00’s many of the obstacles disappeared. Since then I have been writing more, and some of my work was vanilla transgender stories. Here in 2024 transgender stories have become tiresome because I really don’t have much in common with that mind set.

The glare of an editor that could potentially pay me is quite daunting, so I would like to start out unpaid to see where that goes. I am not sure if a writer’s agent would be a good fit for me. My work life was in the Trades, not as some sort of Academic. That alone causes timidity, but I did read about a fiction writer who had been a house painter.

This is my first effort to publish since the late 70’s. My pseudonym would perhaps include Ahabidah.

Gwen Boucher.

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Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Authority Self-Publishing

104 Of The Best Short Story Ideas And Prompts To Grab Your Readers

So, you want to write a short story — and not just a mildly entertaining short story but one your readers can’t put down until they’ve finished it.

You want a story that gets reactions like “Wow!” and “How did you do that?” and “Do you have more like this?”

What writer doesn’t want that kind of reaction, right?

And since short stories are short, you have less time to wait for your readers’ reactions — but you also have less time to grab their attention.

That’s why a great topic is worth its weight in gold when it comes to writing these little gems.

Even with the challenges inherent to short story writing, you’ll most likely finish a short story in far less time than you would a novel.

So, you’ll get to explore more story topics in less time than if you were writing longer works.

But how do you generate short story ideas that are worth the time you’ll invest in crafting a short story your readers will love?

If you’ve been writing for long enough, you already know good story ideas are everywhere, and you might even have some in mind as you read this.

But which of those ideas should be on your shortlist for story writing projects?

And if you don’t have any great ideas at the moment, where do you get some?

Short Story Idea Generator (how to generate story ideas)

Short story writing exercises, generating story ideas with the short story formula, timeless themes and emotional impact, 35 short story ideas, 69 short story writing prompts.

When it comes to generating new story ideas, you can take more than one approach. You might try these three:

man typing on laptop short story ideas

  • Writing exercises
  • Writing prompts
  • The Short Story Formula

Think of your school days when your English teacher assigned an essay or invited you to write a paragraph in answer to a question.

Maybe all you had to do was write one complete sentence. Or maybe your teacher wanted a haiku — or a rhyming couplet.

School isn’t the only place for writing exercises , though. If you’ve ever joined a creative writing group, your leader may have encouraged you to spend some time each day freewriting or writing a character sketch .

The purpose of writing exercises is to practice writing — or to practice a specific kind of writing (voice journaling, essays, persuasive ad copy, song lyrics, etc.).

So, whether it’s NaNoWriMo, Twitter’s #VSS (Very Short Story) challenge, or writing sprints, the more time you invest in these exercises, and the more you open yourself up to constructive criticism, the more quickly your writing will improve.

The most effective writing prompts and writing exercises make use of themes with a history of captivating and inspiring others. Because of this, either one might lead you to a story idea that you can hardly wait to explore.

Take one (or more) of those popular themes and combine them with a context that is both unique and relatable, and you have the formula for a compelling story idea.

Story writing ideas are generally more fully developed than writing prompts. It’s not unusual, for example, to begin with a writing prompt , develop it into a story idea, and then write the actual story.

And don’t beat yourself up if the first idea that comes to mind is a cliché. You’re human, and familiar ideas are the easiest to think of. Nothing wrong with that. The first idea is like a first draft , in that it gives you something to start with.

And don’t be afraid to mix it up — literally. Take one idea, mix it up with another, and play with it for a while. Who knows how you might juice up your story idea without even trying?

The best fiction story ideas make use of timeless themes. You’ll find one or more of the ten themes that follow in most stories that have been written, read, and shared over the centuries.

  • The End of a Relationship
  • Rags to Riches
  • Scars / Wounds
  • Ghosts / the Paranormal
  • Deepest Fears
  • A Soulmate Encounter
  • A Journey Interrupted
  • Monsters (human or otherwise)

The story idea itself — in its simplest form — doesn’t have to be original, and in fact, it shouldn’t be. But the way you embody and develop that idea should surprise your readers and evoke an emotional response in them.

It’s that emotional impact that makes your story not only worth finishing but memorable.

Short story ideas will look different from novel ideas, though — mainly because short stories have to make a big impact with fewer words. And because of this, the most powerful short stories have what James Scott Bell describes as the “one shattering moment.”

In his book, How to Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career, Bell describes that moment as “something that happens to a character, an emotional blast which they cannot ignore. It changes them, in a large or a subtle way — in a way that cannot be ignored.”

Any one of the popular themes listed above could you give your main character a shattering moment that would change that character’s life or perspective.

woman typing on laptop short story ideas

Take a look at the following creative story ideas, many of which combine two or more of the popular themes listed, and feel free to modify any of them to create your next unputdownable short story.

1. Your character’s loved one has died , and he learns while going through that loved one’s belongings that the latter had a terrible secret that unnervingly correlates to your character’s deepest fear.

The rest of the story explores your character’s reaction to this discovery and how it affects his/her relationships and decision-making.

2. Your character has married the man she saw as her “soulmate.” During their honeymoon, he shows her his list of goals for their first five years together, and they have their first real argument over one of those goals — which requires something of her that she never agreed to.

She has a sudden memory of their first date and of the moment when she first decided he was the one, but she sees it now from his perspective, and it changes everything.

3. Your orphaned character inherits a house and moves in to find that it’s already occupied — by the spirits of the character’s long-deceased parents, who aren’t at all like the people other relatives have described.

4. Your character is having trouble getting past his anger over the wounds inflicted by those who raised him and by those with whom he had one failed relationship after the next.

woman at laptop looking out window Short Story Ideas

After losing his job, he goes on a journey to change the direction of his life, but that journey is interrupted by the death of one of his parents — the one who hurt him the most.

5. Your character is widely regarded as a monster and doesn’t deny or hide from that designation.

When his closest confidante gets fed up with him, tells him off, and leaves the company they founded together, your character finds himself disoriented by grief and does something different.

6. Your character is content with her life but suddenly inherits a large sum of money and a palatial estate on the east coast.

She sees the inheritance as proof that the Law of Attraction works, and she invites family and a few close friends to move with her and share the wealth. On the first night of their stay, someone dies.

7. Your character’s snake-loving neighbor has just been found in the belly of her pet boa constrictor (who she swore was a better “snuggler” than her ex).

The ex shows up and is angry when he finds out that your neighbor left the house and everything in it to your character. He threatens to ruin her life if she doesn’t turn the house over to him.

8. Your character meets his/her soulmate on a flight that almost doesn’t make it to its destination; both of them respond to emergencies on the plane (one as a cop and the other as a doctor).

Once at the airport, your character learns that this soulmate is already in a relationship with a well-known philanthropist. But your character notices something odd and calls the philanthropist out.

9. Your character’s best friend just announced the end of a relationship, and your character is surprised to find this friend in a celebratory state of mind (rather than heartbroken).

Your character then finds out the disturbing reason for the friend’s manic behavior.

10. One of your character’s siblings is getting married, and during wedding preparations, your character learns something she was never meant to know. This discovery changes her relationships with everyone.

11. The happy couple living next door to your character has died in a horrific accident, and when the parents show up for the funeral, you find out why the couple always changed the subject whenever you asked them about their families.

12. Your character starts receiving messages from someone who knows his/her deepest fears and intends to exploit them. At the same time, your character is discovering a latent ability that relates to those fears but might also help him overcome them. Or they might change him into something the messenger never saw coming.

13. Your character meets a soulmate at a community grief counseling group meeting and learns that this soulmate also attends AA meetings (like your mc) — though with a different group and with a friend who doesn’t particularly like your main character.

The surprising reason comes out when your character goes on a first date with this soulmate. The soulmate’s friend swears he/she knows your mc from a different reality — which he/she visits in dreams.

14. Your character breaks free of a painful relationship and embarks on a journey to discover what she’s capable of. After volunteering at a nursing home — reading to vision-impaired residents and writing letters for them — she agrees to personally deliver one of those letters to the resident’s estranged son.

15. After avoiding close relationships because of deep scars from his childhood, your main character learns something about one of his parents that changes everything for him. He then has an opportunity to take a step off his accustomed path.

16. Your character has been married for 19 years before her spouse — after a weekend that reminds her of when they met and why she married him — hands her divorce papers.

17. Your character is making a list of reasons to break up with her boyfriend of two years when the latter comes home early and tells her he’s won the lottery jackpot.

18. Your character is a locally famous writer whose hero story ideas come from his freewheeling lifestyle and insatiable curiosity about others.

One day, out of boredom, he offers a homeless man $100 to propose to the first woman he takes a fancy to, while he watches from a safe distance. The proposal goes terrifyingly wrong.

19. Your character has just lost a child by miscarriage , and when she comes home, her married life has changed. Her husband, who was always the more talkative of the two, spends their time together quietly grieving in his own way.

Your character, on the other hand, becomes more outgoing and starts spending more time (and money) on her appearance.

20. Your young adult character finds himself suddenly orphaned when his parents die in a plane crash. The funeral is the beginning of a dramatic shift in his perspective and in the choices he makes.

He breaks off a relationship with a woman his parents adored, he quits the lucrative job that he hates, and he leaves the country.

21. Your character has just learned that his spouse has been cheating on him, and he confronts her when she gets home that night.

She reveals that what he saw as proof of her infidelity was something completely innocent — but that she’s already decided to make a permanent and dramatic end to their marriage.

22. The only child of your character is diagnosed with a fatal illness, and your character doesn’t know how to deal with the worry and dread that now consumes her.

Her doctor suggests one anti-anxiety med after another, and her husband and his family urge her to try one — for her husband’s and her son’s sakes. She goes into a fugue state with the experimental drug she tries, and she wakes up to the consequences.

23. Your character’s new glasses — created as a free gift from an old friend with unusual connections — reveal more than the physical objects in his field of vision.

After looking at a coworker and seeing the latter’s death just hours before it happens, he goes to replace the glasses with a plain pair from a local chain. Then he catches his full-length reflection in a window.

24. Your character wakes up alone in an unfamiliar place and is told by everyone he encounters that the life he thought he’d lived for the past six years — with a wife and three kids and with the job that barely paid the bills — must have been a dream.

He’s actually stunningly wealthy, treated with respect by everyone he meets, and desired by more than one woman. So, why is there a picture of him with his nonexistent family on his desk?

25. A year ago, your character met someone who offered her the power to transform the interior of her home to anything she wants — in exchange for a DNA sample from her only child, who is a gifted storyteller.

During the year after she accepted the offer, her home becomes everything she wants it to be, but her son stops telling stories, and one day she finds out why.

26. Your character makes drastic changes to his diet and adopts new habits that alienate him from his usual circle of friends but lead him to a new one.

He then wins a large sum of money from a scratch ticket that an estranged friend (a compulsive gambler) slipped under his door.

27. Your character has returned from a successful quest to find his home empty, with no sign of his loved ones other than a note left on the refrigerator.

Not only does he now have no one with whom to share his victory, but what he learns calls that very victory into question.

28. Your character has spent eleven years living with the consequences of a vow she has taken. When she forges a new friendship with a counselor, she learns something about herself that scares her and makes her avoid the counselor, for his own sake.

Keenly aware of her own vulnerability, she brands herself to ward off unwelcome attention.

29. Your character, after 15 years of living in a house chosen mainly to fit her spouse’s preferences, sees an ad for an apartment in town that represents the life she gave up to make her husband happy.

After hearing him complain about his life and their house for one too many times, she goes to look at this apartment and finds it has almost everything she wants. The apartment manager, a well-dressed woman close to her own age, hears your character’s last name and appears shaken by it.

30. Your character splurges on a new rug for her living room floor — the kind of rug she’s coveted for years — and her S.O. criticizes it and later “accidentally” spills his drink on it.

The final straw is his suggestion that she wait ‘til it dries and return it to the store for a refund or exchange it for something more practical.

31. Your character has recently broken free from a cult that had drawn him in when he was vulnerable from a family tragedy. His new support system — a group of other cult survivors — is having varying degrees of difficulty re-entering society and repairing damaged relationships.

Your character meets with them one evening at their accustomed café table and confronts a server whose off-handed comment provokes him. What begins as a calm request for respectful treatment escalates as other members of the group chime in and the server’s manager gets involved.

32. Your character has joined a church and finds herself under the tutelage of a church member who leans toward the traditionalist end of the spectrum and who regards her as the daughter he never had.

When he decides to renounce the church’s leadership and join an extreme traditionalist group, she backs away from him — after explaining to him why she won’t do the same. His behavior toward her changes and she makes a change of her own.

33. Your character is so desperate for money that he does something he never would have done otherwise. He doesn’t get caught, but he doesn’t get away with it, either. Consumed by guilt, he undergoes a penance of his choosing, which spirals out of control.

34. Your character walks into a tourist shop and buys a homemade “tonic” freshly mixed by the owner, after tasting and enjoying an innocuous sample in the same flavor. The tonic changes him in a way he can’t ignore or undo.

35. Your character inherits an old music shop with a secret back room where his uncle kept a few instruments that can make even someone like him — who has never played an instrument — a virtuoso in seconds. He takes the piano to his apartment and learns why his uncle (in a letter he’d written before his death) had warned him not to — and why his uncle kept the door to that secret room locked.

With writing prompts , you get a launching pad of sorts: a question, an idea, a provocative quote, or something that inspires a reaction — specifically a written one. Maybe that reaction is an argument, or maybe it’s an impassioned defense of an idea.

Whatever it is, the purpose here is to take that prompt and use it to generate a written response in one form or another. The aim of writing prompts for short stories is to get you started on a new short story .

The prompt could be as simple as a word or as detailed as a character sketch or an elevator pitch. It could even be a picture or a song. It could be an observation you make while (discreetly) people-watching.

We’ve create 69 short story writing prompts that flesh out an idea more thoroughly, giving you a good headstart for your story.

1. You get a new job, and your new boss approaches you on the first day with an invitation to the “After Hours Club.” He tells you it’s no big deal if you decline, but you get a strong impression that it would be.

2. One day, on the way home from work, your new car takes over and drives you to a remote area, stopping beside other cars in a clearing underneath a new moon. You wake up underneath a full moon and drive yourself home. But much has changed in your absence — and so have you.

3. You bake pies for a local bakery, and when a celebrity comes to town and tastes your locally famous turtle pie, he invites you to go on tour with him — to a movie set somewhere in Europe — to be his personal pie maker. You say yes.

4. You buy a single rose from a street vendor, and it lasts a week, then two weeks, then three, and then a full month. Only then does someone point out to you that previously healthy people in the neighborhood have been falling ill and dying at an abnormal rate.

5. It’s time for your 10-year-old daughter to make her First Confession, but when her turn comes to go into the confessional, she panics and won’t be persuaded to go in.

6. You’re stranded in a small village down a winding road from Burgos (Spain) on a Sunday. A stranger comes by on a motorcycle and goes to fetch a taxi for you. You’re waiting at the bus station when he tells you he knows you’re meant to replace his recently deceased wife.

7. The bartender brings you your first Irish coffee in what looks like a candy dish. Halfway through, you notice the whole cafe seems to be floating, and since you can’t put the rest into a to-go cup (alas), you pay your tab and head out. You think you’re doing fine until your key doesn’t work in the front door of your apartment building. Someone else kindly lets you in, and you recognize him as the bartender from that cafe.

8. You’re exploring an old Spanish town, and you realize someone is following you. You turn and find an old woman who asks if you’ll help her find her hotel. You help her, and she invites you in, telling you she has a son who shares your interest in all things Tolkien. You’re not in a hurry to get back to your hotel room, so you go up with her.

9. Your fingers don’t respond to you the way they used to, and you’ve been having other difficulties. You go see your doctor, and they run some tests to check for neurological diseases but don’t find anything. They think it’s probably stress-related. Your life has been stressful lately, and it doesn’t help that your new roommate has been acting strangely toward you.

10. You wake up with your heart racing, but you don’t remember why. You almost never remember your dreams but often wake up covered in sweat with your heart pounding. You’re tired of having to shower every morning and feeling sick for the rest of the day, so you decide to undergo hypnosis, hoping to find out what’s going on.

11. Your neighbors have been up to some strange shenanigans lately, and their lights are on well into the wee hours of the morning. You’d like to know why, but every neighbor you’ve talked to who have gone over there to ask about it has, later on, told you that nothing suspicious is going on and that those neighbors are “very spiritual, and so, so nice!”

12. The street lamps that light up your cul de sac have gone dark, and you’re outside waiting for your spouse to get home when something large and dark brushes past you, almost knocking you off balance. Then a man appears and asks, “Have you seen my cat?”

13. Someone has broken into your house while you were away and has taken all the religious articles out of it — every statue, every picture, and every holy water bottle. The thief left everything else alone.

14. You move into an apartment that used to be a hoarder’s paradise, and your manager gives you permission to paint the walls a different color and add some new flooring. You get to work removing the kitchen’s linoleum floor and find something you never expected.

15. You joined a wine delivery service, and the delivery person is every bit as charming as the labels on the posh wine he brings to you each week. When you lose your job and cancel the service, the wine keeps coming.

16. You buy a pound of gourmet coffee beans at a local food festival, and as you’re sipping the first cup from the first pot you’ve brewed, you have a vision, which feels as real as though it were actually happening to you. When the vision ends, you’re still in your kitchen, holding your cup. You take another sip.

17. You’re about ready to gather up all the ceramic village pieces that have been cluttering up your living room and toss them in the trash bin, but your spouse, who knows you hate them, insists you should try selling them on eBay, instead. That’s when the fight starts.

18. You buy a new pair of Bluetooth earbuds that are supposed to enhance your listening experience. You plug them in and use them while watching a movie, and suddenly, you’re there on the scene, about to get flattened (or eaten) by a dinosaur.

19. You need a new toilet, and someone shows up at the door (as though sent by heaven) to sell you a toilet that will flush down ANYTHING. Oddly enough, it doesn’t even need to be hooked up to your septic system. “All you have to do is remove and empty the dust tray at the base every evening, reinsert it for the next day’s flushes, and voila!”

20. You buy a new keyboard , and after typing a few sentences of a new story, it starts typing on its own, and you watch in surprise as it types out a new short story. You submit it to a contest you’ve never won and win first prize. You start thinking you’ll never have trouble paying the rent again! Then you accidentally spill wine on the keyboard, and even stranger things start happening.

Related:  55 Funny Writing Prompts To Inspire Your Inner Comedian

21. Your famous stew recipe has won an award. You go to collect it (a cash prize), and meet the next runner-up, who believes she should have won the first prize instead with her three-bean salad. She warns you not to spend the money, because she will prove you won unfairly. You go home and find a bowl of three-bean salad and a note.

22. You suggest at the breakfast table one morning that you might actually have too many books, and your SO seizes upon this and offers to help you thin out your collection. After breaking up with him, you cull a few volumes for donation and run into the author of one of them.

23. Your first issue of Real Simple magazine has finally arrived, but something has come with it — something you can’t see but that makes your life anything but simpler.

24. A girl scout comes to the door selling cookies, and you tell her you already bought some from her at the table outside your grocery store, and you’ve spent enough for the year. Suddenly, all the food in your house (including the canned food) becomes moldy or rotten. And every bit of food that passes your threshold becomes inedible.

25. You buy a new whiteboard to help you keep track of your writing assignments, but you wake up one morning, and new items have somehow been added to your list. And the new titles have a sinister edge to them. You live alone.

26. You buy a new poster that looks exactly like the TARDIS door, and you put it up on your bedroom wall. One night, right at midnight (you’re up working at your computer), the door opens and you walk through it.

27. You buy a CD with music that’s supposed to help you write more creatively and also lose weight more easily. You start playing it during your writing time, and sure enough, the words flow without effort, and you love what you’ve written. You also start losing ten pounds a week, and soon you can’t afford to lose another ten, but you’ve come to depend on that music CD.

28. You’re a carpenter who has joined a construction team to build a new development of 3,000+ square foot houses. All is going well until someone on the team discovers something buried in the lot for the third house. The foreman removes it and tells everyone to get back to work, but you have a bad feeling. And you’re right to have it.

29. Your boss announces they’re having a potluck and you’re all expected to show up and bring something. He also tells you it has to be homemade. You tell him you can’t cook, but he tells you, “Well, learn, then!” Strangely enough, you do, and you create an entree that has everyone’s mouth-watering when you open the lid at the potluck. But your boss is conspicuously absent.

30. You wake up in the middle of the night and rush to the bathroom, where you empty your stomach of everything you ate that day. Something else comes out, and it’s moving.

31. You stop at a coffee shop while making stops to apply for a new job, and the barista tells you the new bed and breakfast is looking for someone to handle their advertising. You apply, are accepted, and agree to start immediately. But the owner, who openly admires your bicycle, offers you a room at the B&B, so you’ll be more accessible.

32. You have way too much time on your hands since your latest project has earned you enough to more than double your previous year’s salary, and you’re taking a sabbatical. You see an ad for an opportunity to spend a month at a castle in Wales, with full room and board and a bicycle for exploring the countryside. You call the agent and book a flight.

33. One night, as you’re coming back from the bathroom, you see a bright light and follow it to see that your front window is wide open and bugs are swarming in and out. You rush to close it but then you see the view from it — which is not your usual view of the front yard. You see something you want to investigate.

34. Sometimes, people stare when you pull out an index card and start scribbling furiously onto it, but you don’t care. Then someone accuses you of writing something about him and, pulling out a gun, demands you hand the card over to him.

35. You’re starting a new job, and one of your co-workers tells you it’s up to the new guy to keep the coffee pot full for his first week. While you’re brewing the latest refill, muttering to yourself about how little you’re getting done that day, one of your co-workers starts choking and accuses you of trying to poison her.

36. Your home-brewed ale is the talk of the neighborhood, but your next-door neighbor frequently buys up your newest batch. You start imposing limits. He then starts telling other neighbors that your secret is adding pee from your pet guinea pigs, “But it’s cool, because urine is sterile. And that guinea pig pee really adds something!”

37. You inherit a lighthouse from your deceased uncle — along with the small living quarters attached to it. You move right in, looking forward to the solitude. But whenever you’re up at the top scanning the surface of the ocean, you see things that can’t possibly be there. And one of them sees you — and comes to visit.

38. You stop at the local nursery and pick up a new houseplant — a tiny, adorable succulent. The cashier looks nervous as she rings you up. “That plant isn’t normal. If you want to pick another one, I would totally understand.” She’s nodding with wide eyes as she says this, clearly hoping you’ll agree.

39. You live in a studio apartment. Your boss comes to bring you soup when you call in sick and sees the quilt on your bed, which you won at a raffle. “That’s the quilt my mom made!” she says. “She told me someone stole it.”

40. You take your kids trick-or-treating, and you go to your boss’s neighborhood (your boss suggested it). Most houses gave out full-sized candy bars, but one gave out treasure maps, and your kids want to find their treasures before you leave the neighborhood.

41. Someone offers you a chance to win a million dollars just by visiting his website and typing in your address. “I don’t need your checking account info. It’s not safe to give that to just anyone. I’ll just mail the check to you,”he writes.

42. You wonder what it would be like to be a famous actor, and someone, out of the blue, invites you to perform in his movie as an extra — “and, who knows, maybe something more… prominent.”

43. You get a call from the principal’s office that your daughter has been involved in a bullying incident. Someone was bullying her, and she punched him. There were witnesses, and the principal reminds you of their zero-tolerance policy for physical violence…

44. You get a call from the principal’s office that your son has been acting out toward his classmates (who, according to what he’s told you, have been behaving aggressively toward him) and had brought a weapon to school to protect himself. They’ve confiscated the weapon (a paring knife) and have called the police.

45. Your kid has an IEP, and the Special Ed staff at the school always sound so caring and professional at the meetings you attend with them. But your son tells you they behave very differently toward him. The principal assures you that she knows the staff would never do what your son has accused them of doing. She suggests your son may be lying.

46. Your young daughter notices that one of your trees is “sick,” and she goes to visit the tree, talks to it, leans against it, and tells it to please get better. It responds by growing stronger and larger, spreading its branches out and downward to create a sort of cave for your daughter to rest in when she wants to be alone. It becomes her haven.

47. You wake up one morning and start loading your excess possessions into boxes and bags and hauling it off to Goodwill to donate it. That’s when you find the tiny cameras hidden in the bathroom, and bugs hidden in every room.

48. Your favorite coffee mug has broken, and you’re in mourning. The mug you just bought as your “second” just doesn’t feel the same in your hand, but it surprises you by magically refilling your drink with every sip — and keeping it hot for you.

49. The moth on your ceiling doesn’t bother you — much. But every time you look, it’s there. And you wonder why it never leaves. When you finally get a step ladder to get a closer look at it, you can hardly believe what you’re seeing.

50. Your neighbors on the home office side of your house have never been friendly, but one day, the wife comes over with a pie and tells you she made it herself and that she’s tired of being cooped up in the house with no one but her husband to talk to. You look over and see the outline of her husband in an upstairs window.

51. Tired of getting hair in your face, you take an electric hair-trimmer and run it all over your head with the one-inch attachment. You look at the results with satisfaction.

52. Your spouse, who has never done or said a romantic thing since your honeymoon, suddenly comes home with an expensive bouquet and a travel brochure for a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Later on, someone delivers the car you’ve always wanted, and your husband unconvincingly feigns surprise. You ask him if he won the lottery, but he shakes his head and says, “This is way better. You’ll see.”

53. You’re out in your backyard and stumble over something, which turns out to be a small brick half-buried in the grass. You see initials etched into the brick, along with a crudely-shaped heart. You wonder what — or whom — might be buried beneath. Soon, you find other markers like it, and you wonder how you failed to notice them before.

54. Your neighbor invites you over to her house, and you see that every wall has a cross painted on it with crude, hurried strokes. You ask why, and she nervously clears her throat and says, “This place needs them.”

55. You watch an infomercial and order a new face cream, hoping it will restore a youthful look to your face. It does more than that.

56. Your teenage son gets a job and, on his first day, he encounters a rude customer. Unaccustomed to responding with calmness and diplomacy, he lashes out at the customer and gets himself fired. Instead of calling home for a ride, though, he takes a walk through town and runs into the same customer holding up a cardboard sign.

57. You put your headphones on when you start on your writing project, and, at some point, an unfamiliar voice interrupts your playlist to tell you he likes what you’ve written so far. And he thinks you’d get along great.

58. Your spouse starts trying different paint samples on walls all over the house, and you don’t like any of the colors; they’re either too bright or too dark. One day, you paint patches of a pale green-gray that you like next to his acid-bright or dark color patches, and he tells you it’s boring, and that he’s painting the house his way.

59. Someone keeps writing fortune-cookie phrases on your new whiteboard at work, and it’s irritating you. You ask around, and no one knows who keeps writing the messages. Then, one of the predictions comes true.

60. You look out the window while you’re working and you see one neighbor attacking his spouse, knocking her down and then kicking her. You call 9-1-1, but later on, the wife comes over and says, “I know it was you who called. And you’ve made everything worse!”

61. Every time you look outside and see the wind in the trees, you take a deep breath and feel calmer. When the air is still, you feel as though the whole world is holding its breath and that something bad is about to happen. So, when it’s calm outside, you picture wind in the trees and take a deep breath.

62. You see movement in the corner of your eye and whenever you look, you see a huge, black dog in the neighbor’s yard, running back and forth. This time, though, he runs into your yard and starts barking at your front door.

63. Your eight-year-old son gets up and immediately goes for his Kindle Fire to play Minecraft. You’ve found some educational apps you want him to try, so you’ve installed them on his Kindle. He comes to you a few minutes later and says, “This app is telling me to do things I’m not supposed to do.”

64. You try a new recipe for a potluck, hoping it will wow your boss and coworkers, but it turns out terrible, and you end up rushing to a restaurant for something to bring before arriving (late) to find out everyone has already eaten the entree you were most looking forward to trying. When the cops show up later to ask why everyone is violently ill except you, you tell them everything you know.

65. You take your teenage son to his orientation for a new job, and when you come back to pick him up an hour later, you find out no one has seen him — though you saw him walk in the door before you drove off.

66. You’re living in a world where everyone is born with a birthmark that matches that of their soulmate. But you are born without one.

67. You and your best friend are in a terrible car accident, and you both die. Your friend, however, has a very different account of what he saw on the other side.

68. You’re born with the ability to mentally manipulate DNA. You started with plants and moved on to your pets, who now have unique abilities. For the past few years, you’ve been hacking your own DNA.

69. You were raised in the deep South where manners and feigned politeness were a thin veneer covering your family’s questionable history and lingering dysfunction.

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List of Tragic Hero Traits To Flesh Out Your Character

107 Character Mannerisms For Writers

Did you find these short story ideas and prompts useful?

I hope your mind is buzzing with an idea you can’t wait to start playing with. Keep this article handy, so you can return to it when you’re looking for a new short story idea. You don’t have to follow any of them verbatim; take one and change the details however you like to make the idea your own.

Just don’t forget the “one shattering moment” for your character — and the importance of making an emotional impact on your reader. You make this impact as much with dialogue as with description and the structure of your story. Make it all count.

And when it comes time to edit, cut everything that dampens the impact of your story. Your readers will love you for it!

If you found value from this list of short story prompts, please share it and encourage others to pass it on to support and inspire as many fellow writers out there as possible. Why not even invite them to share their new short stories with you after they’ve written them?

And may your creative energy and goodwill infuse everything else you do today.

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44 Short Story Ideas

Here are lots of short story ideas that you can use as writing prompts. Any of these ideas can be used either humorously or dramatically... or you can try both. Have fun!

Story ideas - 3 elements

Choose a set of three elements and write a story that contains all three of them! Extreme challenge: combine three of the elements with one of the other short story ideas on this page.

  • A stolen ring, fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger.
  • A taxi, an old enemy, and Valentine's Day.
  • Identical twins, a party invitation, and a locked closet.
  • A broken wristwatch, peppermints, and a hug that goes too far.
  • Aerobics, a secret diary, and something unpleasant under the bed.
  • An ex-boyfriend, a pair of binoculars, and a good-luck charm.
  • An annoying boss, a bikini, and a fake illness.
  • The first day of school, a love note, and a recipe with a significant mistake.
  • A horoscope, makeup, and a missing tooth.
  • A campfire, a scream, and a small lie that gets bigger and bigger.

More short story ideas

Challenge: 4 stories in 4 weeks using these short story ideas. Are you up to it? Extreme challenge: Why not write a book of short stories? Choose seven or eight short story ideas to get started.

11. A babysitter is snooping around her employer's house and finds a disturbing photograph...

12. At a Chinese restaurant, your character opens his fortune cookie and reads the following message: "Your life is in danger. Say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and never return. Repeat: say nothing."...

13. Your character's boss invites her and her husband to dinner. Your character wants to make a good impression, but her husband has a tendency to drink too much and say exactly what's on his mind...

14. It's your character's first day at a new school. He or she wants to get a fresh start, develop a new identity. But in his or her homeroom, your character encounters a kid he or she knows from summer camp...

15. Your character has to tell his parents that he's getting a divorce. He knows his parents will take his wife's side, and he is right...

16. At the airport, a stranger offers your character money to carry a mysterious package onto the plane. The stranger assures your character that it's nothing illegal and points out that it has already been through the security check. Your character has serious doubts, but needs the money, and therefore agrees...

17. Your character suspects her husband is having an affair and decides to spy on him. What she discovers is not what she was expecting...

18. A man elbows your character in a crowd. After he is gone, she discovers her cell phone is too. She calls her own number, and the man answers. She explains that the cell phone has personal information on it and asks the man to send it back to her. He hangs up. Instead of going to the police, your character decides to take matters into her own hands...

19. After your character loses his job, he is home during the day. That's how he discovers that his teenage son has a small marijuana plantation behind the garage. Your character confronts his son, who, instead of acting repentant, explains to your character exactly how much money he is making from the marijuana and tries to persuade your character to join in the business...

20. At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone's ashes in it...

Learn to make your story a page-turner with our online course Irresistible Fiction.

Even more short story ideas

21. Your character starts receiving flowers and anonymous gifts. She doesn't know who is sending them. Her husband is suspicious, and the gifts begin to get stranger....

22. A missionary visits your character's house and attempts to convert her to his religion. Your character is trying to get rid of him just as storm warning sirens go off. Your character feels she can't send the missionary out into the storm, so she lets him come down into her basement with her. This is going to be a long storm....

23. Your character is caught shoplifting. The shop owner says that she won't call the police in exchange for a personal favor....

24. Your character is visiting his parents over a holiday. He is returning some books to the library for his mother and is startled to notice that the librarian looks exactly like him, only about thirty years older. He immediately begins to suspect that his mother had an affair at one time and the librarian is his real father...

25. Your character picks up a hitchhiker on her way home from work. The hitchhiker tries to persuade your character to leave everything and drive her across the country...

26. Your character has to sell the house where she grew up. A potential buyer comes to look at it and begins to talk about all of the changes she would make to the place. This upsets your character, who decides she wants to find a buyer who will leave everything the way it has always been....

27. A bat gets in the house. Your character's husband becomes hysterical, frightened that it might be rabid. In his panic, he ends up shutting the bat in a room with your character while he calls an exterminator from a safe place in the house. His behavior makes your character see her husband in a new way....

28. Your character changes jobs in order to have more time with his family. But his family doesn't seem interested in having him around...

29. Your character develops the idea that she can hear the voices of the dead on a certain radio channel. She decides to take advantage of this channel to find answers to some questions that are bothering her about her dead parents....

30. Your character's dream is to be a professional dancer. At a party, she mentions this dream to a stranger, who says that he has contacts in the dance world and gets her an audition for a prestigious dance troupe. One problem: your character doesn't know how to dance. Your character decides to accept the audition anyway and look for a solution....

And still more short story ideas

31. Your character thinks her boss is looking for an excuse to fire her. She decides to fight back....

32. Your character goes out for dinner on a date and becomes attracted to the waiter or waitress....

32. Your character notices that a stranger is following her. She pretends not to notice. The stranger follows her home and watches her go inside. Then when he leaves, your character turns the tables and starts to follow him....

34. A child moves into a new house and finds out that the other kids in town think it's haunted. She begins to invent ghost stories to tell at school in order to get attention. But the more stories she tells, the more frightened she becomes of the house...

35. Your elderly character escapes from the retirement home where his or her children have placed him or her....

36. Your character gets cosmetic surgery in an attempt to make her boyfriend love her more. But then she worries he only loves her for her looks....

37. Your character is a writer. But his new neighbors are so noisy that he can neither work nor sleep. He decides to take action....

38. Your character's mother-in-law comes to visit for a week, and your character suspects she is trying to poison him. He shares his suspicion with his wife, who says he's always hated her mother but this accusation is going too far. Meanwhile, your character has stomach cramps, and his mother-in-law is downstairs making breakfast again....

39. It's a freezing cold night. Your character finds a homeless family on his doorstep and invites them into his home to sleep. But in the morning, the family doesn't leave....

40. Your character has recently married a man with two teenage children. The children resent her, and she tries to avoid them altogether. Then her new husband (their father) disappears suddenly, leaving only a short good-bye note....

Story ideas: personal creative writing challenges

41. Make a list of five things you're afraid of happening to you. Then write a story in which one of them happens to your character..

42. Think of a big problem that one of your friends had to face. Then write a story in which your character battles with that problem..

43. What is one of your bad habits? Invent a character who has the bad habit, but a much worse case of it than you have. Write a story where this habit gets your character into trouble.

44. What is one of your greatest strengths? Invent a character who doesn't have this strength. Create a situation in which having this strength is very important for your character. What does your character do? Write the story.

Keep the short story ideas flowing

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Top left clockwise: Kevin Barry, Kit De Waal, Chris Power, Donal Ryan and Mary Gaitskill

Take risks and tell the truth: how to write a great short story

Drawing on writers from Anton Chekhov to Kit de Waal, Donal Ryan explores the art of writing short fiction. Plus Chris Power on the best books for budding short story writers

T he first story I wrote outside of school was about Irish boxer Barry McGuigan. I was 10 and I loved Barry. He’d just lost his world featherweight title to the American Steve Cruz under the hellish Nevada sun and the only thing that could mend my broken heart was a restoration of my hero’s belt. Months passed and there was no talk of a rematch, so I wrote a story about it.

My imagined fight was in Ireland, and I was ringside. In my story I’d arranged the whole thing. I’d even given Barry some tips on countering Steve’s vicious hook. It went the distance but Barry won easily on points. He hugged Steve. His dad sang “Danny Boy”. I felt as I finished my story an intense relief. The world in that moment was restful and calm. I’d created a new reality for myself, and I was able to occupy it for a while, to feel a joy I’d created by moving a biro across paper. I think of that story now every single time I sit down to write. I strive for the feeling of rightness it gave me, that feeling of peace.

It took me a while to regain that feeling. When I left school, where I was lucky enough to be roundly encouraged and told with conviction that I was a writer, I inexplicably embarked on a career of self-sabotage, only allowing my literary ambitions to surface very sporadically, and then burning the results in fits of disgust. Nothing I wrote rang true; nothing felt worthy of being read.

Shortly after I got married my mother-in-law happened upon a file on the hard drive of a PC I’d loaned her (there’s a great and terrifying writing prompt!). It contained a ridiculous story about a young solicitor being corrupted by a gangster client. I’d forgotten about the story, and about one of its peripheral characters, a simple and pure-hearted man named Johnsey Cunliffe. My wife suggested giving Johnsey new life, and I started a rewrite with him as the hero; the story kept growing until I found myself with a draft of my first finished novel, The Thing About December . I didn’t feel embarrassed, nor did I feel an urge to burn it. I felt peace. I knew it wouldn’t last, and so I quickly wrote a handful of new stories, and the peace didn’t dissipate. Not for a while, anyway.

So a forgotten short story, written somewhere in the fog of my early 20s, turned out to be the making of my writing career. Maybe it would have happened anyway, or maybe not, but I think the impulse would always have been present, the urge to put a grammar on the ideas in my head. Mary Costello, author of The China Factory , one of the finest short story collections I’ve ever read, says: “Write only what’s essential, what must be written … an image or a story that keeps gnawing, that won’t leave you alone. And the only way to get peace is to write it.”

I know that in this straitened, rule-bound, virus-ridden present, many people find themselves with that gnawing feeling, that urge to fashion from language a new reality, or to get the idea that’s been clamouring inside them out of their imagination and into the world. So I’ve put together some ideas with the help of some of my favourite writers on how best to go about finding that peace.

Don’t worry

Stephen King Full Dark, No Stars

In a short story, the sentences have to do so much! Some of Chekhov’s stories are less than three printed pages; a few comprise a single brief paragraph. In his most famous story, “The Lady with the Dog”, we are given a detailed account of the nature, history and motivations of Gurov within the first page, but there is no feeling of stress or overload. Stephen King’s 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars is a masterclass in compression and suspense. My colleague in creative writing at the University of Limerick, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, is, like me, a novelist who turns occasionally to the short form. Sarah considers short stories to be “storytelling’s finest gifts. In the best ones, nothing is superfluous, their focus is sharp and vivid but they can be gloriously elliptical too, full of echoes.” The novel form, as I’ve heard Mike McCormack say, offers “a wonderful accommodation to the writer”, but the short story is a barren territory. There’s nowhere to hide, no space for excess or digression.

My wife asked me once why this worried me so much. I’d just published my first two novels and had embarked on a whole collection of short stories, A Slanting of the Sun . She’d come home from work to find me curled up in a ball of despair. “Every sentence worries me,” I whined. “None of them is doing enough .” “Don’t worry about how much they’re doing until all the work is done,” she said. “Get the story written, and then you can go back and fix all those worrisome sentences. And the chances are, once the story exists, you won’t be as worried about those sentences at all. They’ll just be. ”

Ah. I can still feel the beautiful relief I felt at her wise words. Life is filled with things to worry about. The quality of our sentences should be a challenge and a constant fruitful quest, a gradual aggregation of attainment. But creativity should always bring us at least some whisper of joy. It should be a way out of worry.

One of the concepts my colleague Sarah illuminates is that of a “draft zero” – a draft that comes before a first draft, where your story is splashed on to your screen or page, containing all or most of its desired elements. Draft zero offers complete freedom from any consideration of craft or finesse.

Kit de Waal, Supporting Cast

Kit de Waal, who recently published a wonderful collection, Supporting Cast , featuring characters from her novels, offers this wisdom on getting your story from your head on to your page or screen: “Don’t overthink but do overwrite. Sometimes you see a pair of gloves or a flower on the street or lipstick on a coffee cup and it moves you in a particular way. That’s your prompt right there. Write that feeling or set something around that idea, you don’t know what at this stage, you’re going off sheer muse, writerly energy, so just follow it. And follow it right to the end – it might be a day, a week, a year. Overwrite the thing and then sit back and ask yourself, ‘Where is the magic? What am I saying? Who is speaking?’ When you’ve worked that out, you have your story and you can start crafting and editing.”

Your draft zero is Michelangelo’s lump of rough-hacked marble, but with David’s basic shape. It is the reassuring existence of something tangible in the world outside of your mind , something raw and real, containing within its messy self the potential for greatness. And the best way to make it great is to make it truthful.

Be truthful

I don’t mean by this that you need to speak your own truth at all times or to draw only on your own lived experience, but it’s important to be true to our own impulses and ambitions as writers; to write the story we want to write, not the story we think we should write. That’s like saying things that you think people want to hear: you’ll end up tangling yourself in a knot of half-truths and constructed, co-opted beliefs. You’ll be more politician than writer, and, as good and decent as some of them are, the world definitely has enough politicians.

Melatu Uche Okorie, This Hostel Life

Your own experiences, of course, your own truth, can be parlayed into wonderful fictions, and can by virtue of their foundation in reality contain an almost automatic immediacy and intensity. Melatu Uche Okorie’s debut collection, This Hostel Life , is drawn from her experiences in the Irish direct provision system as an asylum seeker. The title story in particular has about it a feeling of absolute truthfulness, written in the demotic of the author’s Nigerian countrywomen; while another story, “Under the Awning”, feels as though it might be an oblique description of events witnessed or experienced first-hand by the author.

You might as well do exactly what you want to do, even (or especially) if it’s never been done before. You have nothing to lose by taking risks, with form, content, style, structure or any other element of your piece of fiction. Rob Doyle , a consummate literary risk-taker, exhorts writers to “try writing a story that doesn’t look how short stories are meant to look – try one in the form of an encyclopaedia entry, or a list, or an essay, or a review of an imaginary restaurant, sex toy, amusement park or film. Have people wondering if it’s even fiction. Mix it all up. Short stories can explore ideas as well as emotions – huge ideas can fit into short stories. For proof, read the work of Jorge Luis Borges . In fact, I second Roberto Bolaño’s advice to anyone writing short stories: read Borges.”

Frank O’Connor in 1958.

Bend the iron bar

“When the curtain falls,” said Frank O’Connor of the short story, “everything must be changed. An iron bar must have been bent and been seen to be bent.” One of the first short stories to break my heart was O’Connor’s “ Guests of the Nation ”. It has been described as one of the greatest anti-war stories ever written, and one of the finest stories from a master of the form. Its devastating denouement closes with this plaintive statement from the shattered narrator: “And anything that happened to me afterwards, I never felt the same about again.” This line contains within it an entreaty to short story writers to reach for that profound moment, that event or epiphany or reversal or triumph; to arrive within the confines of their story at a moment that will have a resonance far beyond its narrow scope.

Another great literary O’Connor, this time the novelist Joseph, who teaches creative writing at the University of Limerick, says that “to me every excellent short story centres around an instant where intense change becomes possible or, at least, imaginable for the character. Cut into the story late, leave it early, and find a moment.” Joseph quotes the closing words of one of his favourite short stories, Raymond Carver’s “Fat”: “It is August. My life is going to change. I feel it.”

The moment of course needn’t be in the ending, and the end of a story doesn’t necessarily have to be incendiary or revelatory, or to contain an unexpected twist. Mary Gaitskill ’s story “Heaven” describes a family going through change and trauma and loss, and iron bars are bent in almost every paragraph, but its ending is memorable for the moment of relief it offers, in a gently muted description of the perfect grace of a summer evening and a family gathered for a meal. “They all sat in lawn chairs and ate from the warm plates in their laps. The steak was good and rare; its juices ran into the salad and pasta when Virginia moved her knees. A light wind blew loose hairs around their faces and tickled them. The trees rustled dimly. There were nice insect noises. Jarold paused, a forkful of steak rising across his chest. ‘Like heaven,’ he said. ‘It’s like heaven.’ They were quiet for several minutes.”

Listen to your story

Kevin Barry Dark Lies the Island

“Beer Trip to Llandudno”, Kevin Barry’s masterpiece of the short form, from his 2012 collection Dark Lies the Island , is another story that has remained pristine in my consciousness since I first read it. Part of the magic of that story, and of all Barry’s work, is its dialogue: the earthy, pithy, perfectly authentic exchanges between his characters. When I asked Kevin about this, he said: “If you feel like you’re coming towards the final draft of a story, print it out and read it aloud, slowly, with red pen in hand. Your ear will catch all the evasions and the false notes in the story much quicker than your eye will catch them on the screen or page. Listen to what’s not being said in the dialogue. Very often the story, and the drama, is to be found just underneath the surface of the talk.”

Such scrupulous attention to the burden carried by each unit of language and to the work done by the notes played and unplayed can make a story truly shine. Alice Kinsella is an accomplished poet who recently turned her hand to the short form in great style with her sublime account of early motherhood, “Window”. “Poetry or prose,” Alice says, “the aim is the same, to make every word earn its place on the page.”

Ignore everything

And as self-defeating as this sounds, here’s a final piece of advice: once you sit down to write your story, forget about this article. Forget all the advice you’ve ever been given. Free your hand, free your mind, cut yourself loose into the infinity of possibility, and create from those 26 little symbols what you will. We came from the hearts of stars. We are the universe, telling itself its own story.

Donal Ryan is a judge for the BBC national short story award with Cambridge University. The shortlist will be announced on 10 September and the winner on 19 October. For more information see www.bbc.co.uk/nssa .

Books for budding short story writers By Chris Power

If short story collections occupy a minority position on publishers’ lists, books about the short story are an even scarcer commodity. In the 1970s the academic Charles E May published Short Story Theories , which he followed up in 1994 with The New Short Story Theories . These volumes, out of print but easy enough to find second-hand, collect some of the key texts about short fiction, from Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 review of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales , to Elizabeth Bowen’s tracing of Guy de Maupassant and Anton Chekhov’s influence, and Julio Cortázar’s brilliant lecture Some Aspects of the Short Story (“the novel always wins on points, while the story must win by a knockout”).

Frank O’Connor’s The Lonely Voice (1963) studies 11 great story writers, from Ivan Turgenev to Katherine Mansfield, and argues that the quintessential short story subjects are outsiders: “There is in the short story at its most characteristic something we do not often find in the novel – an intense awareness of human loneliness.” O’Connor’s assertiveness makes disagreeing with him part of the fun. As his countryman Sean O’Faolain wrote: “He was like a man who takes a machine gun to a shooting gallery. Everybody falls flat on his face, the proprietor at once takes to the hills, and when it is all over, and you cautiously peep up, you find that he has wrecked the place but got three perfect bull’s-eyes.”

I have a similar relationship with George Saunders’s remarkable study of seven classic Russian short stories, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain , published earlier this year. I don’t buy the overarching argument about fiction generating empathy, but this is a book stuffed with arresting observations and practical tips from a master craftsman. His 50-page close reading of Chekhov’s 12-page “In the Cart” is jaw-droppingly good.

Steering the Craft by Ursula K Le Guin isn’t specifically about short stories, but she could certainly write them, and her clear, practical advice is invaluable to anyone wanting to learn about two of the form’s prerequisites: rhythm and concision.

My last recommendation isn’t a book at all, but the New Yorker: Fiction podcast . Appearing monthly since 2007, each episode features a writer reading a story from the magazine’s archives and discussing it with fiction editor Deborah Treisman. These conversations are a wonderful education in how stories work. I strongly recommend Ben Marcus on Kazuo Ishiguro (September 2011), Tessa Hadley on Nadine Gordimer (September 2012), and ZZ Packer on Lesley Nneka Arimah (October 2020), a discussion which moves between craft, fairytale and motherhood.

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How to Write a Short Story: 10 Good Tips for Writers

Hannah Yang headshot

Hannah Yang

how to write a short story

Table of Contents

Short stories 101: what are they and where do you start, 10 tips on how to write a short story, examples of popular short stories for inspiration, conclusion on how to write a short story.

Short stories are an extremely versatile form of literature.

Because of their brevity, short stories allow writers to experiment with a large variety of forms and styles, even ones that wouldn’t be easy to sustain for an entire novel.

But just because they’re short, doesn’t mean they’re easy to write well. So, how exactly do you write a successful short story?

Read on to learn our top tips for how to write short stories, as well as some examples you can read to get inspired.

A short story is a fictional narrative that's between 2,000 and 7,000 words long.

The hallmark of a short story is its concision. A great short story can evoke an emotion, convey a theme, or depict a moment in time in just a few thousand words.

One common misconception is that a short story is just a novel squeezed into a smaller form. But short stories and novels are actually very different art forms.

Novels tend to follow a character across an arc or transformation, while short stories focus more on a single moment. Also, novels tend to focus more on story structure, while many short stories focus more on mood than on plot.

If you approach a short story like you’re writing a shorter version of a novel, you’ll end up with what feels like a synopsis of a longer story, rather than a short story that feels immersive and powerful. So, when you’re writing a short story, remember to lean into the specific strengths of short fiction rather than trying to mimic the characteristics of a novel.

If you want to write a short story, you’ve come to the right place! Here are our top ten tips for how to write a fantastic short story.

short story definition

Tip 1: Experiment With Form

A short story can take any form you want it to.

You could write a short story that takes the form of a cooking recipe, with each step telling the reader what to do next.

You could write a short story that takes the form of a series of text messages between two friends, with conflict starting to simmer between them.

Or you could even write a short story that takes the form of a real estate advertisement, using a salesperson’s writing style to describe a house and the events that happened inside.

Short stories come in all shapes and sizes, so the possibilities are bounded only by your own imagination. If you're not sure what to write about, try starting with an unusual form and see if that gives you any fun short story ideas.

Tip 2: Start With a Strong Hook

Because a short story has so few words, each line is important—especially the first line. This is your chance to hook the reader in and make them want to keep reading.

There are many different types of hooks you can consider using.

For example, you might start with an intriguing image that paints a picture in the reader’s head. Or you might start with a character doing something strange, which makes the reader wonder why they’re doing it.

No matter what type of hook you choose, make sure you grab the reader’s attention as quickly as possible.  

Tip 3: Identify the Inciting Incident and Climax

Due to their brevity, short stories usually don’t follow a plot structure, like the three-act structure or Freytag’s Pyramid.

However, you still need to identify two key plot points: the inciting incident and the climax.

The inciting incident is the moment that kicks off the story and causes the chain of events to unfold.

The climax is the highest point of tension within the story. It’s often a choice the character makes that reveals something important about who they are.

It’s important to make sure these plot points are present in your story, even if they’re just a few sentences long, to ensure that you're writing a complete story.

Tip 4: Evoke a Specific Mood

Many successful short stories do a great job encapsulating a certain mood. When you read a compelling story, you find yourself feeling the specific emotion that the author intended for you to feel.

Think about the mood you’re trying to evoke with your story. Do you want it to be funny? Creepy? Nostalgic? Heartbreaking?

Once you know the mood you want to evoke, you can let that mood inform all of your story decisions. For example, a creepy story might require different word choices compared to a funny story.

Tip 5: Keep the Timeline Short

Novels tend to follow the main character's life across several days, months, or years. Most short stories, on the other hand, exist within a much smaller time scale.  

Unless you have a lot of experience writing short stories, try to write one in as short a timeline as possible.

If you’re not sure how to compress your story’s timeline, try starting your story closer to the climax. Can your story begin five minutes before the core decision the character needs to make rather than five years before?

That way, you don’t have to worry about your story sprawling too much or having unnecessary scenes. Compressing your timeline also lets you explore a few scenes more deeply, instead of depicting a greater number of scenes with less depth.

Tip 6: Minimize the Cast of Characters

Many short stories focus on a relationship between two characters rather than filling the story with side characters. If those two main characters have a unique relationship with plenty of tension, you don’t need anyone else to make it interesting.

Some stories even revolve around a single main character, with no other characters involved. If you can show the reader who this one individual is, that can be a really powerful character study.

Remember that you’re not writing a novel, which might have sidekicks, comic relief characters, evil minions, and more. The fewer characters your short story has, the more you’ll be able to say about each of them.

Tip 7: Choose a Specific Theme

Many beginner writers aim for broad, vague themes, such as “love” or “ambition.”

But short stories are too small to explore every nuance of an abstract theme like love or ambition. There are too many different nuances to those abstract concepts.

It’s often much more effective to explore a narrower, more specific theme. Try to figure out what you’re saying about a specific character or a relationship between two specific characters, not about humankind in general.

Instead of exploring “love” as a concept, for example, you could explore what love looks like in a relationship between a working mother and her resentful daughter.

Or, instead of exploring “ambition” as a theme, you could explore what ambition looks like for a specific student at a high-pressure prep school.

Tip 8: Focus on “Knockout”

Argentinian author Julio Cortazar once said: “The novel wins by points, the short story by knockout.”

This quote is a great analogy for the difference between these two art forms.

After all, a great novel might have an action-packed battle sequence, a nostalgic flashback scene, and a romantic subplot, all in addition to the main storyline.

But a great short story only has room to do one thing—and it needs to do that one thing masterfully.

So, figure out the crux of the story—the thing your story is going to do masterfully. It might be a single moment in time you want to depict, or a single emotion you want to evoke.   

Every element of your short story needs to contribute to that crux. Nothing should be extraneous or out of place.

Tip 9: Give Your Story an Interesting Title

Many writers give their short stories common titles, such as “Dust” and “Home.”

If “Home” is the perfect title for your story, there’s no rule against using it as a title. But the downside is that your story will feel more forgettable to your readers.

Instead, consider using a unique title. For example, you might use a title that includes an unusual phrase, a character’s role or name, or even a song lyric.

Think of the title as the real first line of your story—it’s the first impression you’ll make on the reader. If you can hook them in with the title, your story will stand out from the crowd.

Tip 10: Edit, Edit, Edit

No short story comes out perfectly on the first draft, even if you’re an experienced writer.

It’s crucial to edit your story to make it as polished as possible.

Run your story through ProWritingAid. You can use the Word Explorer to check the connotations of each word you choose, which can ensure you evoke the right tone in your writing.

a short creative writing story

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The best way to become a better writer is by reading great examples.

Here are some short stories you can read to inspire you.

Example 1: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

“The Lottery,” originally published in The New Yorker in 1948, is one of my favorite short stories.

The story depicts a group of villagers who gather together to hold a lottery. The nature of the lottery is left mysterious, but the sense of excitement and anticipation grows as everyone waits to see whose name will get drawn.

This is a great example of a short story that doesn’t waste any words. It begins with the moment the villagers start to gather and ends as soon as the lottery is conducted.

You’ll have to read the story to find out what the lottery turns out to be. It’s a quick read, and well worth your time.

Example 2: “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver

“Cathedral,” first published in a short story collection in 1983, is a story about two men forging an unexpected connection.

The story follows a cynical narrator whose wife invites her friend, a recently widowed blind man, to come stay with them. The narrator knows little about blindness except from the movies and isn’t particularly thrilled about having this guy stay at his house.

The narrator and the blind man end up spending time in front of the TV together, and when the camera shows a beautiful cathedral, the narrator realizes the blind man has no idea what a cathedral looks like. And so, painstakingly, he tries to describe it to him.

This story is all about the intimacy, beauty, and sadness of that moment—trying to describe a cathedral to a man who can never see one.

Example 3: “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison

Roberta and Twyla are two roommates in a shelter, both sent to live there because their mothers are unable to care for them.

Originally published in a short story anthology in 1983, “Recitatif” follows these two girls as they grow up and start families.

A major focus of the story is on the fact that Twyla and Roberta are different races and therefore get treated differently by society. Here’s the catch: Morrison never tells you which girl is the Black character and which girl is the white character. She just lets you make your own assumptions.  

This story is masterfully written, and one thing I love about it is that you can interpret it in a different way each time you reread it.

Example 4: “Eating Bitterness” by Hannah Yang

For this last example, I’ll discuss one of my own short stories and the choices I made while writing it.

“Eating Bitterness,” which you can read online in The Dark Magazine , is a story about a world where all women have two mouths. The second mouth is used to eat all the negative emotions their families feel.

Once I’d decided on the core idea that would the “knockout” punch of the story, I crafted the details of the story to match.

Thematically, I wanted the story to explore the relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter, who have very different feelings about their second mouths. Because this is a short story, I tried to focus on that core mother-daughter relationship throughout the piece and added only a few other family members to keep it simple.

Finally, I made sure to choose a title that felt specific and unique. “Chi ku” is a Chinese idiom for suffering, which translates to “eating bitterness” in English. I liked the double meaning that this title might evoke for bilingual readers, but I also felt like the title works well on its own, whether or not you’ve heard the idiom before.

There you have it—our top tips for how to write a short story, as well as some examples to inspire you.

Short stories are one of my favorite forms of literature, and there’s so much you can do with them.

So, pick up a pen and try writing one! If you enjoy writing your own stories, you can even submit short stories to literary magazines.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.

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How to Write a Short Story

Writing a short story may seem like an easy or simple task, but crafting an engaging and compelling piece of short fiction takes skill and practice. In this guide, we will explore the key elements that go into writing an effective short story, including developing characters, crafting a plot, using narrative techniques, and revising and polishing your work. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of the short story writing process and be ready to draft your own tales.

What is a Short Story?

Before diving into the how-tos of writing short fiction, it’s important to understand exactly what constitutes a short story. At its most basic, a short story is a brief work of prose fiction that is shorter in length than a novel. But there are some key distinguishing characteristics of short stories versus longer works of fiction:

  • Length  – Most short stories range from 1,000 to 7,500 words, though some can be shorter or a bit longer. Anything over 15,000 words is generally considered a novella or novel.
  • Single focused plot  – Short stories focus on one core conflict or storythread, without subplots. The narrative is more tightly-woven than a novel.
  • Few main characters  – There are usually only a handful of major characters rather than dozens or more. Background on characters is limited.
  • Swift pacing  – Events move at a brisker clip since there is less time/space. Exposition and backstory are kept to a minimum.
  • Condensed context  – Less emphasis is placed on extensive descriptions of setting or character backgrounds. Context is revealed through events.

Remember that these are guidelines rather than hard rules. Experimental or creative stories may play with conventions. The key point is that short stories aim to packs a narrative punch within a tighter, more focused scope than a novel.

Developing Ideas and Premises

When drafting a short story, one of the first steps is coming up with a core idea or premise to build the narrative around. Here are some effective techniques for generating initial story concepts:

Brainstorming Prompts  – Use writing prompts, either from online lists or ones you generate yourself, as a springboard. Things like “A woman finds $5,000 that isn’t hers” can spark ideas.

Personal Anecdotes  – Draw on interesting real-life experiences , people you know, odd things that happen to you and turn them into fictional tales.

Research Topics  – Browse news stories, history facts, current events for intriguing details or social issues to explore.

Reader Challenges  – Propose a narrative challenge, like “A story told through instant messages” to ignite creativity.

Mindmaps/Freewriting – Jot down any concepts, images, or questions without filtering, as these nonlinear methods stimulate new connections.

The premise should present a central conflict or character decision that neatly sets up the story’s focus and stakes. Keep tweaking ideas until you land on one with potential layers to unpack.

Creating Characters

Short stories hinge upon vibrant, multilayered characters. Take time to craft appealing protagonists and supporting cast through character profiles addressing:

  • Basic Details – Describe appearance, mannerisms, and background details.
  • Motivations and Goals  – What drives this character? What do they want deep down?
  • Flaws and Contradictions  – No one is one-dimensional. Give characters nuanced weaknesses or inconsistencies.
  • Perspective and Voice  – How do they view themselves and others? What is their tone/speech patterns like?

Round out profiles by exploring each character’s dynamic with others, life experiences shaping them, and how they change through the story. Even side characters should feel authentic to avoid flat stock figures.

Plotting the Story

Short stories require tight, elevated storylining with a beginning, middle, and end. Develop the narrative arc by:

Identifying the Central Conflict  – What dramatic question or problem fuels the narrative drive?

Outlining Key Scenes  – Map the rising action, pivotal climax/turning point, and resolution of the central conflict.

Scheduling Reveals  – Parcel out contextual details and backstory judiciously, saving mysteries for climactic moments.

Foreshadowing Effectively  – Drop subtle hints that heighten foreboding, tie into later beats, and optimize surprises without logical leaps.

Crafting Satisfying Closures  – Resolve critical narrative strands while leaving room for interpretation or further questions. Avoid pat or simplistic endings.

Use this scheme to stay grounded, yet leave room for organic discoveries in the first draft. Continually assess if scenes refine character or propel plotting forward efficiently.

Structuring Your Story

While short story structure is adaptable, many classics follow reliable models that help maintain pace and audience engagement. Consider opening with:

  • In Medias Res  – Throw readers directly into the action/conflict without extensive setup.
  • Character in Dilemma  – Pose a thought-provoking choice, want, or obstacle for protagonists up front.

Additional effective structural techniques include:

  • flashbacks  – Punctuate scenes with limited retrospectives that add nuance, not confusion.
  • dual timelines  – Layer two storylines, with climaxes aligning fruitfully versus disjointedly.
  • Frame narratives  – Bookend the central tale with another sequence setting context or posing implications.

The structure should unfold purposefully yet economically, without dragging or wasted space. Maintain suspense and curiosity right up through a resonant closure. Functional plots serve characters and themes over arbitrary story beats.

Refining Your Revision Process

The initial draft gets the raw content on paper, but the real crafting happens in rewriting and refinement. Hone the story by:

  • Reading aloud  – Hear where language/pacing/tone feels awkward versus fluid and absorbing.
  • Getting feedback  – Consult critique partners to flag ambiguities, weak areas, emotional impacts, and logical gaps
  • Self-editing  – Cut excess flab while tightening prose, trimming redundant lines, sharpening dialogue/action, and finessing flow.
  • Replotting  – Restructure scenes, timelines, reveals, and conclusion as needed based on editorial insights and storytelling impact.
  • Polishing prose  – refine phrasing, vocabulary, sentence variation, vivid descriptions, evocative metaphor upon subsequent drafts.

Leave revisions to simmer, then revisit with fresh eyes later. The goal is a dynamic, cohesive end product where every element elevates the narrative and reader experience.

Publishing and Promoting Your Story

After polishing your story to a fine sheen, explore options for featuring your work:

  • Submit to literary journals – Research submission guidelines for print and online publications.
  • Self-publish eBooks /paperbacks – Easy-to-use platforms host and distribute your work digitally and in print.
  • Create a blog/website – Post stories and build an audience through promotion on social networking platforms.
  • Enter writing contests – Competitions offer exposure, potential awards, and craft feedback opportunities.
  • Pitch to anthologies/magazines – Inquire about one-off story reprint/syndication opportunities in specific publications or annual collections.

Always maintain professionalism with editors and respect revision/acceptance policies. View initial publications as a learning experience and resume builder toward higher impact placements. Networking widens your supporter base as well.

Examples of Classic Short Stories

To help understand the range, depth and mastery possible within the short form, explore acclaimed works like:

  • “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson – A chilling glimpse into blind social conformity and ritual with an unforgettably jarring climax.
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – A feminist examination of postpartum depression and oppressive gender roles through a haunting first-person narrative.
  • “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates – A psychological thriller following the manipulation and downfall of a naive teenage girl.
  • “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs – A cautionary tale imbued with Gothic suspense sparked by a family’s fateful wishes upon a mystical talisman.
  • “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin – A poignant exploration of familial bonds, the ravages of addiction, and the universal language of jazz seen through two troubled brothers.

Studying classics like these spotlights concise yet immersive storytelling , economic character development, mastery of voice , and the heights short fiction can reach when approached with vision and skill.

That covers the essentials for crafting compelling short stories that entertain audiences and advance your writing practice. Keep experimenting and learning with each new story drafted. Above all, believe in your ability to meaningfully distill life’s complexities into vivid glimpses of truth through short fiction.

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  • Writing Activities

105 Creative Writing Exercises To Get You Writing Again

You know that feeling when you just don’t feel like writing? Sometimes you can’t even get a word down on paper. It’s the most frustrating thing ever to a writer, especially when you’re working towards a deadline. The good news is that we have a list of 105 creative writing exercises to help you get motivated and start writing again!

What are creative writing exercises?

Creative writing exercises are short writing activities (normally around 10 minutes) designed to get you writing. The goal of these exercises is to give you the motivation to put words onto a blank paper. These words don’t need to be logical or meaningful, neither do they need to be grammatically correct or spelt correctly. The whole idea is to just get you writing something, anything. The end result of these quick creative writing exercises is normally a series of notes, bullet points or ramblings that you can, later on, use as inspiration for a bigger piece of writing such as a story or a poem. 

Good creative writing exercises are short, quick and easy to complete. You shouldn’t need to think too much about your style of writing or how imaginative your notes are. Just write anything that comes to mind, and you’ll be on the road to improving your creative writing skills and beating writer’s block . 

Use the generator below to get a random creative writing exercise idea:

List of 105+ Creative Writing Exercises

Here are over 105 creative writing exercises to give your brain a workout and help those creative juices flow again:

  • Set a timer for 60 seconds. Now write down as many words or phrases that come to mind at that moment.
  • Pick any colour you like. Now start your sentence with this colour. For example, Orange, the colour of my favourite top. 
  • Open a book or dictionary on a random page. Pick a random word. You can close your eyes and slowly move your finger across the page. Now, write a paragraph with this random word in it. You can even use an online dictionary to get random words:

dictionary-random-word-imagine-forest

  • Create your own alphabet picture book or list. It can be A to Z of animals, food, monsters or anything else you like!
  • Using only the sense of smell, describe where you are right now.
  • Take a snack break. While eating your snack write down the exact taste of that food. The goal of this creative writing exercise is to make your readers savour this food as well.
  • Pick a random object in your room and write a short paragraph from its point of view. For example, how does your pencil feel? What if your lamp had feelings?
  • Describe your dream house. Where would you live one day? Is it huge or tiny? 
  • Pick two different TV shows, movies or books that you like. Now swap the main character. What if Supergirl was in Twilight? What if SpongeBob SquarePants was in The Flash? Write a short scene using this character swap as inspiration.
  • What’s your favourite video game? Write at least 10 tips for playing this game.
  • Pick your favourite hobby or sport. Now pretend an alien has just landed on Earth and you need to teach it this hobby or sport. Write at least ten tips on how you would teach this alien.
  • Use a random image generator and write a paragraph about the first picture you see.

random image generator

  • Write a letter to your favourite celebrity or character. What inspires you most about them? Can you think of a memorable moment where this person’s life affected yours? We have this helpful guide on writing a letter to your best friend for extra inspiration.
  • Write down at least 10 benefits of writing. This can help motivate you and beat writer’s block.
  • Complete this sentence in 10 different ways: Patrick waited for the school bus and…
  • Pick up a random book from your bookshelf and go to page 9. Find the ninth sentence on that page. Use this sentence as a story starter.
  • Create a character profile based on all the traits that you hate. It might help to list down all the traits first and then work on describing the character.
  • What is the scariest or most dangerous situation you have ever been in? Why was this situation scary? How did you cope at that moment?
  • Pretend that you’re a chat show host and you’re interviewing your favourite celebrity. Write down the script for this conversation.
  • Using extreme detail, write down what you have been doing for the past one hour today. Think about your thoughts, feelings and actions during this time.
  • Make a list of potential character names for your next story. You can use a fantasy name generator to help you.
  • Describe a futuristic setting. What do you think the world would look like in 100 years time?
  • Think about a recent argument you had with someone. Would you change anything about it? How would you resolve an argument in the future?
  • Describe a fantasy world. What kind of creatures live in this world? What is the climate like? What everyday challenges would a typical citizen of this world face? You can use this fantasy world name generator for inspiration.
  • At the flip of a switch, you turn into a dragon. What kind of dragon would you be? Describe your appearance, special abilities, likes and dislikes. You can use a dragon name generator to give yourself a cool dragon name.
  • Pick your favourite book or a famous story. Now change the point of view. For example, you could rewrite the fairytale , Cinderella. This time around, Prince Charming could be the main character. What do you think Prince Charming was doing, while Cinderella was cleaning the floors and getting ready for the ball?
  • Pick a random writing prompt and use it to write a short story. Check out this collection of over 300 writing prompts for kids to inspire you. 
  • Write a shopping list for a famous character in history. Imagine if you were Albert Einstein’s assistant, what kind of things would he shop for on a weekly basis?
  • Create a fake advertisement poster for a random object that is near you right now. Your goal is to convince the reader to buy this object from you.
  • What is the worst (or most annoying) sound that you can imagine? Describe this sound in great detail, so your reader can understand the pain you feel when hearing this sound.
  • What is your favourite song at the moment? Pick one line from this song and describe a moment in your life that relates to this line.
  •  You’re hosting an imaginary dinner party at your house. Create a list of people you would invite, and some party invites. Think about the theme of the dinner party, the food you will serve and entertainment for the evening. 
  • You are waiting to see your dentist in the waiting room. Write down every thought you are having at this moment in time. 
  • Make a list of your greatest fears. Try to think of at least three fears. Now write a short story about a character who is forced to confront one of these fears. 
  • Create a ‘Wanted’ poster for a famous villain of your choice. Think about the crimes they have committed, and the reward you will give for having them caught. 
  • Imagine you are a journalist for the ‘Imagine Forest Times’ newspaper. Your task is to get an exclusive interview with the most famous villain of all time. Pick a villain of your choice and interview them for your newspaper article. What questions would you ask them, and what would their responses be?
  •  In a school playground, you see the school bully hurting a new kid. Write three short stories, one from each perspective in this scenario (The bully, the witness and the kid getting bullied).
  • You just won $10 million dollars. What would you spend this money on?
  • Pick a random animal, and research at least five interesting facts about this animal. Write a short story centred around one of these interesting facts. 
  • Pick a global issue that you are passionate about. This could be climate change, black lives matters, women’s rights etc. Now create a campaign poster for this global issue. 
  • Write an acrostic poem about an object near you right now (or even your own name). You could use a poetry idea generator to inspire you.
  • Imagine you are the head chef of a 5-star restaurant. Recently the business has slowed down. Your task is to come up with a brand-new menu to excite customers. Watch this video prompt on YouTube to inspire you.
  • What is your favourite food of all time? Imagine if this piece of food was alive, what would it say to you?
  • If life was one big musical, what would you be singing about right now? Write the lyrics of your song. 
  • Create and describe the most ultimate villain of all time. What would their traits be? What would their past look like? Will they have any positive traits?
  • Complete this sentence in at least 10 different ways: Every time I look out of the window, I…
  • You have just made it into the local newspaper, but what for? Write down at least five potential newspaper headlines . Here’s an example, Local Boy Survives a Deadly Illness.
  • If you were a witch or a wizard, what would your specialist area be and why? You might want to use a Harry Potter name generator or a witch name generator for inspiration.
  • What is your favourite thing to do on a Saturday night? Write a short story centred around this activity. 
  • Your main character has just received the following items: A highlighter, a red cap, a teddy bear and a fork. What would your character do with these items? Can you write a story using these items? 
  • Create a timeline of your own life, from birth to this current moment. Think about the key events in your life, such as birthdays, graduations, weddings and so on. After you have done this, you can pick one key event from your life to write a story about. 
  • Think of a famous book or movie you like. Rewrite a scene from this book or movie, where the main character is an outsider. They watch the key events play out, but have no role in the story. What would their actions be? How would they react?
  • Three very different characters have just won the lottery. Write a script for each character, as they reveal the big news to their best friend.  
  • Write a day in the life story of three different characters. How does each character start their day? What do they do throughout the day? And how does their day end?
  •  Write about the worst experience in your life so far. Think about a time when you were most upset or angry and describe it. 
  • Imagine you’ve found a time machine in your house. What year would you travel to and why?
  • Describe your own superhero. Think about their appearance, special abilities and their superhero name. Will they have a secret identity? Who is their number one enemy?
  • What is your favourite country in the world? Research five fun facts about this country and use one to write a short story. 
  • Set yourself at least three writing goals. This could be a good way to motivate yourself to write every day. For example, one goal might be to write at least 150 words a day. 
  • Create a character description based on the one fact, three fiction rule. Think about one fact or truth about yourself. And then add in three fictional or fantasy elements. For example, your character could be the same age as you in real life, this is your one fact. And the three fictional elements could be they have the ability to fly, talk in over 100 different languages and have green skin. 
  • Describe the perfect person. What traits would they have? Think about their appearance, their interests and their dislikes. 
  • Keep a daily journal or diary. This is a great way to keep writing every day. There are lots of things you can write about in your journal, such as you can write about the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of your day. Think about anything that inspired you or anything that upset you, or just write anything that comes to mind at the moment. 
  • Write a book review or a movie review. If you’re lost for inspiration, just watch a random movie or read any book that you can find. Then write a critical review on it. Think about the best parts of the book/movie and the worst parts. How would you improve the book or movie?
  • Write down a conversation between yourself. You can imagine talking to your younger self or future self (i.e. in 10 years’ time). What would you tell them? Are there any lessons you learned or warnings you need to give? Maybe you could talk about what your life is like now and compare it to their life?
  • Try writing some quick flash fiction stories . Flash fiction is normally around 500 words long, so try to stay within this limit.
  • Write a six-word story about something that happened to you today or yesterday. A six-word story is basically an entire story told in just six words. Take for example: “Another football game ruined by me.” or “A dog’s painting sold for millions.” – Six-word stories are similar to writing newspaper headlines. The goal is to summarise your story in just six words. 
  • The most common monsters or creatures used in stories include vampires, werewolves , dragons, the bigfoot, sirens and the loch-ness monster. In a battle of intelligence, who do you think will win and why?
  • Think about an important event in your life that has happened so far, such as a birthday or the birth of a new sibling. Now using the 5 W’s and 1 H technique describe this event in great detail. The 5 W’s include: What, Who, Where, Why, When and the 1 H is: How. Ask yourself questions about the event, such as what exactly happened on that day? Who was there? Why was this event important? When and where did it happen? And finally, how did it make you feel?
  • Pretend to be someone else. Think about someone important in your life. Now put yourself into their shoes, and write a day in the life story about being them. What do you think they do on a daily basis? What situations would they encounter? How would they feel?
  • Complete this sentence in at least 10 different ways: I remember…
  • Write about your dream holiday. Where would you go? Who would you go with? And what kind of activities would you do?
  • Which one item in your house do you use the most? Is it the television, computer, mobile phone, the sofa or the microwave? Now write a story of how this item was invented. You might want to do some research online and use these ideas to build up your story. 
  • In exactly 100 words, describe your bedroom. Try not to go over or under this word limit.
  • Make a top ten list of your favourite animals. Based on this list create your own animal fact file, where you provide fun facts about each animal in your list.
  • What is your favourite scene from a book or a movie? Write down this scene. Now rewrite the scene in a different genre, such as horror, comedy, drama etc.
  •  Change the main character of a story you recently read into a villain. For example, you could take a popular fairytale such as Jack and the Beanstalk, but this time re-write the story to make Jack the villain of the tale.
  • Complete the following sentence in at least 10 different ways: Do you ever wonder…
  • What does your name mean? Research the meaning of your own name, or a name that interests you. Then use this as inspiration for your next story. For example, the name ‘Marty’ means “Servant Of Mars, God Of War”. This could make a good concept for a sci-fi story.
  • Make a list of three different types of heroes (or main characters) for potential future stories.
  • If someone gave you $10 dollars, what would you spend it on and why?
  • Describe the world’s most boring character in at least 100 words. 
  • What is the biggest problem in the world today, and how can you help fix this issue?
  • Create your own travel brochure for your hometown. Think about why tourists might want to visit your hometown. What is your town’s history? What kind of activities can you do? You could even research some interesting facts. 
  • Make a list of all your favourite moments or memories in your life. Now pick one to write a short story about.
  • Describe the scariest and ugliest monster you can imagine. You could even draw a picture of this monster with your description.
  • Write seven haikus, one for each colour of the rainbow. That’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. 
  • Imagine you are at the supermarket. Write down at least three funny scenarios that could happen to you at the supermarket. Use one for your next short story. 
  • Imagine your main character is at home staring at a photograph. Write the saddest scene possible. Your goal is to make your reader cry when reading this scene. 
  • What is happiness? In at least 150 words describe the feeling of happiness. You could use examples from your own life of when you felt happy.
  • Think of a recent nightmare you had and write down everything you can remember. Use this nightmare as inspiration for your next story.
  • Keep a dream journal. Every time you wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning you can quickly jot down things that you remember from your dreams. These notes can then be used as inspiration for a short story. 
  • Your main character is having a really bad day. Describe this bad day and the series of events they experience. What’s the worst thing that could happen to your character?
  • You find a box on your doorstep. You open this box and see the most amazing thing ever. Describe this amazing thing to your readers.
  • Make a list of at least five possible settings or locations for future stories. Remember to describe each setting in detail.
  • Think of something new you recently learned. Write this down. Now write a short story where your main character also learns the same thing.
  • Describe the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your whole life. Your goal is to amaze your readers with its beauty. 
  • Make a list of things that make you happy or cheer you up. Try to think of at least five ideas. Now imagine living in a world where all these things were banned or against the law. Use this as inspiration for your next story.
  • Would you rather be rich and alone or poor and very popular? Write a story based on the lives of these two characters. 
  • Imagine your main character is a Librarian. Write down at least three dark secrets they might have. Remember, the best secrets are always unexpected.
  • There’s a history behind everything. Describe the history of your house. How and when was your house built? Think about the land it was built on and the people that may have lived here long before you.
  • Imagine that you are the king or queen of a beautiful kingdom. Describe your kingdom in great detail. What kind of rules would you have? Would you be a kind ruler or an evil ruler of the kingdom?
  • Make a wish list of at least three objects you wish you owned right now. Now use these three items in your next story. At least one of them must be the main prop in the story.
  • Using nothing but the sense of taste, describe a nice Sunday afternoon at your house. Remember you can’t use your other senses (i.e see, hear, smell or touch) in this description. 
  • What’s the worst pain you felt in your life? Describe this pain in great detail, so your readers can also feel it.
  • If you were lost on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere, what three must-have things would you pack and why?
  • Particpate in online writing challenges or contests. Here at Imagine Forest, we offer daily writing challenges with a new prompt added every day to inspire you. Check out our challenges section in the menu.

Do you have any more fun creative writing exercises to share? Let us know in the comments below!

creative writing exercises

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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Short Stories

Welcome to the University of Gloucestershire Short Story website

Here, we showcase all the work of our talented UoG students, and we also offer sixth formers and college students the chance to submit their writing to us. We’ll look at every submission, offer helpful guidance, and choose the best ones to publish on our site. At UoG, our students are mentored by professionals across the creative writing fields to hone and expand their skills in poetry, playwriting, prose, and critical writing.

We’d love to read your stories if you’re a student here at the University of Gloucestershire, or a school or college student considering a future degree in Creative Writing. We’ll read every submission, and publish the best, and we’ll try to give helpful feedback where we can.  We have limited time and space so please don’t worry if you have to wait a while.

Visit the UoG Creative Writing pages for more information:

  • Creative Writing, BA Hons
  • Creative Writing, MA
  • Creative Writing, PhD

If you are interested in submitting your work for publication here then see our current submission status below:

  • Student Submissions: New UoG student submissions will be accepted from January 1st 2020.
  • 6th form submissions:  Submissions open.  New stories will be accepted throughout December 2019 and January 2020.

You can find further information on submitting your work at https://uniofglos.blog/creativewriting/short-stories-submission/

STUDENT STORIES

by Thomas Bennett of John Kyrle sixth form. This was one of two stories shortlisted from our schools’ competition, July 2020. Commander Jeffrey Noble collapsed to the ground. He’d manually prised open the enormous weight of the shuttle door, designed to be moved by powerful—now broken—motors. His hand instinctively came to hover over his eyes. So long had Noble stared into the emptiness of space that the explosion of colour and light that stretched before…

by Finlay John of Wyedean School. This was one of two shortlisted stories in our schools’ competition, July 2020. It was another day walking down the road for Mitsuki. The wind softly brushed her hair as she walked home alone. She was independent and self-reliant. Her eyes invited friendships, but she never allowed them. In her house, a group of people were making themselves at home. They were people she’d seen around the town: a…

The Deadly Song

by Iris Davies In a world with a famous and legendary song which no-one dares listen to and is known to cause the listener to commit suicide. Antonio, a pianist in New York City, is forced to contemplate the laws of reality. It is known throughout all cultures that the song is deadly. The Greeks called it the siren’s song; the Irish called it the Banshee’s Wail. It is a fact as far ingrained in our…

Sinking Stress

by Alexandra Vyvyan I am 16 years old and I do creative writing for fun, I have had small pieces of writing published and enter competitions irregularly, I write more poetry than anything else and enjoy losing myself in writing.  A teenage girl feels trapped and drowning in the mass of useless information forced upon her. I wondered if anyone else noticed how pretty the sky was today, how the darkness was bright and soft…

Deathlike Sleep

by Caitlin Hasson I’m sixteen years old and doing an English Literature and Language combined A-level at Cirencester college. Edward has lost his prince, his family, and his friends and now wants to take revenge in this reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty story. It was raining. It hadn’t stopped raining for three days. The battle had started three days ago, and it hadn’t stopped raining. The ground was slick with mud, dark with blood, and…

After ten years

by Amber Wright. Ten years after becoming a trusted mentor for a younger student and having to part ways when school ends.  The mentor gets a surprise knock at the door. Jack looked down at me. I could see his eyes watering as he frowned and straightened his oversized puffer jacket in a failed attempt to maintain his “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. The past five years had flown by and this date was…

by James Pearson. 1986. A new beginning for some but an end for others. Cassiel doesn’t know when he begins university (again) that he would be studying the greatest explosion in history- but he is. England is a vastly different place now in 1983, with more riots ruining workers’ rights and unemployment skyrocketing- not surprising based on the corruption that occurs behind the solid aged brick of parliament. Being only two years since the system…

The Team Talk

by Harry Moore. I am H.L. Moore and I am an sports fiction author. The Team Talk is one of my finest pieces of work and will no doubt be a huge box office hit once it hits the big screen. I am soon expected to become a New York Times best selling author. My inspiration is the legendary, creative mastermind Mr Jeff Kinney. The championship playoff final, the game where you end up 170 million pounds…

by Zelma Bowers. My name is Zelma Bowers and this is the first instalment of  a trilogy about mountains. This is a differing topic to my usual books because I usually stick to hills.  Multi-coloured flags fly in the harsh wind. Each thread being pulled in every direction, unravelling the hard work of the local women and dancing up to the highest point on earth. Each thread taken by the wind is a prayer to…

Unknown Abyss

by Lily-Mae Harrison. Being increasingly interested in the flow of order in society, observation of how people adapt to situations has always been a point of interest of mine. But what if you flip the world on it’s head? I’m a sixth form student at Christopher Whitehead with a fascination in the dystopia genre and a passion for creative writing, with an aim to make you question. In this dystopian world, all anyone could do…

Pasta the point of no return

by Rex Daniels. My name is Rex Daniels and this is the first instalment of my pasta themed trilogy. This book explores the dangers of spaghetti and its deeper meaning throughout life. This is my first time delving into the world of pasta because I’m used to more serious topics. Vomit. Disgusting rancid barf. It’s all I can smell. It’s all I can see. It’s all I can taste. It’s all I can feel. It’s…

Salah’s Revenge

by J.C.B. Digger. I am J.C.B Digger and this here is the first introduction to my trilogy of books called “Stories of the Egyptian God”. Speaking from the view of a professional writer I believe this story is truly fascinating. Breaking news! Here we are January 31st, 2019 the last day of the Premier League transfer window, live at the Tottenham Hotspur training ground waiting for a surprise guest to complete his medical assessment and…

When we were released

by Eleanor Diamond. I am a sixth form student who studies Drama (BTEC), Classical Civilisations and combined English Language/Literature. I have mostly been interested in acting for a large portion of my life, however, writing novels or doing the odd piece of creative writing has been a hobby of mine since I first learnt to form a sentence.  Four days. Those I had called friends, comrades, acquaintances, gone. For our whole lives, up until those…

by Eleanor Cottrill. ‘If only’ is a fictional dystopian piece about the possible close future and the ‘end of the world’, however it is based off both climate change and the seemingly insignificant problem of bees going into decline, a brief overview of what would happen if they were allowed to go extinct from the point of view of a teenager who loses the future that the adults around her promised her from a young…

Christmas in the Country

by Carole May. I am a very mature student returning to university after a gap of many decades and fifteen years after retirement. At the start of this course I was worried about working with people who were so much more in touch with education, but have found that working with such clever young people is both fun and stimulating. Their help and advice is invaluable, particularly when it comes to IT. Both my brain…

The Park Keeper

by Joy-Amy Wigman. Joy-Amy is a mature student who has just finished her first year of the Creative Writing Degree. She is an award winning slam poet and runs a monthly comedy night in Cheltenham called Lemon Rocket for which she often MCs. The Park Keeper I stared at the polar bear and the polar bear stared back at me. “You are not wrong Gerald,” I said to him. The mess had started three weeks…

The Devil That Taught Me I Couldn’t Be Loved

by Bethan Manley. Bethan is an English Language and Creative Writing student. She is also a poet with a background in slam poetry and prose. She is a singer-song-writer turned poet so her poems tend to flow and be heartfelt. If she’s not writing you can normally find Bethan anywhere with dogs! This is a prose piece adapted from one of her poems, and suitable for slam prose performance. There are nights when I still…

Out of Office

by Carol Hilton.  Carol is a mature student completing the third year of her BA in 2019.  She is a short story competition winner. Her poetry has been published in previous University Anthologies and magazines such as Snakeskin. Her short play The Waiting Game, has been selected by the Pirate Theatre in Gloucestershire for their showcase event, ‘Pint Sized Plays’. Out of Office From:                    Saffron Walsh <[email protected]> Sent:                     Thursday, 6 December, 2018 at 19:20…

My Name is Harry

by Asha Sutton. Asha is a second year Creative Writing student at the University of Gloucestershire.  Her stories show her passion for social issues and the treatment of the vulnerable in modern society. My name is Harry I swear that’s the man who worked at the local coffee shop. He spilled the sugar on the floor behind the counter, with an “Oh shit” expression. He rattled tall, skinny glasses, or turned on the coffee machine,…

The Simple Days of Chai and Plum Cake

by Oszey Calland. Oszey is a first year Creative Writing student at the University of Gloucestershire.  He has travelled extensively and writes about a wide variety of subjects. The Simple Days of Chai and Plum Cake Mr Ramesh stepped out of the little shop into the intense heat, looking up at the bright blue sky. “Fort Cochin is getting hotter every year,” he thought. “The monsoons will come soon bringing cooling rains. The Indian Monsoon…

The Fulfilment of a Promise

by Rita Bates. RJ Bates is currently working through the Creative and Critical Writing MA. She is a morning person, conscious about eating foods that will fuel her body and mind, but will never give up drinking red wine. She enjoys a challenge, mental or physical and loves people-watching, because sometimes if lucky enough, she witnesses random acts that would otherwise go unnoticed. The Fulfilment of a Promise I loved spending time with Ashanti. She…

Natural Order

 by Carlie Chabot. Carlie is a Canadian student spending a year in Cheltenham to study for an MA in Creative Writing at the University.  She is currently working on a novel about the murder of a young girl and the fallout it causes in small town. It fits within the theme of Northern Ontario Gothicism, and explores death, mental health, and justice. Natural Order ‘I am deeply appreciative of spiders, and everything they do.’            …

The Undertaker’s Coffin

by Ross Turner. I write short stories, novels and poetry. I study Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire, and am a member of the Royal Air Force Reserves. The Undertaker’s Coffin ‘Prepare to feed,’ I say. ‘Feed.’ The six Pallbearers are lined up in three pairs. The Uncle and the younger Brother – the two shortest, and therefore the front-most pair – reach into the yawning hearse. They grasp the two nearest handles, on…

by Michael Moore. Michael is a mature student from Canada. He is currently filling his weekends teaching Computer Aided Design and 3-D modelling.  he has been working at his writing for over twenty years. Bubbles She awoke to bubbles.           Tickles and giggles and bubbles and bursts of frenzied fizzy feelings. As if she was about to pop right out of her skin. The tingles touched her smile and drew it wider. She was breathless, flushed,…

In Memory of Casey Philips

by Andrew Lafleche. Andrew is a University of Gloucestershire MA student in Creative and Critical Writing, studying on the distance learning programme, from Canada.  He describes his work as a blend of social criticism, philosophical reflection, explicit prose, and black comedy. In 2016 he received the John Newlove Poetry Award. Please note that ‘In Memory of Casey Philips’ has adult themes including sexual assault. In Memory of Casey Philips “My uncle just moved in,” Casey…

55 episodes

Award-winning dreampunk & fantasy author Anna Tizard plays the surrealist word game of Exquisite Corpse to create unique writing prompts, by mixing words you've posted at annatizard.com/play. Results are often hilarious at first, but after a little digging, they develop into wild, weird & unexpected stories. This is a creative, evolving show: Shows 1-37 usually have in-depth discussions on writing before game play. Shows 28-33 are Alice in Wonderland specials. Shows 37 & beyond focus on storytelling, and the story brainstorms are deeper & richer. Dip in wherever you fancy! A ton of fun.

Brainstoryum: Creative Writing Prompts & Story Craft Anna Tizard

  • MAY 10, 2024

#54. Writing Prompts with Magic, Monsters… and Morose Literary Magazines?

Enjoy more zany, imagination-bending journeys into fantasy fiction using writing prompts generated by the surrealist word game of Exquisite Corpse. Get writing!   Today’s show features story ideas sent in by listeners based on “the foggy box”, plus new short story ideas, impromptu storytelling and creative writing tips from award-winning fantasy and dreampunk author, Anna Tizard.   Subscribe for free to Anna Tizard’s private email list and get exclusive material from her series, The Book of Exquisite Corpse. All at www.annatizard.com. INTRO: Hello imaginative people! I’m Anna Tizard and this is episode 54 of Brainstoryum. I hope you are ready for some wild new story ideas and writing prompts, because today’s show is positively bulging like the 3 socks of destiny which contain words… Whose words? Your words? Maybe, if you’ve sent me some on the Play page at annatizard.com…   But before we begin new journeys into the weird depths of our imaginations, I have some brilliant ideas to share with you, sent in by listeners who responded to a writing prompt the last show. This is what I truly love: a bit of collaboration, sharing the wonder and weirdness of storytelling. So let’s get on with the show...

  • APR 26, 2024

#53. Short Story Ideas: Weirdness, Wonder & Inventing Creatures

More zany, imagination-bending journeys into fantasy fiction using writing prompts generated by the surrealist word game of Exquisite Corpse. Get writing!   Today’s show features story ideas sent in by listeners based on “the boisterous rocking chair”, plus new short story ideas, impromptu storytelling and creative writing tips from award-winning fantasy and dreampunk author, Anna Tizard.   Subscribe for free to Anna Tizard’s private email list and get exclusive material from her series, The Book of Exquisite Corpse. All at www.annatizard.com.

  • APR 12, 2024

#52. More Story Writing Ideas; Uniqueness & Originality; Clowns, Creatures, Hauntings & Plunder

It’s time once more to be inspired (and amused) by zany, imagination-bending writing prompts using the surrealist word game of Exquisite Corpse. Today’s show features story ideas sent in by listeners based on “the susurrant plunder”, plus snippets of storytelling exploring a rich array of new short story ideas and writing tips from award-winning fantasy and dreampunk author, Anna Tizard. Subscribe for free to Anna Tizard’s private email list and get vol 1 in The Book of Exquisite Corpse plus exclusive material not published anywhere else. All at www.annatizard.com.   INTRO: Hello imaginative people! I’m Anna Tizard and this is episode 52 of Brainstoryum. Well, my personal life has been a bit manic lately, with major roof works going on. The noise has been like 3 or 4 ogres trying to smash their way in through the ceiling with truncheons; I was quite surprised to look out the window and see humans, mere humans on the scaffolding. So today I’m grateful that I can bask in one of my favourite distractions: the delicious escape of storytelling, brainstorming ideas and sharing them with you. So whatever you’ve been up to this week, I’m glad you’re able to enjoy this with me.   I have a packed show for you today with some new great story ideas suggested by listeners, plus there will of course be 3 new bizarre writing prompts today plucked from the depths of the socks of destiny.   First things first - let’s hear the story ideas sent in by my highly imaginative listeners. The "susurrant plunder": a curious phrase indeed. It sounds like murmuring treasure; stolen goods that whisper? The rabbit hole I dived into when this phrase came up was one of treasure hunting and a secret history of pirates. But this is only one rabbit hole among countless possibilities, since everyone’s imagination is unique...

  • MAR 29, 2024

#51. Creative Writing Ideas Galore: Enter the Transdimensional World of Your Imagination

Time to be inspired by zany, imagination-bending writing prompts using the word game of Exquisite Corpse. Includes story ideas sent in by listeners based on “the transdimensional witch”, plus storytelling with a rich array of new short story ideas and writing tips from award-winning fantasy and dreampunk author, Anna Tizard. Subscribe for free to Anna Tizard’s private email list and get vol 1 in The Book of Exquisite Corpse plus exclusive material not published anywhere else! "Hello imaginative people. I’m Anna Tizard and this is episode 51 of Brainstoryum. I hope life is treating you well, but whatever your state of mind is, I feel certain that today’s show can only improve your mood as I share the magic of storytelling – but not just mine.   In the last few episodes, I’ve been inviting you to share your story ideas based on writing prompts that have come up on the show, and today, there are some really good ones I can’t wait to read out.   But before I do, and before I reach once more into the socks of destiny for 3 new writing prompts, someone has written a poem about me and the show...  

  • MAR 15, 2024

#50. The 2nd Anniversary Special! A Celebration of Short Story Ideas & Writing Successes

In this 50th episode and 2nd anniversary of Brainstoryum, Anna Tizard shares some of the best (and weirdest) Exquisite Corpse writing prompts that have come up in the show; plus, successes from other authors who’ve used inspiration from the show to write and publish stories; listeners’ ideas based on the “pedantic staircase”; and 3 new rounds of the imagination-bending word game.   Subscribe for free to Anna Tizard’s private email list and get vol 1 in The Book of Exquisite Corpse plus exclusive material not published anywhere else! https://annatizardsubscribe.ck.page/e631e9eb31

  • MAR 1, 2024

#49. A Sack-full of Short Story Ideas – Including Yours!

Time for some zany, imagination-bending writing prompts using the word game of Exquisite Corpse. Enjoy interactive storytelling and some great ideas for writing short stories, with writing tips from award-winning fantasy and dreampunk author, Anna Tizard.   In today’s show, listeners and readers suggest their own story ideas based on a writing prompt from the last show: “the frozen chaise longue”. Next, Anna mixes listeners’ word suggestions into bizarre sentences and brainstorms new story ideas from the results. Subscribe for free to Anna Tizard’s private email list and get vol 1 in The Book of Exquisite Corpse plus exclusive material not published anywhere else! annatizard.com

  • © Anna Tizard

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How to Write Better Stories in 2024 [7 Point Storytelling Structure]

The Storytelling Method that I taught a ton of individual storytellers and brands to help reach their growth goals.

StoryLab.ai

Write what you mean. Speak from the gut, heart, and mind — combined strategically.

This is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever written. I’m about to teach you the basics of my storytelling method, that I’ve created over the 15 or so years that I’ve worked as a marketing writer, author and storytelling coach. I want this to be fun. I want this to be crystal clear. I want this to be inspiring.

Oohh.  Shudders . Exciting.

At the moment I’m writing this, I’m reading and responding to feedback from a WhatsApp group chat with esteemed former colleagues on the following question:

“If there was one thing you would like to learn from me when it comes to writing, what would that be?”

Turns out, these marketing and communication professionals that know me and my work like none other, would like to learn the following from me: how to keep writing fun, how to keep it interesting for yourself and others, and how to make sure stories are not just read or heard, but rather felt and experienced.

That’s exactly what you’ll learn here: how to write stories that are Felt, Remembered and then turned into Action — in a fun, fast and effective fashion . You will be able to use the basics you learn to base any and all communications on. Blogs, books, presentations, e-mails , even social posts — all can follow the below principles and steps.

Strap in, sharpen your pencil, and enjoy the ride.

In this article

  • A narrativa humana e os cinco princípios que tornam uma história boa
  • Preparação, QLSD e estrutura de 7 pontos: o segredo de 10 minutos para uma narrativa incrível
  • A estrutura narrativa de sete pontos
  • Escrita divertida (e edição estrita)
  • Resumo do infográfico da estrutura de narrativa estratégica de sete pontos
  • Aproveitando ao máximo seus esforços de marketing de conteúdo
  • Perguntas frequentes

Human storytelling and the five principles that make a story good

Let’s start off with some good news: if you’re reading this, you’re probably human.

Human storytelling

That means it’s embedded in your DNA that you know how to communicate with other humans really, really well. You have it ingrained in your body, the structure of your brain and how you naturally think, to make sense of events and the world in the form of stories. And to listen to and tell stories. That’s great and a better place to start from than 99.99% of all other living things on this planet.

You know that a story has  a beginning, a middle and an end . In business writing this basic structure translates to  need, solution, result.

You know there’s some form of a  tension arc  built in to a good story. And you know that that tension needs to be  felt . What else do you know about storytelling already?

We can summarize what makes a story a good story for humans in the following five points:

1. A good story is told with calm confidence If only so you don’t distract from your main message. To be able to have fun with your audience and to really draw them into your story . To be able to be convincing at all: why should I trust you if you’re showing me that you don’t?

Confidence is based on preparation, and authenticity — knowing and trusting what you’re talking about. And confidence radiates from a clear structure, saying no more than necessary, and relaxed body language — both physically and on paper.

2. A good story is made to be understood. Make sure your main message or thought is worked out well enough to be intelligible to an intelligent 12-year-old. Check to see if it is. For example, with your significant other/partner who is a layman in your field. Or with an actual intelligent 12-year-old.

Build a structure that allows you to convey your main message clearly, based on a tension arc: from beginning, to change in the middle, to end. Omit any unnecessary background information — this is a very important one.

And make your language as simple and as visual as possible. Paint your story. Make us hear the background music, and smell the morning coffee.

3. Made to be remembered. Make   sure your story stirs up a feeling. In order to do that, tap into the feeling that’s driving you to write the story in the first place. I’m purposefully listening to Mayra Andrade’s song ‘Lua’ as I’m writing this. Mayra Andrade is the Cape Verdean singer of our generation who’s taken over the torch from Cesaria Evora as well as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Listening to her sing makes me want to simply close my eyes and smile.

I hear the sunrise in her voice, and the Atlantic Ocean gently caressing the beach in São Vicente. Her music reminds me of how to make someone feel the story that you’re telling in their belly — even if they don’t understand your language.

Make your story a real story — with a main character — that is recognizable to your target audience. In order to do that, do the preliminary work of QLSD (more on this in a minute). What affects your audience? What is their frame of reference? What challenges or problems do they have to achieving their goals and what do they not yet know?

Have you asked them? I have. It takes less than two minutes to do so.

4. Tells your audience something new To stand out and be remembered, it is important for our brain that a message is new, or at least an element of that message. What’s new for your target audience? What don’t they know yet? What’s a new way of looking at a familiar problem that many of them haven’t tried yet? There’s always something new to be discovered, no matter how well we know our subject. Including if the subject is ourselves.

I want you to have fun writing, and to achieve that I want to challenge you to keep challenging yourself to renew your way of approaching writing . Turn your subject on its head. Literally, if you can. Approach it sideways, or through the eyes of a child. Approach it through the eyes of an alien visiting this planet. Have fun and allow yourself to find a new perspective.

This is what will help you to find new and inspiring ways of telling your stories continuously. Try writing in a different language for once. Doesn’t matter if you publish it. Try to have fun with rap or poetry, as an experiment. One of every 100 repetitions of the same thing may be ‘interesting’, but 1 out of 100 experiments will be a fundamental breakthrough.

5. Sets people in motion. Inspiring people is great — but what you actually want from your Stories is for them to help you achieve your goals as well as helping other people achieve theirs. That means you want to get people moving.   But this is only possible if you also offer them a clear call-to-action.

Literally tell them what they can do, if they care and want to know more about what you are saying. Or if they have become convinced of your vision.

And this in turn is only possible if your own goals are very clear to begin with.

All of the above; clear goals, clear structure, knowing what your audience needs and wants — come from proper preparation. Which can literally be done in ten minutes, total. Excluding research.

growth through storytelling

Preparation, QLSD and 7-point structure: the 10-minute secret to awesome storytelling

In my story method, I assume you’ve already done any and all research that you might need to tell your story. I assume you already have all the knowledge and insights you want to share, at your disposal.

Preparation in my story method consists primarily of aligning the purpose of your story with the higher purpose you’re working towards — as well as the purpose or goals of the one who’s supposed to be reading or hearing your story; your audience.

What do you want to achieve with this story and how does it help you achieve your primary goal, your team goal or your company mission? Do you have strategic marketing or communication goals or do you work in an organization that has them? If so, how does this story contribute to those?

Do you have a strong Inbound Marketing Strategy in place? How do you integrate storytelling throughout the journey?

What is the feeling that you have around your subject, which you’re going to tap into to connect to your audience with? What emotion or sensation is driving you right now, this minute? What goals do people in your audience have? What are they feeling? How does the story you’re telling help them get there?

So much of writing and storytelling is actually about listening.

QLSD in my method stands for asking Questions, Listening, Summarizing and Delving deeper. This is a practice that you can train every day in common conversation, and that you get taught in psychology courses or in training to be a journalist. It’s a basic life skill and something you need to develop in yourself to become a better communicator and storyteller.

How to do that? It’s pretty simple, actually. Practice listening actively and with intent. Listen with your ears, but also with your eyes, your gut — and your mouth:

“[Sorry to interrupt, but] if I understand you correctly, what you’re basically saying is: ‘…[summarize what you’re getting from the other person here]..’. Would you say that’s an accurate way to state/summarize what you’re saying? What would you add or change? Why?”

Try this, or a variation of this wording, and give people back what you understand from what they’re saying, to check and improve your understanding of them. Trust me, it’s a game-changer in life in general.

write better by asking better questions

The Seven-point Storytelling Structure

Now, how to build your story using that preparation and the QLSD technique? Here’s the framework I use — I even used it for this blog post— that I advise you to use in preparing to write your story and building its basic structure.

Notice that the first two questions are for you and summarize the above preparation; points 3–5 you literally put on paper to start building out your story.

This is the Seven-point Strategic Storytelling Structure:

  • What is the subject I’m writing about?
  • What is the purpose of this story and how does it connect to my higher purpose and the goals of my audience? Did I ask them? [No more than 1–2 lines preferably.]
  • What is the main thought I want to share about the subject, and what’s the connected emotion? [-> Summarize this as the first draft for your title . Your title should tell people What this is about, Who this is for, and what you’re Promising]
  • What is my ‘hook’ or intro ? A ‘hook’ in storytelling is one to five lines with a new fact, a short story or anecdote; something that connects to the emotions you want to tap in to.
  • What are my three supporting thoughts? [Summarize these as draft sub-headers] What three points do I want to make to support my main argument/thought? What is a logical following order that builds your argument, and builds toward your goal of;
  • Conclusion and Call-to-action (CTA). [If it makes sense or seems necessary; summarize your main thought and how you arrived at it, and:] literally tell the reader or listener what it is they can do if they are inspired.
  • [Short summary, for publishing, Search Engine Optimization and social sharing purposes]

Now, to actually write.

The above 10-minute preparation and structure make it possible to write a good blog article in 20 minutes. I know, I’ve timed it.

Fun writing (and strict editing)

Writing should be fun. For effective, fast and enjoyable writing I recommend a variant of the Yoopie method, from Joep Luycx at the Joepie Academy.

You can read more about the Yoopie method and how I apply it myself, here . The basis of this part of my method is that you de-couple freely writing down what you think and feel — from editing, which comes later.

After writing freely, edit strictly Only starting after having actually written your story, can you be really critical of your writing. The most important thing here is to try to find the perspective of your reader or listener.

Read your first version, and continuously ask yourself: would this ‘click’ for the target group I have in mind?

Imagine that you are that specific person; your colleague, your boss, that customer you know reasonably well and on a personal level. If you’re them: do you get it? Can you follow it?

In addition, there are some basic tricks you can apply to improve your writing.

Are you using words that are (superfluously ->)  too  long or complex? Consider replacing all words with more than three syllables with something shorter. Are you using sentences that are too long and complicated? Two lines per sentence is a lot.

I recommend paragraphs of up to three to five lines, alternated with one-sentence paragraphs. White space is the written variant of silence and exudes calm and tranquility.

Finally — and you can check this with or without outside help: is your story correct, both in terms of content and structure, grammar and spelling? Does it read or listen away easily? And, perhaps more important than that:

Is it authentic and is the feeling you wanted to convey in it? If so; congratulations. Your story is ready to be shared.

If you do is up to you.

Next step after that: collecting data and feedback on the reception of your story by your intended audience by — you guessed it: QLSD.

And so the cycle of your growth continues.

write better. write more

Want to write more and better stories? Give our AI-powered generator tool a go. 

The Seven-point Strategic Storytelling Structure Infographic Summary

Blog Template Build your outline the Seven-point Strategic Storytelling Structure [Infographic]

Getting the most out of your Content Marketing Efforts

Strategic Storytelling is just one piece of the entire Content Marketing puzzle.

For instance, you can write a great piece of content and distribute it far and wide, but if it’s not tailored to your audience and not matching a key word that people search for, it will never be as effective as it could be.

Our Strategic Storytelling Checklist sits within a Growth Storytelling Framework. You can access it here for free . No signup needed.

Go forth and create the best possible content and tell your best stories.

We will be here to support you however we can. You can ask us any question in our LinkedIn group .

Growth Storytelling Framework by StoryLabAI

What are key elements to consider for writing better stories? Key elements include a compelling plot, well-developed characters, engaging dialogue, a consistent point of view, vivid settings, and a narrative that builds tension and interest.

How can a writer develop strong characters in a story? To develop strong characters, give them distinct voices, backgrounds, motivations, and flaws. Characters should evolve throughout the story and be relatable to the reader.

What role does the setting play in a story? The setting establishes the backdrop and mood of a story, provides context for the characters’ actions, and can influence the plot’s direction and the characters’ development.

How can a writer build an engaging plot? Build an engaging plot by introducing a clear conflict or challenge, developing a narrative arc with rising action, climax, and resolution, and keeping the readers invested with twists or surprises.

What is the importance of dialogue in story writing? Dialogue advances the plot, reveals character traits, provides exposition, and adds realism. It should be concise, purposeful, and reflect each character’s unique voice.

How does point of view impact story writing? Point of view determines through whose eyes the story is told, affecting how readers perceive events and characters. Consistency in point of view is crucial for clarity and immersion.

What techniques can be used to create suspense in a story? Techniques include foreshadowing, withholding information, creating dilemmas, and using time constraints. Suspense keeps readers engaged and eager to know what happens next.

How important is the story’s structure? A well-defined structure, with a beginning, middle, and end, helps in organizing the plot coherently, ensuring a smooth flow and logical progression of events.

Can reading other works improve story writing skills? Yes, reading widely exposes writers to different styles, genres, and storytelling techniques, offering inspiration and insight into effective writing practices.

What is the role of revision in writing better stories? Revision is crucial for refining the story, improving clarity, fixing plot inconsistencies, enhancing character development, and polishing the overall narrative.

How does understanding your audience improve story writing? Understanding your audience helps tailor the story’s tone, style, and content to their preferences and expectations, making it more engaging and relatable for them.

What is the significance of the story’s opening in capturing reader interest? A compelling opening is crucial as it sets the tone, introduces the setting or characters, and hooks the reader’s interest, encouraging them to continue reading.

How can a writer effectively use conflict in a story? Conflict, whether internal or external, drives the plot, creates tension, and develops characters. It should be integral to the story and lead to meaningful resolutions.

What role does pacing play in story writing? Pacing controls the rhythm and flow of the story, affecting how quickly events unfold. It should vary depending on the narrative needs to maintain reader engagement.

How can writers create vivid and memorable settings? Use descriptive language and sensory details to create vivid settings. The setting should contribute to the story’s mood and provide a backdrop that influences the characters’ actions.

What are effective ways to conclude a story? An effective conclusion resolves the main conflict, provides closure to the characters’ arcs, and leaves a lasting impression, whether it’s conclusive or open-ended for interpretation.

How can a writer use themes and motifs to enhance a story? Themes and motifs add depth and layers to a story, allowing readers to connect with larger ideas or recurring elements that resonate beyond the narrative.

What is the importance of showing versus telling in story writing? “Show, don’t tell” involves using actions, thoughts, senses, and dialogue to convey a story, making it more immersive and allowing readers to experience the narrative actively.

Can experimenting with different genres improve story writing? Experimenting with different genres can expand a writer’s skills, provide new perspectives, and inspire creative approaches to characters, plots, and settings.

How does feedback from others benefit story writing? Feedback from readers or writing groups can provide new insights, highlight areas for improvement, and offer diverse perspectives that enrich the story writing process.

Author bio:

Erwin Lima

Over the past 10+ years as a copywriter, author, consultant, and coach, he’s helped dozens of Brands, Teams, and individual human beings to grow their sense of motivation and focus, but also their reach, engagement, and revenue— through the power of their own story. You can find Erwin on LinkedIn and on his website .

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14 Canadian short story collections to read for Short Story Month

Social sharing.

May is Short Story Month. Celebrate by checking out one of these great Canadian short story collections.

Cocktail  by Lisa Alward

An illustrated yellow book cover with the image of a woman superimposed onto the shape of a flower. A black and white portrait of a woman with bangs smiling to the camera

Cocktail   is a short story collection that explores some of life's watershed moments and the tiny horrors of domestic life. Beginning in the 1960s and moving forward through the decades,  Cocktail  tells intimate and immersive stories about the power of desire — and the cost of pursuing it.

Cocktail  was longlisted for the Carol Shields Prize and shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award . 

The CBC Poetry Prize is open for Canadian writers from April 1 to June 1

Lisa Alward's short fiction has appeared in  The Journey Prize Stories 2017,   Best Canadian Stories 2017  and  Best Canadian Stories 2016 . She is the winner of the New Quarterly's 2016 Peter Hinchcliffe Short Fiction Award as well as the 2015 Fiddlehead Short Fiction Prize. She lives in Fredericton. She was on  the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist  for  Orlando 1974  which is included in  Cocktail . 

a short creative writing story

Death by a Thousand Cuts  by Shashi Bhat

A book cover of a half-eaten beach with a bee near the juice. A woman with long Black hair smiles.

Death by a Thousand Cuts   traces the funny, honest and difficult parts of womanhood. From a writer whose ex published a book about their breakup to the confession wrought by a Reddit post, these stories probe rage, loneliness, bodily autonomy and these women's relationships with themselves just as much as those around them. 

  • Shashi Bhat writes about the South Asian female experience in her collection of short stories

Shashi Bhat's previous novels include  The Family Took Shape , a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and  The Most Precious Substance on Earth ,  which was also a finalist for the  Governor General's Literary Award for fiction  in 2022. Her short stories won the Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize and been shortlisted for a National Magazine Award and the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Bhat lives in New Westminster, B.C.

a short creative writing story

The Syrian Ladies Benevolent Society  by Christine Estima

A composite image featuring A book cover with a shirtless woman laying down looking into the camera and a portrait of a woman with dark hair.

The Syrian Ladies Benevolent Society  is a collection of connected stories that traces the immigrant experience of an Arab family through multiple generations. From brave Syrian refugees to trailblazing Lebanese freedom fighters, Azuree knows she comes from a long line of daring Arab women. These stories follow her as she explores ideas of love, faith, despair and the effects of war — and what those family histories mean for her as an Arab woman in the 21st century. 

  • Christine Estima's vibrant story collection highlights the heart and history of the Arab diaspora in Montreal

Christine Estima is a writer, playwright and journalist living in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and she was longlisted for the 2015  CBC Nonfiction Prize .  The Syrian Ladies Benevolant Society  is her first book. 

a short creative writing story

Her Body Among Animals  by Paola Ferrante

Her Body Among Animals is a novel by Paola Ferrante. Her Body Among Animals by Paola Ferrante. An illustrated book cover with a silhouette of a dog jumping over a mermaid's fin. A portrait of a white woman with short brown hair looking into the camera.

Her Body Among Animals  is a genre-bending collection of short stories that merges sci-fi, horror, fairy tales and pop culture to examine the challenges and boundaries society places on women's bodies. 

Her Body Among Animals   is shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award . 

  • 5 Canadian authors shortlisted for $10K Danuta Gleed Literary Award for best debut short story collection

Paola Ferrante is a poet and fiction writer from Toronto. Her books include the poetry collection  What to Wear When Surviving A Lion Attack  and the poetry chapbook  The Dark Unwind.  She was longlisted for the 2020 Journey Prize and won Room's 2018 prize for fiction.

Soft Serve  by Allison Graves

A book cover with a photo of a red plastic chair with a soft serve ice cream melting on it.

Soft Serve   is an edgy short story collection all about unconventional attachments between people and the reasons they endure. Through random encounters on highways, dating apps and fast food chains, the characters in these stories connect as they wander through the spaces — real and virtual — of our modern lives. 

  • How a cappuccino sparked Allison Graves' writing career

Allison Graves is a Newfoundland-based writer and musician. Her work has appeared in The Antigonish Review, Riddle Fence Magazine and Room Magazine. Her fiction has been longlisted for prizes in Prism, The Fiddlehead and The Newfoundland Quarterly.  Soft Serve  is her debut fiction collection. 

a short creative writing story

Tales for Late Night Bonfires  by G.A. Grisenthwaite

A composite image featuring a green and red illustrated book cover with various animals on it and a portrait of an Indigenous man wearing a fedora and looking into the camera.

In  Tales for Late Night Bonfires , writer G.A. Grisenthwaite blends the Indigenous tradition of oral storytelling with his own unique literary style. From tales about an impossible moose hunt to tales about the "Real Santa," Grisenthwaite crafts witty stories — each more uncanny than the last.

  • G.A. Grisenthwaite's novel  Home Waltz  is a coming-of-age story about friendship, identity and acceptance

Grisenthwaite is Nłeʔkepmx, a member of the Lytton First Nation who currently lives in Kingsville, Ont. He made the  2021 CBC Short Story Prize longlist  and his 2020 debut novel  Home Waltz  was shortlisted for the  Governor General's Literary Award for fiction .

Stray Dogs  by Rawi Hage

Stray Dogs is a book by Rawi Hage.

The characters in Stray Dogs are restless travellers, moving between nation states and states of mind, seeking connection and trying to escape the past. Set in Montreal, Beirut, Tokyo and more, these stories highlight the often random ways our fragile modern identities are constructed, destroyed and reborn. 

Stray Dogs  was on the 2022 shortlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize . 

Rawi Hage's short story collection  Stray Dogs  captures snapshots of the lives of people on the move

Rawi Hage is a Montreal-based writer. His books include  De Niro's Game ,  which won the International Dublin Literary Award in 2008;  Cockroach ,  which received the Hugh MacLennan Prize for fiction, was defended by Samantha Bee on  Canada Reads  in 2014, and was shortlisted for the  Scotiabank Giller Prize  and the Governor General's Literary Award;  Carnival ,  which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize; and  Beirut Hellfire Society ,  which was on the shortlist for  the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize  and  the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction . 

a short creative writing story

The Islands  by Dionne Irving

The Islands by Dionne Irving. Illustrated book cover of palm leaves on a metal roof sheet.

Set across the United States, Jamaica and Europe from the 1950s to present day,  The Islands  details the migration stories of Jamaican women and their descendants. Each short story explores colonialism and its impact as women experience the on-going tensions between identity and the place they long to call home.

The Islands  was  shortlisted for the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize .

Dionne Irving's  The Islands  follows the migration stories of Jamaican women

Dionne Irving is a writer and creative writing teacher from Toronto. She released her first novel,  Quint,  in 2021 and her work has been featured in journals and magazines like LitHub, Missouri Review and New Delta Review.  The Islands  is her debut short story collection. 

a short creative writing story

Animal Person  by Alexander MacLeod

A man with greying hair wearing two collared shirts. A black book cover with white writing and colourful lines.

The stories in Alexander MacLeod's latest collection,  Animal Person , explore the struggle for meaning and connection in an age where many of us feel cut off from so much, including ourselves. From two sisters having a petty argument to a family on the brink of a new life, these stories pick at the complexity of our shared human experience.

  • Alexander MacLeod's short story collection Animal Person explores love, compromise and the idea of self

MacLeod is a short story writer and academic from Cape Breton and raised in Windsor, Ont. MacLeod's debut short story collection  Light Lifting  was shortlisted for the 2010  Scotiabank Giller Prize , the 2011 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Commonwealth Prize. It also won the Atlantic Book Award. In 2019, he won an O. Henry Award for his short story  Lagomorph.  He currently lives in Dartmouth, N.S.

a short creative writing story

Shut Up You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji

A book cover of flowers with write writing. A Black woman with long brown hair rests her head on her hand.

Shut Up You're Pretty  is a short fiction collection that tells stories of a young woman coming of age in the 21st century in Scarborough, Ont. The disarming, punchy and observant stories follow her as she watches someone decide to shave her head in an abortion clinic waiting room, bonds with her mother over fish and contemplates her Congolese traditions at a wedding. 

Shut Up You're Pretty  was on  the 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize shortlist  and won the 2020 Edmund White Award for debut fiction. It was championed by Kudakwashe Rutendo on Canada Reads 2024 .

  • Why Téa Mutonji wanted her first short story collection to challenge what diverse literature is supposed to be

Téa Mutonji was named  a writer to watch in 2019  by  CBC Books . Born in Congo-Kinshasa, Mutonji is also the editor of the anthology  Feel Ways: A Scarborough Anthology.  She currently lives in Toronto.

a short creative writing story

Half-Wild and Other Stories of Encounter  by Emily Paskevics

A composite image featuring an illustrated book cover with various animals and a woman silhouetted in the forest and a portrait of a woman with light brown hair looks into the camera.

The short stories in  Half-Wild and Other Stories of Encounter  use the wilderness a a backdrop to focus on the connection between humans and the natural world and the intergenerational relationships within families. From a father searching for his wife and child wondering if they're better off without him, to an old woman standing on a frozen lake contemplating her death — this collection asks what it means to be a human in nature.

Emily Paskevics is a writer and editor currently based in Montreal. She is the author of the chapbook  The Night That Was Animal.  Her poetry, essays and short fiction have appeared in numerous publications and she was  longlisted for the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize . In 2022, Paskevics was named one of six emerging writers shortlisted for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Awards in the short fiction category . 

Peacocks of Instagram  by Deepa Rajagopalan

An Indian woman wearing a red top with long dark hair smiles at the camera next to a colourful book cover featuring a hand holding up a mirror with several eyes in the reflection.

The collection of stories in  Peacocks of Instagram   paint a tapestry of the Indian diaspora. Tales of revenge, love, desire and family explore the intense ramifications of privilege, or lack thereof. Coffee shop and hotel housekeeping employees, engineers and children show us all of themselves, flaws and all.

Deepa Rajagopalan was the 2021 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award winner. Born to Indian parents in Saudi Arabia, she has lived across India, the United States and Canada. Her previous writing has appeared in publications such as the  Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology , the New Quarterly, Room and Arc. Rajagopalan now lives and works in Ontario.

Chrysalis Anuja Varghese

A book cover featuring an illustration of a moth on some leaves and a photo of the book's author, a South Asian woman with long black hair wearing a purple shirt.

Chrysalis  is a short story collection that centres South Asian women, showing how they reclaim their power in a world that constantly undermines them. Exploring sexuality, family and cultural norms, this collection deals with desire and  transformation. 

Chrysalis  won the  2023 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction  and the 2023 Dayne Ogilvie Prize .

  • Anuja Varghese looks at death, life & the shackles of identity in this original short story

Anuja Varghese is a Hamilton, Ont.-based writer and editor. Her stories have been recognized in the Prism International Short Fiction Contest and the Alice Munro Festival Short Story Competition and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  Chrysalis  is her first book. 

a short creative writing story

Avalanche  by Jessica Westhead

Avalanche by Jessica Westhead. An illustrated book cover featuring a giant woman standing in a lake with an avalanche behind her. A portrait of a white woman with light brown hair smiling into the camera.

The short stories in  Avalanche  all take a critical look at the ideas of whiteness, identity and relationships. The characters encounter — and perpetuate — everyday racism in many of its insidious forms and reckon with the implications of that.

  • Why Jessica Westhead wanted to explore the everyday fears of motherhood in her fiction

Jessica Westhead is the author of the novel  Pulpy & Midge  and the short story collection  And Also Sharks . Her novel  Worry   was   on the  Canada Reads  2020 longlist .  

a short creative writing story

Related Stories

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R.O. Kwon Is Writing Into Desire

By Keziah Weir

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“I’m so obsessed with every word, every comma of a novel, that it was initially hard for me to contemplate letting go,” R.O. Kwon says of the screen adaptation of her best-selling 2018 debut novel, The Incendiaries. “My first reaction for half a day was like, ‘Well, guess I’m just going to learn how to make TV shows.’” But publishing has brimmed with lessons in surrender for the writer. “I was just like, ‘Well, no, I've read exactly one script in my life. I’m not versed in this.’” She relinquished control to two filmmakers whose work she admires. A collaboration between screenwriter Lisa Randolph ( Jessica Jones , Prodigal Son ) and director Kogonada ( Columbus, Pachinko ) is now underway.

She’s found other outlets for her comma tinkering. In 2014, Kwon started writing Exhibit (Riverhead) , and over the intervening decade has polished it so it glitters like a garnet in firelight. “I want the prose to get to a place where I can pick it up at random, read two sentences and not want to change anything about those sentences.” In the novel, a Korean American photographer named Jin finds herself creatively blocked at the same time her husband’s longing to become a father diverges painfully from her own desire to remain childless. An injured ballerina named Lidija, whom she meets at a party, unleashes both an artistic and a sensual awakening.

Kwon, who lives in San Francisco (“the long-term plan is to be here until climate change chases us out”), says that Exhibit bloomed from her longtime appreciation of photography and its “complicated and fraught relationship to reality, and to hanging on to a little bit of time, a little bit of the past” along with a more recently discovered love of dance. While watching a San Francisco Ballet performance of Alexei Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy, “I had this full body experience while watching, where I thought the dancers’ bodies—like, the cells —were directly talking to my body.” Kwon took introductory photography and ballet classes in an attempt to capture the bodily sensation of creating both art forms.

Earlier this year, Kwon wrote an essay about why she hopes her parents won’t read the book, given its frank depictions of lust and queerness—subjects into which Kwon took an exploratory dip with the best-selling 2021 story anthology Kink, which she co-edited with Garth Greenwell. It comprises fiction that explores desire from such authors as Alexander Chee, Melissa Febos, Roxane Gay, and Chris Kraus. Kwon’s own story, “Safeword,” was first published by Playboy and centers on a man navigating his girlfriend’s newly disclosed submissive sexual desires with a joint visit to a dominatrix.

“One of the strongest antidotes to the deepest kinds of loneliness, the worst shame I have felt, has been the fellowship I have found in literature and other people’s art,” Kwon says. “That's a guiding principle for me in my work. I so badly want to meet other people’s loneliness and other people’s solitude and other people’s shame.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Vanity Fair: Where did the book start for you?

R.O. Kwon: One of the first sparks for the book was that I was interested in what, as a woman, I feel allowed and encouraged to want, and what I feel pressured to hide my desire for. I wanted to have women on the page who want a great deal, to see what happens if they're given a space to run after what they desire. Ambition continues to feel like a really fraught thing for, I think especially, my woman artist friends and woman writer friends to even say out loud. Saying the words, "I am an ambitious woman" still feels really dangerous.

Jin, like the narrators in The Incendiaries and in your short story “Safe Word,” was raised Christian and lost their faith, which I know is something that you experienced too. But both of those narrators were white men. Of course, I understand that Jin is fictional, and that you are not Jin, but I am curious about the difference between writing a narrator who feels biographically, on paper, different or more similar to you.

With The Incendiaries, it wasn't as though I walked in telling myself, I'm going to write a book from the point of view of a white man. It was actually initially told from Phoebe, the Korean woman’s point of view, and that ended up changing. I believe very strongly in following the book's desires and needs, and not imposing what I think the book should be.

But with this book, I wanted very much to write from a Korean woman's point of view, and to not let the book morph again, in that way, if at all possible. In retrospect, I thought that maybe part of why that happened with The Incendiaries, it could have been some part of me was trying to protect myself a little. A lot of people seem to assume that Phoebe was a stand-in character for me, which was definitely a little wild because I was like, I haven't bombed an abortion clinic! That was definitely the most common question: How autobiographical was this book? And my goodness, well, I haven't done that.

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I wanted to let myself be much more unprotected in this book. Sex is at the center of this book. And being Korean, ex-Catholic, and ex-Christian, part of the journey of this book has involved some of the most overwhelming anxiety and panic that I've ever experienced in my life.

I'm sorry!

Part of me would just be watching myself and being like, you did this to yourself. Why? No one made you do this. No one made you write this very queer, kinky novel.

It's still true that every cell in my body seems to feel convinced that…honestly, a message I keep hearing is: You're going to be killed. It wasn't that long ago that a Korean woman could be divorced for talking too much. You could be divorced for—this one kills me, I flew into a day’s outrage about this—you could be divorced for moving during sex. And at the time, being divorced was a death sentence. I'm just not that far removed from when that was true. And my body's fully aware that giving any hint to the world that I've ever had sex is such a rule-breaking thing. I'm pretty sure I haven't even told my grandmother I’m queer. I just let her live her life in peace. She almost certainly thinks being queer is an illness. It's just not that uncommon. It's not just my grandmother's generation, at all.

Part of the deep anxiety about this has also come from the ways in which I write about sexuality and kink, especially Jin's sexuality, is that it can be misinterpreted as aligning exactly with some of the most harmful stereotypes about people who look like me. That we’re submissive, hypersexual, compliant, that we’re up for being mistreated. But I do believe that turning away from naming what I feel compelled to name, that itself brings its own harm.

I think a lot about something that my friend Garth Greenwell said. I'm paraphrasing, but he said something like, "I'm not writing for people who think I'm disgusting. I'm writing for people who already think I'm beautiful." Jin clearly has very conflicted feelings about her desires, and is working through those conflicted feelings. I hoped that this book would at least in part turn into or turn toward a celebration of our bodies, and a celebration of bodies who are told that we don't get to want what we want.

In talking about her lack of a desire to have a child, Jin says that she can't argue the urge into being, which felt like such a parallel to the surety or lack thereof about faith in God.

That was one obsession of the book, these different ways—with faith, with wanting children or not, with sexual desire, with appetites in general, including for food—that our bodies are so powerful. I haven't been able to—and I've tried—I can't argue myself into believing in a Christian God. Again, I can't argue myself into or out of sexual desire. I am fascinated by the ways in which I haven't been able to ever reason or argue myself out of who I seem to be and what I want and what I believe.

I have friends and loved ones who so desperately want kids. And I know how absolutely, with all my being, I've never had that desire. With Jin and her husband, she, even more adamantly than I do, doesn't want kids. I always said if my partner woke up one day realizing he definitely wants kids, then I've told him, we will work with that and figure something out. But for Jin, it's further along on the spectrum than I am. She's just like, "I can't imagine this." And so there's the profound heartbreak of what do you then do when your life becomes incompatible with someone you love very much?

There’s another love story of sorts—the ghost of a kisaeng starts speaking to Jin.

The kisaeng story, the bare bones of the double suicide, with someone who was going to marry her, that's very loosely based on a family story. It has been fascinating to me, in part, because some of the family stories I've heard most often, and I really haven't heard that many family stories, have to do with people blowing up their lives for love. This became especially personal to me when the conflict that Jin has with her parents, where they didn't want to, where they say, "If you don't have a marriage in the church then we won't come." My parents said that to me. I took a less hard-line position. I’m so not Christian. That said, I thought, if this matters so much to y’all, then all right, whatever. We can have a priest involved.

The kisaeng who plays this large role in my own family's mythology, her name hasn't survived. I plunged into research, which itself started feeling really restrictive, because I just became increasingly obsessed with needing the historical details to be exactly right. And at one point, what became very liberating was I read about Korean men in Korea looking through Korean history and anointing people of the past as queer ancestors, because of all the ways in which queer people are erased from history. That really liberated me. I was like, You know what? We're talking about a ghost, channeled through a shaman, and she can fly. I can make some things up.

One of my biggest pleasures in a book is finding a character from another one of the author’s books—and I got that in The Exhibit, with a visit from the world of The Incendiaries.

There's a part of me that almost believes that an ideal version of a book pre-exists me. And I feel less that I'm making anything up with fiction, and that I’m more working my way toward a book that's already there. Honestly, that feels more reassuring than...

That you're liberating a form rather than having to find it yourself.

That way it’s not the wide open vista of infinite choice, but instead working my way toward liberating, like a sculpture out of a rock. The world of The Incendiaries feels to me as though it almost exists. When I feel extra down about the world, I sometimes turn to quantum physics for consolation, the articles and books that are for lay people. I love reading that there are infinite versions of the world, and in ways that almost exceed language. In The Incendiaries, a world where those abortion clinics were bombed, that version of the world, it seems to exist to me. It still felt so vibrant, that it felt natural for the world of Exhibit to also belong there.

I'm most likely working toward either a trilogy or triptych, or a quartet, of books where they're very loosely connected. But where what happens in the past, in these past books, continues to exist in future books. I think Jin's photos—I mean, who knows, it's early days—I think Jin's photos will show up in the next book.

It sounds like you're already working on that third book.

I'm having more trouble really pulling myself into fiction than I've ever had. It's been really disorienting. It just remains such a central terror, that terror Jin feels in Exhibit , her fear that the photos have left. Because it does happen sometimes. Every now and then, there are artists who just don't ever write again, don't make their art again. I’m so afraid that the words have left. But I'm trying to be patient, and I've been storing up, and I've been collecting accounts of writers who fall into years of quiet, because I know my mind and body are at their best when I’m writing fiction every day. And currently I’m not able to, but I'm trying.

Below, Kwon shares some of the creative inspirations behind Exhibit.

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Book News & Features

Ai is contentious among authors. so why are some feeding it their own writing.

Chloe Veltman headshot

Chloe Veltman

A robot author.

The vast majority of authors don't use artificial intelligence as part of their creative process — or at least won't admit to it.

Yet according to a recent poll from the writers' advocacy nonprofit The Authors Guild, 13% said they do use AI, for activities like brainstorming character ideas and creating outlines.

The technology is a vexed topic in the literary world. Many authors are concerned about the use of their copyrighted material in generative AI models. At the same time, some are actively using these technologies — even attempting to train AI models on their own works.

These experiments, though limited, are teaching their authors new things about creativity.

Best known as the author of technology and business-oriented non-fiction books like The Long Tail, lately Chris Anderson has been trying his hand at fiction. Anderson is working on his second novel, about drone warfare.

He says he wants to put generative AI technology to the test.

"I wanted to see whether in fact AI can do more than just help me organize my thoughts, but actually start injecting new thoughts," Anderson says.

Anderson says he fed parts of his first novel into an AI writing platform to help him write this new one. The system surprised him by moving his opening scene from a corporate meeting room to a karaoke bar.

Authors push back on the growing number of AI 'scam' books on Amazon

"And I was like, you know? That could work!" Anderson says. "I ended up writing the scene myself. But the idea was the AI's."

Anderson says he didn't use a single actual word the AI platform generated. The sentences were grammatically correct, he says, but fell way short in terms of replicating his writing style. Although he admits to being disappointed, Anderson says ultimately he's OK with having to do some of the heavy lifting himself: "Maybe that's just the universe telling me that writing actually involves the act of writing."

Training an AI model to imitate style

It's very hard for off-the-shelf AI models like GPT and Claude to emulate contemporary literary authors' styles.

The authors NPR talked with say that's because these models are predominantly trained on content scraped from the Internet like news articles, Wikipedia entries and how-to manuals — standard, non-literary prose.

But some authors, like Sasha Stiles , say they have been able to make these systems suit their stylistic needs.

"There are moments where I do ask my machine collaborator to write something and then I use what's come out verbatim," Stiles says.

The poet and AI researcher says she wanted to make the off-the-shelf AI models she'd been experimenting with for years more responsive to her own poetic voice.

So she started customizing them by inputting her finished poems, drafts, and research notes.

"All with the intention to sort of mentor a bespoke poetic alter ego," Stiles says.

She has collaborated with this bespoke poetic alter ego on a variety of projects, including Technelegy (2021), a volume of poetry published by Black Spring Press; and " Repetae: Again, Again ," a multimedia poem created last year for luxury fashion brand Gucci.

Stiles says working with her AI persona has led her to ask questions about whether what she's doing is in fact poetic, and where the line falls between the human and the machine.

read it again… pic.twitter.com/sAs2xhdufD — Sasha Stiles | AI alter ego Technelegy ✍️🤖 (@sashastiles) November 28, 2023

"It's been really a provocative thing to be able to use these tools to create poetry," she says.

Potential issues come with these experiments

These types of experiments are also provocative in another way. Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger says she's not opposed to authors training AI models on their own writing.

"If you're using AI to create derivative works of your own work, that is completely acceptable," Rasenberger says.

Thousands of authors urge AI companies to stop using work without permission

Thousands of authors urge AI companies to stop using work without permission

But building an AI system that responds fluently to user prompts requires vast amounts of training data. So the foundational AI models that underpin most of these investigations in literary style may contain copyrighted works.

Rasenberger pointed to the recent wave of lawsuits brought by authors alleging AI companies trained their models on unauthorized copies of articles and books.

"If the output does in fact contain other people's works, that creates real ethical concerns," she says. "Because that you should be getting permission for."

Circumventing ethical problems while being creative

Award-winning speculative fiction writer Ken Liu says he wanted to circumvent these ethical problems, while at the same time creating new aesthetic possibilities using AI.

So the former software engineer and lawyer attempted to train an AI model solely on his own output. He says he fed all of his short stories and novels into the system — and nothing else.

Liu says he knew this approach was doomed to fail.

That's because the entire life's work of any single writer simply doesn't contain enough words to produce a viable so-called large language model.

"I don't care how prolific you are," Liu says. "It's just not going to work."

Liu's AI system built only on his own writing produced predictable results.

"It barely generated any phrases, even," Liu says. "A lot of it was just gibberish."

Yet for Liu, that was the point. He put this gibberish to work in a short story. 50 Things Every AI Working With Humans Should Know , published in Uncanny Magazine in 2020, is a meditation on what it means to be human from the perspective of a machine.

"Dinoted concentration crusch the dead gods," is an example of one line in Liu's story generated by his custom-built AI model. "A man reached the torch for something darker perified it seemed the billboding," is another.

Liu continues to experiment with AI. He says the technology shows promise, but is still very limited. If anything, he says, his experiments have reaffirmed why human art matters.

"So what is the point of experimenting with AIs?" Liu says. "The point for me really is about pushing the boundaries of what is art."

Audio and digital stories edited by Meghan Collins Sullivan .

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  • mary rasenberger
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  • sasha stiles
  • authors guild

NEW VIDEO COURSE 🎉

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✍️ 100+ Creative Writing Exercises for Fiction Authors

This curated directory of creative writing exercises was conceived thanks to a collaboration between the top writing blogs of 2024. Use the filters to find and practice specific techniques — and show that blank page who’s boss!

We found 119 exercises that match your search 🔦

The Hammer and the Hatchet

A stranger walks into the general store and buys a hammer, a hatchet, some rope, and an apple. What does he do with them?

Writer's Block

Picket fence.

Describe your house - or the dream house you hope to get some day.

Telephone Directory

It is commonly known that a telephone directory might be the most boring text in the entire world. Here is your challenge: write a page of a telephone directory and figure out SOME way to make it interesting.

a short creative writing story

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Pick a fiction book from your shelf. Go to page eight and find the eighth sentence on the page. Start with that sentence and write an eight-line poem that connects in some way to your work-in-progress. For instance, write from the POV of a character, or set the poem in a story setting. Don't worry about poetry forms. Just write eight lines of any length that flow and explore some aspect of character, setting, or theme.

  • Why are you grumpy? I have a hangover.
  • Why do you have a hangover? My friend was in a bad accident and I thought he might die?
  • Why did you think he might die? His girlfriend lied to me about how serious the accident was.
  • Why did she lie about that? She's jealous of our relationship.
  • Why? I think she's insecure and has trust issues.

Character Development

The ellen degeneres show.

A talk show is scripted to promote the guest and discuss topics with which the guest is comfortable. Imagine your protagonist on the Ellen Degeneres Show (or The Late Show With Stephen Colbert - whichever show you're familiar with). What questions would be asked of your protagonist? What funny anecdotes would your protagonist share? Write down the reactions of both your protagonist and the host.

  • You could say it began with a phone call."
  • Michael had watched them both for weeks."
  • She remembered the way it was the first time she saw the prison."
  • Midsummer, no time to be in New Orleans."
  • With the dawn came the light."

Thank you to all our contributors: Almost An Author, Alyssa Hollingsworth, Anne R. Allen, Bang2Write, Christopher Fielden, Darcy Pattinson, Elizabeth S. Craig, Flogging The Quill, Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips, Helping Writers Become Authors, Katie McCoach, Lauren Carter, Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Mandy Wallace, NaNoWriMo, Nail Your Novel, Novel Publicity, One Stop For Writers, Pro Writing Aid, PsychWriter, re:Fiction, The Journal, The Writer’s Workshop, Well-Storied, Women On Writing, writing.ie, Writing-World.com!

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Reacher Season 3: Cast, Story & Everything We Know

10 jack reacher book traits that alan ritchson's reacher has nailed, 10 jack reacher book moments we want to see in reacher season 3.

  • The hit Amazon Prime Video series takes its inspiration from Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels.
  • All 28 novels chronicle the action-packed adventures of the military investigator turned drifter.
  • Newcomers to Jack Reacher can take what the full canon offers.

Reacher expertly takes its inspiration from Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels. For decades, all 28 novels chronicle the action-packed adventures of the military investigator turned drifter. Although not every book in the series is a masterpiece, it has consistently delivered incredible page-turners. Lee Child’s enduring character has transcended the page through movie and television adaptations, including a Tom Cruise film franchise and most recently the hit Amazon Prime Video Reacher starring Alan Ritchson . Movies lifted plot lines directly from printed chapters, further cementing the literary stories’ cinematic promise through the adaptation process itself.

Now with over 20 books chronicling his exploits, Reacher’s world provides extensive terrain for mining the taciturn veteran’s mysterious background and death-defying escapades going back to his military police days. For newcomers inspired by fiery explosions onscreen or devotees debating each book’s place among the intricate mythos, taking measure of the full canon offers guidance through exhilarating moments testing one man’s wits and will from small towns to the global stage. Whether these books are an introduction or an old favorite, gauging the most essential embodiment of Reacher’s blunt force justice provides a blueprint into the wandering character’s iconic appeal.

Prime Video's Reacher is coming back for a third season, and there are already a ton of exciting updates about the upcoming episodes.

28 Blue Moon (2019)

A convoluted and gratuitous installment.

The 24th novel in the Jack Reacher series, Blue Moon, was released in 2019 and is widely considered to be the worst of the bunch. Unfortunately, the plot of Blue Moon involving Albanian and Ukrainian mobsters in a small town was more convoluted than previous installments. The action aligns with Reacher's character, but the frequent violence and loss of life comes across as gratuitous.

Reacher works through moral dilemmas as usual, but his white knight persona feels unrealistic. While still delivering on series staples, aspects of this entry didn't fully captivate. The frequent deaths and do-goodery are hallmarks of the series , but in Blue Moon , they fail to compel. Many critics felt that Blue Moon relied too much on recurring elements of Child's series, which — by the 24th entry — had more-or-less become tropes. Blue Moon was a Jack Reacher novel that tried to play it safe, but unfortunatley this just led to it feeling formulaic.

27 The Sentinel (2020)

An uninteresting story.

Released during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, The Sentinel was the 25th Jack Reacher novel. While it was an improvement on 2019's Blue Moon, it still failed to live up to earlier entries in the franchise as far as many readers and critics were concerned. The main flaw found in The Sentinel is the awkward writing, since Lee Child co-wrote this book with his brother Andrew (the pair are named James and Andrew Grant, though they write under the pseudonyms of Lee and Andrew Child).

The plot about criminals tampering with elections is too similar to real-life news, taking readers out of the fantasy elements.

The story doesn't create interest like other Reacher books , making it less enjoyable. Also, the plot about criminals tampering with elections is too similar to real-life news, taking readers out of the fantasy elements. Those who know Reacher's Rules well can see inconsistencies in the story. Due to the odd writing, unrealistic plot, and errors, this book ranks low in the series.

26 Nothing To Lose (2008)

Simplistic writing.

Released in 2008, Nothing To Lose is the 12th novel in the Jack Reacher series, and by far the worst one released in the 2000s — and many critics found that it was far too similar to the 1972 novel First Blood by David Morrell, upon which the first Rambo movie was based. Situated in the fictional twin towns of Hope and Despair, Colorado, the setting in this installment fails to fully pull the reader into the narrative . The recycling plant disguising the criminals' questionable operation is written as too simplistic to be believable as a thoroughly guarded base of operations.

While the scale of the antagonists' enterprise is acknowledged as vast, their thin disguise detracts from the story's ability to immerse the reader in a world of high intrigue and high stakes. Where past books in the series have expertly combined setting, characters, and other elements, this addition misses the mark.

25 Make Me (2015)

The partnership between jack reacher and michelle chang fails to resonate.

2015 saw the 20th novel in the Jack Reacher series — Make Me — and, sadly, the story failed to live up to how much an important milestone for the franchise reaching 20 books was. In Make Me , the relationship between Reacher and Change follows expected lines, with Reacher, typically morally upright, teaming up routinely with Chang, an ex-FBI agent. There is also a lackluster romantic subplot between the two characters. As a result, this part of the book is largely forgettable.

While Child is far from a one-trick-pony as far as authors go, Make Me definitely left the impression that he's stronger when writing tense action than he is at writing romance.

While Child is far from a one-trick-pony as far as authors go, Make Me definitely left the impression that he's stronger when writing tense action than he is at writing romance. Despite the extensive book, it would likely be difficult to recall specific details about this story . This underscores the narrative's overall lack of impact, especially when contrasted with more compelling installments like Night School . The unremarkable nature of Reacher's time with Chang contributes heavily to Make Me 's weak attempt at engagement.

24 The Midnight Line (2017)

Interesting characters, but it ultimately falls short.

The 22nd Jack Reacher novel was 2017's The Midnight Line, and in this story Reacher finds himself caught in an investigation into an illegal opioid trade in the American Midwest. In The Midnight Line , the story falls short, as Lee Child's attempt to experiment with a different approach ultimately doesn't pay off. It attempted to incorporate aspects of real-life critiques of pharameceutical companies, which many readers and critics felt didn't quite work.

While sharing a similar feeling to Nothing to Lose , this book distinguishes itself with the introduction of the character Rose, who is acknowledged as a positive aspect. However, the deviation from the traditional Reacher narrative seems to be the book's downfall , as the experimentation with a new style fails to resonate. The effort to innovate doesn't yield the anticipated results, impacting the overall quality and reception of the book in comparison to others in the series.

23 Past Tense (2018)

Unorthodox storytelling misses the mark.

2018's Past Tense was the 23rd Jack Reacher novel. While it was a slight improvement on 2017's The Midnight Line, it was also quite experimental as far as Child's Jack Reacher books go — a decision that both helped and hindered it, but on the whole didn't quite pay off as well as it could have. Despite having a somewhat dry tone and some notably creepy segments that are riveting to read, Past Tense faces criticism mainly due to its unorthodox creative direction.

The inclusion of a bonus backstory, a compelling woodland setting, and the presence of a group of human game-hunting antagonists elevates the book above some later works.

However, the installment manages to salvage its shortcomings through notable strengths . The inclusion of a bonus backstory, a compelling woodland setting, and the presence of a group of human game-hunting antagonists elevates the book above some later works. Additionally, the narrative benefits from Reacher's adept close combat skills, showcased in suspenseful nighttime encounters, and the incorporation of well-executed Reacher point-of-view kills.

22 No Plan B (2022)

Not as good as earlier novels.

No Plan B, the 27th novel in the Jack Reacher series, was released in 2022. Much like 2019's Blue Moon, No Plan B fell short of reader and critic expectations because it played things too safe, relying too much on what had made earlier novels successful without trying anything new (when it came to both the plot and the writing style).

No Plan B delivers what is expected: an action-packed and plot-driven Jack Reacher thriller. However, this installment falls short of recapturing the magic of earlier releases when the character first debuted. While still an objectively strong and fast-paced story, it lacks the spark that made readers fall for Child's almost self-parodying style. For a subjective ranking system tapping into that nostalgia, No Plan B ranks lower than hoped, even though it objectively hits the Reacher marks.

21 A Wanted Man (2012)

A necessary story, but unable to stand on its own.

2012's A Wanted Man is the 17th Jack Reacher novel, and while it's not one of the worst, it's definitely not one of the best either. A Wanted Man delivers an energetic plot continuing the Nebraska storyline — picking up after the events of Worth Dying For following a slight muddying of the timeline in 2011's The Affair — but is ultimately a low point in the series when the franchise is appraised as a whole.

Despite the high stakes involving a burnt corpse and threats reaching the highest levels, the story itself feels missable.

A Wanted Man starts strong, with Reacher decoding blinks from a kidnapping victim to uncover a conspiracy. Despite the high stakes involving a burnt corpse and threats reaching the highest levels, the story itself feels missable. While needed to transition Reacher out of Nebraska after previous installments, this sequel lacks the impact to truly grab readers. As a result, A Wanted Man comes across more as a bridge in the broader series rather than a story able to stand on its own.

It's almost universally agreed upon that Alan Ritchson is the perfect Jack Reacher, especially since he nails some key Reacher traits from the books.

20 Personal (2014)

Fails to fully captivate despite delivering all the expected jack reacher thrills.

The 19th novel in the Jack Reacher series, 2014's Personal, is another example of an entry in the franchise that felt far too by-the-numbers to stand out, with Child falling back on the formula of his proven successes without breaching any new narrative ground. The plot of Personal hits the usual beats, with Reacher uncovering an assassination attempt in Paris tied to his past in the military.

However, the pieces feel too familiar, lacking the creativity to craft a truly standout story. The stakes feel more routine than past books, and the exploration of Reacher’s history covers well-worn ground. As a result, Personal comes across as too formulaic , with the series elements failing to combine into a narrative that hooks readers. It moves briskly without slowing down, but lacks the innovation and intrigue to rank among the most gripping installments.

19 The Secret (2023)

Enjoyable, but not as thrilling as it could be.

The most recent Jack Reacher novel was 2023's The Secret, which was the 28th in the series (the next, due later on in 2024, is set to be titled In Too Deep). The Secret offers intriguing insights into Reacher's past while delivering on action, but characterization shortcomings weigh it down. The early 1990s setting proves fascinating, and the prose moves briskly between investigative phases. Descriptions of hand-to-hand combat also showcase Reacher's physical prowess as expected.

While the spy craft details entertain, The Secret misses opportunities to resonate emotionally or use its prequel status to fully enrich Reacher's enigmatic persona.

However, the narrative lacks cohesion, with an initial mystery abandoned abruptly. More disappointingly, the young Reacher on display fails to reveal revelatory dimensions about what molded him into a wandering hero . While the spy craft details entertain, The Secret misses opportunities to resonate emotionally or use its prequel status to fully enrich Reacher's enigmatic persona. It was an improvement on 2022's No PLan B, at least, hopefully signalling that the franchise is back on an upwards trajectory.

18 Night School (2016)

A disappointing conclusion.

2016 saw the arrival of the 21st Jack Reacher novel, and Night School was a marked improvement on 2015's Make Me - though it still failed to live up to the best Jack Reacher books from earlier in the franchise. Night School delivers an intriguing premise, pairing Reacher with former colleague Frances Neagley against neo-Nazis transporting nuclear material.

The setup of Night School promises a classic thriller tracing back to Reacher’s military days. However, the conclusion ultimately disappoints . Just as events build toward an expected dramatic, high-stakes finale worthy of the nuclear threat, the story ends abruptly. The resolution feels rushed rather than truly earned after the groundwork has been laid. Still, it’s easy to appreciate the chance to see more of his past with Neagley, even if the ending fails to fully capitalize on a compelling narrative.

17 Running Blind (2000)

The execution leaves some of the intrigue unfulfilled.

The 4th Jack Reacher novel arrived at the turn of the millenium in 2000, and after the success of the initial trilogy, Running Blind felt like Lee Child's first miss when it came to Jack Reach stories. Running Blind offers an intriguing premise, with Reacher hunting a brilliant serial killer targeting his former cases. The elaborate military-connected setup creates an insider feel that creatively expands Reacher’s past.

Having Reacher working to uncover a serial killer makes for an interesting genre-blend

Having Reacher working to uncover a serial killer makes for an interesting genre-blend — mixing the core elements of the previous three Jack Reacher books with more traditional crime novels — which Running Blind pulls of reasonably well. However, outside the core mystery, there are moments where the book drags. The lack of action through lengthy stretches makes it less engaging as a thriller. Still, the serial killer’s inventive methods using camouflage paint and lack of any marks on victims prove memorably unsettling.

16 The Enemy (2004)

Lacks excitement, but serves a key narrative purpose.

The 8th Jack Reacher novel, 2004's The Enemy , is one of the most interesting in the franchise, as it was the first that played around in the timeline. While The Enemy lacks excitement as a thriller, with minimal action or suspense, it serves a key narrative purpose as the first Jack Reacher novel chronologically . It was set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which made for some interesting changes in itself, and having a younger Reacher as the protagonist meant Child could experiment with the character a great deal more than usual.

The prequel explores the factors leading to Reacher leaving the military, disillusioned by bureaucracy and eroding values. Important events take place that shape Reacher's worldview and rootless future. While the plot itself underwhelms, The Enemy resonates in its character study of Reacher. It's especially fascinating to see Reacher work while still serving in the military, as being pinned down by the codes and values he then had to follow during this period of his life influenced his decisions in ways that aren't present later in the character's timeline.

15 Echo Burning (2001)

A classic vigilante premise.

Echo Burning was the 5th novel in the Jack Reacher franchise, and was widely considered a return to form after 2000's Running Blind . Echo Burning delivers a classic vigilante premise with Reacher playing ranch hand to investigate a woman’s claims of abuse. His fish-out-of-water Texan journey evokes film noir tones. However, familiar tropes like a damsel in distress and precocious child feel dated rather than fresh.

Reacher's doubts around Carmen, the woman who reaches out to him for help, definitely make for some intriguing twists in the narrative.

The Western flair shows Reacher’s adaptability, but the story’s trajectory stays safely predictable . While the bar fight and confrontations with the woman’s menacing husband capture Child’s gritty style, the plot lacks the innovation to truly grab attention. While Echo Burning doesn't rank as one of the worst Jack Reacher novels by a long stretch, it's also nowhere near as memorable as the best of them — though Reacher's doubts around Carmen, the woman who reaches out to him for help, definitely make for some intriguing twists in the narrative.

14 Without Fail (2002)

A high-stakes, briskly-paced reacher novel.

Following on from Echo Burning, the 6th Jack Reacher novel, 2002's Without Fail , is still considered by many as one of the best in the franchise, especially when it comes to pacing and overall writing quality. Without Fail is a strong Reacher novel due to its intense cat-and-mouse thriller narrative. Reacher leverages his logical intellect, tactical skills, and thirst for vengeance to outmaneuver a threat to the Vice President.

The stakes are high throughout this briskly-paced plot involving political assassination and betrayal. Lee Child further expands Reacher’s backstory through the haunting presence of his late brother. The vivid writing makes classic scenes like the stakeout unfold cinematically in readers' minds. Altogether, the emotional ties, high intrigue, and expertly crafted tension cement Without Fail as a prime example of Reacher’s compelling possibilities as a complex hero.

13 Never Go Back (2013)

Adrenaline-fueled and introspective.

2013's Never Go Back is the 18th Jack Reacher novel, and directly follows on from the narrative arc established in an earlier story, 2010's 61 Hours. As one of the more gripping books in Lee Child’s series, Never Go Back thrives on reuniting Jack Reacher with the 110th MP unit he once called home. By colliding Reacher’s past and present, Child strikes an emotional chord while crafting a breakneck thriller.

This combination of character exploration and intense action made Never Go Back one of the most intense Jack Reacher novels to read.

The nonstop momentum of Never Go Back proves amplified with threats tied to Reacher’s own team. For those invested in the wandering protagonist, the deepened personal stakes interwoven with high conspiracy offer immense satisfaction . Child continues building out the Reacher legend, making the action heavier through ties to his roots now under attack. This combination of character exploration and intense action made Never Go Back one of the most intense Jack Reacher novels to read.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2015), the second movie in the Tom Cruise Jack Reacher franchise, is adapted from this book.

Based on Lee Child's Persuader novel, Amazon Prime Video's Reacher season 3 needs to include some key Jack Reacher book moments in order to succeed.

12 Better Off Dead (2021)

A collaboration that works well.

2021's Better Off Dead is the 26th novel in the franchise. It takes place in San Francisco, and is also one of the few Jack Reach books to be written in the 1st person (the first since 2014's Personal). Better Off Dead captures Reacher doing what he does best: hunting bad guys with wit and grit. However, unlike some other entries where this feels formulaic or uninspired, Better Off Dead manages to capture the core of what made the franchise so successful when it debuted.

Co-written by Andrew Child, Lee Child’s brother, Better Off Dead nails the adventurous spirit that makes the wandering protagonist so magnetic. Creative scenarios like Reacher posing as his own corpse allow Child to flex his writing chops. While a tonal shift from Lee Child’s solo efforts, Better Off Dead ultimately retains the crucial ingredients of Reacher’s fierce charm and an electrifying setting, creating a satisfying thriller.

11 Die Trying (1998)

Reveals interesting and hidden depths.

1998's Die Trying is the second Jack Reacher novel written by Lee Child, and it's the book that proved to readers that its hero more more than a single-story protagonist, and had the depth and appeal to carry on many more stories beyond his debut. With an insight into what makes Reacher tick, Die Trying cements key components of the wandering protagonist's appeal. This was especially noteworthy since the book was written in the 3rd person rather than from Reacher's perspective, a style that would then continue throughout most of the Jack Reacher novels.

Child expertly amps up tension once Reacher becomes ensnared with separatist militants.

Though the opening stretches in confined spaces, Child expertly amps up tension once Reacher becomes ensnared with separatist militants. The antihero's composure breaks under pressure, despite his gift for calculation and inventive ruthlessness. Frances Neagley also makes an interesting character with her haphephobia condition . While tighter pacing throughout would improve its ranking, Die Trying immerses readers in formative experiences that reveal Reacher's hidden depths.

10 The Hard Way (2006)

A compelling read.

The 10th Jack Reacher novel was The Hard Way, which was released in 2006, and the first in the franchise that saw Reacher travel outside the US. The Hard Way draws power from Reacher wandering the vivid chaos of New York before confronting threats abroad, travelling to rural England for an intense gun battle in — of all places — a farm in Norfolk. Child uses the setting not just for kinetic action, but to underscore the character’s contradictions.

His compassion and ruthless, calculating nature coexist with subtle melancholy. An atypical detective story structure packs an emotional punch as Reacher investigates an elusive foe. False leads and intense legwork make the eventual face-off with Lane's private mercenary army cutthroat, as well as emotionally resonant. Keeping Reacher adaptable and injecting introspection between brutal showdowns deepens the protagonist, compelling readers to follow him wherever the road takes.

9 The Affair (2011)

Adds intrigue to the jack reacher mythos.

The Affair arrived in 2010 and is the 16th Jack Reacher novel, and is yet another that was written in the 1st person. It's also another entry that plays with the timeline, as it takes place six month before Killing Floor and is chronologically the fourth story in the franchise. The Affair sees the typically detached protagonist navigate graphic desire during his trip to Mississippi.

For those seeking more dimension from the stoic vigilante, The Affair delivers on learning what makes Reacher tick.

Raw intimacy fills gaps in formative experiences and relationships that humanize his persona beyond just brute force. While R-rated scenes in the book can feel controversial, the emotional insights resonate. This risky creative choice to elucidate Reacher’s backstory at a heated railroad crossing ultimately deepens the complexity around a character often defined more by cerebral calculation than fiery feeling. For those seeking more dimension from the stoic vigilante, The Affair delivers on learning what makes Reacher tick.

Reacher (2022)

'Chronicles of Culture' Writing Workshop - Wakefield LitFest 2024

'Chronicles of Culture' Writing Workshop - Wakefield LitFest 2024

A Creative writing workshop to help aspiring writers build confidence in creating short story narratives.

Date and time

About this event.

We will be bringing people together through story making. Uniting young writers by commissioning them to create short stories and funding their dissemination to an audience in printed and audio form.

In a series of free, open workshops, run by professional writers and creatives, any and all young people will develop the skills to help them build the confidence and knowledge to apply for the commissions. The workshops will give insight into how to get inspired, develop ideas and take stories to final drafts.

The workshops will also connect young people to their local heritage by directly linking the workshops and subsequent stories with places of interest in the district as the inspiration for their stories working in partnership with Wakefield Museum. Suitable for ages 14-25

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    10 Short Story Ideas by Joe Bunting - The world of writing - […] writers have too many short story ideas, not too few. However, therein lies the problem, because the more ideas you…. The Lure of A New Story - Comma Grounds - […] But before you go, check out this list of Top 100 Short Story Ideas!

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    Here's how our contest works: every Friday, we send out a newsletter containing five creative writing prompts. Each week, the story ideas center around a different theme. Authors then have one week — until the following Friday — to submit a short story based on one of our prompts. A winner is picked each week to win $250 and is highlighted ...

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    Creative Short Story Writing Prompts, Topics, and Tips For Kids and All Writers — Oh yeah! Writing a creative short story can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. One of the best ways to kick-start your creativity is by using writing prompts. Yes!

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    Science Fiction Short Story Prompts. The Internet suddenly shuts down, and no one knows why or how to get it back running again. A struggling writer in the modern-day world gets an unexpected visit from her great-great-great-grandmother, who was a well-known author in the 1800s. A modern-day city kid with no concept of saving money time travels ...

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    Developing Ideas and Premises. When drafting a short story, one of the first steps is coming up with a core idea or premise to build the narrative around. Here are some effective techniques for generating initial story concepts: Brainstorming Prompts - Use writing prompts, either from online lists or ones you generate yourself, as a springboard.

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  19. Short Stories

    Short Stories. Welcome to the University of Gloucestershire Short Story website. Here, we showcase all the work of our talented UoG students, and we also offer sixth formers and college students the chance to submit their writing to us. We'll look at every submission, offer helpful guidance, and choose the best ones to publish on our site.

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  27. ️ 100+ Creative Writing Exercises for Fiction Authors

    Eight. Pick a fiction book from your shelf. Go to page eight and find the eighth sentence on the page. Start with that sentence and write an eight-line poem that connects in some way to your work-in-progress. For instance, write from the POV of a character, or set the poem in a story setting. Don't worry about poetry forms.

  28. All 28 Jack Reacher Books, Ranked Worst To Best

    Released during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, The Sentinel was the 25th Jack Reacher novel.While it was an improvement on 2019's Blue Moon, it still failed to live up to earlier entries in the franchise as far as many readers and critics were concerned.The main flaw found in The Sentinel is the awkward writing, since Lee Child co-wrote this book with his brother Andrew (the pair are named ...

  29. 'Chronicles of Culture' Writing Workshop

    A Creative writing workshop to help aspiring writers build confidence in creating short story narratives. ... Uniting young writers by commissioning them to create short stories and funding their dissemination to an audience in printed and audio form. In a series of free, open workshops, run by professional writers and creatives, any and all ...