Story Starters: A Collection

My biggest problem as a writer has always been sticking to one story after I create the initial opening; it’s too tempting to move onto something new and more exciting! Here’s three story starters, varying in length, that I’ve, at some point, abandoned.

1) This opening story sentence is for the purposes of the writing competition at: Writer’s Digest, with the brief of a maximum word count at 25 words, and the picture prompt seen below.


A snowy owl swooped low above the forest, invisible against the white trees, and ignorant, for little did it know of the danger lurking there.

2) The flames roared high above them, great waves of smoke towering higher still. They choked and coughed as they ran, ducking and diving around the broken infrastructure that now surrounded them. Time was running out; they were already scorched and burned in more places than they knew, the agony of their wounds occasionally causing them to contort their steps as they raced onwards. Great chunks of wall and ceiling were crashing around them, too, wires dropping down into the fiery mass and sparks exploding from every direction. The reality was that they had entered hell itself, and every runner accepted that fact with a bleak resolution. There was no turning back, and, chances were, there was no escape. Hell had become the endless corridor of fire that they now faced, and they were all too aware of it.

3) The sirens were louder than they should have been. Even before her body crumpled and collapsed onto the pavement, they were there with us, ringing in our minds and pounding in our hearts. Craig was bent over her, muttering to himself and beating the ground with his fist. Little Pete was at his side as usual, waiting for the directions that would never come again. I didn’t need to crouch over her as they did, though, because I knew. In reality, I think we all knew, even before we’d hit her; we’d known even before she’d been lit up in front of my car headlights and Craig had fought to avoid her. There was no use checking her pulse or breathing rate. There was no point, because Kelly Holmes was dead, and we’d killed her. We were murderers.

“We should run,” Craig breathed, turning to face us in the half-dark. “The sirens don’t mean anything. They could be hours away yet.”

“I agree,” Little Pete piped up instantly, not even allowing a breath between Craig’s suggestion and his own sycophantic plea for attention. I shrugged, but I doubted that they could see the slight movement in the darkness. I wasn’t going to run. I didn’t want to run. I was a murderer. I had to stay and face the police, no matter how devastating that would be.

“Dan,” Craig persisted, ignoring Little Pete. “We need to go, now.” I swallowed hard, feeling braver in every new cry of the sirens.

“Then go,” I whispered, looking not at Craig and Little Pete, but at Kelly. She was beautiful even now, her long, dark hair a mess about her shoulders and back, and her slender, ghostly form almost shining in the light from the surrounding street lamps. I’d known her since she was little, from when we’d played together in my back garden. She was dead now. She would never breathe again, never laugh, never smile. She was simply gone.

“Dan, they’ll get you!” Craig whispered, his voice slightly incredulous. I could not look at my best friend, though. He wasn’t like me. He wasn’t feeling this like I was. He felt only fear, whereas I felt only loss, grief and a furious, biting sense of self-hatred. I had done this. “Dan, you know what that means!” Craig persisted, shaking my shoulder now.

“If you want to run, run,” I snapped, looking at Craig at last. “Save yourself. You better hurry up, though. It’s been too long already.” Craig stepped back slightly, confusion edging its way into his fear clouded mind. He looked at Little Pete then, suddenly lost and vulnerable. Pete looked back, and suddenly they were no longer leader and disciple, but two scared boys: criminals.

Without another word, they took off, running in the opposite direction from the houses and sirens beyond them. There were fields not too far off, and after that, the forest. If they made it that far, they were safe. It was said that fugitives and criminals caked the trees themselves, living amongst the branches and leaves on the earthy floor. I used to have nightmares about the place, but for Craig and Little Pete, it had just become the last hope. Maybe, just maybe, they would be okay.

I looked back at Kelly then, and my heart shuddered to a halt, too.


9 thoughts on “Story Starters: A Collection

  1. James McEwan says:

    I understand your problem as a writer, and of course you will eventually develop your own solution through persistent practice.
    My approach is that the first dash of words is a hash, then I am left to tidy up the words and ideas, like a jigsaw puzzle.
    For short stories – I always have the end idea ready first, I then write towards that ending, of course it may change in the final version – but having a target idea and concept keeps me on track.
    Best wishes with your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. K.W.rose says:

    Hey, I also have issues sticking with one story. I write shorts, novelettes, and try to write longer length pieces but generally towards the first 1/4 or 1/3rd of the story I get bored, suddenly notice my writing gets less and less detailed.
    My method of keeping up with a single story is to not keep up with a single story, set a limit (even if it’s only five minutes or so a day) which you tell yourself you must meet, then once you’ve met that you can write something else on a different page, related or unrelated. That way I find I keep writing which I enjoy, keep creating which made me start writing, and also keep the story I want to finish moving forwards, even if it takes a while I know I’ll get to the parts I want to get to sooner or later.
    It’s a common issue with a lot of writers I think, along with writer’s block, just relax and do what you find best to keep going, even if it means going back and checking things much later on. 🙂
    Hope this helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Writer's Beginning says:

      This is the exact same thing that I go through, looking back on my writing after a good long while and realising that it’s completely deteriorated from what it was! I’m glad other people experience this with longer pieces of writing. Thanks for the advice, that’s a good idea to keep at the same story, even whilst doing lots of other things; I think that my problem is, whenever I attempt a novel-length story, I write only that because I’m so determined to stick to it! I’m sure that it’s something that we can all work though! 🙂


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