Tag Archives: prompts

Guest post: Two Word Story Starters by Roxanne Porter

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of inspiration, is brought to you by Roxanne Porter.

Two Word Story Starters

Oftentimes, getting started is the hardest part. You know where you want your story to go. You even have a good grasp of who your characters are. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you just want to start writing and see where the muse takes you. Whatever style of writing you chose, whether planned ahead or just stream of consciousness, you need a start. Some place to begin.

With that in mind, I suggest the following: two word sentences. Just subject and verb and that’s it. Often the simplest starts are the best. Think “Call me Ishmael.” So, for your writing pleasure, here are five prompts to get you started.


1. He shuddered.

2. She froze.

3. They cringed.

4. We laughed.

5. It fell.


It fell. I watched it fall, frozen. I knew if, when, it hit the ground it would shatter into a million pieces. I knew the sound it would make, the knife-like crash that pierces your eardrums and signals that something has gone horribly wrong. And yet I couldn’t get myself to move; the tall, delicate goblet spinning through the air in slow motion as the marble floor rose up to meet it.


Too late, I realized my mistake. That was the third glass I’d knocked over this week. She was waiting.


The slap stung and I spun around with a hiss of pain and outrage.

“I can’t keep anything nice around here because of you!” she shrieked, making me wrinkle my nose in distaste. I couldn’t stand her voice.

“It’s not her fault, dear,” he said, picking me up, “She doesn’t know any better. She just likes shiny things.”

I rubbed my cheek against his. I liked him. He always smelled of the outdoors; of grass and trees and nice things. She stank like weeds.

The woman continued to talk but I ignored her, watching as she swept up the shiny shards I’d made. She looked up and glared at me.

I met her eyes, safe in his arms. Then I carelessly lifted a paw and licked it, completely ignoring her.

Maybe now she’d learned who ruled this home.

Thank you, Roxanne!

Roxanne Porter is a freelancer and regular contributor for  She helps in providing knowledge about nanny services, and jobs to the community, and loves writing on nanny-related articles. You can be in touch with her at


If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with food writer and private chef Isabel Hood – the five hundred and fourteenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in blog, sentencestarts, tips, writing


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Writing prompts from Writing Excuses podcast

One of the sci-fi orientated podcasts (though you’d only really know it from their reference to the fantasy novels/comics they write) is the weekly ‘Writing Excuses’ ( As they say “it’s 15 minutes long because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.”! It gives you an idea of how friendly the podcast is. It’s such a great programme. Writing Excuses is usually hosted by three guys Howard, Dan and Brandon and it’s really informative and informal. At the end of each show they give a writing prompt which can be done by anyone, not just sci-fi writers. Here are the first few from way back (thanks to a dig around in my files for info for my the latest podcast – links on the left-hand ‘Where to find me’ menu):

  • 29.09.08 – “Take an old piece of writing, look at the dialogue and tweak it – have it evoke a bit more character but mean the same thing. So the story doesn’t change its meaning.”
  • 29.12.08 – “Write a story with no theme and that means nothing.” Is it easier said than done? Actually writing complete garbage is good for you. A fan approaching Larry Niven once gushed “I’ve read everything you’ve written”, to which the cool Mr Niven says, “I doubt it.” Writing something that doesn’t get published is still writing and if it’s rubbish then the chances are that the next thing will be better. I look at some of my writing from 2004 and cringe…but then I look at some of my writing from 2008 and do the same but that’s what the editing process is for. There’s very little that has no ‘legs’. A rejected story can be rewritten or pulled apart for another project so even if you have an idea that you think no-one will be interested in, do it anyway. What’s the harm? Sometimes a rant and rave on paper is very therapeutic and you never know there may be someone out there who will buy it! 🙂
  • 05.01.09 – Have some fun in the worst possible way: write an extremely violent sequence and then write the consequences (moralise it afterwards and force yourself to walk that path)
  • 12.01.09 – no writing prompt but a very interested programme on time-saving
  • 19.01.09 – Write an ending and start your book (or story) with it.
  • 26.01.09 – Write a credible alien and write something from his perspective.
  • 02.02.09 – Write a story about the worst website ever.
  • 09.02.09 – Come up with a unique governmental/bureaucratic title name, i.e. something completely different to minister, king, priest etc.
  • 16.02.09 – Write a story about a golfing metaphor!
  • 23.02.09 – Come up with 25 words that distil everything you want to say about your next work.
  • 02.03.09 – Write a fight between two people who have never been in a fight before and have to use their environment cleverly. Nothing to do with sci-fi etc. but there was a hilarious ‘fight’ scene in both Bridget Jones’ Diary films between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant – definite must sees.
  • 09.03.09 – Pick your favourite author and in 50 words or less, write down what you think their brand it (and they suggest discussing on their forum).
  • 16.03.09 – Write a story about a character getting attacked by flying monkeys!
  • 24.03.09 – Write a story about a non-genre character (example given was Winnie the Pooh!) within the world of your genre (“on a spaceship”!)
  • 30.03.09 – Write something that you are passionate about. Their guest that episode was an editor and she said she only accepts stories where she can feel the writer is passionate about what they’re writing. I’ve heard so many times that if you are bored with a particular piece it will come through and the reader will get bored. So if that’s the case, put it to one side for a while and move on to something else. That way it will, hopefully, it will seem fresher when you return to it (and you must!) and easier to see where you are going wrong.
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in ideas, podcast, tips, writing


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