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.

Prompts:

1. He shuddered.

2. She froze.

3. They cringed.

4. We laughed.

5. It fell.

Example:

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.

CRASH

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

SWAT

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 http://www.nannyjobs.org.  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 r.poter08@gmail.com.

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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.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

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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Podcast: Bailey’s Writing Tips ep 042 – back to basics

Episode 42 of the Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast was released today Monday 31st October 2011.

Having spent episode 41 talking about NaNoWriMo I thought it would be an opportune time to cover the basics of writing and talk about ‘show don’t tell’, repetition (not to do it!), dialogue fundamentals and much more.

The episode concluded with a 314-word first-person short story called ‘Lost’ which I will be posting on my Flash Fiction Fridays page on Friday 18th November.

The podcast is available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

Details of the other episodes (interviews, reviews, red pen sessions etc.) can be found here.

Podcast: Bailey’s Writing Tips – Episode 38 (29th August 2011)

Episode 38 (length 23m 20s) is now available via iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer!) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe). In the previous mixed episode, a fortnight ago, I covered the graphic novels and comics; this podcast has a focus on hints and tips culminating in a flash fiction freebie.

Websites mentioned in this episode were:

This episode then culminated in a 309-word short story called ‘She has no-one who cares about her’ which was a prompt I had in one of my Monday night workshops along with a photograph of a woman and a dog.

Thank you for listening and / or stopping by here. If you have any feedback or areas you’d like covered in the hints & tips podcasts, you can email me at morgen@morgenbailey.com.

This blog also contains the weekly author spotlights and daily author interviews that I’ve posted to-date (110 when this episode came out). Although I currently have over 60 in hand, I’m always looking for more so if you write, regardless of genre (please note my blog and podcast have a ‘clean’ rating) or whether you’ve been published or not, do email me (morgen@morgenbailey.com) if you’re interested in taking part in these and / or a ‘red pen critique session’ of which the podcast episode next Monday (session no. 3) will feature.

Today’s sentence starts

Here are today’s beginnings to do with as you wish:

1539. I can’t get a signal… (first person)

1540.  It looks blurred but you can’t be sure…. (second person)

1541. As he tapped out the message… (third person)

1542. It was the best meal… (you can use any pov)

1543. I recognise him from the plane… (first person)

1544. You’re dying for a cigarette… (second person)

1545. Damien really did like to cut a short story long… (third person)

1546. Digging into the bowl of… (you can use any pov)

1547. I’m surprised at how many people… (first person)

1548. You try to be careful… (second person)

1549. As Tyson dashed across the squash court… (third person)

1550. The workforce laid down their tools… (you can use any pov)

1551. I try and make small talk… (first person)

1552. You know it’s the right thing… (second person)

1553. Chloe looked at the yellowed walls and ceiling… (third person)

1554. There was a cold draught… (you can use any pov)

1555. It’s the squeaking I can’t stand… (first person)

1556. You look bored but… (second person)

1557. Stefan stuck his tongue out like a three year old… (third person)

1558. It wasn’t going to make a millionaire out of… (you can use any pov)

Each set of four contains for different points of view so if you are weaker at one than the others, you may like to try these first. One of my favourites is the second-person point of view which is rarely used and not particularly commercially welcomed. It’s where the narrator is talking to the reader (you) rather than talking about him / herself or another person and I’d recommend anyone who’s not tried it before to do so. It may take a bit of getting used to but hopefully it’ll grow on you as much as it did me. 🙂 You can read more starts here.

Today’s sentence starts

Here are today’s beginnings posted today to do with as you wish:

1515. As it falls down my top… (first person)

1516. You look down at my feet… (second person)

1517. Florrie looked at his odd shoes… (third person)

1518. The television swivelled… (you can use any pov)

1519. I’m willing him to fall… (first person)

1520. You apologise as the door hits… (second person)

1521. Nigel pulled but it just wouldn’t budge… (third person)

1522. Spotting the man at the front of the… (you can use any pov)

1523. “I’ll put it in my handbag…” (first person)

1524. You apologise to the…  (second person)

1525. His nickname suited him… (third person)

1526. The figure on the ledge seemed to be… (you can use any pov)

Each set contains for different points of view so if you are weaker at one than the others, you may like to try these first. One of my favourites is the second-person point of view which is rarely used and not particularly commercially welcomed. It’s where the narrator is talking to the reader (you) rather than talking about him / herself and I’d recommend anyone who’s not tried it before to do so. It may take a bit of getting used to but hopefully it’ll grow on you as much as it did me. 🙂 You can read more starts here.

Today’s sentence starts

Here are today’s beginnings to do with as you wish:

1503. I breathe in until my lungs hurt… (first person)

1504. You prefer one but… (second person)

1505. Hugo didn’t feel that he really knew himself/her until… (third person)

1506. The sports day was a huge… (you can use any pov)

1507. I find the music soothing… (first person)

1508. “It’s ice cream soup,” you say (second person)

1509. She’d never been so wet… (third person)

1510. The people queued patiently… (you can use any pov)

1511. I ask if I can have another… (first person)

1512. You know it’s going to be the last… (second person)

1513. Trudie didn’t have the heart to tell him… (third person)

1514. As the huge man lunged… (you can use any pov)

Each set contains for different points of view so if you are weaker at one than the others, you may like to try these first. One of my favourites is the second-person point of view which is rarely used and not particularly commercially welcomed. It’s where the narrator is talking to the reader (you) rather than talking about him / herself and I’d recommend anyone who’s not tried it before to do so. It may take a bit of getting used to but hopefully it’ll grow on you as much as it did me. 🙂 You can read more starts here.

Extract from Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast episode 011 (Nov 2010) – a mixed bag’s ideas

In this section of the topic podcasts, I give provide a couple of story ideas or ways to get new ideas then list seven sentence starts picked from my http://twitter.com/sentencestarts Twitter page; each one, if you’d like to use them, for a daily writing project.

– Quick Writing Exercises has recently joined Facebook and it says is “a page for writers to get ‘warmed up’ and banish writer’s block. Try some quick writing exercises to get those creative juices flowing and brainstorm ideas!” One of the things they suggest is to write a Word Train. Similar to a Word Web (which I mentioned in episode 1) in which the words spiral out from the same word, a Word Train starts off with one word but each connecting word is produced from its predecessor – like an arm of a Word Web really. QWE then suggests picking the 5th and 10th word produced and including it in your chapter or scene, or if you’re feeling adventurous, in your piece of 55, 60 or 100-word flash fiction like my writing workshop group does.

– Another way of getting ideas is to look through newspapers and pick out individual words from article headings – for instance villains, dirty, tiger and hands (taken from the latest edition of The Weekly News) could provide a very interesting story!

Today’s sentence starts are…

1. The rocking chair swung…

2. Little did Janice know that…

3. Frank was so wrapped up in _____, that he didn’t notice…

4. Holly was prickly at the best of times… (is Holly the plant or a woman?)

5. As the door flew open, Innes…

6. Eddie’s face crumpled as he opened the envelope…

7. Grant curled into a ball as the blows rained…