[credit:] ALL of these come from writersdigest.com: Promptfest 2010
The Tapping (courtesy of WD’s Scott Francis)
You are awakened in the middle of the night by a strange tapping noise coming from your attic. You decide to investigate, and after moving a few old boxes, you find what appears to be a telegraph receiver hidden in a small hole in the wall.
A tire blows out as you’re in the car with someone on the verge of his or her own breakdown. Stuck in a small town, you’re about to do something you haven’t done in years.
Prompts, courtesy of bestselling author Dianna Love
Below are five opening lines for a scene. The first three are in third person, the fourth is in first person and the fifth can be either one. You can change the point of view from third to first or first to third. There are no names, so you pick the characters. Write the first scene that comes to mind. Don’t worry about being correct on anything—just write and have fun.
He opened his eyes and slowly took in his surroundings, searching for one thing that looked familiar.
If she didn’t make the last ridge before the portal closed in the next 15 seconds, she’d end up losing her bounty and getting blood on her new solar boots.
He appreciated having a choice, but generally he was given at least one option that allowed for a chance to walk away alive even if he had to sacrifice dignity.
My mouth fell open in shock at the gangly man carrying a cardboard box, not believing he would dare to enter my real estate office again.
A palomino horse trotted into the yard sans rider, daisies braided into the mane and a sword hanging from a leather loop on the saddle.
Your Story Contest No. 22
Suffering from a mid-life crisis, a 50-year-old businessman quits his job and goes on a quest to “get the band back together.” —From The Writer’s Book of Matches by the staff of fresh boiled peanuts: a literary journal
Vacation From Vacation
With your cell phone and souvenirs in hand, your torn map falls to the ground. “He wasn’t even supposed to be here,” you mutter. And just like that, you need a vacation from your vacation.
The Agreement (courtesy of WD Editor Jessica Strawser)
You consider the stranger’s odd request and decide to agree. What do you have to lose? And just like that, you’re not alone on your adventure.
Rising Sun (courtesy of Jessica Strawser)
A man in a business suit, briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, stands on a quiet beach watching the sunrise.
She stares out the window.
A self-help guru makes you an offer you can’t refuse, no matter how much you’d like to.
You try to snap a discrete photo—but it just doesn’t work out that way.
The sun is setting in dramatic hues of pink and tangerine, but nobody is watching it—they’re all staring at him, instead.
Strangers on a Train
You’re on a train and for some reason have missed your stop—which, as you soon discover with the stranger sitting next to you, is a blessing in disguise.
Something comes down your chimney, but it’s not exactly Santa. In your bed, you stir as you hear footsteps.
It’s Dec. 31, and you’re scrambling to make a resolution come true that you made last year. The sun is setting, and it’s time for action.
Your Story No. 24
Parents look on in horror as a magician’s trick goes horribly awry during a child’s birthday party. —From The Writer’s Book of Matches by the staff of fresh boiled peanuts: a literary journal
Raising the Alarm
Yet again, you draw a breath, mumble an apology, and pull the fire alarm at the shopping mall.
Trapped in the Ice
Your car breaks down in the midst of a blizzard—and a critical cell phone call. Trudging through the snow, you discover something frozen in ice that will prove to be invaluable in the moments ahead.
A stranger asks to borrow your cell phone. You agree. She turns away and talks on it for a moment, then faces you once more. “I’m sorry,” she says, eyes red. “I’m so sorry.” Then, she runs away.
Your 15 Minutes
You’re watching a daytime talk show. A familiar face walks onto the stage, you drop what you’re holding and she utters your name on national television.
The Broadcast Boon
You’ve never done it before, but this time you call in to the radio station. You win something you didn’t anticipate—or want.