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6 story-starters to spark inspiration

Deciding what to write about can be a pretty big barrier to writing for pleasure. For that reason, our Get Creative series has been looking at simple, effective ways to find inspiration. Having covered flash fiction activities that spark fun writing frenzies, and how to use awesome objects as inspiration, we’re now turning our attention to using opening lines as story-writing springboards.

For each story-starter, we’ve included questions to support young writers as they develop the lines into unique stories. We’ve also covered a range of genres, so there’s no excuse to not finding something to write about!

1. Best for adventurers and explorers

As Professor Jesse entered the cave mouth, a rumble sounded. The birds in the surrounding rainforest fell silent. Then came the slide of earth and rocks. She was trapped.

Consider these questions to develop an epic adventure story: Where is Professor Jesse? Why is she there? What is she a professor of? Is she looking for something? If so, what and why is she looking for it? What caused the rumble and landslide? What’s in the cave? Can Jesse escape?

2. Best for animal-lovers

“Don’t worry, little furry friend,” said Wilbur, stooping to get a better look at the injured animal. “I’ll help you.”

Consider these questions to develop an intriguing animal tail tale: Where is Wilbur? What animal is he talking to? Why does the animal need his help? What happened to it? How does Wilbur help it?

3. Best for superheroes

Bertie struck a mighty pose - arms raised high, head tilted back. It was happening again. He was transforming into his alter-ego, Super …..

Consider these questions to develop a superhero story: What’s Bertie’s superhero name? What’s his super power? What does he use his super power for? Does he have to save someone? If so, how? Is an enemy trying to ruin his mission?

4. Best for sports fans

Team captain Jack stepped forward to take the penalty. Everything was riding on this. Jack struck the ball and…

Consider these questions to develop an exciting sports story: “And…” what? What happens next? Does Jack hit the back of the net? And then what? Perhaps it’s disallowed and has to be re-taken. Perhaps he’s invited to play for the county, or spotted by a Premier League scout. Alternatively, does Jack miss the penalty? If so, what happens after his miss? For example, do his teammates rally round to support him, or are some of them mean? How does Jack make amends for his mistake?

5. Best for jolly jokers

“Yikes, Tillie!” Mollie exclaimed to her younger sister. “Why do you have sun beams shooting from your ears?”

Consider these questions to develop a cool comedy story: Why does Tillie have sun-beams shooting from her ears? Why did it happen (think of a funny reason)? What do the sun beams make happen (think of something super-silly)? What comedy capers happen as a result of the sun-beams shooting from her ears?

6. Best for scare-seekers

As the door creaked open, the lights shut off. “Who’s there?” Lily gasped through the dark.

Consider these questions to develop a truly terrifying tale: What made Lily gasp? Where is she? Why is it dark? What made the door creak? Does anyone (or anything!) reply to her question?

Joanne Owen is a writer and publishing professional with over twenty years’ experience of the book industry, and the author of a how-to children’s guide to creative writing, You Can Write Awesome Stories. Alongside writing and reviewing books, she hosts writing workshops and is an Editorial Expert for Love Reading.

With thanks for the feature image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

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