Short Story Prompts and GuidancePresentation Transcript
Short Story Prompts
Mister Connor’s Class
Choose one of the following:
A babysitter is snooping around her employer's house and
finds a disturbing photograph...
It's your character's first day at a new school. He or she
wants a fresh start, develop a new identity. But in his or her
homeroom, your character encounters a kid he or she knows
from their last school...
Your character suspects her husband is having an affair and
decides to spy on him. What she discovers is not what she
Your character goes out for dinner on a date and becomes
attracted to the waiter or waitress...
Your character is a writer. But his new neighbours are so
noisy that he can neither work nor sleep. He decides to take
Your story should have no more than THREE
A protagonist, an antagonist and A. N. Other.
You must make these realistic, believable.
Jot down notes for the following subheadings:
Appearance (face, hair, clothing, age, etc.)
(accent, beliefs, fears, weaknesses, tastes)
Motivations (what is important to them and
Finally, consider these notes and give your
character an APPROPRIATE name.
Borrow someone else’s character notes and
read over them.
Hand the notes back and ask questions about
their character – what do you think is
As these questions are asked, add to your
Now write two paragraphs presenting your
Write from an external, third-person
Write as though you are describing a
Show me the character – don’t simply tell me.
Stephen Postlethwaite is a survivor of the second
world war. He is ninety-seven years old. He has
brown eyes and white hair.
Stephen sat , hunched over with his ninety-seven
years; his brown eyes struggling for sight, his
thinning white hair unkempt. The memories of 1941
are as keen today as the day they were formed.
Location must be reasonably detailed to
convey a sense of reality. Readers find it
much easier to engage with a location they
can picture and understand.
Jot down notes about what the location looks
like, feels like. Use your five senses to help
Detail is KING.
Again, write a full description of the location
in two paragraphs.
You MUST focus on showing the reader the
details rather than simply telling them.
Describe what you are seeing as though you
are describing a single image.
The Dramatic Curve
The Dramatic Curve (alternative)
Will you use a CHRONOLOGICAL order, or
something more difficult?
You could start at the end and then retell the
events leading up to it. (This only works if
you start from a very dramatic end-point)
You could drop the reader straight into the
middle of the story.
Jot down how you will approach your story.
Now make a plan of how your story will
Note the key events you need to include.
The fuller your plan is, the easier your work
will be later.
Have somebody else read over your plan to
check it makes logical sense.