Stephen King prompt

The following is a synopsis on for one of his short stories:

Big Driver
Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.

Write a story about a character who does something they would not usually do and runs into trouble.

Parents and children

The following brief synopsis of a Married With Children episode is from

In an attempt to spice up their marriage, Al and Peg check in at a hotel, while Steve and Marcy babysit Bud and Kelly.
The Rhoades learn that babysitting the young Bundys is a mistake when the kids turn their home into a rioting party.

Write a story about parents who go somewhere while their ckildren stay behind, or vice versa.

A character stepping out of their 'ordinary world'

The following excerpt, based on the famous Hero's Journey approach to story,is from Heroes: A Guide to Realising Your Dreams:

The ordinary world is the environment in which most people live. It is the place where people often feel most comfortable but is also a place where they feel their dreams can be drained out of them. While the ordinary world may be a great place to rest, it is a stifling place to live your dreams.

Write a story beginning with a character coming to feel stifled in their 'ordinary world' then deciding to take the first step toward something they consider more fulfilling.

An amateur detective

Acoording to H. Thomas Milhorn in Writing Genre Fiction: A Guide to the Craft:

Amatuer detective writers usually follow the model as laid down by Edgar Allen Poe. As a rule the protagonist has an independent income and tends to be eccentric in some way, such as Poe's C. Auguste Dupin, who disliked the light of day to the extent that he kept all the windows shuttered in his grotesque mansion.
Often the amateur detective has an encyclopedic mind. Sherlock holmes, for instance, knew all the treads for different bicycle tires. The amateur detective usually has a partner or confidant, such as Holmes's Dr. Watson.
The amateur detective pits his wits against the fiendish mind of the antagonist of the story, with the action tending to center on the attempts of the wily amateur detective to solve the crime.

Write a story about an amateur detective (or a character with a mystery to solve).

Struggling against the odds

According to Steve Kaplan in an article on

The paradigm of comedy is an ordinary guy or gal struggling against insurmountable odds without many of the required tools with which to win, yet never giving up hope.

Write a story about a character who struggles aginst the odds without the tools required to win, yet never gives up.

Characters on a journey

According to a post on

Not a boring Buddhist thriller, Saranyoo Jiralak’s debut feature 9 Wat starts off with a bang. It tells the story of a man named Nat whose quest is to correct his entire past mistakes in exactly seven days by visiting 9 temples. In 9 Wat three people are more or less willingly going on that journey to do good and return home cleansed and with a pure heart and mind. All three characters have different purposes for taking this trip. But later they discover that they were put together on this trip for an unforeseeable reason.

Write a story about characters who go on a journey together for a purpose which becomes evident toward the end of their journey.

Beginning a story with an argument

Nigerian author Ifesinachi began Every Wrinkle is a Story with:

“You are a fantabulous fool!” roared the man in the tattered suit. “Not just that, but a demonic quagmire among superordinate humans.”
Ashaka opened his mouth to retaliate but got confused. The torrent of words hailed at him like missiles. A stale fishy stench emanated from the man’s body causing Ashaka to lean back away from him. Ashaka raked his eyes from the forest-like head of his attacker, the shaggy beard to the rat-eaten tips of his shoes and was forced to look at himself. He looked no better donned in a stained thread-bare singlet and rolled up pants that he had tied around the waist to keep from falling off; the clothes seemed appropriate for his work as a bus conductor.
“Have you no decorous words of apology brimming in the oceanic saliva of your foul smelling mouth?” his attacker continued. The veins on his neck threatened to pop at any second.

Write a story that begins with an argument between two characters, which remains unresolved until later in the story.

Setting and characters

Johanna Spyri began her novel Heidi with:

From the old and pleasantly situated village of Mayenfeld, a footpath winds through green and shady meadows to the foot of the mountains, which on this side look down from their stern and lofty heights upon the valley below. The land grows gradually wilder as the path ascends, and the climber has not gone far before he begins to inhale the fragrance of the short grass and sturdy mountain-plants, for the way is steep and leads directly up to the summits above.

On a clear sunny morning in June two figures might be seen climbing the narrow mountain path; one, a tall strong-looking girl, the other a child whom she was leading by the hand, and whose little checks were so aglow with heat that the crimson color could be seen even through the dark, sunburnt skin. And this was hardly to be wondered at, for in spite of the hot June sun the child was clothed as if to keep off the bitterest frost.

Write a story beginning with a description of setting then adding characters to that setting.

A character who wants a friend

The synopsis on the back of the DVD for The Cable Guy reads:

Recently dumped by his girlfriend, Steven Kovacs thought he'd have plenty of time to watch TV... but that was before he met Chip Douglas.
He's a cable guy with a few loose wires in his brain and a knack for taking over people's lives. Worse still, Chip wants a friend... and he won't take no for an answer.

Write a story about a character who wants a friend and won't take no for an answer.

Australian writing prompt

Click on the link to Cinema and Fiction Australia Focus and use one of the posts as inspiration to write a story set in Australia.

Writing prompts combined

Combine the titles of two of the prompts in the column on the right and use them as inspiration to write a story in which one character helps another (adult) character solve a problem that has been an issue since their childhood.

A close call

The following is an excerpt from Archie Oliver's adapted retelling of Richard Blackmore's novel Lorna Doone:

He was a huge man, wearing a broad-brimmed hat, a leather jacket and breeches. His boots came up to his thighs. He was carrying a musket.
I squeezed back into the bower and held my breath. He came closer and closer. I thought my lungs would burst.
His brutal face turned my stomach. He had cruel eyes and his black beard tumbled below his chin. Carver also had thin, mean lips.
He had no idea I was there and walked away, though not before taking the eggs that I had left for Lorna a few moments earlier.

Write a story which begins with a character narrowly avoiding being discovered by another character.