Jun 30

Photo 6 - Recurring

A character keeps seeing this image in their dreams. Why? Does this place exist somewhere? Does it have special meaning to this character? Does your character have to go and find it? What happens? 
[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Harlie Johnson]

 
Jun 30

History

Research historical events that happened on your birthday, or in your birth year. Write from the perspective of someone who experienced the event.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
Jun 01

Invisible

Write about a time when you felt completely invisible, literally or figuratively.

#vtwrites18

(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Jessica Beliveau)
Jun 01

Turn around ...

You answer your phone and a voice whispers, "Turn around..." What happens?

#vtwrites18

(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Will Barr)
Jun 01

Footprints

You see a set of mysterious footprints leading from the woods behind your house and down your street. You follow them. What happens?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
May 28

Squirrel

Write the inner dialogue of a squirrel trying to find the nuts she buried for the winter.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
May 28

Wonder

I wonder why … Finish the sentence. Use it at the beginning or end of a story. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
May 04

One

Write a serious conversation between two characters. Just write the dialogue, nothing else. Now, delete everything one person said so that only one side of the conversation remains.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
May 04

Last

Write a poem or a story that begins with the line, “This is your last chance.”

[YWP Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 
 
Apr 20

Contrast

Write the internal dialogue of a character who is constantly flipping between being filled with hope, and being filled with despair.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
Mar 30

Photo 8 - Treetop

Write from the perspective of a character sitting on top of this tree. What can the character see? Include something — maybe a friend, a pet, or even a responsibility — waiting at the bottom.

[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library; Photo by Kevin Huang] 
 
Mar 30

Brick

You’re walking along the side of a brick building when you see a loose brick. You tug at it, and a note flutters to the ground. What does it say?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
Mar 23

Nothing

End a story with the line “they had nothing to say to each other…”

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 
 
Mar 23

Sound 4 - Surprise

You walk downstairs to make breakfast only to discover the animal in this recording standing in the middle of your kitchen. Write about the chaos that ensues...

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford; Sound Credit]
 

Creating the Protaganist

A story -- non-fiction, fiction or narrative poem -- has these elements:
  • A setting -- the place in which the action takes place. Sometimes the setting itself becomes a character or is important in shaping the characters.
  • A protagnist -- the main character, the one the reader is supposed to care about.
  • A want or neet -- the main character needs or wants something and that want/need drives the action; this could be something specific or it could be something based on an emotion.
  • An antagonist -- the opposing character, the one who is preventing the protaganist from getting the thing he or she wants/needs.
  • A climax -- the moment when the opposing forces meet.
  • A change -- after the climax one of the characters needs to change.

First Lines

Editor's note: This is a resource for a First Lines XP that is part of the Story Starter Workshop in YWP Academy. Join in if you'd like.

If you take a look at really good short stories or novels, you will see that they invariably have a great opening line. The first line in any story has a number of effects -- sets tone, jumps you into the action, establishes the setting or the conflict -- but all of them lure you in as a reader. Here are some good ones.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. --  George Orwell, 1984

This is the saddest story I have ever heard. — Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier, 1915

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —  Paul Auster, City of Glass, 1985
Mar 16

Key

Write from the point of view of a key in a sweaty palm.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
Mar 16

Sure

Begin a story or poem with the phrase, “One thing I know for sure …

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
Mar 09

Realize

Finish this phrase, “In that moment, I realized …,”  and start or end a story or poem with it.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
Mar 09

Dog

You find a lost dog. Write about the journey you take to get it back to its home. What are your thoughts as you get to know the dog?  Does your relationship with the dog change as you travel together? What happens?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]