Take one of these story starters listed below, whichever one strikes you the most, and create a short story from it. No outlining, no preparation of any kind.


Here are the steps:

1. Write a story-starter onto a piece of paper. (One of those listed below.)

2. Think about how you might continue that sentence for a few seconds.

3. Start writing. Free flowing, let the words and the experience of writing them down by hand guide you. Allow yourself to make quick decisions. When you write, you make a series of decisions. Typically, we write down outlines and character profiles before we begin on the actual story writing. In this exercise, you are going to just WRITE FROM THE HIP.

4. Don’t worry about word choice so much. Only cross things out if you change your mind about the decision you’ve made – but try to keep that to a minimum. Try your best to not do any editing.

5. Give yourself about 15 minutes to do this exercise, but take more if you want to just run with it.

NOTE: Do NOT do this writing exercise on the computer. It completely changes the experience (and seriously not for the better). Writing onto paper with a pen is a different writing process. Try this and you’ll see what I mean.

Here we go.

Story starter #1:

Helen had her toe in the sneaker when she heard the sound of…

Story starter #2:

Maybe I should have said it differently, or said something else, or maybe just kept my mouth shut altogether. Not that what I had said was wrong, but when I saw the look on her face, it…

Story starter #3:

“You cannot be serious about going out there without me!” Shayne called over her shoulder. “You know how that woman keeps…

OK, here’s one more story starter if you want to write something specifically for kids.

Kids story starter:

Janina sat up straight in bed. Her tooth was wobbling in her head! She…

Let me know how you did with these. This is the first time I’ve tried this type of exercise over the Internet. Up until now, it’s always been with a class, workshop or creative writing group. (If you haven’t ever done that, I highly recommend it. If you get the right group together, it can be a great way to keep your creative juices flowing.) I love reading the results of writing exercises like this (or hearing them read aloud). It’s always really interesting.

Send yours to me if you wish or post it to this page in a comment below. Consider this your submission box for self-implemented writing exercise deadlines! Deadlines are good.

Keep writing!


--Download Story Starter Writing Exercise as PDF --

This entry is part of the series
Creative Exercises
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K.C. Hill
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