Writing Prompt Story Starter: Submarine

What do you see when you look at this picture?

The rock is in the River Tay, just east of our road bridge across the water to Fife.

In the pic it has a wee family of seabirds airing their wings. Cormorants I think but don’t quote me.

When I look at it, I always “see” a submarine conning tower, either emerging from the depths or sliding beneath the waves on another stealth mission.

It makes one think of wartime, of course. And I’ve specifically chosen it for that purpose.

We receive a lot of stories set in wartime, usually about keeping the home fires burning or the wheels of industry turning while the menfolk are away serving king and country.

But those menfolk are almost invariably serving in the army, usually in France/Belgium, or the air force flying from an East Anglia base.

It’s all quite familiar though, isn’t it? The danger is that when the reader reads it, actually she doesn’t. She turns the page because she feels she’ll have read something similar before.

For that reason I’d like writers to think about other services. The Royal Navy. Submariners.

I’m not keen on water – for which read that I go rigid with fear if I’m in deeper than my knees. So the idea that those men risked their lives in tin cans under the sea….It gives me the heebie jeebies.

The Merchant Navy. The famed Arctic Convoys. Same fear: being at sea, a sitting target for attack from submarine or sky.

Did fishermen still put to sea during wartime? I don’t know but I’d be interested to learn it in a story if they did.

What was the RNLI doing during either war?

What I’m getting at is the usual: dismiss your first (obvious) idea. And perhaps even the second and third. It’s the fourth and fifth ideas I’d like to see being developed.

No one ever said writing is easy….


Try last week’s story starter 

Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.