Writing Prompt Story Starter: Set Table


Table set for lunch

I love the genteel elegance of this set table. The lace tablecloth speaks of a different time, the napkins of a wish to make it look pretty and nice.

My sister and I go regularly to my beloved godmother’s for Sunday lunch. And every time Ella sets the table as nicely as this. And it’s not easy for her; she’s coming up for her 91st birthday, isn’t as nimble as she used to be, and uses a walker for security.

I love what this says about her. That standards matter and she’s determined to maintain them. There’s pride in doing things right. It also, I think, signifies  anticipation. That her guests are worth making an effort for. And it’s not just us. I know she takes this trouble when her friend Isabel comes for her weekly lunch.

And doesn’t that tell you something else? Ella’s is a welcoming home. You won’t stop by without her putting the kettle on and producing a plate of nice cakes and biscuits. She relishes company. And I can tell you, she’s darned good company herself. We always have a laugh and a giggle.

What’s The Story?

What story does this image start, though? To me it’s the themes we want to look at rather than this specific scenario. I don’t necessarily want a story about a 90-year-old lady receiving visitors.

In terms of themes, then, think about anticipation; companionship; standards. How things have changed. How appearances matter. Pride in a job done right. Pride in independence. It might be a story about a girl setting up in her first flat and the first time she invites her parents round for a meal. It might be about a refugee family and the first time they welcome a new friend to their home.

Think, think, think…..and it’s over to you…

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.

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