Writing Prompt Story Starter: Green Man

story starter

Fiction Ed Shirley’s Writing Prompt Story Starter  this week is about wee green men…

The green man. We all wait for it to tell us when it’s safe to cross the road. Or do we?

It came up in an office conversation this week. Features Ed Alex is famously late for any travel arrangements. Actually, that’s not quite fair. He famously catches them by the skin of his teeth.

Anyway, he wanted to know how long it takes to walk from the office to the train station. Marion and I both know how long it takes to walk to the car park just beside it.

“Twelve minutes,” said Marion. “Eight minutes,” said me.

“Eight minutes? Really?”

So in the interests of accuracy, because Marion and I are like that, I timed it next time I walked down to get my car. Seven minutes twenty-eight to the door of the car park, another minute to my car.


I reported in next morning. “What route did you take?” Marion asked, so I described it.

“And did you wait at the crossings?”

Well, no, because I never do.

My dad used to take my sister and I all over town with him, walking – well, running actually because he had long legs and we didn’t. Crossing roads with him went like this.

We’d stop at the kerb, until he spotted a momentary gap in the traffic flow. “Middle for diddle”, he’d say, and we’d dart to the white line as traffic whizzed past behind us and in front of us. At another gap, we’d race for the pavement on the other side. (Mum had no idea…!)

And I kind of still cross roads like that. It’s how I learned.

Now, to be fair, there was less traffic back then, and I’ve realised I must pre-date pelican crossings in Dundee, sigh, but as a friend pointed out when I told her, parents are more risk averse now.

So that’s my writing prompt for today. Risk. Risk aversion. How does someone learn to take chances if they’ve never been shown how?

Click here for some more inspiring story starters.

You can also read Shirley’s blog here.

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.