Writing Prompt Story Starter: Dahlia


My Writing Prompt Story Starter this week is a picture of a dahlia from my garden.

It’s one of the first to flower this year, and I caught it just on that cusp between being closed tight and unfurling into glorious colour.

It was that notion of unfurling and opening that snagged my attention. It’s so much a metaphor, isn’t it, for all sorts of things.

Emotions. Maturity. Realisation. Understanding.

At the moment you can’t quite tell exactly what colours will emerge, and again that’s reflective of anything that’s still to evolve into maturity. You can’t be sure how it’ll turn out.


Think of a love affair. Will it grow and flourish until the couple have been married for twenty or sixty years, or will it be a fireburst of passion that fizzles out?

A child – who knows how they’ll progress through toddler-hood, childhood and the teenage years?

What kind of adult will that young person become?

But realisation and understanding can grow and evolve, too. Snap judgements can soften as the whole picture emerges.

It’s a bit like walking past a painting in an art gallery. In that first glance it’ll make an initial impression, but sit down and gaze at it for a few moments more, and you’ll begin to see all sorts of shades and textures.

People can be like that, too. How often have you met someone and thought “ooh, not my kind of person”, but give them time and attention and they can surprise you.

And vice versa. It might be someone you thought you could like, or trust, but . . .

I’m confident that you’ll come up with lots more scenarios where evolution and emergence are the themes.

All that from a dahlia in a pot!

We’re looking particularly for stories of 3000 words at the moment.

For more writing hints, tips and tricks, click here.

If it’s inspiration you’re after, the rest of Shirley’s Story Starters can be found 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.