Writing Prompt Story Starter: Police Line

story starter

What’s the first thing you notice about this story starter?

The paned window with that slightly spooky blue light shining beyond? It suggests moonlight to me.

Or close neighbours. A lit window, meaning someone’s home, meaning a potential witness.

That’s very relevant when your gaze shifts to take in the “Police Line Do Not Cross” barrier — American style. (The no punctuation bugs me, by the way!)

It’s all very New York brownstone, isn’t it?

Or so I imagine, anyway, never having actually set foot in a New York brownstone . . . Could be Chicago, maybe? That makes me think of gangsters and crime syndicates.

What era, do you think?

And I wonder what dastardly crime has been committed on the floors above? Is someone hiding just round that turn on the stairs?

Not quite what it seems

If I tell you that this is actually a scene-set, all part of the décor of a Dundee speak-easy style cocktail bar, does that change your perspective?

Maybe your story becomes one about setting the scene for stage or movies, or about the era rather than the incident.

Maybe you’re just thinking about make-believe in general.

I’ve started to have an idea of a young lad growing up to join the UK police force because of his obsession with American crime shows. Dream and reality aren’t quite going to match, are they?

That’s a tame interpretation. Others are far more dramatic.

But dreams and reality are a rich theme.

Could be your thoughts have gone off at a tangent and you’re considering fashions, and how trends come and go. It’s all about artisan gin and cocktails and craft beers at the moment. That’ll change.

Being ahead of the curve — or lagging behind. Something as vital as a livelihood could depend on that.

We’re looking for all sorts of lengths of story now, and thank you for responding to our call for more at 3000 words. Keep ’em coming, won’t you?

If you’re still looking for inspiration, why not try another Story Starter? Click here to take your pick.

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.