Writing Prompt Story Starter: Soho Square

Story Starter

Fiction Ed Shirley’s Story Starter this week takes us to Soho Square in the ’50s.

Most of you know by now that I usually go out for a walk at lunchtime, weather permitting. And, kindly, it usually does.

Today was chilly but actually perfect walk weather: clear and bright, not windy, and very refreshing.

I usually drop my weighty shoulder bag off at the car on my way out rather than lug it round with me.

Today I spent a few minutes on my phone, browsing this and that.

And I came upon the most delightful little film clip on YouTube of London’s Soho Square in the late 1950s.

The voiceover was one of those tirribly, tirribly well-spoken English voices that the BBC always specialised in.

Even better, the musical accompaniment was an accordion with a real jaunty attitude.

The story starter fairy

The clip — in colour, as it happens; superb — recorded the people, the businesses, the markets . . .

And what was especially charming was the way the character of the music kept up, with a little French flair here, a Spanish tra-la there.

It was fifteen minutes very well spent.

And then, on the way back to work, I passed two women in the graveyard opposite the office — my usual shortcut — talking earnestly.

“When I move down to London I won’t know how to act . . .” is what I heard as my ears flapped their way by.

Isn’t that intriguing? Put that together with the film clip and a story begins to roll out before you.

I think I may just have had my first visit this year from the Story Starter fairy.

As ever we’re looking for a number of different lengths at the moment, in our standard range: 1000, 1200, 2000, 3000 and 4000.

But bear in mind that we use only 17 per year at 4000, 34 per year at 1000, and 52 per year at 1200; 300 per year at 2000 and 200 per year at 3000.

I know what length I’d try to write . . .

If you want to watch it as research, perhaps, click here for that YouTube clip.

To pick another story starter from our back catalogue, click here.

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.