Writing Prompt Story Starter: Boats

story starter

This week’s story starter image is a photo taken just as lockdown was announced.

The Fiction team, and most of the “Friend” Team, left the DC Thomson building on a Thursday in the middle of March.

I popped back in quickly first thing on the Friday morning to pick up the USMs — the submissions from our as-yet unpublished authors — so I could drop them into Tracey and Alan for consideration.

From the safety of their doorsteps, of course!

As school was closed, I took my younger daughter with me, and we stopped off at Arbroath harbour on the way home. It was an absolutely lovely day – early spring, still chilly, with a bright blue sky.

Sunny and calm; the complete opposite to the fast-moving health emergency which was developing both here in the UK and around the world.

So, our story starter this week, as we hopefully move towards calmer waters in a wider sense, are these little boats. Could they help spark an idea?

All at sea

Boating in summer; on a gondola in Venice, or punting on the Cam. The Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race.

Paddle boats, just for fun. Pedalos. Jet-skis.

Canal boats. Fishing boats, bobbing in the harbour.

Paddle steamers — back in the day, on the west coast of Scotland, or in the Deep South of America.

Yacht clubs. Swallow and Amazons.

The ferry. Island hopping. Boat trips.

In the old times — wherries, and schooners. Galleons, and clippers.

Boats from other lands. Longboats, Chinese junks, and dhows. The coracle.

Who crewed these vessels? What were their stories? What exciting, dramatic, or moving things happened to them?

Hope this helps spark some story ideas this week.

In the meantime, a quick update: at the time of writing, we’re still working from home.

When it’s safe for us to move back to office working, we’ll let you know via the website.

Looking for another Story Starter? Click here to browse all our previous suggestions.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!