Writing Prompt Story Starter: Postbox

story starter

It’s a communications-themed story starter this week!

If you’ve ever visited Dunblane here in Scotland, you may have seen the gold postbox painted to celebrate Sir Andy Murray’s Olympic gold medal in 2012.

Andy went on to win another Olympic medal in 2016 — making him the only tennis player, male or female, to have two Olympic golds to their name.

When I looked this up online to fact-check, I was amazed to see he’s also won 46 singles titles, including three Grand Slam titles. Amazing! A really inspiring player.

So, getting back to the postboxes.

Something I noticed on the news recently was that four postboxes, in different corners of the UK, are celebrating the lives of four inspiring black Britons.

Jamaican-born nurse Mary Seacole, who nursed British soldiers during the Crimean War, appears in Cardiff.

Actor, entertainer and charity founder, Sir Lenny Henry, appears in Belfast.

London’s postbox features the work of artist, Yinka Shonibare.

Glasgow’s postbox, on the city’s Byres Road, is in the photo above.

It’s a celebration and commemoration of the life of Walter Tull. A footballer with Spurs and Northampton, he was the first person of colour to sign for Rangers, before becoming the first black infantry officer to serve in a regular British Army regiment.

He gave his life in action in France on March 25, 1918. You may have seen Walter in a set of stamps released in 2018, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

If you’re passing one of the boxes, you can scan a QR code for more information on the person featured.

Can this help inspire a story this week?

Postboxes. Mail delivery. Our amazing postmen and women, keeping us in touch through thick and thin — in all weathers, and even through this pandemic.

Letter-writing. Stamps. Sending cards. And parcels.

Email. New ways to communicate.

Postboxes. Like the old phone boxes, painted red.

Amazing Britons.

(Just a quick reminder — stories about people who’ve actually lived are welcome, as long as they’re not written from their perspective; they can feature in a fictional story, but not directly, and not with speech attributed to them).

Hope this helps inspire a story or two this week. Good luck!

What are we looking for?

If tennis — and summer 2021 — seems a long way off, we’re now planning stories for 2021.

Most of the stories have been chosen for the Christmas issues, with just a couple of slots remaining.

We’re now looking at stories for January onwards for the weekly, and February/March onwards, for the Special.

Click here to take a look at our submission guidelines.

For an update on how things are running now that we’re all working from home, click here.

Looking for more writing inspiration? Click here to pick out another Story Starter.

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!