Writing Prompt Story Starter: Generating Ideas


Shutterstock / Valery Rybakow © story ideas

The online agency we use to source images for the magazine can often prove fruitful when it comes to generating story ideas. Quite often, and sometimes by request, I will happily send out an image to a writer if I think it will inspire.

I always stress to writers, though, that there’s no pressure involved in coming up with a story. As you’ve probably heard me say on numerous occasions, the image/illustration is merely the catalyst for a story. Like dreams, some story ideas will linger longer than others.

The illustration I have chosen for this week’s story starter made me linger and think of possible story scenarios. I love scenes that are open to interpretation; scenes that require the imagination to kick into gear.

Under my umbrella

I like the romance in this illustration. We don’t see the characters’ faces, but do we need to? It’s evident they care for each other through body language and visual imagery. The holding up of the umbrella – red for romance – in an almost protective manner, signifying unity and strength.

And what of the fiery light surrounding the couple – does this convey love to you? In a metaphysical sense, it’s like a doorway. As if the couple are saying, “We’ll get through this if we trust each other . . .”

And the blue background . . . is it rain? Maybe the couple are simply out for a stroll and the brolly is all that is required for them to continue their journey.

Have you ever been in a situation where you can easily be swayed to change your mind, but something keeps you on track? Like this couple, maybe the umbrella is a prop that will see them through to their journey’s end.

Sometimes it only takes part of a story prompt to assist in generating ideas. And if you are unsure where to start, ask yourself this, “What if . . .?”


To choose another “Friend” Story Starter, click here.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.