Writing Prompt Story Starter: A Loft’s Surprises

Shutterstock / Matteo Chinellato © Antique cameo with ladies face

This week’s Story Starter is about the old treasures, family heirlooms and other surprises a loft can reveal.

My grandparents used to own a holiday cottage, in the middle of a tiny countryside village in France.

I remember us visiting it for the first time when I was young. It was a farmhouse, with a long and narrow garden and stone walls. In addition to the main house, the barn had been renovated to add more bedrooms. One of these had the peculiarity of  a window leading directly . . . to the loft.  

To my young self, there was something magical about that loft.

Not only did I find it intriguing, but the fact that I was forbidden to go there on my own — being too little — only fuelled my imagination. That, and the fact that the previous owners had left a few “treasures” in that loft. Old furniture with unemptied drawers; suitcases; books. 

It was around that time that my grandmother gave me a cameo pendant, which she found in one of the console’s drawers. I spent hours looking at it, wondering how old it was, and who was the woman portrayed in it. Was it an old family heirloom?

The loft’s Writing Prompt

Your character moves in to an old house, and discovers an ancient console in the loft, with its drawers still full . . .

What is in those drawers, and why is it important?

The cameo pendant’s Story Starter 

Upon clearing her/his grandmother’s loft, your character discovera cameo pendant.

Shockingly, it looks just like your character’s daughter; the resemblance is undeniable.

Furthermore, a trip to an antique jewellery shop confirms the authenticity of the cameo. It is pre-1860s era. 

How is this possible? Who is this woman? 

Writing Prompt: house’s surprise

Upon buying an old house and renovating it, your characters uncover a tiny room hidden in what seemed to be a large partition wall.

Everything has been left in place. What kind of room is it ? An office, a photographer’s dark room, a laboratory?

What will they find?  

Found in the loft: the family heirloom’s Story Starter

Lastly, should your great-grandchildren clear your loft one day, what kind of family heirloom might they find?

Will they stumble upon letters? Or an old box with your favourites toys from when you were a child?

Or maybe an engraved personalised gift, with your name on it? A photo album?

I like to think of object’s stories, I find that, in themselves, each and every one of them is a great story starter. 

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

Manon Gandiolle