Writing Prompt Story Starter – Uncertainty


Shutterstock / Everett Collection © uncertainty

What I like about this story starter is the woman’s uncertainty.

As readers of my blog posts will know, I’m a big fan of characters’ expressions for writing prompts. The lady in this image can convey different moods, depending on your take on the scene.

There’s often a fine line deciphering if someone looks determined or proud, sad or thoughtful. There’s no right or wrong way to capture expressions and emotions in a prompt. As a writer, find something that works for you.

Back to the lady in question. She has been stopped by a policeman, or at least an authoritative figure. Speeding perhaps. But it’s that uncertainty that makes her interesting. The arched brow, the somewhat aloof look. She looks well-dressed, too. Is she on her way to somewhere important and irked to be stopped in her tracks?

Something to hide

It’s up to you to decide her fate. If she has something to hide, does that make her good or bad? Also, the story could be a romance. Maybe the policeman likes her and this is a way for him to get his “message” across to her.

If characters’ expressions don’t speak to you, think of possible genres. There’s the romance I just mentioned, but there’s also the possibility of crime. Settings, too, can help with possible story ideas.

Setting the scene in wartime offers another story dynamic. Or maybe she’s an English tourist visiting another country. Who or why, as ever, is up to you.

I’ll finish with another small, pertinent detail. Why is she looking at him? After all, he’s writing in his notepad, his concentration elsewhere. If she was merely impatient, wanting to be on her way, wouldn’t she be looking ahead or around her, willing the car forward? But no – there’s that cool, calculated look.

Perhaps the cool, calculated look of your next “Friend” character.


Pick another Story Starter from our archive 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”.