Writing Prompt Story Starter: Weather Vane


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Influenced by the weather, my story starter is the weather vane. Used for over 2000 years, weather vanes measure the direction of the wind.

Greek astronomer Andronicus invented the first weather vane around 48 B.C., to sit atop the Tower of the Winds in Athens, the world’s oldest meteorological building.

How a weather vanes works is that the tail of the vane catches the wind, and the arrow points in the direction the wind is coming from. Weather vanes have been used by farmers, sailors and meteorologists throughout the centuries.

What of the weather vane as a story starter? Here are some ideas that sprung to my mind.

I like the assortment of weather vane designs – they come in all shapes and sizes. From single animals, to ships, planes, witches on broomsticks and the traditional cockerel, they can be seen on many a rooftop.

Maybe in your next story, someone makes weather vanes, but for whatever reason that person won’t make particular designs. But why not – due to superstition, or for practical reasons? Weather vanes must possess the correct balance of weight, otherwise they are simply decorative ornaments.

Cricketing matters

There are many famous, unusual weather vanes in the world. One of my favourites is Father Time, which is situated at Lord’s Cricket Ground, and has Father Time removing bails from a wicket. A unique design associated with the home of cricket.

If you could come up with any weather vane design, practical or otherwise, what would it be and why? Ponder on that image and see if other images and, in turn, scenes spring to mind. That’s the beauty of story starter images – they trigger ideas in the mind, working as catalysts.

Much of my story starters revolve around people, and the weather vane is no different. I’ve mentioned design, but what about the person who has to attach the weather vane to a roof. Traditionally, it’s a tall structure, but might that be an issue if said person suffers from vertigo?

If you are looking for story inspiration, the next time you are out and about, look to the skies.

When it comes to inspiration, quite often “the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”

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”.