Writing Prompt Story Starter: Historical Eras

Shutterstock / Ironika © historical woman wearing blue cloak walks into mysterious wood

Let’s roll back the years for this week’s writing prompt with a historical theme.

“The People’s Friend” readers love historical stories – and so does the team.

It’s personally one of my favourite genres, and I’m not picky about which era the story is set in. If it’s researched and written well, I’m probably going to love it.

You can simply choose an era that takes your fancy from below, or use a dice for a bit of a challenge. Maybe you’ll roll a period you don’t normally write about.

We receive lots of stories about the Victorians and World War II, but we’d love to see stories set in other eras (and places), too.

Starting points

One hundred years is a long time and each century had its own movements, themes and inventions. Think about the Renaissance period, or the industrial revolution. What defined the times?

What major events happened that could have affected your characters?

What was life like for the average person? What trades did they have? What were their traditions and beliefs?

Perhaps your story will focus on a real person – a ruler, an inventor, an artist or writer. Or, your story could be about somebody who may have moved in their circles.

Where is your story set? It can be anywhere in the world.

What was the fashion like? Which materials were readily available and what was expensive?

What kind of tools did they have to hand? Which inventions hadn’t even been thought of yet?

When your characters sit down for a meal, what would they have eaten? Which foods were around and which hadn’t been discovered?

Was it a time of war or peace?

Will it be romance, mystery, crime or adventure? Maybe even a ghost story!

Roll back the years

Time to roll a dice! Which century will you get?

  1. 15th Century: 1401 – 1500
  2. 16th Century: 1501 – 1600
  3. 17th Century: 1601 – 1700
  4. 18th Century: 1701 – 1800
  5. 19th Century: 1801 – 1900
  6. 20th Century: 1901 – 2000

Time for some research. Happy writing!

If this writing prompt doesn’t inspire you, try another of our story starters.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.