Three Word Story Starter

Shutterstock / Antonio Gravante ©

My inspiration for this week’s writing prompt came from our Writing Hour on Twitter, where we sometimes provide a three word story starter.

We ask writers to include all three, randomly generated, words in a story.

On Twitter the resulting stories are limited to flash fiction at 280 characters. So, what can you do with more room?

We’re always impressed at how different each story is, even though they’re based on the same prompt. You’re bound to come up with something unique.

Vertical, excavation, circumstance

The first three words generated go together well.

It instantly brings to mind an Indiana Jones type of story involving archaeological digs, far flung places and derring-do.

What else might they conjure up for you?

Chair, prove, swap

These words feel more down to earth.

What could be important about the chair? Or is the chair entirely unimportant?

Is the main character trying to prove something? Their innocence? Their worth? Maybe their ability?

And what is being exchanged?

Perhaps somebody is trying to prove how skilled they are at musical chairs!

Disaster, worth, rehabilitation

This set of words could result in a powerful and moving story.

“The People’s Friend” is a feel-good magazine, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want stories about tougher subjects. In fact, we need them!

The trick is in how the subject is handled. We never want a story that ends on a negative note. It can be difficult to find the balance.

Here are the perfect set of words to describe what we look for in a story with a harder topic.

While the main character may have lived through a disaster (either personal, or on a larger scale), the word ‘rehabilitation’ implies hope and a view towards the future.

Remember to always keep this in mind – there must be a sense of hope and a positive ending.

Give it a go yourself by using a random word generator. Or, have a look at the Fiction team’s previous writing prompts.

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.