Writing Prompt Story Starter: Water Wells

Shutterstock / Obsidian Fantasy Studio © water wells

For this week’s story starter I have chosen water wells. Used to draw water from underground aquifers, wells can feature in stories for all sorts of reasons.


The most obvious is to access water. But what happens if that source of water dries up? What would your character/s do then? Especially if the well is the only source of water for miles around. A neighbour might help. But what happens if said neighbour doesn’t see eye to eye with your character?

Apart from the drawing of water, a well could provide opportunity for people to gather and share conversation and stories. Intrigue aplenty, especially if a stranger happens upon the well. Offering someone a drink is a kind-hearted gesture, especially if thirst is involved.


Water wells, like the one in the accompanying image, can be more fanciful in nature. When I looked at the image, these are the words that jumped out at me.





A wishing well springs to mind, where dreams can come true. I like this storyline angle. You can dream impossible dreams at any age. And dreams don’t have to come true to make a good story.

I like reading stories where characters share similar experiences, though the outcomes are all different. A wishing well location can provide that opportunity; a place to mend a broken heart, or a place to bring two hearts together . . .

To sum up

Can a practical water well become a wishing well? Maybe all you need is to imagine some flowers around the well, along with a wooden bucket, rope and winch.

I can’t promise it will make your story more magical, but the use of props in stories can help instigate story events.

If a water well is no longer in use, can it still serve a purpose in your story? It can be a location for characters to meet and make plans: “Meet me at the wishing well . . .”

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 tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.