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Short Story Starter

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The Story Starter is designed as a writing prompt tool based on the creativity technique called random input. The idea is to get writers thinking "out of the box" by injecting random elements into and existing story, or to help blocked writers jump-start a brand new story using the "givens" generated.


How does it work?

All you have to do is click on the "start the Story Starter" button below, and a description of a story will be randomly produced for you. The elements given will include:

  • Main Character's Sex: Male or Female
  • Main Character's Job or Profession: This element provides a basis for conceptualizing his or her everyday life, concerns, income level, talents, and so on.
  • An Archetype: "...[T]he characteristic patterns that pre-exist in the collective psyche of the human race, and repeat themselves externally..." (from Inner Work by Robert A. Johnson) Story Starter archetypes may be universal or not, ranging from Robin Hood to the Pope.
  • A Key Object or Symbol: What does a knife make you think of? How about a hair brush? Everyday objects as symbols can be used to set the thematic tone of a story; or they can serve as keys to the plot of a tale.
  • Setting: A time and/or place in which the story occurs.
  • Theme: The psychological/spiritual/moral issue at hand for the protagonist. >From empowerment to evil.

Your story, of course, doesn't have to include ALL of these given elements, although it can if you wish. You may have a story-in-progress that could benefit from a change in setting to make it more exciting and give it more detail. Or perhaps you've got a character who's well defined, and a reasonable plot, but you want it to mean something and you're not sure what -- in that case just borrow the theme. In some cases the random story elements produced will seem to fit in your mind, but one element or two seem impossible to include: so exclude them!


One Golden Rule:

How you use the Story Starter is up to you, but bear one recommendation in mind: don't keep hitting the start button hoping for the "perfect" combination. Try to do something with whatever you are given the first time, even if it's just a paragraph or two of dialogue or description. If you don't follow this one golden rule the random factor will exist no longer (since you are essentially choosing all your own elements by rejecting what is produced) and the technique will not function as well.

Ready? Get Started! Just press the Start the Story Starter button below:





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