Aspiring Authors Wanted

Chautauqua Institution, where I spend my summers, is famous for porches nestled together, usually just feet from the road.

Aspiring authors

For the most part it’s also a pedestrian community, so put all that together and you have. . . A distinct lack of privacy.

It’s not unusual for me to run for the phone in my house only to discover the ringing belonged to a neighbor, not me. Or to know what’s on everybody’s grill. Or to overhear snatches of interesting conversation with absolutely no context.

But what’s that got to do with aspiring authors, you ask?

This summer I just couldn’t help myself. As a writer I had to make up stories about the bits and pieces I overheard, all kinds of stories, depending on what was served on the wind.

At some point I decided I would write down the most interesting tidbits, and when season ended (it did last Sunday) I would present them to you. Not to show how nosy I am, (I am pathetically nosy, like all writers) but to share them with you so that YOU can write your own stories around them. That’s where “aspiring authors” comes in.

Do not panic!

Even if you don’t want to write, don’t walk away. This is just for fun. I promise no publishers are watching. But if you feel so moved, why not use one of the following prompts as the first sentence in the first paragraph of your own story. And then, if you feel brave enough? Put it in a comment below and entertain us.

There’s a real variety of choices here, and yes, I did hear every one of these tidbits. So I’ve done a lot of the work for you. All you aspiring authors need is an abundance of creativity and the courage to share it. I see all kinds of potential for every possible genre.

Ready? Here we go:
  • So I find out from a text that the baby’s been born, and I didn’t even know she was pregnant.
  • The only way I could cut the groove in the wood was to take the guard off.
  • So now I have to stand on the table to turn it off and on.
  • And they ALL had blue eyes.
  • I thought I was your best friend.
  • A black cat just crossed the road. I don’t think he crossed in front of us, do you?

Do you feel a story coming on? Want a few hints? The best opening paragraphs give just enough information to give a reader a feel for what’s to come. If you can introduce a character and let the reader know when and where the story will take place, that’s great. But hook them into reading farther without boring them with unneeded details. Hook is the key.

Choose one sentence. Start with it. Then finish the paragraph or even a bit more.

Most of all have fun. Are you with me?

Time to write! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.


  1. Irene Gallant on August 30, 2017 at 7:37 am

    “I thought I was your best friend.”
    “You are”, she says, tapping her heart with her right hand.
    “I wouldn’t know it since you never call,” I reply quietly, so know hears how petty I’ve become.
    “Well, I’m busy with the children and going to camp.”
    “You look well,” I say, changing the subject.
    “So do you. Let’s do lunch, soon,” she says, sounding upbeat.
    “Yes, lets,” I reply, then walk away.

  2. Laurie Iglesias on August 30, 2017 at 8:08 am

    “So I find out from a text that the baby’s been born, and I didn’t even know she was pregnant.”
    “Wow dude, that’s deep. What are you going to do, man? I mean, your wedding is next month.”
    “I don’t know. She said I’ve got two weeks to take responsibility for the baby or she’s going to tell Julie. My parents are giving me $20,000 for our wedding, Julie doesn’t know, so I was thinking about giving it to Rachel to keep her mouth shut. She’s a gold-digger so it just might work.”
    “But what if she keeps the money and tells anyway? Or she could keep asking you for money, blackmailing you.”
    “I didn’t think about that…..hey, I have an idea…”

  3. Delores on August 30, 2017 at 9:07 am

    The only way I could cut the groove in the wood was to take the guard off. Did I know better than that? Yes! How many times had my father and wood shop teacher drummed safety into my head. I can hear their words now”. “Guards are put there for a purpose.”
    Did I think I could handle this now? Of course!
    Now I’m standing here watching blood run from a long gash in my hand and wondering if I’m going to pass out before I can get some help. I’ve never been partial to the sight of blood, especially my own. Help! Somebody? Anybody?

  4. Emilie Richards on August 30, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Loving your stories. Remember everybody, just because someone else used a prompt shouldn’t stop you. That way we’ll see how different imaginations can be. Write, write, write! And thanks to our first three aspiring authors for getting right to it.

  5. Casey Daniels on August 30, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Love the quotes and the stories coming out of them. Notice I have not included a story. Just back from the vet with two dogs and too tired to think!

  6. Anne Pfannkoch on September 2, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    So now I have to stand on the table to turn it off and on. I know he means well. I know he wants to be the handyman his father was. But really, just changing the light bulb, and somehow he disables the wall switch? It’s a joke in our family that my husband is a master at getting a job 95% done. He won’t put the tools away until he thinks it’s done, and of course, if the wall switch is broken, it’s not done. Now I have to live with electrical tools all over my kitchen until he finds time to fix the wall switch.
    At least he managed to change the bulb. Otherwise, I’d be going to bed at sundown!

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