Friday Writing Prompt

jeff salter~ By Jeff Salter

Hello Fellow Writers,

We’ve got a long weekend ahead of us! Let’s warm up those writing muscles with a prompt. Don’t be shy. Give this a shot and leave your result in the comments.

And, of course, writing prompts are also great for getting to know and develop your voice. One prompt + a bunch of writers = a bunch of fantastic and very different results.

Have fun!


Which character compels you most?

A writer struggling to break a dry spell block, you visit a large city’s downtown bus station around midnight to soak up some atmosphere and (hopefully) find a hook of inspiration.
Among the people you observe and monitor closely, are these four individuals (below). Each probably has an actual story and – even without conversing with any – each could provide an intriguing model for a character you’ll write.


Which one do you pick to write your story around?

  1. Older woman with clean but obviously worn clothing. She’s wrinkled, hunched over, and appears anxious.
  2. Female teen in a wheelchair… presumably by herself. Aware of her surroundings, alert to those around her, she smiles at each person who passes.
  3. Handsome man, about 30, with wrists cuffed and the cuffs chained to his arm rest. He also smiles, but only at the passing females.
  4. Older, tired, grungy man in the next seat — obviously a plain-clothes detective or marshal who’s transporting the guy in cuffs.
Which one most grabs you as a character, around whom to build your brand new story? Why did you select that individual? What’s the genre of your new tale?


Jeff Salter has completed ten novels and three novellas; nine of those titles have been published and one is due for release soon.  He also co-authored two non-fiction books with a royalty publisher, in addition to an encyclopedia article and a signed chapter. Jeff has also published articles, book reviews, and over 120 poems. His writing has won nearly 40 awards, including several in national contests. He’s a retired librarian, a decorated Air Force veteran, and a published photo journalist. He’s married with two children and six grandchildren.

13 thoughts on “Friday Writing Prompt”

  1. She didn’t like the tight grey wig. The clothes weren’t her choice either, but then she wasn’t really an old woman. Perhaps she’d overdone it with the hunched back. Did the curious looks from passers-by mean her wig had skewed to one side. She hoped not.

  2. I’d go with #4, the detective. I have known many policemen…most never know what they have seen and how they try to keep their loved ones away from the horrors, but it can’t. No one can see so much bad in humanity do so much to what should be good in people and not be affected.
    A person like that is a goldmine of complexities.
    Perhaps he has been pursuing the man he is escorting for a long time.As you can see, the prisoner is a womanizer. His victims have been ashamed or unable to testify against him and the detective is tired of trying to build a case,only to have the man charm his way around what he has done.He’s seen this type before.Maybe a such a man hurt a family member in the past.

  3. Queenie shifted her weight with her thin, wrinkled arms. As she sat in the chair she had claimed opposite the door of the bus station where she had been for three hours, she was uncomfortable and concerned. But it had nothing to do with the people that occupied the room with her. As a matter of fact it helped her maintain her cover while she observed the suspect she’d been trailing for the better part of the week. What really had her worried was the fact that her DEA partner, Ruth, was four hours late relieving her.

    1. I chose the older woman because I like the idea of writing about older people in non-stereotypical roles. She appealed to me as the most receding character in the group described. Mystery would be my chosen genre.

    1. Thanks Jeff! You provided a very creative group of characters for me. Although I immediately started deciphering ages… the man must be 32-ish and the teenager 14-ish in my story? Yep! You definitely got me started for the day!

  4. My choice is number 3, the handsome, handcuffed man. Although I was also drawn to number 2, the teenaged girl in a wheelchair. So, perhaps both exist in this spontaneous story of mine. The prisoner, whose name is Judge, is planning an escape. His daughter, named Jurie, poses as a handicapped teen needing wheelchair assistance onto the bus. In her pocket is a powdery sedative intended for the Deputy, and in her wheelchair spokes hides a pick to unlock the handcuffs. After all, Judge and Jurie together are always the deciding factor, aren’t they?

  5. Thanks, Melissa. I’m pleased to return to our chapter blog with another writing prompt. Hope we get plenty of comments today.

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