Skeleton stories

Here is the skeleton of the beginning of a story. It comprises merely the bare
bones. It needs fleshing out.


A person walks on some grass.
The person does not like the weather.
The person comes to a hole.
There is a loud noise.


As it stands, it means nothing. To form a clearer mental picture, you might need to ask a few questions such as:

— Is this person me or someone else? Is the story written in the first person, I, or the second person, he, she?
— Is the grass a lawn, sports field, paddock (meadow), countryside, outback (the bush), or — some other area covered by grass?
— Is the weather too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy, or what?
— Is the hole in the ground, in a tree, in a fence, or where?
— Is the noise thunder, people, a brass band, a cow, a helicopter, or what?

You really need to know why the person is there. Think of the possibilities in interpreting the outline:

— You are playing golf on a hot day and the crowd cheers when you score a hole in one.

— A girl is wandering through a field on a cold and windy day. She comes across a small hole the ground, like a rabbit hole. She kicks at it with her foot. Her foot hits against something very hard. She yells in pain.

— A young man is exploring in an old farm. It has been deserted for many years. Clouds are gathering in the sky and he is dressed only in light clothes. As he searches round the outside of an old barn, he finds a broken window. Rain starts to pour, and he’s soaked, but he is determined to find out what’s in the barn. There is a deafening clap of thunder just as he peers through and realises the terrible truth.

Each writer will interpret the outline quite differently, and add their own fleshy bits to the skeleton. Nobody is “right” and nobody is “wrong”. Every interpretation is valid. The most interesting part of this process is to have a group of people work on the same outline at the same time, and compare notes when they have finished. Of course, they must not talk to each other while they are writing.

Here is a starter-skeleton based on one I have used with great success many times. Have a go, preferably with some friends, and see what happens:

A person is walking among some trees.
There is some water.
The person finds something that has four legs.
The person comes to a wall.

Go to Words, thesauruses and logic

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