Saturday Story Starter

Welcome to February’s Saturday Story Starter!

As those of you who have participated before know, this monthly feature on my blog is purely for fun–just as a way to exercise those writing muscles (think of it as Heather’s Literary Gym). There are no prizes, only the simple joy of putting words on paper (well, OK, computer screen). Also, I won’t be offering critiques, just brief words of encouragement, but I will read all your entries, that I can promise!(And if you’d like to read some of the earlier stories that have been shared, click here and here and here and here and here to browse to your heart’s content.)

I was in San Francisco recently, and came across a charming oddity outside a bakery that I knew right away would make a perfect story starter.  Check it out:

Dog Parking SFO 2014

Isn’t that funny?  I laughed out loud!  (Clicking on the picture should enlarge it for you, by the way.)

STORY STARTER:  What a great springboard! There are so many directions you could go with this picture.  A dog’s eye view of a city outing, perhaps. Or maybe an owner “parked” their dog while dashing in for a latte and a croissant, and came outside to find it missing. How about a canine imaginary friend–one who’s invisible to the rest of us, but perfectly clear to its owner? What kind of dogs would we be likely to see in these parking spots? What kinds of owners? Tell us about them. Invent a story. Entertain us–we’re all ready and waiting to be entertained!

If you need a jumpstart, here’s a first line you can use:

As we rounded the corner by the bakery, I sniffed the air with delight…

Ready, set, WRITE!

46 thoughts on “Saturday Story Starter”

  1. I smelled something absolutely delicous.
    I sniffed the air and looked up at my owner with my chocolate brown puppy eyes. She kneeled down and pet me, and I whined because I just wanted to find out where that smell was coming from.
    Then, I saw her. My owner,Deedee,dropped me off at the dog parking stop, and as I was laying down, waiting for Deedee, a yorkie came by. She was blonde, with sparkling little brown eyes. I can’t resist talking to her.
    But I forgot that I live in a city.
    I’m dodging cars and people’s quick moving legs when I hear someone scream.

  2. Hi Heather! The Sochi Olympics figure skating has started today, and I couldn’t help thinking of Tristan Berkeley and Cassidy Sloane! I was watching the ice dancing (Meryl David and Charlie White are my favorites) and I kept thinking of Tristan and Cassidy. I heard things like “Synchronized twizzles” which I remembered that Tristan and Annabelle were having trouble with. I absolutely love ice dancing. I wish I could do it myself!

    P.S. Will the Berkeley brothers be making an appearance in the 7th book? 🙂

    • Ooo, can’t WAIT to watch the ice dancing! As for the Berkeley brothers, I honestly don’t know yet…

    • Meryl David and Charlie White are my favorite figure skaters, too, Arianna! They kind of remind me of what Simon and Megan would look like. 🙂

  3. The sky is blue and crisp with clouds that fluff perfectly into bunnies, dinosaurs, and dogs. A tug on the leash snapped me out of my perfect daze. I was walking Pip for the Hawthornes who were out of town. He stopped us at a French bakery painted a beautiful mint green.

    I feel an arm circle my waist and spin around causing Pip to whimper. “Darcy!!”

  4. As i rounded the corner on main street i sniffed the air, smelling fresh rolls of bread. My owner was taking me on my morning walk and decided to stop by the bakery to buy bread. I was not allowed to enter the bakery,so my owner parked me at the side of the shop. I waited patiently hoping i would be rewarded with warm bread.” good girl”, my owner patted my head gracefully, breaking a piece of bread for me.

  5. “What a beautiful day” I sigh. I’m walking with Megan who forced me to come shopping with her. We already checked out a bunch of girly stores from which I bought two things and Megs bought twenty. The book club and their families are going to New York in a couple days so Megan said everyone needs to look their best.

    She literally dragged me out of Colonial to go shopping. I bought a white pair of jeans and a black body cross purse which I actually picked out myself. Mr. Wong is paying for our shopping spree so she told us to go crazy. Megan being Megan took us to a French plaza.

    I hear my stomach grumble, “Megan!” I whine “Can we take a break and eat?” “Fine” she says reluctantly.

  6. “CHARLIE!!”
    I hear again. I turn back to see DeeDee but I can’t see even the coffee shop anymore. Worried, I scurry to find the ‘dog parking’ sign outside of it.
    Even worse, I don’t see the dog I was looking for!
    Oh no, I think. I hear Deedee scream again.
    I scamper back over to the busy sidewalk. This time it’s my turn to say in my head:

    • Jane Blogger-
      You should seriously consider being as professional writer. You have great stories I loved the mermaid one it was beautifully written and well detailed… Bravo! Or in Latin, Fortis! Fortis!

      From, Jess and Darcy

      P.S. Darcy here, loved your mermaid story, now that the world knows I love mermaids I should embrace it. Although no one and I mean no one can replace Ariel. Mermaid wise I mean.

  7. I weave through feet, some wearing dirty beat up Converse sneakers, some wearing designer high heels that catch the movement of the New York streets. The smell of chocolate croissants and pies reach my nose, urging me to sprint. “Whoah!” the blond girl above me says. The leash around my neck slows me down as my owner grips the rope. “Slow down, girl. We’re nearing the Coffee Place. I’m sure Betsy will let me sneak you a few pastries this time.” My tail instinctively begins to wag, thumping against the girl’s denim pants. Stopping at a cross walk, my keen eyes spot an old woman, shaking slightly from the winter air. Her hands stretch out awkwardly, as if she is trying to grab something in the air. As the red numbers on a black box move, counting down the seconds until I could rush to heaven, the old woman begins to walk. Because of the usual pattern of walking to the Coffee Place, I knew I wasn’t supposed to walk, yet this old lady was.
    In an instant, I saw the flash of a yellow car, the driver peering down at a glowing device, the woman oblivious to the reckless driver.
    Something tells me to run. My owner’s grip on my leash is loose, so I dash towards the woman, my legs building up speed. Despite the mass of people in front of me, I push through. The woman’s purse is dangling, almost touching the white lines of the cross walk she was not supposed to cross yet. I reach for it with my sharp white teeth and tug it back to the sidewalk with one strong yank. The elderly woman falls back to the edge of the sidewalk, and my owner, flustered, grabs on to her elbow.
    The sleek side of the yellow taxi goes over the cross walk, exactly where the woman had been. Cheers erupt from the pedestrians near me. The old woman shakes my owners hands and then scratches my back. Panting, I return back to my owner, tail still wagging, big brown eyes begging for a chocolate croissant.
    Out of breath, my owner says, “Just for that girl, you get double the pastries!”
    The day could not have gotten any better than that.

  8. Emma went inside a cafe. She was wearing a gorgeous dusty rose blouse that really brought a rosy color to her face. She had to dog park because she was late for school. She grabbed a hot chocolate and a glazed doughnut and rushed outside. She had brought her dog Pip with her and now she had no idea what to do with him. When she reached Yale’s campus, she parked her car. Pip wimpered sniffing the air. “Here you go,” Emma said leaving a bone for Pip. Pip grabbed it hungrily. Emma smiled. She grabbed her backpack and dashed across the campus. She was late for English class and that day she had to give a presentation. Meanwhile, Pip was in the car when he noticed that Emma had left her folder which held her written presentation. Pip had no choice but to scurry out through the window and deliver the folder to his owner. Emma was about to open the door to the classroom, when she noticed Pip right at her side. ” Pip, what are you doing here?” Emma asked. Pip just dropped the folder at Emma’s feet. ” Aww, what a good boy and you managed not to get any teeth marks on the folder,” Emma said. She gave Pip a hug and then she entered her classroom. As she explained her presentation, she grew less and less nervous because she knew she had a loyal friend. So, when she acknowladged all the people who helped her on her presentation, she mentioned Pip and stated that without him she wouldn’t have been able to deliver that presentation that day. Now, whenever she looks back at that Monday morning, she proudly remembers it as the morning she felt she was her dog’s best friend.

  9. Hi, I would like to be an author when I grow up, or sooner if possible. I have started working on a fantasy novel but I am having a little trouble with dialogue so I was wondering if you had any tips? I am pretty good at narrative but when I get to dialogue it doesn’t sound completely believe able. ~M

    • One way to practice dialogue is to listen to the way people REALLY talk, then try and mimic that on the page. Also, read how other authors handle dialogue. This can be very instructive… 🙂

  10. A crisp autumn wind blew the scrumptious smells of Little O’s Cafe through the air. The rich scent of coffee mingled with warm, buttery croissants and blueberry scones. Jesslyn Gold, age twelve, was absorbing all of this as she strolled down the sidewalks of Middlebury with her border collie, Eloise, trotting ahead of her, Eloise’s nose working overtime. Leaves of brilliant golds, reds, and oranges carpeted the cement. Jesslyn was contemplating how she could use this in a poem when Eloise began to yank at the leash. “Eloise,” she scolded. “We’re almost there.” Then she lowered her voice to a whisper and crouched close to her dog’s ear. “I’ll try to get Odette to let you in,” she confided. “But no promises- okay?” Eloise wagged her tail and continued to prance towards Little O’s. At last the twosome stopped in front of the source of mouth-watering smells. Eloise pressed her head against Jesslyn’s knee and whimpered softly as if to say, “Please?” Jesslyn scratched her dog behind the ears and shook her head. “Look, El,” she said. “See the dog parking? You can wait there while I go inside. And I’ll bring you back some of Odette’s biscuits- the ones with the cheese and sausages- deal?” Eloise barked indignantly but allowed Jesslyn to set her leash onto the little hooks positioned under the windows displaying tiers of scones and petite muffins. Jesslyn patted Eloise on the head and said, “I’ll be back, girl.” Eloise settled in for the wait, images of Odette’s cheese-and-sausage biscuits prancing in her head.

  11. Thank you, Jess! And for the record, you’re a great writer- I loved how in your story you said how “from which I bought two things and Megan bought twenty.” 😀

  12. The United States capital was lush, as it’s many cherry blossoms covered the trees. Although it was a particularly warm day for April, nothing couldn’t convince Rachel that all she wanted was a giant chocolate chip cookie from The Corner Bakery. Even though she was out for a walk with her dog, she figured that even if it was a warm day, there wasn’t much trouble that her little German shepherd could get into. Although Rachel felt bad about leaving her precious puppy,Bella, outside.
    She clipped her collar onto one of the dog parking leashes and made sure that it was on tight. Bella had an awful habit of not obeying the rules of the leash. Giving her a pat, Rachel went inside and after buying a giant cookie and green tea, she sat down at one of the very few tables that were left. This seat unfortunately didn’t give her a view of Bella. Rachel quickly finished her cookie, and kept her tea, just so she would have something to drink on the way back to her hotel. Bella fortunately had not gnawed or scratched one of the many pedestrians that are passing by. A light breeze shifted as Rachel began her short walk back to the hotel. This breeze however was enough to carry her scarf loose and Bella suddenly yanked on her leash sending Rachel sprawling in the sidewalk.
    “No Bella, come back here”, she yelled. Many people parted the way for Rachel others weren’t so kind about it. Because of this it was a while before she caught up with her dog who was standing beside a boy of about Rachel’s age, this she guessed of him to be about 13. He had Sandy Brown hair and deep Brown eyes. Very fortunately he had also managed not only to grab the dog’s leash, but grab the light thin scarf.
    For a minute nothing was said until Bella let out a bark as if to say”what took you so long”.
    Rachel blushed and said,” thank you for catching Bella and my scarf, sometimes she just likes to wonder off.”
    “It was my pleasure”, he Said with a flourish as he handed the leash and scarf over to Rachel. “My name’s Henry.
    “Oh I’m… my name is Rachel”, she finally said. “It was nice meeting you but my parents are going to start wondering where I am. Thank you again so much.”
    “No, thank you. But are you sure you know how to get back home?”
    “Oh no, my hotel is only a block away from here, I should be fine.”
    With this Henry nodded his head and walked away. At first disappointment went through Rachel’s body, than a sense she had never felt before, it was warm and she welcomed it with open arms.
    As she watched Henry walk away, she thought for a fleeting second that as he actually turned around and smiled at her. Rachel walked or even floated back to the hotel. When she got there she opened her room with her card key and found a note in the table.
    “Be back soon, box of flowers is for you in the closet. Love, Mom and Dad.”
    Rachel couldn’t imagine why her mom and dad had gotten her flowers, but she had a slight hope that it wasn’t from them. Her hope soared when she hoped the box and it was roses, she slowly opened the card, and let out a gasp of surprise.

  13. Heels, sneakers, and sandals. That is what surrounds me right now, I’m a dog. Or so it seems, maybe I’m not a dog. I run… I don’t know where, but I run.

    My pink leash dragging behind me as my small white paws slowly become black. The cement beneath me suddenly getting harder. The cars that zoomed by just seconds ago seem silent.

    Heels don’t click and clink anymore. Everything’s silent except for one thing. My owner’s running and yelling. What am I doing? “You’re running away, stupid” the voice in my head says.

    My legs are weighed down. I see a river. That’s what I need. Water will turn me back into my original form. I jump, I don’t know why. “Man you’re full of questions aren’t you?” The voice in my head, whom I decided to call Sherman, asks.

    “Yes, yes I am” I reply in my head. Water soaks my body. My fur sucking up all the liquid around me like a sponge. The outer layer of my body seems to release all the pressure from my body only seconds later.

    Where’s my fur? I’m wearing white jeans and am suddenly on the ground. This isn’t good… By the way my names Cameron, but call me Cammie.

  14. Kids at school are being bullies again. I immeadatly thought of Emma and the (Retired) Fab Four. I talked with my parents and they said to think about what I want to do with my situation.

    Ms. Fredrick when you wrote about Emma’s embarrassment it sounded so real and like you had gone through it before.

    So kids always make fun of me because I like someone although I don’t know why, he is popular, nice, and normal. This other girl is always like “I’m being bullied, help me!” Even though she is really the bully and is always mean to other people.

    Everyone is still like pitying her though even thought get don’t like her a those same people bully me! Errr help please

    • Kay, the whole “mean girl” syndrome is a bad habit that some people seem to fall into during middle and high school. Sometimes even in college, unfortunately. The good news is that they eventually grow up and grow out of this bad habit. The bad news is that it’s no fun when you’re the target. Believe me, I’ve been there! If it’s minor stuff, try and let it roll off (“like water off a duck’s back,” my mother used to tell me). If it’s serious or feels more major, you need to have the courage to speak up, and let a teacher or school administrator or another authority figure (coach, librarian, guidance counselor, etc. — parents, too!) know what’s going on. Schools aren’t putting up with bullying the way they used to, and should be able to help put a stop to it. Hope this helps! 🙂

    • Kay I’ve been there too. I used to walk away from my bully, try to ignore her, yet she continued to badger me. Eventually I brought it to the guidance counselor. As it turned out my bully was getting bullied! She was being threatened by this other girl who swore they couldn’t be friends if my bully wanted to be friends with me. All in all these things will fade away and you’ll move on. I hope this situation ends and you’ll feel better! Never give up and don’t let them knock you down! 🙂

      • Sorry clicked the wrong thing, anyways, from books I ended up like seriously smart not, in to addition to that there is this guy in my class who everybody thinks I should go out with,just because we are both like tecnical geniouses, even my own sister is trying to pair me up with classmates, ones that at times I can’t stand

  15. “Lol, are you going to the party tomorrow?”
    Three Hours Later
    Same person “are u ok? U said u weren’t doing anything today”
    “Please Reply! Tell me you’re ok!”
    Three Hours Later
    ” I will call 911 if you don’t reply!”
    Response “don’t… I’m eating at the Elise Cafe”
    “Okay, I’ll meet u there”
    “Don’t! I’m… Um eating with my parents”
    “Ok… If you say so” in my head I think. Wait her parents are in Oregan for a month!” I almost pick up my phone to tell her that when I decide to see what’s going on by myself.

  16. Will you guys check me out on fanfiction? My name is Paradox of Love. I’m new to it and am working on a story for MDBC I’ve only done the first chapter though

  17. I walk in the employee entrance of LIDIA’S cafe as i park Lydia my own dog just outside. I walk in and greet all of my employees who managed to beat me this morning, as i was running late. I walk over to the kitchen and grab an apron and hat, ok a seriously clean baseball cap that gets cleaned on a daily basis. I grab a clean cloth and swipe down the counter. then i go into the kitchen and grab the ingredients for italian tea out of the cookbook, although i have memerized the recipe. I set the water to brew and mix the ingredients together put them in a tea bag which i put in a mug. All because i missed my morning tea. while i wait for the water to brew i slide by the front door, inlock it, and turn the ouvert out and the ferme to the inside of the door. I go back as the water starts to boil. I pour it into the mug, dump the tea bag a few times then take it out and stick it in a plastic bag so i can use it again. after a long, filled day i leave the shop forgetting that i brought lydia with me start to walk home. as i walk i think about my day i relize i forgot lydia. i go back to get her and find her, although not where i had left her, right in front of the shop, by the official chien stationnement.

    Just to let you know if some words look funny, they are french

  18. I whimper as ALice enters the cafe, the door opens and the smell of coffee and cookies wafts out. I scratch my muddy paws on pale mint green walls, and whine. Five minutes, ten minutes, then fifteen minutes pass,and as a result I bark louder.not able to contain myself much longer I start to chew on the hot pink leash Alice got me, it smells, but I don’t care. Finally I break free, and being a rather big dog, a great Dane, stand on my hind legs, and put my paws on the glass window. There I see Alice, looking fine. But what is taking so long I think? Suddenly, I realize it’s not Alice, just another person, with the same coloured hair. But where is Alice? …

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