Saturday Story Starter

It’s July!

How did THAT happen? I swear it was spring just a moment ago…

Apologies for the slump in story starters. I have been busy writing writing writing. I’m just about finished with copy edits on MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CAMP, which means I’ll be posting a sneak preview soon, and I’m also knee deep in cooking up more fun for Truly and her friends in YOURS TRULY, a new Pumpkin Falls mystery.

But now it’s YOUR turn to write!

For those of you who haven’t participated before, Saturday Story Starter is purely for fun, just 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, on the 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 click here and here and click here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here to browse to your heart’s content.)

Let’s get started, shall we?

Space Needle

Many of you will know exactly what this is. For others, though, it may be completely unfamiliar. For the purposes of our story starter, if you DO know what this is, please suspend your disbelief (click here to find out what that means) for a moment, and pretend that you don’t.

So what the heck IS this, then? An alien space ship, perhaps? A futuristic tower for Rapunzel? Or something else altogether? You’re the writer, so it’s your decision. Set the scene for us, and tell us a story…

Ready, set, WRITE!


25 thoughts on “Saturday Story Starter”

  1. I stared at the ladder leading to the satellite and squeezed my eyes shut, praying to God this would all just disappear when I opened them again. No. No, this just couldn’t be happening. “Ally!” My throat was burning and my lungs were throbbing, but I screamed louder than I ever thought possible. Tears were streaming down my face. “ALLY! GET DOWN HERE!” She was half-way up, moving up the pole like it was second nature. One could mistake her for a monkey, for Heaven’s sake. She always was a hot-shot at the jungle gym. I couldn’t let this happen. I couldn’t watch my sister fall to her death… just like mom. I pulled out my cell and pressed my thumbs to the buttons so hard I thought they would pop right out. “Yes, hello?” My voice was shaky. I couldn’t breathe. There isn’t time for this! … my God. She’s going to jump. “9…” I took a deep breath. “N-nine-one-one? M-my sister… she’s…” I watched in horror. “SHE’S ABOUT TO JUMP!”

    Phew! Don’t know where that came from. I’m reading a pretty sad book right now, so I guess I’m in a bit of a morbid frame of mind… lol. Heather, I was wondering if you’re giving away ARC’s for The Mother/Daughter Book Camp? Once it’s complete, as a rough draft, at least? Will you be giving copies to book blogs and such? I would just about die if you did, because I would love to review it for my blog. 🙂 I’m a long-time fan of the series!! Anyway, hope you do, and that you like my story starter. CAN’T WAIT!!! I wish the book were eyre already… 😉 (wink wink)

    • Don’t jump, Ally!!!! Our hearts are in our mouth here, Emily… Hoping Ally decides simply to visit the satellite!! As for arcs of MDBCamp, check back with me in the spring, when it gets closer to the publication date, OK? Good news — first chapter sneak preview will be going up soon! 🙂

  2. In the middle of new York, there is a tower no one can see. Maybe a little twitch in your eye, but that’s all. Every year, people with silver eyes just go and look at nothing. Or each other. Then, they disappear. This is a silver eyes girls story: My whole life I’ve been drawn to new York. Thankfully, my famy went there today. I’m old enough to be on my own, so I slip away from my family. There is group of people staring at a tall building, and everyone is looking at them weird. I just join the group of people looking at the building. People with regular eyes can’t see what I see. All the people in the group have silver eyes. We all walk into the building silently. What we saw there is a school for us. To harness our powers. What happened there is a different story. But it was amazing!

    • Oooo, this is great! I love the idea of the building being visible only to a few special people. Well done! (and now of course we all want to know the rest of the story ha ha)

  3. Some things are more than meets the eye. In flat, grassy New Mexico, lies a tall, tall building. If you passed it by, you wouldn’t give much thought to that dot in the distance.
    As I trudged toward the B&B I thought about the first time I had come here. Curious as I was, I ran through the grass at full speed, twisting my ankle in the process. The guards at the gate raised their eyebrows at me and hauled me in an elevator. They brought me face to face with a man who deemed me “destined”.
    And so I was. After the oh-so-familiar elevator ride, (heights were never a problem for me) I checked in to the front desk.
    “Ah, Irene, finally.” The pink haired secretary greeted me. I put my head into the machine, which looked intimidating the first time I saw it. Today’s schedule flashed before my eyes, and as I blinked, I imagined it filed into brain, ready to be taken into action.
    This wasn’t just ANY B&B, this was an B&B for extraterrestrial beings who want to visit Earth every once in a while. So, yes, this is a B&B for aliens. We had these all around the world. This wasn’t a very popular destination, just someplace for them to stay, and then go somewhere else, somewhere more popular. And by “them” I mean the aliens. They have the BEST stories.
    My first stop- the pad, where aliens come and go, on their assorted helicopters, planes, spaceships, and more. Today my job was to check everything on the pad, from the engines to the wings (if they have them). We didn’t need another crash landing. We all knew when it happened, Rosewell, 1947, and we didn’t need it happening again.
    A group of aliens with bright orange eyes and hair walked toward the spaceship behind me and got inside. Overcome by a need of adventure that almost toppled me over, I climbed in through the back. With a whoosh! the ship took off. Little did I know what I had gotten into.
    Sorry, was that too long? ☺️ Heather, I am a HUGE fan of yours and love your books! How do you have the stamina to sit and write these long books? I like to write, but I’m not very good at finishing what I start! The MDBC has influenced me to read all the books that the girls read! I did a gmail hangout with you, just so you know…
    I’m SO excited for the Mother Daughter Book Camp and Yours Truly!

    • A B&B for aliens! I love it! 🙂 And no, not too long at all. THRILLED that the MDBC series has inspired you to read the books the girls did — that’s music to my ears! As for stamina, it comes with years of practice. Don’t worry about finishing what you start at this point, just KEEP WRITING.

  4. “Now, don’t forget. Humans say please and thank you, and they brush their teeth before bed.” The instructor flips through the papers on her clipboard, and then nods. “Good luck!”
    “We’ll need it.” My best friend, Caty, turns to me. Her green face is paler than usual.
    “It’s all going to be fine,” I assure her. “Besides, we’re supposed to be going on vacation- it should be fun! My parents have been to Earth plenty of times, and nothing ever happened to them.”
    “I just know I’ll get caught,” Caty moans, wringing her tentacles. She’s extra nervous since she’s coming along with my family. Hers is still back on Pluto.
    “Piper, Piper!” My youngest brother, Marcus, comes running up to me. “We’re almost there! We’ve already passed through Earth’s atmosphere.”
    Caty shrieks.
    The instructor’s cool voice comes over the spaceship’s intercom. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Earth! Once we land, each alien will be given a full makeover. DO NOT leave the ship until you have been given one. I repeat, DO NOT leave the ship until you have been given a makeover.”
    “I like having green skin,” Marcus complains.
    I give him a look.
    “We hope you’ve enjoyed your time on our spaceship, and that you enjoy your stay on Earth,” the instructor continues. “Please prepare for landing!”
    My mother comes over to Caty, Marcus, and me. She looks especially pretty today, with her blue hair styled nicely. Sadly, they’ll have to undo it when they give her a makeover. “Grab onto me, you three. The landing can be a bit bumpy.”
    She’s not wrong. I swear my eyes almost pop right out of my sockets as we jolt down to the ground. Marcus looks prepared to run straight out of the ship and onto Earth, but before he can a stewardess intercepts us. “I’ll be doing your makeovers. Follow me, please.”
    She leads Mom, Caty and me to a room downstairs, while Dad and my brothers head to the one next door. There’s countless alien assistants waiting inside, who quickly spray our skin, fix our hair, and trade our tentacles for arms and hands. (How they achieve that one, I’m not sure.)
    “Enjoy your stay!” The stewardess bubbles, pushing us out the door.
    The boys are waiting outside, and they actually look human. I resist the urge to burst out laughing at their bland skin.
    Caty links arms with me, beaming. “I’m excited now,” she admits. “I can’t believe we’re on Earth!”
    “There’s an exit over here!” Mom announces. We march excitedly towards the doors, laughing and talking the whole way.
    Finally, we reach them.
    They open.
    I gasp.
    Sunshine, grass, clouds, water! Flowers, butterflies, birds. So many things I’ve only heard about in books or seen in pictures.
    Without a care in my mind, I step out into Earth.

    This SSS was really fun…I’ve never tried writing from an alien’s point of view! 🙂 Thanks for doing this!

    • Love love love this, Olivia! “wringing her tentacles” had me laughing out loud. And alien makeovers! Brilliant! 😀

  5. Carrie blinked. Then she jumped. From the very top of the tower. Time slowed down, and she heard loud, shrill screams erupt all around. A loud speaker voice boomed from above, but the air was moving through her ears too much for her to hear anything else. Even worse was the air in her face, blowing and pulling at her skin harder than an industrial strength fan can even go. Carrie came into contact with something. She waited to hear angel song, and waited to see golden clouds. Instead,she heard a clown singing Happy Birthday, and she felt… The soft balls of a ball pit.

    • Ahhhhhhh — you totally had me going! Last line caught me unawares — great twist! Well done, Anna!

  6. Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve written a Saturday Story Starter! This is a real kick of nostalgia for me. I have to say though, I love being able to write without having to make prompts of my own, so thank you for this opportunity!

    The city had become layered, old-world buildings of brick and wood being added to with coatings of chrome and steel, towers of shining metal rising above the flimsily constructed homes below, picture frame windows looking adjacent to entire walls of glass.
    The light of fires burning from wood gathered shone alongside the bright holographic projections emitted from every home’s many screens, making a patchwork of light both warm and cold to anyone who spared a glance at this city both modern and nostalgic.
    From these pinnacles of modern technological advancement and now-archaic buildings rose a tower, somewhere in the middle of the future and the past. It was built from steel and embellished with lights that never went out, yes, but it was also opened every morning with a key, in place of the new eye-scanners that were on every building nowadays. And the lights had to be turned on, rather than activating automatically, and someone had to make sure the candy bowl on the front desk was filled.
    It was a communications tower, and a link between everything new and all things old.
    Selma worked from late afternoon till early morning, these shifts taking up almost all of the latter half of her day, so that she stumbled home while the stars were just fading and slept till the sun was high in the sky. Maybe it was a bit ironic, that someone who worked in communications had barely any time to have her own, but it was a good-paying job and she couldn’t complain. Besides, she always pulled time from somewhere so she could rendezvous with friends at a neon-lit bar and admire their latest upgrades.
    She would open the door, greet Norma, their secretary for the past 28 years (for older folks, it was hard to find jobs in this developing society– too much technology, things happening too fast) and mount the spiral staircase, past work stations where the employees sat with their faces aglow, past rooms abandoned when their designated technology became outdated, all the way to the top floor.
    It was enhanced with some older technology, as updates were expensive and they had no money to spare; but it was still working and good. The room was round and halfway up from the floor the windows started, panes of glass circling up and all the way around except for one area, the elevator. This meant that Selma was surrounded by the sky almost constantly, and could see the city for miles from her lone outpost.
    The room was littered with relics. Old computers to be tinkered with, abandoned prototypes of technology that had short-lived spurts of popularity or never got off the ground; or ones that did, and did so famously, until the newer and shinier toy arrived on the market to blow it away.
    Even more than technology there were models– planes, rockets, giant robots that were constructed in the break room and then carted up to the top of the tower when a new project was started. When the night became quiet Selma would sometimes set them up so that a full-scale battle between humanity’s last defense and the new, sentient A.I. was occurring just steps from her work station.
    There were posters, and books too, all which talked about the old technology, the old hopes and dreams for humanity, a huge replica of the first man on the moon. It spoke of the new horizons mankind could mount, and when Selma stared out the window, at the glowing cityscape disappearing from her view, and the hum of people advanced beyond their age, so that others could live better lives, she believed it.
    Every day Selma took her seat at her work station, adorned with various knobs and buttons, and watched as people communicated back and forth. She made sure these messages made their way to their designated address. She adapted each picture to fit the recipient’s computer, or phone, or mental chip that allowed things to be transferred directly to their brains. She took each message that came from thousands of miles away and made sure no data was lost before sending it on its way. She was the checkpoint through which every bit of data passed, but the transfer was so quick that after awhile she could do it mere seconds, so that no more time was lost.
    So that no one had to suffer for even a moment waiting to know how their loved one was, or how soon that precious item would arrive at their home, or what their next assignment was so they could plan their family picnic according.
    Of course, there was nothing Selma could do for those messages that weren’t written in the first place.
    Sometimes, when the job got repetitive, or there weren’t too many messages to deliver, she would stop and look out at the city. There was always some patch of light, some screen running, some person awake, but while the hours of night dwindled away, Selma had seen the city at the darkest it was ever going to be.
    When this happened, you could see the stars.
    And that almost never happened.
    The issue was that light pollution was so rarely touched on. Everyone wanted light, they wanted to be enlightened; darkness was terrifying with a lightbulb or a screen to show you where to go. That’s what street light were for, and Selma couldn’t blame people for being wary of what they couldn’t see. But she did wish, if only slightly, that there was more darkness in the world– the stars truly were lovely, and how could mankind hope to explore what they couldn’t see?
    She would sit there and watch the stars and remember soft touches and whispered words before falling asleep, and then of dust blowing in her face as she stood watching a rocket blast into the wide blue sky.
    She read about Neil Armstrong and Laika, of the people and animals launched beyond the stars to explore, or maybe to assert their position in this lonely universe. NASA had stopped the space program, then; but it had started later, when mankind realized there were some things a coating of steel could not fix.
    Now Selma sat very small in her tower beneath the abyss of space, thinking of Eli and how the stars were always shining in space, untainted by light pollution.
    Oh, but they looked so much better from Earth, when they were together.
    It really was unfortunate, to operate a communications tower, moving along messages to friends, lovers, and family, but being unable to reach the one person you wanted most. Selma could talk to anyone in the world from her perch, but what about the person out of her reach, who wasn’t even of this world anymore?
    That made it sound like Eli was dead. That might have been easier than being lost.
    Selma could reunite two people with one flip of switch, but at the same time she sat powerless every night, unable to convey the message she needed to say most.
    They’d had each other for so many nights, but now both Eli and Selma were stranded, both with only the stars for company.

    • Gwyneth — this is outstanding! You write beautifully — I love the cadence of your prose, and the poetic touches “somewhere in the middle of the future and the past.” Also the small details that anchor it and make it REAL (like the candy dish needing to be filled). Splendid job!

      • Ahh, first of all, sorry that this is such a late response! But thank you very much, it means so much coming from one of my fave authors! (I actually really like this piece, too…)

  7. What? My grandfather is Walt Disney, and he left my family a note saying that there is a secret ride he wants us to own! We would be able to be the first people to go on it! My dad doesn’t like rides(which is pretty ironic since Walt is his father!) so he controlled it and all that jazz. We sat in these movie seat like seats, and got taken up to the top in this elevator thing. At the top, the lights shined bright and all of a sudden we got dropped! ____5years later___ the ride was a big hit, and no one ever knew that my brother threw up on the lower left seat….

    LOL! PS- this was fake, unfortunately Walt is not my grandfather! There is actually a ride similar to this in Disneyworld!

    • Haha, love the idea of a secret ride! Even if there is barf on one of the seats! 😉

      • Thank U for reading it Heather! I thought of that idea because me, my family, and one of my brother’s friends family got season passes to an amusement/water park in our state and somone threw up once

  8. I pull my coat tighter around me as I peer into the shadows. The more I had researched about Valley Gorge, the more I came to realize that people said it was a mix of Royal Gorge and Valley Forge. Toooooo interesting. They never mentioned anything about stairs or golden sunlight…. Which is what I know is at the end of the stairs. But, they DID say that the next clue would appear on the fourth night of the fourth month of the year, under the clear moon. It would appear when the person stood at the top of Hudson’s tower, at the first stroke of midnight. Which is why I am standing here in the shadows right now. With my coat, my ticket, and in the freezing cold.
    I look down at my watch and see the glinting letters of 11:35. What the what?! I have to wait twenty five more minutes?! OM eyeballs.
    Well I suppose that if I do want to get to the top in 25 minutes, I had better start climbing. (Hudson’s tower is already closed)
    Glancing out one more time I step out of the shadows and into the never stopping fluorescent light. That’s when I hear voices. I freeze on the spot, knowing that I am fully visible to whoever is out there.
    Just when the voices start to come closer, and I think my life is forefit, a gloved hand encloses over my mouth. It muffles the scream that comes out of my mouth…or would have come out…. If I wasn’t so scared!
    “Don’t scream,” a familiar voice whisperes in my ear.
    “DERIC!” I hiss. “What the heck!”
    “Shh…..” Deric hisses back. “You don’t want them to see you!”
    “No, WHO”
    “Oh Deric you lightheaded knuckle-brain!” I scold him. “I’m right here, and I most certainly wouldn’t be hiding from myself!”
    Even in the pale dimness of night, I know Deric is blushing.
    I glance down at my watch again to see I only have 10 minutes left… 10 minutes until the clue is gone.
    Without second thought I release Derics hand from my shoulder and run out of the shadows. I make a mad dash for the tower and start to climb. I ascend high into the air, and my chest is literally jumping by the time I get up to the top.
    That’s when it happens.
    The moonlight lands directly on the top of Hudson’s tower, hitting the glass, forging a laser. The Laser bounces off the towers center mirror, creating a direct mark in the sky.
    I peer up at it, breathless in wonder. And that’s when I see the next clue.
    The laser lands directly on the mountain pass beyond the woods. The Mountian pass holds a cave that looks like a mouth. (Literally. There’s a tongue and everything. Even the little thingy in the back of the throat….) legend has it that there is a great beast there. And why else would there be a beast unless it protects a treasure of vast greatness?
    “This won’t be so hard!” I crow.
    “You’re right…” A voice hisses from behind me. I spin around to see the two men. One is holding a pistol to Derics head, the other is holding a pistol pointed at the other enemy. Me.
    ” found this brute climbing up here,” the man hissed. “You know of the treasure of Valley Gorge.”
    I gulped and glanced at Deric. No help there.
    The man waggled his pistol at me. “And you are going to help me find it.”

    Dada dada! Sorry it’s been so long! I hope you enjoyed it!! Stay tuned!

  9. Hi Heather,

    I wan’t to be a Writer as I grow up, I want to ask you a few questions that you might be able to answer so that I can write my books with more Joy.

    Have you ever had the feeling of ‘Giving up’ while writing a book? If you have, what did you do?
    (I usually have the feelings about my books often, what do you think I should do?)

    I usually get my ideas for my books from others, I find this annoying and I feel like I am copying other books.
    (What do you think I should do?)

    I really want a really talented Author to help me. Can you help me to become a really great Author just like you! I am inspired by your work so much Heather!!!!

    • Do I ever have the feeling of “giving up while writing a book? Every. Single. Time. You just have to have a little faith in yourself and push through it. I often remind myself that this is my JOB. To be a WRITER. So sit down and WRITE. No whining allowed! 😉 And when you’re first starting out, it’s natural to copy other writers’ style. That will go away as you gain confidence and your own style emerges. Don’t worry about it – just keep writing. (Because you’re a WRITER and that’s your JOB!)

  10. I sat in the car, bored. My younger brother, Timothy was vomiting pretty much every twist of road. My parents were non-stop fighting about what fast food restaurant we should stop at for lunch, and my Older sister, Katie was texting her friends, and had been texting her friends ever since we had left Hooksett eight hours ago.
    I had read ‘To kill a mockingbird’ the first Wings of Fire book ‘The Dragonet Prophecy’ and some of Timothy’s, Dr. Seuss books and I’m still bored!
    We all sat like this for another twenty minutes before Dad stopped fighting with Mum and said. “Look kid’s,” We all looked out the window to see a huge tower reaching to the sky, it’s lights flickering like fireworks. “Isn’t she pretty?” Dad said sighing.
    I looked at Dad and rolled my eyes. “Why is everything a she?” I asked him, ignoring Timothy’s throwing up sounds, as he vomited into his ‘throwing up bucket’.”
    “Well… I just guess everything is a she because most things are pretty.” Dad answered ignoring my look that said: Seriously Dad!”
    “So you admit it,” I said triumphantly. “You think we are pretty!” Mum whooped in triumph as well and we both gave each other a high five. Katie looked at us as if we just ate the last cookies in the jar.”
    “What is wrong with you guys?” Katie asked switching her IPod off after texting a ‘gtg’ to her friends. “I mean, all you have to do is walk into McDonalds and you will embarrass me!” Katie exclaimed throwing her IPod into her bag.”
    “Sorry honey, we’ll try and be more civilised when we walk into a fast food restaurant next time.” Mum said, giving Katie a pat on the leg.
    A sudden “choke, splash, plop” sound came from Timothy who was trying to keep everything in the almost full bucket.”
    “Why the Heck do we bring him along if he will just do that every time we turn!” Katie yelled as some vomit splashed onto her newly cleaned shoes.
    Dad pulled over. We all got out so Mum could clean up everything of the ground, Dad could go wash Timothy off at the tap, and Katie could go cry over her newly splashed shoes.
    I looked up at the tower, now right up close I could practically walk across the beautiful flower bedded garden and over towards it!
    A sudden scream rang out as the tower came loose out of the ground and fell towards me, right on top of me! I ran as fast as I could to the car where my family was getting in the car as fast as they could. I was running fast but I don’t think I was fast enough!
    My family drove off… without me, leaving me to face this giant beast, and probably death.

    There you go… Cliffhanger! I’m good at those type of things… I think. Allot of vomiting but who cares? it’s a story… some things are supposed to grose you out.


    • Haha, Hannah the vomit queen! LOL! Loved the cliffhanger. Loved the family interaction. Well done! 😀

  11. Thank you so Much Heather! Nothing is better then having you’re favourite Author saying they liked you writing!

    I’m writing a story about a girl who has four sisters, she and her sisters are fighting for the throne… It’s a magical type of story…

    (Have you heard of Tui. T Sutherland? she is a great Author – Under you – She wrote the Wings of Fire books…)

    My favourite books list:
    1. MDBC BOOKS!!!! (You)
    2. Wings Of Fire. (Tui. T Sutherland)
    3. Hunger games (because all almost 13 year olds love them)(Suzanne Collins. she also wrote Gregor the Overlander which is good as well)
    4. Divergent. (Veronica Roth)
    5. Patience Goodspeed (Have you heard of American girl dolls? I have one and I named her after Patience!)(You)
    6. Elsie Dinsmore. (Martha Finley)
    7…… can’t remember.

    I JUST LOVE BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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