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How to Construct a Short Story Using One Sentence as a Prompt

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt
how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt

One Random Sentence as a Writing Prompt

As fellow writers you all know that there are numerous ways of finding inspiration for your next article, poem, short story etc. Prompts and muses can come in various forms from a stunning photo, a book title, a phrase, a song, our environment, a significant event in our life, or even a writing challenge instigated from one of our peers at Hub Pages or elsewhere.

When I was in my early 20s I began a commercial writing course with "The Writing School" and one of the suggested prompts for beginning a short story was to select a random sentence and use it as the skeleton to build a story around.

Now, this wasn't as simple as just selecting a sentence and then constructing an entire story from the idea or theme of that particular sentence (though you could try this). It involved using each word in the selected sentence (in order) to begin each sentence in your story.

This isn't easy and restricts you to specific parameters but it is an interesting and challenging exercise to get your creative writing juices flowing. You may find it challenges your normal writing style and can feel a little restricting, however I enjoyed the experience and was surprised the direction the story took even though it did to some extent keep to the theme of the original sentence.

how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt

I can't really remember where I found the sentence, but I seem to recall it was it was part of an article or short story in "The Woman's Weekly" or other women's magazine.

I have included my randomly selected sentence here, and the (incomplete) short story that resulted. This is merely as an example and is far from perfect. In fact I never intended to publish this in any form, but I decided as a learning tool it may serve a purpose. You could even argue that this should really be two sentences but I have used it the way it was written.

I warn you before you decide to read any further that the story is incomplete. I do need to select another sentence if I wish to finish the story. So if you are frustrated reading a story that doesn't have a satisfactory conclusion or true ending.. please.. READ NO FURTHER! (I will, time and inspiration permitting, select another random sentence to use in the completion of the story at a later date)

If however you are still with me and just want to read on with curiosity as to how this sentence prompt may work, then I am pleased to have you on board. Please sit back and enjoy (I hope) "Maureen's Story."

how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt
how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt

Maureen's Story

by John Hansen © 2014


Maureen was proud of what she had accomplished in life. Seventy-four years she'd spent on this Earth had certainly not been wasted.

Told of how the new changes to interest rates attached to the bank accounts of aged pensioners would affect her, Maureen just shrugged her shoulders. "Me!" she exclaimed, "oh it won't bother me because I won't be around long enough to worry about that. Of course the government today doesn't give two hoots about the elderly."

"When I was a girl we respected our elders. Back then you called anyone appreciably older than you Sir or Madam, opened doors for them, and stood up on buses and trains. In the present day teenagers shout, "Out of my way Granny," as they push you over trying to get as seat before you."

My favourite female singer of all time.

Danny Kay

Danny Kay

1952 saw the birth of her son Danny who she'd named after her favourite movie star of all time, Danny Kay. She proudly treated everyone who came to see the new babe to a stirring, if somewhat out of key, rendition of 'Danny Boy.' Entertained by the same song repeatedly, regular visitors soon became a thing of the past.

A freezing winter the following year kept the family snowbound in their home for weeks and the food supply quickly dwindled. Special deliveries were made to homes by the Emergency Services using snowmobiles. Young children became restless and mischievous because they were trapped inside for such a long period.

Man of the house, Maureen's husband Frank, tried shovelling snow away from their door and driveway but slipped an fell, injuring his back. Of all times to be invalided this would be the pick because you couldn't leave the house anyway.

how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt
how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt
how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt

" 'Course you can Love.. take as many cookies as you want, there's more in the oven," Maureen told Danny, smiling. In this family Danny didn't have much competition, being the only child and getting whatever he wanted, providing his parents could afford it. Those who didn't know the family well tended to think Danny spoilt, but close friends saw the great love that flowed through the home.

Days came and days went, Danny grew up and went to college, and Maureen continued to bake cookies for him. She greatly missed having her son at home to lavish love and attention on and after lengthy discussions with Frank, they mutually agreed to apply for adoption of another child. Said the Government Department of Families, "You are both too old to be considered as 'adoption parents' and should find some other endeavour to give you satisfaction."

how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt

Buffet suppers were all the fashion in those days so Maureen embraced them with a vengeance. Suppers were held at her home twice a week and she devoted substantial time on the telephone inviting friends and acquaintances and asking them to bring their favourite dishes to share.

Were these events as much enjoyed by Frank as his wife is doubtful, but he went along with them gracefully as they gave Maureen an interest. All through the time that Danny was away at college Frank started working late and spending regular business weekends away. The situation didn't go down well with Maureen who was already lonely without her son at home, but she supported her husband to do what was necessary for his work.

Fashion was changing with mini skirts and briefer clothing hitting the catwalks and, in a vain attempt to attract Frank's attention and rekindle their marriage, Maureen began replacing her wardrobe with more provocative items.


.........to be continued........


Part Two of Maureen's Story

Author's Note

Thank you for reading this hub. I hope you found it helpful or at least interesting. I would also like to know if anyone else has tried this particular writing prompt before and if so how you found the experience and if you were happy with the result. Please let me know in the comments section below.

Here is a pretty picture for you to look at while you read the rules

how-to-construct-a-short-story-using-one-sentence-as-a-prompt

Challenge

I hadn't thought of making this a hub writing challenge, but a few of the comments convinced me to do just that. I'd love other hubbers to select a random sentence from a book, magazine or newspaper and write a short story using the method I describe here. Can't wait to see what you come up with. if you join in leave a comment or link here so I can read your story.

Rules: Every challenge has rules right? Well this one doesn't have too many because I don't like rules.

  1. Find your own sentence (please don't use mine)
  2. If possible show the source of your randomly chosen sentence (name of book, magazine etc)
  3. You can write a story or poem (I like poems :)
  4. Try to use the prompt the way I have in this hub eg. each word of the chosen sentence beginning each sentence of your story or poem. (if you find this too challenging however just use the sentence for the basis of your story. I don't want to make it too difficult so no one participates.)
  5. Have fun, there is no time limit. Hopefully your chosen sentence will be a little shorter than mine, but it's the luck of the draw and there is no word limit.

Some hubbers have already taken up the challenge. You can read these great stories/poems in the links below.

Other Hubbers' Responses to the Challenge

© 2014 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 19, 2019:

Thanks for reading and commenting on this Kurt. Perhaps I should have chosen a shorter sentence as the story turned out to be longer than I expected, but I found it quite an interesting challenge and was surprised the direction the story went. I hope you do give it a try. Yes, I am sure using the spelling list worked well for your class.

Kurt Frazier Sr from Mobile, Al on April 19, 2019:

I really liked this idea and I am going to give it a try. I have done something similar using the spelling list from my Third-grade class, using each spelling word to begin the next sentence. The kids think that is a super idea.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on June 17, 2015:

Thank you once again Dana for choosing to read what I write. It is a compliment that you enjoy reading it. Glad you found the that the first part gave it all meaning.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on June 17, 2015:

First let me apologize part 1 was attached with a link, I don't know where my mind was. Anyway, I read this part and read the other two again in sequence and you were right it made perfect sense. I cant say anything different than what I said on the other two. This is simply outstanding, an amazing piece of work.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 23, 2015:

Yes I noticed a lot of advice given in forums saying if you want to make money write on your own blog. Well I tried that and get no traffic at my blog so continue to devote most of my time here and share my hubs on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. That seems to work ok, still don't make a lot of money but it was slowly increasing until the downturn this month.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on May 23, 2015:

Hi,

It takes a few months to get Google traffic, but I notice that the few fictional pieces I tried are finally being noticed. And I wrote them about two years ago, they were on my personal blog. Everyone gets upset about HP and leaves in a snit declaring they will make more money on their own blog if they move their pieces, but I never found that to be true. It may be I am not computer literate enough to understand all the ins and outs. But I think I could do better if I tried my hand at some fiction again. I will think on it. Thanks for the inspiration!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on May 22, 2015:

Hello Jean, thank you for visiting my hub and your interesting comment. Please give fiction writing a go, you may find you enjoy it and it becomes addictive. I mainly write poetry but I did a few writing challenges issued by others and tried my hand at short fiction stories. To my surprise I enjoyed the process very much and have written a few stories now. I have actually read a couple of your hubs before. One about Venus in Taurus I think. I see you have a hub score of 97 which is very impressive, especially if you haven't been active here recently. You are most welcome to read more of my hubs and I will be sure to read any fiction you write.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on May 22, 2015:

Hello Jodah,

I've seen you on the forums and noticed Jo gave you a Gold award, so came to read your stuff. I've been thinking of trying my hand at writing some fiction. I came to HP 4 years ago, and always wanted to write. I loved it here, and wrote a lot, but came just when the Google algorithm changed, and never made much money. But I have gained experience, and have tried some of my Astrology articles as fictional people with the right traits for their signs. I plan to read more of your advice.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 26, 2015:

Hi Claudia, glad you found this to be an interesting challenge. There have certainly been some wonderful stories and poems written in response so far. I'm thrilled you are going to give it a go yourself (there is no time limit) and I think it is a terrific idea to get the family to all take part and present the results at the next get together.

Claudia Mathews on February 26, 2015:

:-) I thoroughly enjoyed this Hub and can't wait to challenge myself on a story like this, but not before I devour the rest of your story and some of the other ones. Great challenge, this should be fun. Actually I think it could be an interesting idea to ask my family members to all do one prior to a family get together and then share each of our stories amongst the group.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 16, 2015:

Don't feel bad, I am so far behind at reading other people's hubs too. I think I am following too many, 430 or something. There are too many darn good writers on HP :) glad you enjoyed this hub and the responses. hugs.

ocfireflies from North Carolina on February 16, 2015:

John,

I feel like I have lost my stride for there are so many hubs I have missed.

I LOVE THIS HUB! I am enjoying reading the responses as well.

Upping, pinning and sharing!

Kim

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 16, 2015:

Haha Don, it's all good. Could be a good sentence, give it a go.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on February 16, 2015:

Hi Jodah, I guess I picked up the idea from Ruby's hub. Call it a senior moment. That might be a good sentence to write a story about.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 15, 2015:

Hi Don, I thought you already responded to this challenge with your hub "Roy Meets Maureen"(https://dahoglund.hubpages.com/hub/Roy-Meets-Maure... that you wrote after reading Ruby's (alwaysexploring) response. Maybe that was a separate by product. By all means feel free to write another if that's not so.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on February 15, 2015:

Jodah, this is an interesting idea. I cannot say, at this time whether I will try it. It will probably depend on an intuitive moment when a sentencer pops out at me.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 15, 2015:

Thanks Cam, I'll go check it now before I head into town. I'm sure everyone will love it.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on February 15, 2015:

I just posted my story, John. I'm kind of excited about this one. Maybe because it was my experience I wrote about. But I hope others enjoy it as well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 15, 2015:

Hi Cam, same as I missed Bill's last challenge for awhile there until I read your response. Better late than never, and glad you want to give this a go. Jo Goldsmith only did her response a couple of days ago so it's all good...no time limit. A verse from the Bible...what better?

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on February 15, 2015:

Okay, I admit I take an occasional vacation from HubPages, but how did I miss this challenge? I'll just work on this now and post it, though I'm sure everyone else has moved on by now. This really looks challenging. I'll be back later. I'm thinking about using that one verse in the Bible....."Jesus wept." :)

Jo_Goldsmith11 on February 12, 2015:

(laughing loudly out loud)

You have never seen the commercial about the camals at the zoo?

And on Wednesday, it is supposed to be "hump day". Because it is the middle of the week. So, they joke with the camals about "hump day"!

Of course it is thursday morning here, oh my gosh!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 12, 2015:

I told you it would be challenging Jo :) It's also very satisfying when you succeed and complete the story. I am so pleased that you persisted even though it wasn't easy, and I can't wait to read what you came up with. Cheers. (What is "Happy Hump Day"..pray tell?)

Jo_Goldsmith11 on February 12, 2015:

Hello Jodah,

Wanted to let you know that it was harder to do than I thought it would be, but it is just about ready to post! :-) Most likely tomorrow. 2-12.

Wishing you a Happy Hump day! :-)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 07, 2015:

Thanks for reading and your kind comment Joy. Glad you enjoyed what I wrote.

Joy56 on February 07, 2015:

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your hub

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on February 01, 2015:

Yes Jo, a quote would be perfect for this as well. Go ahead. Thanks for the vote up too.

Jo_Goldsmith11 on February 01, 2015:

Jodah!

Oh my gosh! Yes, I am on board! Now, what sentence can I use to begin this? This looks like fun and I have brain burn before I start! This is good though, because it means I am alive! :-)

Shared, up for everything but funny, and replace * funny* with just good ol *Fun* :-) Question? Can I use a quote I like as my "sentence" prompt?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 24, 2015:

That's great news Elsie, I'm off to check your story now.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on January 24, 2015:

Just published this short story using one sentence as a prompt.

https://hubpages.com/literature/random-sentence-wr...

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 21, 2015:

Thanks Phyllis. There is no time limit so just fit this challenge in when you can. I found it very challenging but I am very happy with the story that resulted from just that one sentence. I hope you enjoy the rest of Maureen's story too.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 21, 2015:

Hi, Jodah. This is a great idea for inspiration and I do love challenges. As always, you get a lot of response to your hubs and this is very different and "challenging". I will have to ponder on this one - I have so many articles in the works and need to focus on them for now, but thanks for putting this challenge out. I enjoyed Maureen's story so far and am off to part two.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 21, 2015:

Thanks Will.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 21, 2015:

On to part two!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 21, 2015:

Thanks for returning Elsie. Good luck in finding a great sentence. I look forward to reading the result.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on January 21, 2015:

I will have a go at this one .

I read this hub a while ago but I didn't know that you now have a challenge "Short Story Using One Sentence as a Prompt".

Thanks I will write one all I need now is to find the sentence.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 18, 2015:

Hi Ron, glad this hub introduced to something new. I hope you do give it a try because it is both fun and challenging. I'd love to read what you come up with.

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on January 18, 2015:

What an interesting way to get started with a short story. I've never tried to write to a prompt of any kind before, but I might try this just for the fun of it.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2015:

Glad you took up the challenge Theresa, and glad you realised it didn't have to be a Poem. I read your "story in process" and you have done a great job so far, I look forward to reading your finished product when you have the time. Thanks for responding.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2015:

Thanks for taking the time to read this Bidd Waxx. Glad you enjoyed Maureen's story and I hope this writing tip proves helpful to you.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2015:

Glad you like this idea and also my story Jamie. You are right that there are so many great sentences to choose from...that is the reason I opened up a magazine and chose one at random. I would never have chosen the one I did deliberately, but it worked. I really hope you attempt this challenge you are a great writer and I'd love to see what you come up with.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 11, 2015:

Mel, by l means feel free to carry on the story after you have used up the words of the sentence. I probably should have as well but I just wanted to demonstrate the idea of the prompt without complicating it any further. I thought I may have been able to complete the story from the one sentence but couldn't in this instance. Glad you like the prompt and the story I created from it. Can't wait to read your contribution.

Barb Schindel from Wisconsin on January 10, 2015:

Enjoyed the story that came from the sentence about Maureen. It was informative and showed how a few words can lead to a book. thank you for the tip of the day.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on January 10, 2015:

Hi Jodah - For some reason after reading your hub, I got it in my head that we were supposed to use the sentence to craft a poem and I just Couldn't. I struggled and struggled and gave up for a couple of weeks. Then I took up the challenge again yesterday and a sentence to use welled up from inside me. I don't have a story yet (I don't even write stories), but I think I have the beginnings of one... I wanted to go ahead and share it, because what with the new college semester starting -- goodness knows when I will finish it. Thanks for a great idea. I need to be challenged to think outside the box from time to time. :) The link is below. Theresa

https://hubpages.com/literature/On-a-Still-Afterno...

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on January 10, 2015:

What a great hub, especially your story, that was incredible. I am interested but there are some many good sentences. Thanks John for this great read and inspirational writing prompt idea. Jamie

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on January 10, 2015:

This is one of the better writing prompts I have seen. I thoroughly enjoyed your little story, and was anxious to find out what happened between Maurine and her rapscallion of a husband Frank, whom I suspect will shortly be sending her a "Dear Maureen" letter and riding off into the sunset with a 20 year old he met on one of his "business" trips. Great hub! By the way, in order to clarify the challenge, can he story only contain sentences that start with the chosen sentence, or can it continue once the chosen sentence has been used up?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 08, 2015:

Hey, thank you agvulpes, I hope you have the time to give this challenge a go. I am impressed with the responses so far. Thanks for sharing out too.

Peter from Australia on January 08, 2015:

As one who has trouble getting 'pen to paper' I feel that this would be a great way to 'exercise' the old brain box and get those gears turning :)

Shared this Hub out :)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 08, 2015:

Hi Ann, glad this concept is new to you and has inspired you to give it a try. There isn't a time limit so don't stress but I would greatly welcome your contribution. I haven't had many responses yet although a few have said they'll take the challenge. Hopefully I can get the sequel to my story finished soon.

Ann Carr from SW England on January 08, 2015:

Great idea! I'm amazed I haven't seen this already but I am behind with reading my notified hubs; must try harder!

I'll have a go at this, John, as it greatly appeals. However, it might take a while before I publish it as there is a list as long as the proverbial, on my hub agenda.

Great story so far and I'm looking forward to the sequel - whatever will she do next?!!

Ann

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 05, 2015:

Hi Flourish, thanks for reading this. I found this prompt very interesting and hopefully I can find the time to finish the story soon. I have a couple of unfinished writing projects that I am determined to complete early this new year, hopefully this month.

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 05, 2015:

What a creative twist on a writing prompt, and your story was very well written and engaging. I can barely wait for the "to be continued."

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 04, 2015:

Hi Savvy, I really hope this prompt helps you get writing again and I am glad you want to give this a try. I have had a few people say they may give it a go but only a couple of responses so far, unless they aren't informing me in comments. Maybe I need more people to share this. Thanks for reading.

Yves on January 04, 2015:

Good idea! I need to get writing again, even if weekends are the only time I have. Your "prompt" may prove to be very useful. I think I'll give it a try. Maybe even some signage somewhere might prove useful. Hmmm. Thanks for the tip!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 03, 2015:

Thanks for reading Alicia, glad I made you aware of a new type of prompt. I would be honoured if you can find the time to join in this challenge.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 03, 2015:

This sounds like a very interesting writing challenge, Jodah. I've never thought of using a sentence as a writing prompt in the way that you describe. Thank you for issuing the challenge and for sharing the example!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 01, 2015:

Thanks for reading this Paula. Yes it was quite a challenge but it seemed to become easier as I got into the story. At first I thought it would be almost impossible to start every sentence with a particular word but the only one I had a little trouble with was "course". The two responses so far deviated somewhat from what I intended the challenge to be, but that's ok..I can't control how people interpret it and the resulting stories were very enjoyable anyway. I do hope you accept the challenge and I'm interested to see what you come up with.

Paula from The Midwest, USA on January 01, 2015:

Hi Jodah, what an interesting thing you share here! I have never done a project like that, and found the story interesting and engaging. I will have to consider the challenge, it would be a neat thing to stretch one's writing skills. I appreciate you sharing this, it does sound kind of hard. Can't wait to see what others have come up with.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 31, 2014:

Can anyone who decides to take up this challenge please leave a link or name of their hub here in comments. At present some responses have been written but I have only found them by accident. It just makes it easier for me..and I'm lazy :) Thanks.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 31, 2014:

Can anyone who decides to take up this challenge please leave a link or name of their hub here in comments. At present some responses have been written but I have only found them by accident. It just makes it easier for me..and I'm lazy :) Thanks.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 31, 2014:

Good to have you back Carrie, hope to see more of you in the New Year. Thanks for reading and your kind comment.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on December 31, 2014:

Great hub! :) Thank you for taking the time to write this thoughtful one ! :) PS: I am back on the grid. Happy New Year!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 30, 2014:

Hi Jodah you certainly enlightened me here. I like the way you presented this information. I learned something new from you and so glad I did. Happy New Year to you and family!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 30, 2014:

My pleasure Eddy, thanks for reading, voting up and sharing. Hope it's useful.

Eiddwen from Wales on December 30, 2014:

A great hub John and one which I mean to remember and put to good use. Voted up and shared. Great work and thank you for sharing.

Eddy.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 30, 2014:

Hi Nadine, glad to hear this hub has inspired you to get back into creative writing in 2015. I hope you have time to give this challenge a go. You are a great writer and I'd love to read what you come up with. Happy New Year.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 30, 2014:

Jo, please do have a go at this..a poem would be fine. Yes you can choose any sentence from a book, magazine, newspaper whatever. Happy New Year to you and your as well.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on December 30, 2014:

John, this looks like a real challenge. If I get a chance I'll have a go at writing a poem. Did you say we can choose any sentence, possibly one from a book? Let me put my thinking cap on.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on December 30, 2014:

You have greatly inspired me to get back to my creative writing in 2015. Maureen's story has a lot more scope to carry on with it. Well done. I have not been all that active and missed my regular friends at Hubpages, but 2015 will be a good year, I feel it.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 29, 2014:

Thanks Genna, glad you like this idea. I hope more hubbers have time to take up this challenge. Ruby was fast and did a good job.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 29, 2014:

Hi Rachael, glad I a managed to surprise you. I like to put different ideas out there. Building a story from one sentence is quite a common type of prompt, but I have never seen this particular form used before and thought other writers may be interested in trying it. Sorry you can't take up the challenge but then I haven't had time to do all the hub challenges either. Thanks for reading and commenting.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 29, 2014:

Hi Cris, thanks for the kind comment. I am sure you are up to this challenge providing you have the time..but then there is no time limit. I would love to read what you come up with from the sky.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 29, 2014:

Yes Vellur, it's amazing a how many different stories can spring from a single sentence. Thanks.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on December 29, 2014:

“Select a random sentence and use it as the skeleton to build a story around.” What a clever idea. As Bill commented, it’s a story within a story. “Maureen’s Story,” was very well done, John. I’ve read Ruby’s response to your challenge, and look forward to reading more. Voted up ++ and sharing.

Rachael O'Halloran from United States on December 29, 2014:

I must admit that when I read your title, I thought you meant using a sentence as the opener to a story. Chapter 1, Page 1, Line 1. So I was surprised when you dissected the sentence to form your story. This is an interesting challenge for some writers, but not for me since I need to be more confined to stay on task. TY for introducing this unique method.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on December 29, 2014:

Love your imaginations! You are absolutely very creative. Great hub and indeed very useful. 'Am I up for the challenge? Let's see...

Meanwhile, happy New Year to you and yours.

Love and twinkle from the sky~

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 29, 2014:

Great guide one using a sentence as a prompt for writing. A single sentence can open up so many ideas for writing a story. Voted up.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 29, 2014:

Thank you MsDora. I still have a lot to learn myself but I like to try just about everything. You never know if you'll be successful unless you 'give it a go' (hmm.. that's the name of one of my hubs..haha). I am very glad that I can teach you something though. I like to share what I learn.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 29, 2014:

Jodah, I'm not thinking about the challenge just yet. I just want to say that you seem to have done it all when it comes to the various types of writing and you do a good job every time. I keep learning from you.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 28, 2014:

Hi Faith, glad you think this is a good idea for a prompt. I found it to be so. The challenges issued here at Hub Pages have been great and I have enjoyed taking part in most of them. I hope you decide to give this one a try. We had a nice Christmas and hope you did too. All the best for the New Year.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 28, 2014:

Travmaj, thanks for sharing that. Yes it is a little confronting, but you are right it can lead to some very diverse stories, and yes it would work great for poetry.. I'll have to try that.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on December 28, 2014:

What a cool technique to use as a prompt. I have never heard of it before, but see how it is beneficial in getting the creative juices flowing. Your example is great as it shows just how to use each word (bolded there) to begin a new sentence in lieu of just using the entire sentence in one setting.

I am inspired a lot by songs and real life events. However, here of late, maybe I need to give this a try to provide some sort of inspiration. I have truly enjoyed reading all of the responses to the many challenges.

I hope you and your lovely family had a wonderful Christmas.

Blessings for the New Year and always

travmaj from australia on December 28, 2014:

Yes, in the past I've been in classes that use a similar technique. Usually a bunch of writers, one word or sentence. While it can be confronting, it's amazing how many different angles come from one sentence. I recall it worked particularly well with poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 28, 2014:

Thanks Blossom, glad you approve and can attest that this method works.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on December 28, 2014:

As an English teacher in times past, I've used the technique of giving an introductory sentence for a story. It's surprising what a variety of stories can result from such an exercise. It's a great idea for here on hubpages.

Sheila Craan from Florida on December 27, 2014:

Thanks, I'll be sure to publish my story on HubPages.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Thanks for the kind comment Fire8storm. You are a great writer so I'm sure you could easily adjust to writing fiction. As I have said in other comments, feel free to use this as a hub challenge and let me know when you finish the story so I can link it here. I am so glad this has inspired you.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Hey Craan, please do write that children's story and I hope you make a hub out of it. That is a great sentence to attempt it with..nice and short. If you treat this hub as a challenge and publish your story here, I will put a link to it.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Thanks Iris, I was very disciplined to stick with the first sentence I randomly chose. I thought how can I write a story from this? it certainly wasn't my type of subject matter. Structuring a story from sentences with strictly set first words was extremely challenging but fun at the same time.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Thanks Elsie, I am glad this may be helpful to you. I think it would actually suit your style of writing, which I really enjoy. As I said to Ruby, use this as a hub challenge if you want. I'd love to see what you come up with.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

You are so right Shauna. This would have been the last sentence I would have chosen to write a story from, but the point was to choose one at random and not consciously pick and choose. It is much more challenging that way. Why don't you give it a go, I'm sure you'd do a great job.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Thank you Mike. There are many ways to find inspiration but if you are struggling this is an interesting approach to consider. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Hi Ruby, maybe I should have made this into a writing challenge. Please use it that way if you wish (time permitting)..I know you enjoy challenges. I may just finish this story without using another sentence, just so we can all see what happens with Maureen and Frank. Have a wonderful New Year.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Thank you missirupp. I hope you find this method successful. If so please let me know.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

No need to apologise Theresa, I realise this approach isn't for everyone. I have seen the approach you suggest with choosing a controversial sentence from a well known book and build your own story around it. This method is good for someone who needs to have a strict structure and guideline. It isn't easy to begin each sentence with a certain word and I thought my story would be stilted but it turned out better than I expected. I wish you luck writing a story from that first sentence you constructed.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Thanks Bill. I thought you may have come across this type of prompt before. It really tests you. Glad you liked the story within the story. Have a great New Year.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on December 27, 2014:

Thanks Jackie. it is fun though challenging. I am going to try it again in the near future but attempt to finish an entire flash fiction story from the sentence. I appreciate your kind words.

Fire8storm on December 27, 2014:

This is a really interesting idea, I like it a lot. While I have never ventured into the world of fiction, it is an area I am toying with but have no idea where to start. You may have just given me my starting point - thank you for sharing and inspiring!

Sheila Craan from Florida on December 27, 2014:

I am going to try composing a children's story using your writing mode with this sentence. "Jim Dainty got paid a nickel." I wonder how far I will get!

Cristen Iris from Boise, Idaho on December 27, 2014:

That is a very interesting (and challenging) way to write a story. I can certainly see why you haven't completed it, although I appreciate the mental flexibility required to even start. :)

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on December 27, 2014:

Very interesting. This is the first time I have seen this, I will try it, as I love writing but at times I do get writers block.

Thanks for sharing, you made a nice story from your sentence.