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Scotland's Stories writing prompt: New beginnings

A writing prompt inspired by our Scotland's Stories: Adventure campaign.

Language: English

Last updated: 29 March 2023

We are asking the people of Scotland to share their real-life stories as part of our annual story writing campaign Scotland's Stories. Our 2023 theme is 'adventure'. Whether you love writing or haven't tried your hand at story writing since you left school, we hope you can use this prompt to help create a submission for Scotland's Stories.

You can also access this prompt in Gaelic.

We all yearn for a fresh start. The excitement of the unfamiliar is intoxicating, motivating us to reinvent ourselves or the path we are on. These stories of adventure are the stories of the changes we have made in our lives, that take us or make into something completely new. Although a new beginning can come from an unexpected or challenging place, these are the stories of hope – they tell of the moments where we left something behind, found the courage to start a new chapter and moved forward in our lives.

Describing our experience of change is well suited to writing poetry. We often draw on rich images and metaphor to explain what a complex situation felt like. Writing a poem about it can give a flexible way to explore the experience from different viewpoints and to simply and intuitively present a range of emotions.

Warm-up: Everything changes

Step 1: Write a list of 3 things that you think make images of a change/new beginning. For example a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

Step 2: Camera Zoom – for this exercise, imagine you have a magic sense camera that not only takes pictures or film but also records sound, touch, smell and taste. Select your favourite image and write about it briefly from three different perspectives:

Brainstorm: Mapping the adventure

Think about your own experiences of change. Which changes have been your biggest adventures? What is the new beginning you would like to write about?

Think back to the camera from the earlier exercise – and use that technique to make some notes about what comes to mind when you think about your new beginning from each part of the line. For example:

Notes can be single words, images, senses, description of actual events – whatever you like.

Start writing

Using the map of your adventure and your collection of images from the warm up task, write a poem that captures the new beginning in your life. The simplest structure might be to write 3 verses, one about your first step, one about being in the middle of the adventure and one about your last step, but you can move about in your map however you like.

Is there one moment in your notes that stands out for you? Is there an image from your list above that crystalises how you changed between before and after? Is the most noticeable change in what you did or how you felt?

Share your story

If you've used one of our prompts to kickstart your creativity, we'd love to read what you've written! You have up to 1000 words to share your story, but you don't need to use them all. Make sure you submit your piece to Scotland's Stories by Friday 2 June to see it published on our website (and maybe even in this year's Book Week Scotland book!)

Submit your story