Looking for all Articles by Nyla Ahmad?

Your Stories scrievin prompt: Origin stories

A creative writin prompt based on the theme o Scotland's Stories

Language: Scots

Last updated: 13 June 2022

Scottish Book Trust is celebratin Scotland's Year o Stories 2022(this will open in a new window) by speirin the fowk o Scotland tae share their true stories as pairt o oor annual scrievin project, Your Stories. This scrievin prompt is tae help ye wi comin up wi ideas and stairtin writin.

Origin stories are the tales that mak you, you. Nae maitter whaur ye come frae, we aw hae stories that explain how we became wha we are noo. Or ken the definin stories o the fowk aroond us.

There's hunners o weys tae tell an origin story. Yer origin story could follae the ootline o a superhero origin, whaur a byordinar day or a dowie accident led tae somethin heroic, hoachin wi chairacters and moments that really staun oot. Or mebbe yer origin story could be a bit mair douce, a quiet mindin on how awthin chynged forever. Whitever wey ye want tae tell yer origin story, here are some scrievin exercises tae help ye get stairtit.

Wairm-up: Personifyin objects

Hae a deek aroond ye and pick oot five objects. For ilka object, think aboot whit it daes and whit it's for. Then think aboot whit personality these objects wid hae. This could include the things they like and dinnae like, whit they're howpin tae get oot o life, or whit kind o fettle they're in. Scrieve a wee paragraph for ilka object, and imagine them gawin aboot their business. Whit maks these objects kenspeckle and byordinar? Whit story could ye gie them?

Likesay: Tam the flask wis feelin kind o fed-up the day. His lid wis comin aff a bit, and it wis fashin him nae end. He wis lettin aff some hot air. 'Wid ye credit this!' piped Tam. 'She's awa and duin it again!'

Brainstorm: The past five years

Think aboot the past five years o yer life and whit the maist important moments hae been. Scrieve wan sentence for ilka year that ye think sums it aw up. This could be a memory or a moment that really maittered, or it could be a line that pit a haunle on the year as a hale. Wance ye’ve scrieved a line for ilka yin o the past five years, think aboot ither muckle dauds o time ye could scrieve these lines for. Ye could scrieve wan sentence each for the first five years o yer life, and howk through these for the important moments in yer origin story. Or ye could scrieve wan sentence each on yer howps for the next five years o yer life.

Stairt scrievin

Wi muckle pouer comes muckle responsibility

Thae wirds are weel-kent tae maist Spider-Man fans as the canny advice Peter Parker wis gien at a pivotal pynt in his journey. Think o a phrase that somebody wance telt ye and the odds it's makkit on yer ain life. Ye could yaise this phrase as the first line o yer story

Likesay: My mither wance telt me 'dinnae coont yer chookies til they’re hatched . . .'

A moment

Think aboot a moment that chynged yer life. It could be somethin like the birthin o a bairn, or the day ye said 'Ah dae'. Forby, it could be a moment that had a domino effect on yer life, likesay gawin intae a shop and bumpin intae somebody new or somebody ye hadnae seen in a while. Wance ye've got thon memory tae haun, try tae describe as much o it as ye're able. Scrieve a wee bittie aboot awthin ye mind o seein, feelin or hearin at thon time.

Origin story

Scrieve yer ain origin story in the style o a comic book. Draw a nine-panel grid by dividin a sheet o A4 paper up wi three lines gawin across the wey and three lines gawin up and doon. Set oot whit happens in ilka panel and ony text that'll gang wi it. Ye can pit the text doon in speech bubbles if fowk are talkin, or in a text box if it's tellin the reader whit's happenin.