Scottish Book Trust is celebrating Scotland's Year of Stories 2022(this will open in a new window) by asking the people of Scotland to share their true stories as part of our annual writing project, Your Stories. Use this writing prompt to help you get inspired and start writing.
Storytelling is inherent to Scotland's national identity. The stories we tell, and who we share them with, are a fundamental part of our lives.
From remembering the tales passed down to us from family, the singular moments that brought us to a deeper understanding of ourselves, or the places, people and communities that helped us find home, stories connect us to ourselves and the people around us.
When we think of the stories that have played a big part in our lives, chances are some big personalities sit alongside them. Within every community there are those who go that extra mile; the people that touch everyone's lives in some way. People that inspire others to live in a way that's meaningful to them or explore their passions.
Use this writing prompt to kickstart your creativity, then submit your piece to our Your Stories project for the chance to be featured in a free book distributed during Book Week Scotland.
really great [people] make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Draw three columns on a piece of paper. In the first column, write the names of some people that have had a big impact on you or your community over the years. In the second, list some of the qualities that make those people special (their acts of kindness, tireless work, inspirational outlook on life). In the third column, write down some of the moments when these qualities have directly impacted your own life.
Time to focus on the specifics of the moments you've just been thinking about. Why were they important? Why have they stuck with you? Perhaps a local librarian's knowledge and kindness led you to find the first book you truly loved. Did your favourite teacher's positivity and belief in you inspire you to achieve something great?
Try thinking about some of the scenarios and jot down a few words, images or sentences that come to mind.
- Is there a figure from your childhood or adolescence that always sticks out in your mind? Someone that seemed to pop up in every person's stories? How did this person impact your personality or outlook on life?
- If you never had the chance to thank them at the time why not try writing them a letter? Speaking to them directly will allow you to be open about the positive influence they've had on your life.
- Maybe your community legend was something of a mythical figure, someone that nobody really knew much about but still managed to invent countless stories about. How did these stories function for you and your friends at the time?
- Imagine your community in two, ten, or 30 years' time. What does it look like? Think about the good that has come about as a direct, or indirect, result of your community legend. Why not write them a letter, paying tribute to the change they've inspired.
- Or you could write from the moment you envisage in the future, describing why it has value to you or the wider community.
- If your piece starts to feel more like a dedication you may want to capture it in video form as well. A direct address will be an incredibly moving tribute to your community legend.
Enjoying the now
- Is there someone in your life now that continually inspires you or the people in your community? Someone that's been a source of joy over the past two, challenging years? What acts of kindness, initiative or fun have stood out to you?
- Maybe your community legend flies under the radar. Someone that isn't known by everyone but never fails to bring a smile to your face when you see them. Why does this person make where you are feel like home?
Now that you know what you'd like to focus on it's time to start writing!
Decide on the perspective you are writing from. Will you frame it from an earlier version of yourself to heighten the emotion or immediacy? Or if you'd like it to feel more reflective and intimate you could try writing a letter instead.
If the images associated with your larger than life figure are particularly vivid, why not try and capture the story through a comic strip.