Sunday, September 25, 2016

Writing Prompt: The Story Starter: Well, That Escalated Quickly

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt is a story starter, so take the element provided and turn it into a story of any length you choose. If you’re stuck on size, I suggest aiming for 1000-2000 words.

In honor of the many memes that use it:

Write about a situation that starts off as a minor problem and then quickly escalates into a major ordeal.

Write whatever this triggers, and use these details however you wish. Put them together, use them separately, make one a detail in a scene, whatever inspires you—run with it.

1 comment:

  1. "Let's see. Deposited the check, got some lunch, filled up on gas. Okay, time to do some shopping." Miriam half-mindedly guided her car through the parking lot from the gas station to a spot closer to the store, sifting through a mess of notes and receipts in her purse in search of her shopping list.

    A large pickup truck pulled out in front of her. She instinctively slammed on the brakes.

    "Oops! Sorry!" she called out to the other driver without opening her window. No time to make a scene. There's still too much to get done today.

    The truck stopped, engine still running. Out of the driver's side door stepped a bear of a man.

    "Hey lady, watch where you're going! I just got a tune up, and I don't need some moron smashing into me."

    This time she rolled down the window. "Sorry. Could you please move? I'm kind of in a hurry."

    "I bet you are. Just stay out of my..."


    A long line of carts rammed into his car from up the hill. A frantic bag boy was in hot pursuit. The man growled as he turned his attention to the new enemy.

    Miriam decided it was the perfect opportunity to get away. She shifted into reverse and pushed down hard, still fumbling for the elusive list.


    "Oh no."

    Behind her were some men working on a telephone pole. She had hit their cherry lift and sent it toppling into the power line. In the tangled mess, the loose cables broke free, sparks flying. A tanker truck filling the gas station below caught fire. The truck driver got out, screaming for everyone to get away from the station.

    Patrons hurried to their cars. One forgot to take the hose out of their gas tank before driving away. The hose snapped, sending gasoline spraying everywhere. The stack of carts got covered. A stray spark set them ablaze just as a terrified driver plowed into them.

    The pickup truck's emergency brake, jostled by the commotion, popped. The truck started inching forward. It picked up speed.

    "No no no!" its driver shouted as he ran after it.

    But it was too late.

    It drove straight toward the tanker truck, running into the supply hose. What was before a small fire erupted into a mad conflagration, taking the pickup and half the gas station with it.

    Burning pieces of rubber and metal rained down on the parking lot nearby. Shoppers screamed as they came out to see their cars set aflame in the spreading inferno. Panic ensued. A riot broke out. People started looting the store, the cashiers in vain trying to fight back the crowds.

    Miriam looked down at the cup-holder. The list was sitting there the whole time.

    "Oops," she said quietly.

    Slowly, she zipped up her purse and shifted her car into drive.

    "Let's find somewhere else to do groceries today."