May 31 – Scenario – The Windswept Plain

The Prompt

Your story starts with a character standing on a windswept, desolate plain. How did they get there? What do they want? And what is that on the horizon, and why is it getting closer?

You’ll notice that I haven’t provided a lot of (any?) scenarios during this month of writing prompts. That’s because I firmly believe your own ideas will provide more meaningful stories. The writing prompts I provide are merely a way to help shape your thoughts about the things that matter to you.

Today, however, I think you’ve earned a bit of a break.

This is a particularly fun story to post in the comments at the blog or in the community forums, to see how everyone wrote completely different stories from the same scenario prompt. Give it a try!

The Prompt

Your story starts with a character standing on a windswept, desolate plain. How did they get there? What do they want? And what is that on the horizon, and why is it getting closer?


  • This story can take place anywhere, at any time and with any kind of protagonist.
  • It could be a space opera, a farce, the climax of a tense kidnap story told in flashbacks, a mystery, a comedy, a romance or a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. Whatever your taste runs to.
  • You don’t ever have to explain why the character is there or what is approaching. You can focus on the character, his/her emotions, memories or senses and still have a satisfying story.
  • Your story can stay on the plain or, if you’re not the outdoorsy type, have your character scuttle into the huge building right behind her that we couldn’t see in the ‘opening shot’ of the story.
  • Consider sharing this with other people in the community who are writing to the same prompt. If you ever had any concerns about not being able to write anything ‘original’, sharing the results of this prompts should cure you of that!


Post a comment at the blog to let us know you’ve written today, or join the community and post in the Victory Dance Group.


And that’s it! You’re done.

No matter how many days you wrote (or didn’t), your writing thanks you for hanging in until the end. Now, print out your Winner’s Tiara, color it in, put your feet up and demand that every one treat you like royalty (the good parts, not the bloody-revolution-parts).

Then come back here tomorrow to check in with the June SWAGr crew, and make your commitments to your writing for next month. (I’m thinking: a few days of more relaxed writing and some revision, to start with.)

Also, I’ll be posting details about next month’s StoryFest, where we get to share our favorite stories from the past month. So don’t be a stranger!

10 thoughts on “May 31 – Scenario – The Windswept Plain”

  1. I’m up for September and ready to help. I’ll email you separately to discuss how and when.

    Thanks for considering this.


  2. Phew! Done.

    I managed my 31st story in the 31 days just an hour after midnight, though at the end of a 12 hour flight to Bangkok, with only a couple of hours sleep, so I think I deserve a little tolerance!

    I hope you like it, including the last couple of sentences!

    What’s next Julie?


      1. Hey, I say, if you haven’t been to bed yet, it’s still ‘yesterday’, so publishing at midnight works just fine!
        Well done on finishing all 31!!!

    1. Well, for you, probably a nap!

      But check out the site today for the Serious Writers’ Accountability Group. This group has been running for about a year now and seems to be working really well to get people to stay accountable to themselves and their goals for their writing. I want to see you ALL posting here over the next year!! It’s a great way to keep alive the community we’ve built up this month.

      Then, it’s time to polish up your favorite story and find one by someone else, and submit them to be highlighted here at the site during StoryFest (June 13-14).

      After that? What would you guys like to see happen here over the next few months?

      1. Is doing it quarterly an over-big ask? If so, 6-monthly, though that falls on NaNoWriMo if I’m not mistaken. I’d love to help out with some scenarios, if you could take then as one hit and edit?

        I’ll head over to the Serious Writer’s Group and StoryFest. I have to say, Julie, I have learnt so much about myself and my short story capability this month. I have several new ideas to play with and I think I’ll create a Kindle and Createspace book of these activities, all for charity!

        I will never forget this experience, or you!

        1. THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!! So glad you learned about yourself as a writer. It’s definitely what made me come back and do this a second (and sixth) time!

          I have, in the past, run StoryADay September. If there’s sufficient interest, we could certainly do it again this year.

          Maybe we could give the September version a theme: all-scenarios, rather than the more writing-exercise-y prompts I do in May. Or something else.

          Anyone else interested? Anyone want to volunteer to help administer it? Enlist your friends?

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