The Doll Maker – Writing Prompt from Kylie Quillinan

Day Three! How’s it going?

You should be cruising into your writing by now and it probably hasn’t become either a habit or a chore yet. You might have finished stories on days 1 or 2, or you might have discovered that it’s quite hard to finish a story in one day.

Today’s prompt is the perfect one to use to create a flash fiction story: a short story (less than 1000 words).  Some tips: start in the middle of the story; use unusual imagery and word choices  to really make it ‘flash’; try to think of an ending that runs against our expectations. Make us FEEL.

Also, today’s prompt is a great example of why you should delve into writing communities. Kylie and I met at a conference and hit it off immediately. We write different kinds of stories, but it’s lovely to have a connection with someone who treats their writing with the same level of respect that I aspire to.

I highly recommend you make some writing friends and meet a Kylie of your own!

The Prompt

People called him The Doll Maker. Nobody ever wondered aloud why every doll had the same face.

About Kylie Quillinan

Kylie writes about women who defy society’s expectations. Her novels are for readers who like fantasy with a basis in history or mythology.

Her other interests include canine nutrition, jellyfish and zombies. She blames the disheveled state of her house on her dogs but she really just hates to clean. You can find her online at kyliequillinan.com or on Facebook.


Leave a comment or post in The Victory Dance to let us know how you got on with today’s story

32 thoughts on “The Doll Maker – Writing Prompt from Kylie Quillinan”

  1. Unlike my story for prompt 2, I went all out creepy on this one. I decided to hold back on putting these stories on my blog, hoping a collection of short stories will find a home.

  2. A week or so ago, I read a police procedural involving dolls with the same face, and I cannot rid myself of it. So, I am passing this one, and waiting for today’s prompt. Not sure were to find it.

  3. Day three completed! I’ll try to get my piece of flash posted on my blog later today. Thanks for this prompt. I can see a longer story waiting to be written.

    1. I love it when that happens. I have gone back and expanded some, with good results. And not always the same year the short version was written either. Sometimes you see a competition or an anthology call two years after you wrote the initial story, and remember that little scrap that might fit…

  4. My story definitely had a creepy vibe. I’m a little uncomfortable with what I wrote. Certainly nor sharing. Probably just because it’s more towards horror and I really don’t enjoy the genre.

    But that’s where my mind went, and I got a story done.

    Thank you for the videos. I thought I would try this challenge just to push myself a bit in a direction I had always wanted to go. Your encouraging words inspire me to just try, do my best, and continue. It both reduces the pressure and increases my desire to complete the challenge.

    I am so glad you are doing this.

    1. Well, it encouraged you to write something you wouldn’t normally so I’d say that’s a success!

      1. I agree. It’s so good to try something new (even if you want to disown it afterwards!)

        Thanks for your comment on the videos. I look pretty goofy in that screenshot up there, so I’m glad it’s all worth it 🙂

      1. Oh, a sad doll maker 😢 Now I feel bad for him. I didn’t feel bad when he was just creepy.

          1. Lol, that might make it a little better! I’d love to read your story – would you PM it to me??

  5. There is a strong thread of “I just creeped myself out” in the comments in the Community, with this prompt, and links to some really varied (and creepy) writing.

    This was a popular one!

  6. Hans was well known down in the valley. The last forty years he’d lived alone in his log cabin in the forest. A man of few words and fewer friends; he chopped down trees by day and carved wood by night. He made dolls of all sizes, dressed differently from scraps of material. Summer tourists bought them from his barrow in the market square. Hair sculpted in the wood, painted golden brown. Bright blue eyes shone like beacons, the same delicate nose and a petite mouth with rosebud lips. Nobody ever wondered aloud why every doll had the same face.

    I decided to go for a drabble today, such an intriguing prompt. Also I’m looking to do more on my competition short story later today.

    1. So interesting to see what you came up with! I had only thought of the prompt as being the start of the story not the end!

      1. Thanks for the prompt Kylie, I thought your final sentence worked wonderfully as an ending. It makes the reader think but without giving them a clue.

  7. I love coming here every morning for my writing Words of Wisdom. I am slowly untangling my words and weaving them into sentences, without my usual harsh judgement. Allowing them to go wherever they want and be whatever they choose, is quite liberating!
    Thank you, Julie!
    Peace and Light,

    1. I’m guessing from the time-stamp that you are in a somewhat earlier time zone than me. Sorry if the later prompts are a problem! You can always write the day before’s or make something up 😉

      Hope you had fun today.

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