[Write On Wednesday] A Winter Tale

The Prompt

Write a short story with an atmospheric feel set in any of the wintery types of weather that present opportunities to give that additional ingredient of mystery and suspense.

Sat here on a dark, cold, wet morning I thought what a wonderful time of year for a story prompt! Winter offers so many more options to add tension and drama to a scene.


  • Think of Victorian London, thick, swirling sulphurous fog and the menace of Jack the Ripper.
  • A cold frosty morning, crunchy grass underfoot. The sound of someone following you, dare you look behind.
  • Where do the crazy footprints in the deep, crisp snow lead?
  • A howling gale, is that a ghost I can hear moaning behind the tombstones?
  • A misty morning on the heather clad moors, Cathy frantically searching for Heathcliffe.

Winter tales don’t have to focus on Christmas or New Year (or any other religious festival), there are so many varied forms of winter weather that you can use to give your story that extra buzz of originality and authenticity.

An atmospheric opening paragraph to a story can give a wonderful sense of foreboding. But don’t forget your character; he, she or it needs to be introduced early and be placed in the middle of the dramatic scene.

And don’t ignore your character’s motivation that is driving them to pursue their dream or chase that thief. Then the reader asks ‘why is he there in the middle of nowhere?’ or ‘what is she doing wearing only a bikini in the middle of a snowstorm?’


Malcolm Richardson has been writing creatively for the last ten years. After a slow start focussing on a novel, which is still only half completed he has concentrated on short stories over the last few years. His recent focus has been entering short stories in competitions. Freshly renewed over the last couple of months, he is now getting grips with his novel with the aim of completing a full first draft early next year. Malcolm is a latecomer to blogging, but his September Story a Day stories can be found here.


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