Writing prompt Mondays: Prompt 1!

March 23, 2020

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Hello Detectives! I hope you’re all doing OK. I know that everything is feeling very strange and disrupted at the moment, and I also know that a lot of you have a bit more time on your hands than usual.

That’s why I’ve decided to start weekly writing prompts – to help you take your mind off things, and also to help you improve your writing! If you practice writing more often, you’ll get better and better at it. Plus you can start having fun with it immediately, and all you need is a pen and paper, or a computer screen, to get you started!

This week’s writing prompt is: write a story based on something mysterious from history. This can be a person you’re interested in, an event that you’re curious about … literally anything you want, as long as it’s real and it happened! If you want to research your story on the internet, you can – but remember to check your sources (have a look on several websites to make sure they’re all saying the same thing). You don’t have to get all of your facts right, of course – this is a story, not a history lesson, so you can make stuff up!

The rules:

  1. It can be as long or as short as you like, and take you as much or as little time as you want.
  2. It can be any genre (type) of story you want.
  3. You are not allowed to worry about grammar or spelling.
  4. You are not allowed to worry if it isn’t perfect, or criticise yourself as you’re writing.
  5. You are encouraged to make a plan before you begin, to make it easier for you to get to the end of the story. This can be two words or a whole page! But if you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to.
  6. Get to the end of the story without stopping to go back and fix bits you don’t like. Once you’ve finished, read it through again. If you still don’t like those bits, you can edit them now!
  7. If you want (and only if you want!) you’re allowed to post the first 500 words of your story in the comments below. I have to moderate the comments so it may take a while for them to show up – please be patient.
  8. If you like someone else’s story, you are allowed to comment to say so! If you’d like to give them ideas that might make their story even stronger, that’s OK, but please be kind and remember how deeply we all care about our writing. A good format for feedback might be something like: ‘I loved ****! Have you thought of ****? I think it might make your story even better!’ I will delete any comment if I feel it’s critical without being constructive.
  9. I can’t promise to give feedback on any individual stories – I’m not marking them!
  10. This isn’t a competition, and there will be no winners and no prizes, though I may choose a story or two to highlight in future posts.

Good luck, detectives, and most importantly, have fun! I’ll be back next Monday with more …

More posts to explore

I’m very pleased to say that my Behind the Book video, featuring a Q&A, a workspace tour and a reading from the last two chapters of Death Sets Sail, is available to watch NOW on the Puffin YouTube channel. There’s a link below – I hope you enjoy it!
I’ve got a new video on the way! Behind the Book with Robin Stevens will premiere on the Puffin YouTube Channel on Friday 18th September at 6pm BST.
For the rest of September, your prompt will be resolutions. This was suggested by Detective Society member Neve – and it seems like a great choice, since this is the beginning of the school year, a time full of new challenges and big decisions.
I’ve got good news for Scottish fans – I may not be able to come visit you in person this autumn, but I’ll be able to be with you virtually! I’m teaming up with the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour and Book Week Scotland for a week of absolutely FREE events for Scottish schools.
You have until the 6th of September to send all of your questions about the MMU series, The Ministry of Unladylike Activity, Howl the puppy or anything else you might want to know to a special email address that my publisher Puffin has set up: askrobinstevens@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk. I’m going to be answering my very favourites on a new ‘Behind the Book’ video, premiering on the 18th of September on the Puffin YouTube channel.

137 Responses

    1. I’m thinking of doing Jack the Ripper as I have learnt about him in school and know quite a lot about him. I’m planning to set the story (a mystery as I’ve written one for English at school before and my teacher liked it a lot) in the present day but base it around history from when Jack the Ripper was around. Is this OK?

      1. That is a fantastic idea! My grandad used to tell me stories about him when I was younger and I was fascinated about it- of course I was only 9 at the time so I didn’t understand the actual disturbance of the situation. I think you’ll do a wonderful job writing this story and I can’t wait to read it!❤️

      2. I have just ordered a nice new thick notebook (you can never have too many notebooks!) to write up all the writing prompt stories in!!! I will start writing the story tomorrow when it arrives (THANK YOU AMAZON PRIME!) but for now I can plan it.

        1. I’ve got a blank notebook covered in cherry’s that I’m using! Florence, your story sounds as though it will be very mysterious and really good. I want to base mine around Ancient Egypt….

    2. This is mine! I hope you like it.

      Jack stepped out onto the cobbled streets of Whitechapel, and inhaled a lungful of the dank London air. Pulling his long dark coat around him, Jack quickened his pace. He patted his pocket, reassured at the familiar shape of his portable medical tool case.
      Not before too long, Jack reached the pub that had a reputation for acquiring heavy drinkers and prostitutes inside it’s dirty, scuffed walls. He strode inside, and a few minutes later (after some bargaining and persuading) came out with a tall, blonde haired girl with fair skin and blue eyes. She had a red shawl wrapped around her, and a spotless white apron.
      Jack decided he could mop up the blood with that.
      Jack dragged the girl down one of the quieter side streets. The only things they could hear was the sound of drunken brawls and wailing mad people. The two figures talked for a while, Jack slowly luring her into a trap.
      With his gloved hands clasped protectively over his signature six-inch knife, Jack slowly bent to kiss the girl. When their lips had almost met, Jack silently jabbed at the girl’s throat. A small scream emitted from the girl, before she silently collapsed on the ground. Jack grinned maliciously and scooted into the closest doorway: his victim’s house.
      Jack towed the body into the cold, dark room, and slipped his hand into his pocket, retrieving his most prized possession. His medical tools.
      Slowly, Jack pulled out some scissors and other torture devices, and proceeded to make a dog’s dinner out of the body. He grabbed the victim’s apron and mopped up a bit of the blood, then discarded it on the bed. Jack shoved some of the mutilated body into his pocket to send to the Metropolitan Police, and walked out of the narrow building, as casually as someone who had definitely not just killed someone.
      The man grinned to himself in glee, and went back home.
      Jack the Ripper’s last murder had just taken place.

      1. I’m thinking of writing about Henry VIII and one of wives. Maybe the history books are wrong, maybe the details of Jane Seymour’s death are inaccurate…

      2. Wow! That’s so creepy and he’s so cruel! I feel like researching him now and finding out more about him!! You’re an incredible writer and I can completely understand why your English teacher was impressed with your previous work!!!

    3. I’m in! I’m writing about the murder of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was killed by Henry II’s knights at the altar. I’m learning about it at homeschool (run by my actual school)

  1. Hi Robin,
    I absolutely love this idea! I am currently working around my timetable for school, factoring in time to exercise, relax and cover the content that I need for each of my subjects.
    I think this is a great way to do something productive and fun when I am not working and I am definitely going to be giving it a go!

    1. I agree, though I was struggling to complete my packed timetable the past few weeks. The holidays have come as a well needed rest! I hope your story goes well!!

  2. 18th December 1885- Reverend George Dyson
    I walked into the fourth pharmacy of the month. I needed to buy some chloroform for my dear Adelaide, as her husband needed some. Obviously she had ordered way too much over the last month for it to be for medicinal purposes but I’m not going to mention that. I bought just enough of this sweet liquid to get away without signing the poison book.
    Once out of the pharmacy, I walked round to Adelaide’s house and she let me in. I handed over the package and I was lead through to the living room. She explained to me that Edwin was near death, but there was a small chance of recovery. I responded with fake happiness until Adelaide corrected me, explaining that we wanted him dead. She explained her plan of giving Edwin an overdose on chloroform on New Year’s Eve. I almost cheered with joy, as I realised I would finally be able to be with Adelaide. Adelaide whispered to me how we would get the chloroform into Edwin’s body, but I can’t say that here in case someone finds this.
    31st December 1885
    At 4pm I walked round to Adelaide and Edwin’s Pimlico flat and Adelaide invited me in, out of the cold. We prepared our plot and watched it unfold.

    The next day Edwin was found dead and the Reverend and Adelaide had the blame on them. The autopsy revealed the chloroform in Edwin’s stomach but they couldn’t work out how it arrived there, so Reverend Dyson and Adelaide Blanche de la Tremoille went free.

  3. December 1937

    A cold shiver crawled down my spine, even though the sun was warm. The sea was choppy, causing the boat to rock back and forth madly. I clutched the side of the boat, feeling a little sick to my stomach, even though we had been on the boat for weeks now.

    “Agnes!” My father called to me from the captain’s cabin. “Do you know where we are?”

    I shook my head weakly, leaning more heavily on the railing. I would never get used to the sea, no matter how long we sailed.

    “We’re getting close to Nikumaroro Island! Isn’t that exciting?”

    Nikumaroro Island. I suddenly knew why I was freezing cold, despite the warm sun. My mind went back to several months earlier, in July.
    … _ _ _ …

    It was mid-afternoon. I was seated on the sofa, watching the finches play in the birdbath just outside the window. My father had burst in through the front door, looking as he always did after work- fedora perched on his head, briefcase in one hand, newspaper in the other. He rushed into the kitchen, speaking with my stepmother in hushed voices.

    “Edith, look at this…”

    “Where, George? Your hand is covering the article.”

    There was a pause. I nearly strained my ear trying to listen in. Then my stepmother gasped. “Oh, my…”

    “You know we can’t tell Agnes.” My father sounded urgent. “She’ll be devastated.”

    Their voices grew quieter so I could no longer hear. Looking as nonchalant as I could, I sauntered into the kitchen. “Hi Daddy, hello Edith,” I said. “Oh, what’s this?” I acted as innocent as I could and pretended to notice the newspaper lying on the counter. Before they could snatch it away, however, I grabbed it and looked at the headline.

    EARHART PLANE LOST AT SEA, it proclaimed.

    And that was how I found out my heroine was dead.
    … _ _ _ …

    A crying seagull pulled me back to reality. We were nearing the gravesite of Amelia Earhart by the minute, and I grew terrified. On the horizon, a large object obscured the sky.

    “What’s that?” I called to my father.

    “I don’t know,” he replied, yelling over the hum of the engine. “Grab the spyglass and take a look!”

    I did as he said and zoomed in on the object. It almost looked like the metal wing of an airplane. Could it be? Were we about to discover where Amelia had crashed?
    … _ _ _ …

    As the sun set, we floated right toward Nikumaroro Island. In the fading sunlight, the overgrown brush looked ominous and almost alive. I peered over the edge of the boat at the island. There appeared to be some sort of makeshift shelter on the island, sitting on stilts above the sand.

    “Daddy? Are there people who live on this island?”

    “Not that I know of. If there were, we’d be stopping to say hello, now wouldn’t we?” He chuckled to himself.

    I sighed. But as we sailed further away from the island, I could have sworn I saw a tall, stocky woman poke her head out of the structure and wave. I raised my hand to wave back, but when I blinked, she was gone.

    Perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me, but I still believe that Amelia Earhart was alive and well and living on Nikumaroro Island.

      1. Thank you! Amelia Earhart has always been one of my favorite unsolved mysteries. When I was doing a little research for this story, I saw that there’s been some new discoveries of things that might have been in Amelia’s plane when she crashed- like a freckle-removing cream tin that she may have used!

  4. Thank you so much, Robin!!!!
    This is exactly what I need. I am planning to write my own book about spies and murders. Since I have a large gap in my timetable I think this will be very useful. I also found your video on how to structure a mystery story extremely useful!

    Thanks again,

    – Zaynab

  5. I am kind of busy with my online classroom assignments so if I ever get any free time I will try to do it then but t the moment I am doing an essay on SPACE .

    Hope everyone is ok

    Detective society forever x

    Alice x

    1. Detective society forever!!
      I’ve got a very jam packed timetable as well! As I’m in year 7 the teachers seem to think they need to give us even more work than what we’d actually get at school!!

  6. I love egyptian mythology (I hope some myths or legends will be in MMU 9) so I decided to tackle this fairly interesting mystery. The person narrating is Professor Jackson, an acclaimed archeologist of my own invention.

    It was a freezing cold day in Chicago. I had gotten off of a plane from Alexandria, Egypt late last night and I was standing in front of the door to the large press room in the hotel I was staying at. I didn’t have any time to take in any of the sights or sounds of Chicago, though I was sort of glad. Mira, my assistant, is a VERY boring tour guide.
    Speaking of her, she opened the door for me, and before she let me in, she whispered, “Don’t say ANYTHING stupid.”
    Yeesh. She had no faith in me. The room I found myself in was fairly boring, and was filled with about thirty to forty reporters and camera men.
    “Here we go,” I muttered, and I stepped up onto the large podium. I was fairly used to press conferences, being the famous archeologist I was. I prepared my best fake smile and addressed the crowd.
    “Hello everyone! I won’t have much time to answer questions today, so I suggest you all ask away now.” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Mira facepalm. Thanks for the vote of confidence, I thought.
    One enthusiastic reporter with a similar fake smile to mine asked, “Have you and your team gotten any closer to finding Cleopatra’s tomb?”
    The question took me aback. “I, er-”
    Another reporter said, “I’ve heard reports that your rival, Archibald Cunnings, has discovered the location of the tomb. What do you have to say to that?”
    “Well, I-”
    “Can you confirm the rumours that you faked evidence to support your claim the tomb is near Alexandria?”
    “Preposterous!” I thundered. And the reporters went silent. I couldn’t make myself look like a Gilderoy Lockhart, regardless of my gold hair and winning smile. I would NOT look like a fool.
    “In fact, I have discovered the location of the tomb and am going to go back to Alexandria next week to finish excavations.” I lied.
    There was a collective gasp and Mira grabbed my shirt and pulled me out of the room. “Professor Jackson won’t be answering any more questions!” She called after the reporters. She slammed the door and slapped me.
    “Ow, what was that for?!” I asked, rubbing my swollen cheek.
    “We have no clue where the tomb is!” She yelled, which was not untrue. The tomb had been lost to history, and hundreds of archeological digs have been conducted to try and find the tomb’s location, to no avail. It was considered to be one of the world’s greatest unsolved mysteries. This was the reason I had gone to Egypt a few days ago, but I had failed in my search.
    “At least now we have pressure to find the tomb before Archibald does.” I said hopefully. Mira muttered something like “Unbelievable.”
    “I can guarantee that we will find the tomb before the month ends!” I proclaimed.
    “I haven’t heard that before.” said Mira sarcastically. “I’ll book us a flight back to Alexandria.”
    I smiled confidently, but in the back of my mind, I couldn’t shake the feeling I had no idea what I was in for.

    1. That’s such a great idea! When I was in Egypt our guide said that he thought Cleopatra’s tomb had been discovered, but it was being kept hidden for now …

  7. [It’s obviously not perfect, but I tried. It was supposed to be something to do with Jack the Ripper, but it turned into something a bit different.

    I stumbled, the hem of my skirt trailing in the mud. The dim glow of the streetlamps glistened in the puddles. I pulled my shawl a tighter and inhaled a lungful of the dank London air.

    I glanced up at the clock tower across the square. Quarter to ten. I’d be late home from the haberdasher’s, but I could cope with another punishment. Unless…

    There was always the alleyway, the shortcut. It beckoned me. I hitched up my skirts and dashed to my left, dodging a carriage as it rushed past.

    I was nearly halfway when I heard it. A footstep. I whirled around to see a shadowy figure step into a doorway. Telling myself it was nothing, turned around and continued on my way, gripping my shopping basket a little tighter.

    Moments later, a hand grabbed my wrist, twisting it deftly, causing my basket to plummet to the ground. Embroidery threads and fat quarters littered the wet, muddy cobbles.

    The figure roughed me around to face him. He was nothing remarkable, but he had a mad look in his eyes as he caught my gaze. He obviously sensed my panic. I realized tears were streaming down my cheeks. He proceeded to pull a handkerchief from his sleeve and wound it around my mouth. I let out a muffled scream as he drew a knife from his breast pocket.

    The knife glittered in the lamplight. A horse whinnied from the street. I closed my eyes. I shivered through my thin blouse and shawl and gritted my teeth.

    A sharp, shooting pain at my throat. And everything went black.

  8. Sharp icy winds whipped my neck as I desperately huddled for warmth under my fur coat. I heard the cries of the other people in my boat – their dismay becoming my guilt.
    We were helpless, heartbroken souls who had nothing but the prospect of warmth to cradle our aching hearts. We had seen the breaking of innocence – the damage that had been caused.

    I tried to protect myself from the air which attacked like a knife. I tried to bury everything that I had witnessed under the only form of protection that I had, but nothing could cure the sights that I had seen.

    We should have all be praying; praying for our loved ones who weren’t with us, the lives that were taken and our selves.
    But we didn’t. We just sat there motionless, waiting to seek shelter.

    I hated to look, so I kept my face concealed. But there were too many and every so often I saw one out of the corner of my eye. Different shapes floating on what I imagined was an open battlefield and then just like that, a graveyard.
    I felt their pain as they struggled to keep alive; their minds fighting over their physical weakness.

    I could have counted myself lucky – lucky to be alive.
    Yet I felt no emotion, nothing that could fathom what had happened.

    No more than a few hours before everything went dark, innocent lives were being preserved. We had been warm from the food, each other and the knowledge that we would be returning home soon.

    Yet there was nothing that any of us could do. We just had to wait.

    The concept of time was nothing but a distant acquaintance to myself and perhaps to the other lost souls of that small boat.

    The unsinkable ship that once was a vessel of prosperity and excitement was nothing but a trapped memory.

    I had no hope left inside me.

    1. This is great! But maybe you could hint at what was going on next time as I didn’t really know what was happening. Still, very spooky and well-written!

      1. Hi Florence,
        Thank you, you are absolutely right – I wanted to create enigmas for the reader but I didn’t want to confuse them! I’ll take on board what you said and include a title next time 🙂

          1. I agree with you Annie, it was a devastating event in history but an interesting topic to research!

      1. I find the Titanic very spooky and sinking ships make very good mystery stories! I’ve read Kasper-prince of cats and an Edwardian girl’s diary Titanic!! Your story is really good and I now want to find out what happens to her when or if she gets to dry land…. !

  9. I had the idea of writing a story about a detective trio searching for the Kruger Millions. It is a brilliant unsolved mystery, but not quite as famous. It is set during the South African Boer Wars. The president at the time, Paul Kruger, was said to have hidden over 2,000,000 pounds worth of gold and coins which could fetch up to $500,000,000 today! It was said to have been hidden in the Blyde River in the province of Mpumalanga, but no one has ever found it!

    I also found an unused notebook that I have decorated that I can use over the coming weeks. And I agree with Florence: You can NEVER have too many notebooks!

    1. We learned about the Boer war but the Kruger Million. It sounds so interesting. Do post your story when its done Emma. It’s a great idea

  10. I think I’m going to write about Queen Nefertiti’s disappearance, as told by her present-day reincarnation!

    I’ll be writing in Google Docs and using a Pinterest board for inspiration.

    Thanks for this, Robin! This is such an amazing idea.

  11. I know people have said this already, but I did Jack the Ripper as well, and it morphed into a historical fantasy that’s already far too long.
    (I’ve had a lot of time to write because of COVID-19)

  12. Thursday 18th January 1955

    I stood beside the Harbour as he stepped aboard. My beloved husband was going away on a voyage, again. It would be two whole months before I would see that comforting face smiling at me. He was the one who I cared about most in the whole entire world.

    Ever since we were married, he would go away on voyages leaving me to work as a house maid. It was the thought that he would always come home that helped me through all the tough times I went through when I was working. The lady I worked for was the meanest person I have ever met. She would give half an hour for a lunch break and two minutes morning and afternoon.

    This trip that he was taking part in was carrying 25 men all the way to Russia and back. As he set sail and I stood there smiling and waving my handkerchief, I knew that that could be the last I ever saw of him but I pushed this thought out of my mind.

    Friday 19th January 1955

    I am missing my beloved wife Margaret so dearly on this voyage. It will take me so far away from her that I keep thinking that I will lose connection with her at all. I know this is not true but every part of me is saying it is true. I feel so terrible leaving her behind to work at that horrible women’s house.

    There are 25 people on board this ship and not all of them are nice. I share a room with 2 other men named Percy and Stephan. These are probably the only two nice lads on the whole ship. Percy is quite bright as in clever whereas Stephan is really not that clever but he is really kind and thoughtful of others.

    The food on this voyage is nearly the worst! Yesterday we had overcooked fish followed by a mouldy apple cake. Comparing it with the food on the boat to Hawaii, it is almost as bad. We are only on are second day and one of the lads from another dorm was almost ill because of the badly cooked food.

    1. That’s a great story! It would maybe be even better if you wrote the bit where they disappear. You could make up what happened to the crew! Then you could switch back to Margaret and write how she is feeling. I love the diary format though!!!

      1. Hi Florence. Thanks so much for the feedback. I haven’t quite got to the part when they disappear but I could post it if you want to see it.

        By the way, I love your story.

  13. Not many of you will know this but the story is that a ship carrying 25 people did not sink but the whole crew disappeared. I have then turned it into my own story.

  14. It has mistakes, but I worked quite hard on it so I hope you like it!
    The unknown afterlife of Adolf Hitler
    The sun shone as Adolf poked his head out of the sack.At least, it was brighter than inside the bag, which wasn’t saying much. He had endured far too much tossing and turning throughout the trip. He was tired of this stupid ship, and couldn’t wait to get off. His wife was up on the ship’s deck. She had been quite comfortable throughout the trip. Apparently, the ship captain was quite able to disguise her, but he couldn’t disguise him, so while his wife enjoyed a relaxing trip, first class style, he was stuck in the bottom of the ship, wrapped in a bag, so that “He wouldn’t get caught”. As if. The captain just didn’t like him, and had wanted to treat his sister for the last time before they departed. He was only doing this trip as a favor to his sister, and even then, only for a large sum of money. “Well,” he thought.“It’s better than being dead.” His friend- no, not friend. He just put up with the Fat man so he could rule Italy- Mussinelli, had not only been killed, but completely ridiculed by the people of Milan. They had beaten his body up till it resembled no more than a humanish form, and then hung him up for people to toss food at. When that had happened, Adolf knew he had to flee. He asked one of his Argentinian friends if they could get him on a ratline, but they weren’t able to. They didn’t have a boat that would be able to take him. They had given him a silver lining, though.
    “You get yourself a boat, and we will provide you with a new identity and everything else you will need.” That was unideal, as the end price was abominable, but it would have to do.He had tried to find a way to leave his dull wife behind, but she had insisted that he allowed her to come.“After all.” she had said.“I have the boat you need.” That was true, so he let her come, but he had been planning how to ditch her as soon as they got to shore. She would just slow him down. He was now Benicio Alvarez. He didn’t have time for a wife in his new life. Ah, what wonderful things he would do with his life now that no one thought he was alive. That is, no one would think he was alive if the others did their job. He had 3 of his most loyal servants spreading the story that he had committed suicide, and had his ashes burned. What a convenient story, he thought. No one would be able to differentiate his ashes with his dog’s. He felt a pang of regret. He had loved Blondi. But that didn’t matter now. He heard his name being called. They had finally decked in Argentina.

  15. I thought that you might want to see the ending as I didn’t post the bit where they disappear.

    Friday 14th February 1955

    I feel so guilty that I have not been able to spend valentine’s day with my beloved wife.She will be at home working so hard when we could be spending the time together. I really don’t expect that that horrible woman would let her have even half the day off despite it being valentine’s day.

    Some of the other men are teasing me about not being with my wife for this special day.(None of them are married.) They keep asking me why I even came on this trip when I knew that it would mean not celebrating this day. Me and my wife had a very big chat and we made a joint decision that I would still go because we are low on money and I would get a lot of money from this trip.

    Saturday 15th February 1955

    As we are going to be landing near the Stanovoy Range, we had to take the long route round past Africa and India. It has been a very long and tiresome trip. I can not wait to get home to see my darling wife.

    Everybody is at last starting to miss home. Nobody even has the heart to make jokes anymore. Even the greediest of the men(who do usually eat the disgusting food) won’t even come to the dinner table.

    Everybody seems to just stay shut up in their cabins and even in there we don’t really talk much anymore. Oh my beloved Margaret, I miss you so much I…

    Thursday 12 March 1955

    I stood beside the harbour as I waited for his ship to come into the harbour. 5 minutes to go… 3 minutes to go…1 minute to go… It was 12:00. The time they were meant to be back. 12:30. Still not back. 13:00, nowhere to be seen.

    They were not here. Had they been delayed? But no, it was an hour after they were meant to be herer. They would not be delayed for an hour. It hit me like a bullet. Had they crashed and were floating in the middle of the ocean, slowly sinking?

    A woman nearby me pointed and shouted, “It’s the boat!”
    Those were the only words I wanted to hear. They were back. But something was wrong, there was no-one on board waving and smiling as the boat came nearer and nearer. They were not aboard.

    A young boy walked out on deck and came to meet us. “ I have grave news for you all” he said, “ Your husbands are not aboard this ship. The ship alone was found on the coast of India.It was in fine condition but the crew seemed to have mysteriously disappeared without any trace.”

    That was the end, I knew it. I was stuck living on my own and working with the horrible lady. But then I noticed something. A lady sat mourning on a bench, a lady in silk shawls glittering with beads. It was my mistress. She looked up and through her bleary eyes she saw me. Recognition passed over her face and she smiled at me. Just smiled…

  16. Here’s mine hope you like it!

    Monday 13 October 1890
    I cannot believe it! John has died! Just before he was due to give evidence! The police say it wasn’t but I believe that it was murder! John was behaving quite oddly last night and then well, he sort of just died it was horrible. The police will not believe me! I really must find out more! I am heading to the pharmacy this afternoon I will check the poison book if I can.
    Tuesday 14 October 1890
    I went to the pharmacy yesterday and, Oh you will just not believe what I found! Edward Hargraves yes that’s right Edward Hargraves bought some cyanide on Saturday! It must be him he must have murdered John! He had the perfect motive!
    Now I think of it Edward’s lunch had smelt a bit like almonds I thought nothing of it then but now I know! It was cyanide! Edward must have slipped it into the salt shaker when he visited on Saturday! I must find some evidence!
    Wednesday 15 October 1890
    I was silly not to think of it, the perfect evidence is obviously the contaminated salt shaker! I am going to head to the police station this morning and prove to them that John’s death was murder! I really hope the police don’t suspect me!
    Later, Wednesday 15 October 1890
    I went to the police this morning and they still don’t believe me! They think I slipped some cyanide into the salt shaker just before I came to the station to frame Edward! I cannot believe it! I must get more evidence but what? Maybe I can find a way to get Edward to confess! But How?
    Thursday 16 October 1890
    I am going to visit Edward today and try and make him confess. I think I’ll tell him about the cyanide in the salt shaker and see what he says about that. I’ll have to find a way to make him confess or he will get away with it forever.
    Friday 17 October 1890
    Edward confessed! As soon as I arrived he just confessed! He said no one will believe me though, he said that’s the only time he’ll confess! What Edward didn’t know was that I brought along a few friends! They hid at the window and listened in! I can use them as witnesses! Time to head to the station again.
    Saturday 18 October 1890
    Finally! The police finally believed me! Well they hardly couldn’t with 5 witnesses! They arrested Edward for murder he will go to court next week!

    If you’d like to know the background of this story you can watch this video:

    1. Hi Daisy,
      This is really great!
      I love how you have structured your story as a diary entry – it makes everything flow and left me wanting to know what happens next.

  17. Hi I’m Tilda, can I just say all of your stories were amazing. I did mine about WW2 and Anne Frank, and it’s one of her diary entries !!!!
    Dear Kitty,
    I feel like a bird ensnared in a cage, no way out, no fresh air, no breeze. I feel trapped, stuck, held captive against my will. I’m worried Kitty, I really am. Sobs choke me unexpectedly, tears that dare to come. Screams rip at my throat, burning to get out. Anger, fear, sadness, we spend every waking minute with each other. Every waking minute.
    Cold hands snatch at me, gripping at my sleeves. The screams, the sobs, the tears, all that has dared to come, pours out of me like a damn broken. People are screaming my name, and sub-consciously I recognise them as my family. Goodbyes that should be screaming from my lips are lodged tight inside of me. The rest of the world merges with my tears and I can’t do anything to stop it. Khaki uniformed men roughly shove me in the back of a truck along with s0 many other people. Someone’s stroking my hair, whispering something in my ear, but I can’t quite make it out.
    Hours must have passed, and I still sit silent, tears dried across my face, like battle scars. Hatred rips at my insides, twisting my stomach into an ever-tangling knot. I’m walking, I think, and out the corner of my eye I see millions of people awaiting their fates. Heads shaven, ribs showing, uniform that’s never seen the wash, all blurs past me. Someone pulls at my arm, and I’m taken away from everyone else. As I look up, an angry face stares down at me and I know who he is. Hitler, who has caused so much trouble, so much heartbreak and despair is staring at me and I know I’m going to die. Insults still on my lips, he reaches for something in his pocket, a gun, that’s preparing itself for my deathblow. He pulls the trigger …
    This is last night’s nightmare and the night before, and the night before that. I know it will make an appearance tonight as well. Kitty please make it stop. Every night I wake up sweating, hands in fists, panting. My mouth’s scarred from biting it. I want to listen to music, sing, go to the beach like we used too, but we can’t. It’s not fair Kitty, it’s not. I hate the star, my cruel label reminding me of my fate, Peter the Van Daans son ripped his off as soon as we got inside, but I can’t quite part with it. I suppose it’s come a part of me, even though I despise it. Peter brought his cat, Mouschi and the days where I sit with Peter in his bedroom stroking his cat are always my favourites. I not only love spending time with Mouschi, I love spending time with Peter as well,when has not in his stormy moods. Sometimes it’s hard to find good reason to get up in the morning , but right now it’s because I want to show them they can hurt us, label us, ruin us but we’re still going to be a jew. Whether they like it or not !!!


    1. Hi Tilda! I loved your story, it was so interesting to read about Anne Frank. I had been wondering if anyone would do Anne Frank, and you did a great job!

    2. Hi Tilda! I loved your story, it was so interesting to read about Anne Frank. I had been wondering if anyone would do Anne Frank, and you did a great job!

  18. Are you allowed to do multiple prompts in one story? Like pick a mysterious event in history and after the next prompt, add to your original idea. For example: Pick something like Cleopatra’s tomb and, just for an idea of a prompt, write a story with a magical character. Combine the two and you’ll have a story about someone looking for Cleopatra’s tomb, but instead, they get chased by a mummy back from the dead. Or something like that. I had the idea of doing that as more prompts came so that I can make expand on my ideas and write a longer story than I was planning.

    Your Biggest Fan,
    Emma K.

  19. Hi Robin,
    This is mine but it’s not good as I have only just written it:

    I awoke, suddenly. I lied there staring into space for a few moments. Then I realised how weird this was. I always sleep until morning, I hardly ever wake up unless… something had woke me up. ” Frances, I gasped. He was the favorite. I could never let something happen to him.
    I stumbled out of bed, drowsy with sleep and despair. Walking as quietly as my mother had taught me to I felt for his bed. I couldn’t risk a candle. When I finally reached it there was nothing but I could still feel the heat of his little body, warm under the blankets that his parents demanded he wear.
    ‘I suppose that really I was jealous of the little pampered boy that was so loved, cared for, fixated on. Growing up I had had to fend for myself. And then I went back to bed. It was idiotic to do so, looking back but perhaps it was a little sparkle of jealousy that stopped me from saving him, for looking back now I realise that I could have saved him. But as I was asked time and time again I can not tell you who the real murderer was for in my mind I am as much a murderer as she is.
    From Annie, age 11

  20. Hello Robin!
    I know it is a bit late but here is my story, the diary of Anne Boleyn:
    16 December 1532
    Sometimes, I wonder why I do this job. I am sure it makes me far more miserable than if I had let myself be married off at the age of thirteen like I suppose I should have – but what would the fun be in that? I would be stuck with a man I scarcely knew. What a dreary life that would be! I could never do that, I know I couldn’t, despite Father’s wishes. At least, being a lady in waiting, I am able to befriend some charming courtiers, and Her Majesty Catherine is now my very closest friend. She is so very nice – I don’t always understand what she says, but I still enjoy talking to her. Every day, I thank God for blessing me with such a happy life. I spend every delightful day with Catherine and Mary, and I love my job. I shouldn’t have written that I didn’t. I am just so happy being this way that I do not want anything to change. Except, I don’t think I will ever be this way again. It is all going to change now. Why me? No, Anne, no, stay calm. Write this in order.
    Catherine was in tears again – she is truly unhappy. I pity her greatly. Her life isn’t in her own hands. It wasn’t as if she wanted to remarry. Imagine, she had her whole life ahead of her when Arthur passed away, and it has all been ruined by one selfish, oversized, fat, nincompoop of a man! It makes me want to cry too. He is so terribly cruel.
    Anne, pull yourself together! That was me collecting the events of today together and deciding how to tell you this.
    Anyway, the reason Catherine was crying her heart out was because His Majesty had declared that he wanted a son and Catherine was not the one to give him one. Everyone knows that a son is at the top of his wish list, even though he already has a little daughter. I don’t believe Henry cares tuppence for Catherine – surely he knows the torture he has already put her through, forcing her through so many disastrous pregnancies just so that he could have a male heir. Despite having a young daughter, Catherine is getting old. She is turning 40 this year – her childbearing days are over.
    Henry must have realised this – although, I think it would have been better if he hadn’t. I overheard two young (and incredibly charming!) courtiers talking about Henry wanting a divorce from Catherine. I cannot believe he could be this cruel – I know I have called him a range of negative adjectives in my time (sloppy, disgusting, fat, rude, bossy, arrogant) but I didn’t think he would go this far as to disobey the Pope simply because he is not satisfied with a female heir.
    “What is going on?” I asked, going right up to the courtiers, ready to give them a piece of my mind!
    “Confidentially?” the taller, darker one whispered, raising one eyebrow at me aggravatingly. How do they do that? I nodded.
    “His Majesty has decided he wants to break away from the Catholic Church and grant himself a divorce from Her Majesty Catherine of Aragon,” he replied.
    “How could he? She will be heartbroken!” I cried.
    “That’s not all, miss,” he added. “He has decided to remarry.”
    “Who?” I asked, thinking of some of the posh female courtiers I knew. Jane? No, she’s too old. Mary? No, he doesn’t like her very much at all.
    “Catherine’s lady-in-waiting,” the other, slightly plumper, blonder one said. “You.”
    And at that moment, all I could do was stare at them, gobsmacked, and run to my room.

    I hope you like it!

  21. My story is what I though Amelia Earhart thought while she was about to crash.

    I toss and turn in the uncontrollable plane. Rain is pouring down from the heavens at an unforgiving rate. I’m scared. Any person would be even if they are the “Queen of the Air”. I knew danger like this was 100% possible when I took off but no circumstance or person could hold me back from following my dream. Not now. Not ever. By now, the plane is heading straight down into the Pacific Ocean. Fred, the navigator is a blur.
    I flip over and don’t see Fred anywhere. Then I see clouds. In my plane? Oh no! The window broke. As I am being sucked out of the plane, I frantically grab for the parachute. All I feel in it’s place is cold wall. Grabbing hold of my seat, I feel around under the seat for the emergency parachute. Gripping the strap, I let mother nature pull me out of the plane. I struggle to get the parachute on my back and at last I am able to pull the strap and let the big, billowing life-saver float above me.

      1. Thank you so much!!! It is amazing for my favorite author to comment on my work!! My grin right now is like, ear to ear!!! :):)

  22. I love Oxford,so thats what i’m doing

    Paul and I clicked our hobnailed boots on the cobbled streets of the path to St Pauls spire.”Aimee,you know I never wanted to go to St Pauls . You heard the stories too…” he trailed off. ”Oh, not the ghost again!” I groaned ”Look, we’ll go to the top, and I’ll get back down for food. Stay there.” I reprimanded. Clicking his way up, I grabbed as much as I could and hurriedly paid. I gabbled my thank-you,rushing up to Paul and screamed. There,before me lay the mangled body of Paul,a knife clutched in his hands. My finger stabbed 999 on my phone, and in 5 minutes the police came rushing.As they are such clotts and chumps,one of them used him as a writing board! I was thrust a report,and they muttered”Sorry for your loss”. I shot them a scathing look,and cursed them for insolence.I didn’t believe in ghosts before,but what can you believe?…

        1. thx,I’ll do a Victorian one actually

          I slid down the mansions shiny brass banister,and rolled my eyes at Mama.She was on a shopping spree again.Most days she was seen with bags clutched in her shrewd hands and a lingering smell of perfume. “Gwendoline Josephine Mayston! I told you not to do that,I told you!”screeched Mama.”Oh,London was a dream!You should have gone with me.Next time you will,whether you like it or not!”I never went shopping.I sighed. No use arguing with Mama. She won every bout.

          The next day we strolled the streets,me in my jumper and muff,Mama in her furs.She couldn’t stand the cold anymore than I did,and practically bathed in perfume.We cut through a dank alleyway,and Mama retched at a street child with rags for clothes.The child screamed “Blue murder!”as I slipped to the floor,blood dripping from my neck.I looked down at a man dissapearing in a swirl of clothes,but leaving an embossed card with the name J.Ripper.

          Mama hauled my body home,and dinner was a solemn affair.I floated high above the table, as they talked about a funeral. As the day pounced upon us,I gazed and saw only a black sea of people.

          London has changed since I died,and as the city changed I was left staring out of our manor window,gliding above rotted floor. Our manor looked odd against the skyline,with flats surrounding it. Every now and then visitors come,but they never noticed me.But one day,I wasn’t alone I had a friend at last!…

  23. Florence, yours is AMAZING! I wish I could write that well. My story is about the disappearance of Agatha Christie. She’s calling her diary ‘Hastings’ (go figure…)

    Wednesday 1st December 1926
    Dearest Hastings,
    I can’t believe that idiot Archie. Today, I caught him snogging with his brainless mistress, Nancy Neele. I went in and screamed at them, but, for heaven’s sake, what on Earth is wrong with them? I didn’t think before I gave them a piece of my mind and I’m glad I didn’t. Those chumps got what they deserved.

    Saturday 4th December 1926
    Dearest Hastings,
    I’ve had enough of stupid Archie Christie and his lover, Miss Neele. So, I’ve decided to run away. As usual, I kissed Rosalind goodnight, then, I packed some clothes and drove off in my car to Harrogate. So I don’t get caught, I’ve created an alter-ego called Teresa Neele. I do hope Rosalind is alright. I wonder how Archie will be reacting to his own wife disappearing?

    Monday 6th December 1926
    Dearest Hastings,
    I am rather shocked: my name is all over the newspapers! ‘Agatha Christie’s disappearance’ was plastered across the Harrogate Herald. Here is what it read:
    Following the disappearance of Agatha Christie, the police forces have worked up and down the country looking for the crime-writer. Mr Christie seems to be calm on the situation, however he may want to start to worry about his wife sooner rather than later.
    Mrs Christie left their dwelling on Friday night, reportedly meeting her friend. However, no-one has confronted her since then. Police have asked anyone to have seen her to report to them immediately.
    I couldn’t believe it when I read the part about Archie. Prize idiot.

    Thursday 9th December 1926
    Dearest Hastings,
    Teresa Neele has not been caught yet! I am rather enjoying myself; life without Archie is more fun. I am loving it. I hope Rosalind is well.

      1. Thank you so much Robin! It feels amazing to have my work approved by my favourite author! I literally screamed the house down when I saw you replied.

  24. Hi,
    I am Garance and I am thinking of writing a story about murder but here instead of having Hazel and Daisy it will be Hazel’s younger sisters involved and maybe a bit Hazel what do you think of it ?

  25. We all held hands around the Ouija board on the table. Clementine was calm and collected, her eyes fully closed. Poor Diane was shivering and I – well.. I didn’t know how to feel.
    “Remember, we have to be focused if we want to contact the Other Side.” Clementine said. She opened her eyes. “All fingers on the paperweight.”
    Naturally, she put her fingers on first. Diane’s shaking hands went on second and mine third.
    “We are here spirits! WE ARE HERE!” Clementine shouted. Diane’s hands shook even more.
    “We call out to whoever is in this room, identify yourself! Identify yourself!” Clementine shouted.
    Then the paperweight moved.
    “Write this down, Dorothy!” Clementine mouthed to me. I quickly got out my pad of paper and my pen as I watched with a shockwave of fear and excitement going through me.


    Diane composed herself again. “Who’s Howard?” she asked.
    “Wait.” Clementine said. “The surname will spell out next.”

    The paperweight moved again.


    I pieced it together. “Howard Carter?”
    “Oh yes! Oh! Oh how very, very my!” Clemetine realised and clapped her hands happily. “Howard Carter, the famous archaeologist who discovered King Tutankamun’s tomb!”
    “This is not true,” Diane said. “Who has the magnet under the table?” She was clearly using science to try not to be scared. I liked using science and having scientific arguments, but, sometimes you can’t argue with magic.
    Clementine looked under the table and I did too. No magnet. Not that any of us would’ve planted it there anyway.
    “What do we ask him?” I whispered.
    “I’m not sure,” Clementine mouthed. “But if we don’t do it quickly, the spirit will fade away!”
    “What shall we -” Diane started. Then the door was flung open with a loud bang.
    “WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING!?” Mother shouted. Her eyes glaring like a tiger’s at us. Our candles went out. We had lost the spirit.
    Diane started to shake again, this time, it would take her a longer time to compose herself again.
    “I…I…” I couldn’t speak. We couldn’t exactly say that we found Howard Carter’s spirit, could we? Especially after he had just discovered a tomb a few years ago.
    “But, we were…” Clementine started, but she didn’t finish her sentence “We…”
    “You know what, I might as well take away everything you have, Dorothy! YOU DAMN KNOW WHAT?! I’LL TAKE AWAY YOUR TYPEWRITER!” Mother picked it up and hauled it out of the room. It was my most precious thing. My father had given it to me, before Mother told him to leave – but he never came back.
    “NOOO!” I screamed, “NOT MY TYPEWRITER!”
    “Tough.” Mother said outside the door. “Deal with it. You’re suffering and paying the price for what you’ve done.” she stormed out my room, her high heels stomping the carpet as she went into her room.
    “I’m sorry, Dorothy! I…”
    “Don’t. Talk. To. Me.” I said to Clementine. I slipped into my nightgown as quickly as possible and went into my bed. Clementine and Diane were whispering behind me but I didn’t care. I rocked myself, shielding them from seeing me crying.I didn’t care about the stupid ghost, I just wanted this all to erase itself in a second, a blink even. Now, who knew what would happen to my typewriter? Would Mother throw it into the bin, would she break it up? I didn’t know. I fell asleep, my mind spinning with dizzying nightmares like a repeating film.

    1. PS: If there is something wrong, please say, because this will help me to make my writing better. Sorry, I know this story is a little bit late as well!

    2. By the way, I only came up with this idea last night. I haven’t read the next prompt yet and I am also new to the newsletter.

    3. This is an awesome story. One thing you did really well with was dialogue. I don’t think you did anything wrong, so great job!

      1. Maybe next time though publish it under week 6 because I feel like this is more of a ghost story. Don’t have too, just a suggestion! Great job!

  26. It is a wonderful story, Tilda! Also, am I the only one who found it sweet that Anne Frank called her diary “Kitty”?

  27. Diary of Alice Jane Steeler.

    Dear Diary,
    The plague is a foul infliction so although this plain papered book was bought a week ago, Papa said to not touch it in case the plague is on it. He has this odd idea that if you leave something with the Plague alone then the small amount on the object shall die. Ugh, I can smell the bodies on the cart. I pity the soul who is forced to drag that around. I’m not a natural writer so please forgive me if these pages are not filled with the utmost detail.

    Dear Diary,
    Shocking news has reached my ears. Miss Paynton has been snatched from her carriage and bundled into another by prior arrangement. She screamed most shockingly and attempted to kick but to no avail. The Lord Rochester has been arrested and now is in the Tower of London for his sins. Miss Paynton was discovered locked in a cellar, a few hours ago.

    Dear Diary,
    I have abandoned you most shockingly but with good reason. A large fire broke out and spread quickly. It soon reached our house and we attempted to escape via the bridge. But the fire caused it to collapse. I was sent into the freezing water and was almost lost. I was saved by chance. It may have been too late though. I feel dreadfully ill.

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