Category Archives: Story Ideas

Let’s Write a Story

Whether by pen, by pencil, by keystroke...

Whether by pen, by pencil, by keystroke…


I’m sure this idea is not new. Many websites no doubt exist where commentors may contribute to the writing of a story. Why not one more?

Here’s how it works. Anybody who wishes to take part, please comment to this post and I will add your contribution to the story. Only requirement is that profanity and adult content are prohibited, no restating of an earlier entry, and no dramatic deviation from the story’s direction. Please enter a pseudonym for credit.

What is the story’s direction? Here are some beginning guidelines.

The setting is an alternate existence on top of Pikes Peak in Colorado.

The time is the present.

The season is early summer.

Mark and Julie, young newly weds, are our story’s protagonists.

It’s my right to edit and post what I choose.

Beyond these, it’s write what may.

With the groundwork laid, it’s my privilege to write the opening. After all, the biggest stumbling block to writing is starting, so here is my contribution to launch us into the future.


In particular, nothing appeared different. From the summit of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs spread to the east and the vast Rocky Mountain Range spread in all other directions. The sun hung high and the wind held still. The scent off the treeline below smelled pleasant.

Mark awakened first and looked over at Julie. She lay in her sleeping bag in the same place she went to sleep last evening. Mark rose and stretched, yawned and scratched. Just another morning in paradise.

“What do think of where you are now?” a sweet voice said out of nowhere.


That’s it. Let’s have some fun and just do it!

Sunday, June 9, 2013 –  Christi Mone Marie — author of M. de V.A.LL.E. She can be contacted at

He looked at Julie, thinking her voice had suddenly taken on a super sweet tone. They hadn’t been talking much of late. She must still be peeved at the outcome of our last argument. No, it wasn’t her. She was still sound asleep, despite his rustling around and scratching.

Looking to his right, he tried to see if someone had intruded on their campsite. But no one was there. He looked to his left. Hmm … no one there either. Turning around, he looked at the forest behind their campsite. The thick grove of pine trees was effective at blocking out the sunlight from reaching the woodland floor. It seemed rather ominous. Ominous, yet it beckoned him. Perhaps that’s where the voice had come from?

Shrugging, he ambled towards the tree line. A curious chipmunk ran out to greet him and proudly preceded their entrance into the forest. A perturbed squirrel squawked high on a needled limb, its tail darting back and forth in quick, staccato movements. A robin sang joyously to its mate. Mark’s feet crunched loudly on the mat of fallen debris. The previous season’s leaves were brown and brittle, long since fallen. Pine cones more abundant than the emerging ponderosa pine saplings.

Laughter made him stop in his tracks. A trill so buoyant, it effortlessly floated on the cold, dense air. It seemed almost effervescent. And otherworldly. Mark tried to step lighter, to soften his footsteps on the detritus and succeeded marginally. He pushed forward as quickly as could be mustered, without making his footfall sound like a crashing bear through the underbrush. It was difficult  because Mark was a big, solid man.

The laughter ceased. He stopped walking too. Looking around, he noticed he could no longer see the campsite. But he wasn’t worried, he knew he had walked a straight line. He only had to follow that same reasoning out. Now what? Should he turn around and walk back to the site? Maybe Julie would have a fire going and bacon would be sizzling on the cast iron skillet along with some eggs, sunny-side up. No, not likely. Best you’ll get with her mood is, “do it yourself” Ahh, a woman scorned and fit to be tied.

He’d rather seek further than head back to camp to face the uneasy silence. But what was the use in pressing on when there was obviously nothing there? Shaking his head, he turned around and started heading back. Maybe I need to stop taking Ambien. Must be contributing to my sleepwalking. Or maybe I’m just dreaming I’m sleepwalking.

Emerging through the forest, to the campsite, he saw his wife still sleeping. Typical. She seemed rather depressed as of late. He could well understand why. But he liked to be the eternal optimist and say ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ She tended to get into moods and sulk. And become madder than a momma bear protecting her cubs. Maybe she needed a cub? Maybe that would mellow her out?

“Not likely,” he mumbled. “Well, better start on breakfast since no one else will do it.”

And that’s when he saw it, lying on his sleeping bag. A necklace. Exquisitely crafted. Turquoise beads strung between lapis ones. And hanging in the middle of the pendant was a golden sphere with a marking he couldn’t identify. Picking it up, he ran his thumb over the sphere. The necklace was heavier than he would have expected. It seemed like something Native American but he knew better. His father had been a Native American historian and had thoroughly educated him on the many Rocky Mountain tribes and their customs. No, this was definitely not that. But then what was it?

He heard a rustle from his wife’s sleeping bag and quickly stashed the necklace in his pocket. No use sharing it with her. It would be his little secret. Something he could ruminate on and investigate on his own. “Morning. Sleep well?”

What If?



“What if?” is a powerful question. It’s the question I always ask myself when I need to create a storyline. No doubt, many people use it, so it’s nothing special. Further, I’m sure there are as many methods to come up with a storyline as there are stories –– innumerable. But “What If?” is the method that works for me.

“What If” is actually a simple question. Once asked, it doesn’t conjure vast alien universes locked in millennia of warfare with existence hanging in the balance — nor does it require painstaking thought or overwhelming mental gymnastics. It only requires that the question be completed.

What if … the Earth quit spinning? Storyline for an outline I’ve begun for a sci-fi book titled Clair Obscuro.

What if … bird flu jumps species? Storyline for my sci-fi book, Summit Seekers.

What if … an early Indian tribe disobeys their Great Spirit? Storyline for my Western adventure, Legend of Yankee Boy Basin.

What if … the South Platte River is dammed in 1872 Colorado Territory? Storyline for my Western adventure, Heller’s Canal.

Now, I’m not purposely plugging my stuff, but moreover showing how well “What If?” works.

In none of these stories did I labor over the storyline before I began to write. I simply completed the question “What If”, gave it a little time to organize in the back of my mind and I began. It’s a really simple technique and it works.

In other words, there is no such thing as running out of ideas for a story. When all seems lost, just ask the one simple question that will set you free. “What if?”

What if I never generate another idea for this blog?

Cut the applause, please.

“What if?” never fails.