INSPIRATIONS Starters for Ten Week 5

In this week's penultimate edition of Starters for Ten writing prompts from K. M. Lockwood, you're invited to explore different dimensions . . .

Few things ground a reader more in the world of a book than sizes and shapes. We all love the smallest, the fastest, the biggest, the heaviest – whether we’re thinking of planets or dinosaurs. Children especially respond to extremes. Height, unsurprisingly, means a good deal to them.

Photo by Kyle Johnston on Unsplash

When you’re world-building (and all genres need this, not just SF/F) different dimensions have their uses. They add to the atmosphere by suggesting tension, fear, quirkiness, charm or downright silliness. Exaggerating for the sake of effect has a long history.

Photo by Bundo Kim on Unsplash

Comparisons are handy too. If your character moves to an unfamiliar world, they may well have to equate different things: spiders as big as a sumo wrestler’s hand. The same goes for alternative worlds: past, future, fantastical or dystopian. In a single flight, the flying fish glided further than she could skim a stone on a calm day works better than the flying fish glided about fifty metres.

★ How to play 


  • Pen & paper, or any other method of recording
  • Timer
  • Imagination – you do not need your editing red pen
  • Prepare the set-up (if there is one)
  • Write without stopping, hesitating, editing or bothering about SPaG
  • Miss lines out and come back to them if you want
  • Be daft, be bold, be dull – but be writing!
  • Ignore these rules if it helps


★ Set-up for the first six prompts

Write the day's prompt words across the top of your page (portrait or landscape, your choice)
Put A, B, C etc downwards if you wish – or numbers – or leave blank

★ To complete – list physical items and/or create similes for TEN MINUTES each time


A: Ant -  as tiny as each bite of a Mars Bar shared by a thousand ants

B: a single baked bean, bluebottle, a bee’s knee, bubble in a spirit level,


Day 1: Tiny Small Little

Day 2: Tall High Towering

Day 3: Wide Vast Immense

Day 4: Narrow Thin Shallow

Day 5: Heavy Weighty Massive

Day 6: Light Delicate Dainty

If you have time left, add other near-synonyms and use them as starters.

★ Set-up for Day 7 (the missing words round!)

Make a note of these three grammatical forms at the top of the page.

As _ as _ but as_ as_ .

As _ as _ and as _ as_ .

_ like _ , yet _ like _ .

★ To take part: put in words or phrases in the spaces. Bonus points – make proper sentences. Mess them about however you like!


As tall as a giraffe’s ears but as thin as an anteater’s tongue.

As heavy as the Flying Scotsman and as wide as Loch Ness.

The house twisted narrow and dark like an alley, yet rose tall like a clock tower.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

★ We'd love to read YOUR work

If you've used any aspect of Starters for Ten on your blog/website/somewhere on t'Internet, then please post a link on the Words & Pictures FB page or tell us on Twitter. We'll tell everyone about your genius (well, as many as we can.).

Featured image: Pen, Watch, Paper by Eduardo Olszewski via Unsplash 

K. M. Lockwood writes, reads and edits in The Garret.  
Once downstairs, she runs a tiny writer-friendly B&B/retreat or wanders off looking for sea-glass on the Sussex coast.
Twitter: @lockwoodwriter

No comments:

We love comments and really appreciate the time it takes to leave one.
Interesting and pithy reactions to a post are brilliant but we also LOVE it when people just say they've read and enjoyed.
We've made it easy to comment by losing the 'are you human?' test, which means we get a lot of spam. Fortunately, Blogger recognises these, so most, if not all, anonymous comments are deleted without reading.

Words & Pictures is the Online Magazine of SCBWI British Isles. Powered by Blogger.