Get my FREE book

Friday Fiction – Using Prompts To Develop Your Story And Characters

Welcome to Friday Fiction and thanks for stopping by. If you want to read some fiction, share some work, get help with something you are working on, meet new people, you have come to the right place. You will find a blue frog at the bottom of this post. Click on this to add your own link and then please take the time to look at the work other people have shared. That’s what this link is about after all.

I am working through the story that I created during November, trying to put it all together and decide how I want to tell the story. Part of this process involves shaping the characters as well. This week, I worked a piece around The Prompt from Sara at Mum Turned Mom. It can be a really useful exercise. The prompt was ‘I read the news today’ and it fits with a scene where my character comes home after spending two nights in custody, after being arrested in connection with his girlfriend’s disappearance.

‘I am so sorry.’ Dillon said, as his stepmother threw her arms around him. He was barely through the front door. Relieved to be home after his ordeal, he would have done anything to feel his own mother’s arms around him to make him feel safe and secure, like a child again. Knowing that was not possible and never would be made his heart ache. At age 18, Dillon was anything but a child. His tall, six feet, two frame meant that he towered over most people. When Moira gave him a hug, he had to lean down towards her. She smelt of her usual strong perfume, the one that always got up his nose and made him feel a bit light headed. It did little to comfort him, not like the smell of vanilla and fresh baked bread would have – the warm safe feeling that was his own mum.

‘It’s ok, my love, we’ll get through this.’ Moira did her best, she really did. And his dad cared for her, that much was obvious. He had been hopelessly lost on his own. He needed looking after.
‘But everyone saw me being taken away. It must be all over town by now.’ Dillon didn’t care what anyone thought about him, but he knew how proud Moira and his dad were.
‘Yes, son they did,’ Dillon’s dad said, as he stepped forward to give his son a pat on the back and his signature manly handshake. ‘Don’t you worry about them though; I’ll deal with that lot.’
Dillon knew that his dad was trying to ease his guilt and was grateful for that, but he could see the strain etched across his features.
‘Listen,’ Moira piped in, ‘I’ve made steak pie, your favourite and apple crumble and custard. Come and eat and let’s try and forget about all this nonsense, at least for a few hours anyway.’

Dillon forced a smile. That was his dad’s favourite food not his. Moira was no match for his mum’s cooking, or maybe he was just biased, he wasn’t sure, but he had to admit that the smell coming from the kitchen was pretty amazing and was definitely going some way towards taking his mind off everything that had happened.
‘With a full stomach, the world looks like a different place,’ his dad said. It’s what his mum had always said and although it made him feel sad to hear those words, they echoed a reminder of what it felt like to be home. Dillon could feel himself relaxing due to the familiarity of it all. Being in a cell for two nights had taken its toll on him. He had hardly slept and his neck and shoulders ached from trying to sleep on the hard, thin mattress.
‘You look exhausted darling,’ Moira said.
‘Stop fussing over him, Moira, he’s not sick.’
‘I know, Ed, I’m just worried about him after what he’s been through.’
‘I’m fine, just tired,’ Dillon said. He finished his food then got up from the table, walking over to sit on the sofa and grabbing the newspaper from the coffee table before he sat down. He didn’t notice his parents exchanged a cringing glance just before turning it over to look at the front page.


Dillon read the headline again, and then looked down to see the picture of the police officer shoving him into the back of the police car. He scanned the rest of the report.
‘Aimee’s boyfriend, Dillon Woods, was arrested and taken for questioning but was later released without charge.’
There, the words were in black and white for all to see – released without charge. Would that be enough to silence his critics, Dillon wondered. There were two camps forming in their small and insular town. One that believed Aimee had run away and was living on the streets in London or some other city. The other group believed that she was dead – murdered and that it was only a matter of time before someone found her body. His arrest wouldn’t have done much good to silence that particular group and Dillon doubted that his release would either.

Hope you enjoyed that. Your thoughts, as ever are much appreciated. Now it’s over to you. Add your own link by clicking on the blue frog.

Nikki Young Writes
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Nikki Young Writes"><img src="" alt="Nikki Young Writes" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


  1. maddy@writingbubble says

    I like the way you’ve used the prompt for more character exploration. It seems there is even more tragedy in Dillon’s past as the poor kid clearly misses his mum. Mind you Moira sounds lovely – I almost felt sorry for her the way he kept comparing the two in his head! It’s interesting to see him in this homely setting where he’s more vulnerable compared to last week’s piece where he was in the pub being all macho. I’m enjoying finding out more about your story! #The Prompt (ps I gave your linky a mention in my BritMums round up post) xx

  2. Sara (@mumturnedmom) says

    I really enjoyed reading this, in fact after reading Maddy’s comment I went back and read last weeks too, and it is very interesting to see two different sides to his character. I’m so glad you were able to use #ThePrompt to develop this, thanks so much for sharing x

  3. sophieblovett says

    Another intriguing piece… I like the way you draw us in with all the senses, and Dillon’s sense of unease comes across brilliantly. Sorry not to join in this week – I was all set with a piece of fiction for the prompt and got waylaid! Next time though 🙂 xx

  4. Emily Organ says

    I enjoyed learning more about his family background. I like the way the piece ends as this is topical – someone being publicly linked to a crime and therefore considered by some to be guilty by association. I’d like to find out more about how he deals with it.

  5. Louise says

    That’s a great piece – love the depth of characterisation that comes across it, Dillon’s sadness at losing his mum and the way you’ve used the various senses to really evoke that sadness – the comparison of his stepmother’s perfume to his mum’s scent, the comments, the cookery – so many things. And the questions over his girlfriend’s disappearance have definitely left me wanting to read more.

    • Nicola Young says

      Thanks, that’s great feedback. Glad you enjoyed it. I am exploring this character and why he behaves the way he does, so it is good to see that a sense of who he is has come across in this piece.

  6. John Adams says

    A realistic portrayal of a homecoming I think. The bit that sticks in my mind is the manly handshake. Very true of many men! ALso makes me wonder where the mother is. Was there some scadal from the past? Why are all these women missing? Are they connected?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.