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roman1sI’m encouraging you to look back for this week’s creative writing prompt.

My suggestion is for you to take a look at a different era and try writing a short story set in times past.

You can go back as far as you like for some inspiration – Roman times, the Roaring Twenties, Swinging Sixties, pre-Industrial Revolution, Second World War etc, your choice.

And your setting can be wherever in the world you like, but don’t forget to include some period detail to set the scene. This can be as simple as having a song playing on the juke box from the 1950s, someone being offered smelling salts or waving a lace hankie, or a reference to a coach and horses. You get the idea?

As always, when you are crafting a short story, think about who, what, where, when and how? Don’t forget to include some dialogue to help with the ‘show don’t tell’ dictum, and think carefully about POV (point of view). Who’s story is it? Which of your characters can best voice the action? And be careful to use historically accurate names. No-one was ever called Wendy before JM Barrie coined the name for a certain character who met Peter Pan in 1904.

If you want to get competitive here, there’s the Dorothy Dunnett Society/HWA Short Story Award currently open in the UK (until July 1st, so you’ve plenty of time to  get writing). Check out the website here, where you’ll find links to some of their past winning entries (it is an annual competition), with some excellent examples of historical short stories. Entries can be up to 3,500 words long, written in English (from anywhere in the world), but the action must be set in a period 35 years or more in the past.

So, forget that old adage, don’t look back you’re not going that way – today, you are!

This is #96 in my series of creative writing prompts and exercises.  If you’re new here, you might like to check out what that’s all about here. The short version is there’s a new creative writing prompt/exercise here every Wednesday at 5pm, Dublin time, until I get to  #101.