Writing Prompt: “Portal”

I created this writing prompt, “Portal”, for the late middle of a book. Flashbacks are portals to the past. They can be an effective way to show contrasts between the way things were and the way things are. But the time change inherent in all flashbacks can jolt the reader’s sense of continuity. For that reason, it can be useful to use a “portal” — a feature in the story’s present that sparks a memory and pulls the reader into a flashback.


Write a passage that serves as a transition into a flashback. Show a physical detail or event that draws the narrator into the past. Show the changes in emotion without using dialogue or “telling” how the character feels.


Want more help? Here are some extra details you can throw in…
  • Incorporate contrasting details (time, landscape, cultures)
  • Include the color yellow in some way
  • plant reference to an event that evokes controversy within the family
    (these news items usually involve violations of social norms0
  • Involve a minor character from a majority culture but a minority subculture
    (may have a disability or deformity, be of unusual age or appearance, etc.)
Still stuck? Here are ideas for action…
  • One of your characters is washing something
  • Your protagonist ends up surrendering some control to inner antagonist
    (may manifest as doubt, guilt, shame, fear)

Want to share your own unique writing prompt? Contact us and we’ll post it with your name and a link to your blog (if applicable)!

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