#27: Agatha Christie
It's no secret why one of the most-repeated writing tips is: to read. You can learn endless craft wisdoms by reading the works of literary greats — and also lesser-known authors, too. Reading, in general, is simply a valuable way to improve your skills as a writer.
This week, we're pulling inspiration from the author behind two of crime fiction's most beloved sleuths: Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Yes, each of the below prompts relate in some way to themes, symbols, or other common elements in the writings of Agatha Christie.
Want to learn more about the Grand Dame of crime fiction? Check out our Agatha Christie reading guide!
This week's prompts
Write a short story that takes place on a train.
High School – 128 stories
Write a short story in which a specialist is called upon to carry out a job.
High School – 36 stories
Write a short story that ends with a twist.
Mystery – 158 stories
Write a short story that takes place in a quaint, idyllic, English village.
Fiction – 31 stories
“Train Trip Trauma” by Suzanne Kiraly
As I stared through the train window the drizzling rain was painting delicate patterns on the glass as it trickled down. I smiled. What a joy it was to see such a heaven-sent gift in the midst of our severe Australian drought. One appreciates something once it is taken away and nowadays rain certainly feels precious.Sure, it wasn't a lot of precipitation, I grant you, but it was wet and fresh, and we really had been missing it. The whole country was on fire all summer long. First, w...
“The Scepter of the Priest” by Ahmed Wael
The gates were wide open, thick high gates of pure gold, decorated with many elegant hieroglyphic symbols and spells that prevent the king's enemies from trying to assassinate him. Hiding behind them a very large hall, at the end of which the great throne made of pure gold settles in the middle between two statues for two giants with the head of a jackal and a human body, a huge throne that accommodates a giant, which makes the queen appear slim in size.The guards advanced inside the hall pushing a short, slim man compared to the t...
“A Faithful Bet” by Iona Cottle
Another Sunday, and a beautiful one at that. It was one of those days that made believing in God so very easy. When the wind was warm and soft, and the sun was high and there was nothing urgent that needed doing that day. A pleasant hush lay over the village like a favourite blanket. It was only the start of summer, so the trees were still a vibrant green from the spring rains and the children hadn’t worn out their parents’ nerves yet. A Sunday that people dreamed off, the Sunday that everyone imagined when they were asked ‘What’s your p...
“Evelyn's Gone Mad and I Feel Fine” by Tori Routsong
“Pirates? Like in Peter Pan?” “Well, technically pirate. Singular. Just one. A girl.” “A girl pirate?” “She says her name is Anne.” Evelyn fidgeted uncomfortably, pulling at her skirt. “I didn’t know there were girl pirates.” “Well, there were. At least two, anyway. Anne tells me that she had a friend called Mary and they were pirates together on the sea.” I tore into the scone Evelyn had given me with unladylike vigor so I’d have time to process this. The only pirates I’d ever seen were the m...
“Track Therapy” by Christine Johnson
Audra needs a quiet train ride this morning so she is purposefully taking a later train than normal. The sunrise train cars full of business people bickering about work-induced anxieties will be pulling into the terminal station tunnels downtown when she boards the eight-nineteen.With the Loomis presentation on digitizing their warehouse only two days away, Audra will lead the rehearsal for the entire team this afternoon. As project manager, she will orchestrate a cohesive narrative – ensuring everyone understands how the...
“The Adventures of Malachi Norton: The Mystery of the Missing Memory” by Lee Kull
My dear friend Malachi Norton and I received letters and callers at our London apartments seeking our detective services on a nearly daily basis, but even so, my friend refused to interest himself in any of the cases, claming they lacked novelty. Average, run-of-the-mill crime had always bored him; he craved a challenge worthy of his outstanding mental capabilities. The nearly catatonic appearance of my friend, sitting motionless in his armchair, remained unchanged for the major portion of the day. He was seated thus in perfect silence, ...
“Upper Morecambe’s Science Fiction Festival All-Ages Costume Contest” by Marte Van Der Linden
According to a particular genre of movies - the kind involving copious explosions and bad guys with no shooting skills - a visiting UFO should fly past the pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge before landing in either downtown Manhattan or a cornfield with a scarecrow and a creaky windmill. The movies got it wrong. The first UFO to visit Earth actually landed on the outskirts of the village of Upper Morecambe, Gloucestershire, England, where it parked itself neatly behind Miss Peabody’s honeysuckle-covered cottage. The little white fence that ...
“A Fowl Liberation” by Brittany Gillen
The train was set to leave the station at midnight, full to the brim with merchandise and passengers travelling from Omaha, West to the California coast. The engineer, Tommy, let out a slow breath and watched it crystalize in the air. It was going to be a cold night and a long quiet ride. He pulled his parka closer around his face and felt the warm fur tickle his nose. Shivering, he pulled himself into the engine, and with one last wave to Fred the stationmaster, he released the brakes and headed out ...
“Branded ” by Libby Carter
“So what do we do with him?” Elise asks. It’s just our family now, what’s left of it anyway. The five of us are sitting at the kitchen table in what used to be our Aunt Ebony’s house. By the five of us, I mean my siblings. Bridgett is the oldest, then it’s Elise, me, Arrow, and Firefly. Her real name is Aria, but that nickname has been stuck since she was a week or so old. “We either,” Bridgett pauses and gulps, “kill him . . .or lock him up in a jail cell. We have to vote on it.” “I don’t t...
“Night Train to Pinea” by Joshua G. J. Insole
“Tickets and passes, please! Tickets and passes!” bellowed the conductor, startling John awake from his slumber. His eyes snapped open and he lifted his head from the table. Panic jolted into his veins like crackling electricity. His stomach lurched.“Ticket?” said John with a frown, wiping the sleep from his eyes. “What ticket?” In his half-dozing state, the phrase came out as, Wha’ tic’?“Tickets and passes, please! Tickets and passes!” repea...
“Unfavorable demons ” by Kari Hyp
“Kore, you have a mission.” The leader of my block says; he brandishes a pistol out from his belt-pocket and hands this to me.It’s not like I have a choice either way: why ask?“Yes, commander.” “Good. Now, remember your mission: find the peasant that had betrayed this company and bring him to me alive.”How I wish that I had listened to those words. Alive. As I shifted my feet back-a...
“A Day in the Life of Pest Control” by Kaysie Davis
A Day in the Life of Pest Control I sat there, going over the paperwork for my company. You wouldn’t think a pest control company would generate so much paperwork! The ringing of the phone from the other room jerked me out of my thoughts.
“It Came Out of the Sky” by Lee Kull
The noise jolted Zara awake. A massive boom, like distant thunder, but somehow different. She listened in silence, but hearing nothing more, she relaxed and closed her eyes, trying to regain the blissful peace of slumber.A kind of distant humming became faintly perceptible, but it took her a while to realize it was steadily growing louder. She got up. Slipping her feet into her slippers, she glanced at the plush hot pink pompoms adorning them, and scurried to the window. She squinted outside, not knowing what she expected to see bu...
“The Stranger from the Train” by Keri Dyck
“Excuse me, miss.” A young man swayed as the train began to move. He clutched his carpetbag tighter and reached for balance to the seat. The woman he was addressing did not move, entirely engrossed in the book she held in her hands. “Excuse me, miss, is this seat taken?”She looked up then, the brim of her hat lifting to show cherry lips and chocolate eyes. “Oh, no, not at all.” She smiled, then went back to her book.He placed his carpetbag on the floor and sat down, carefully positioning one hand on the knee where...
“A Lose/Lose Situation” by Tori Routsong
My husband slams the table, surprising the doctor and I both. “You’re lying to us!” To her credit, the oncologist doesn’t flinch as he leans towards her. “I know this must come as a big shock.” “We came here to help her depression and now you’re telling me she’s got a tumor in her head? Her head doesn’t even hurt!” I’m the her, and I suppose I should be advocating for myself, but I’m so shocked that I don’t particularly want to speak. There can’t be a tumor in my head. I came to the doctor because my therapist said I...
Ended on 23:59 - Feb 07, 2020 EST
Won by Natalie Frank 🏆
Submissions must be between 1,000 - 3,000 words and will be approved and published on Reedsy Prompts within 7 days of the contest closing.
Read the full terms & conditions or check out the FAQ if you have any questions!