I expected the knock at the door would come eventually, but I didn’t expect it to happen at midnight. (Karen Alexander, Australia)
You get a call in the middle of the night: it’s a lawyer. You’ve inherited an estate, but there’s a catch. (Erin Kerns, Australia)
Jim seldom found time for reflection but now, alone at sea; he’s inundated with re-emerging memories from his past. (Kieron O’Connell, Australia)
She lived alone, so she was alarmed to see flowers and a sweating glass of champagne on the table when she arrived. (Scott Ryan, Costa Rica)
A band goes on a tour in 1982. In every new town oddities occur that seem to be connected to the band somehow. (Laura MÃlkiÃ, Finland)
Five people meet over dinner. All their deaths are scheduled for two weeks’ time. Some want to die, some do not. (Claire MacDonald, France)
An innocent tweet about your breakfast spirals out of control, when a strange police squad arrests you for treason. (Johanna Feuerlein, Germany)
The door to the yoga studio was wide open when it should have been closed. She had locked it herself last night. (Rkka Nieminen, Germany)
Imagine your protagonist finds a loved one acting completely out of character, for no explicable reason. Why is it? (Tamara TakÃcs-Kenessey, Hungary)
As the elevator door is about to close, you lock eyes with someone on the other side – someone from the past. (Amanda Lim, Malaysia)
Lily lives a normal life until she adopts a cat, unaware that it ran away from previous owner – the devil himself. (Lenka SabovÃ, Slovakia)
We all have deep, dark secrets. Something we saw, did, or heard. Write about that thing you’ve never told anyone. (Isabella Morris, South Africa)
The proprietor of the trattoria was puzzled by the man visiting his restaurant. He arrived every Tuesday at 12.30. (Douglas Adamson, United Kingdom)
You stand accused of killing the Queen. The only person who can vouch for you is her ghost. No one can see her. (Syeda Nahida Ahmed, United Kingdom)
You’re preparing for bed, you glance outside & there’s a car you don’t recognise. Then your doorbell rings…. (Linda Ball, United Kingdom)
A character needs help, but there’s a catch: they need to keep their goal a total secret from the helper. (Lily Bentley, United Kingdom)
If only, she thought, they had spelled my name right in my obituary, then this might have been a brighter day. (Lucy Brett, United Kingdom)
She wakes, uneasy. There’s a soft, regular sound coming from downstairs. The baby is gone, her home altered… (Mary Brooks-Davies, United Kingdom)
Whilst walking your dog in the snow, you notice the tracks it leaves behind are human footprints. (Vanessa Brown, United Kingdom)
You come to work one day to find all emails & social media accounts logged in to another person. Who are they? (Jonathan Brown, United Kingdom)
Post Snowden leaks, you are a victim of illegal surveillance by the police. Just how intrusive is the tech used? (C C, United Kingdom)
A local take-away doesn’t have a menu or serve food, but weird customers come and go. You get a job to investigate. (Alex Carolan, United Kingdom)
She didn’t know what made her follow them, they looked just like any other couple… (Lorna Cassidy, United Kingdom)
A mirror in a widow’s new house allows her to see into the life of a married woman, murdered there fifty years ago. (Jessica Corne, United Kingdom)
If the people of the town had not been so eager to avoid eye contact they might’ve had an idea of what was coming. (Geoffrey Cummins, United Kingdom)
I suppose also, that the skull I’d placed in the kitchen window to deter unwanted visitors, may not have helped. (Belinda De Bray, United Kingdom)
Pressing play on the answerphone for the second time, he shivered. He hadn’t been known by that name for years. (Jeanne Dore, United Kingdom)
In a train station, you see someone interesting and steal their bag and ticket. Where will your new items take you? (Helen Drumm, United Kingdom)
Nobody at the funeral knew what had killed him but everyone thought they did. (Lindsey Fairfoull, United Kingdom)
Write about a murder in a bouncy castle. (Euan Franklin, United Kingdom)
You suspect your partner is an online troll. How do you find out for sure, and what do you do? (Jenn Goodheart-Smithe, United Kingdom)
If she’d known then what she knew now, she wouldn’t have killed him. (Penguin Random House Editor)
The week before your home is due to be repossessed, your new boss calls you with an intriguing offer. (Victoria Hart, United Kingdom)
You are alone. Where are you? You are curious, fearless. What will you do? You can explore. What will you find? (Jo Hudson, United Kingdom)
What kind of person brings a toddler to a funeral? And who the hell leaves one there? (Kirsten Johnson, United Kingdom)
A man she faintly recognised was glaring at her as though he wished her dead. Who was he and why was he so angry? (Fee Johnstone, United Kingdom)
Only one box was left in the attic. I had no idea what it was – or even if I had packed it up and put it there. (Elizabeth Keane, United Kingdom)
It had been stupid of me to even suggest it, but she committed a sin when she agreed. Everything had changed. (Laragh Keane, United Kingdom)
You wake up after a successful date, in a room decorated almost identically to your own. (Sheila Kempster, United Kingdom)
People either fall for me or try to kill me. Little did I know that today, it would be both. (Thomas Kitchen, United Kingdom)
A beautiful letter to ‘the current occupant’ arrives. Inside is a red, silk handkerchief and an address on a card. (Inigo Laguda, United Kingdom)
It all began the day I found myself on my knees cleaning out a dead man’s fridge. (Fiona Leitch, United Kingdom)
You are mistaken for a member of a cult, when you accidentally imitate their secret greeting. (Clare Lowndes, United Kingdom)
Everybody thinks Mrs Adams is the kindest infant teacher ever. So how could anyone do something like this to her? (Clare Lynch, United Kingdom)
Is that him sipping a beer? It looks like him. He blew a woman’s brains out. I know because I was with him. (Gerard Madden, United Kingdom)
Mel functioned on autopilot. Her emotional detachment from Ron and the children kept her sane, until she snapped. (Valerie Matti, United Kingdom)
A detective finally hunts down a notorious killer, only to realise upon her arrest that agrees with her motive. (Rachel McAllister, United Kingdom)
The knife had missed her by an inch. This had to be the last time. Gently she took it from him, holding her breath. (Aisling McNally, United Kingdom)
In a bookshop, she sees a book with her name on the spine. Her picture is on the book jacket. She did not write it. (Kristina Meredith, United Kingdom)
Alone, a woman waits. Today, after twenty five years, she will finally meet her daughter. (Krithika Murali, United Kingdom)
Every year on the same day a new letter comes: ‘He’s alive, and he’s waiting for you.’ (Emma Nelson, United Kingdom)
He was following me. Who is he? Why is he doing this? Why do I feel like I am in more danger now he’s gone? (Kayleigh O’Donovan, United Kingdom)
She saw him across the room, another woman on his arm. The first man she ever loved. The first man she’d ever kill. (Kirsty Phipps, United Kingdom)
Lana’s mother had been dead for eleven years when she saw her on a packed train. (Jennifer Riddalls, United Kingdom)
It’s never good news when the phone rings in the middle of the night. (Penguin Random House Editor)
The pizza chef was dead, he lay smothered in mozzarella and tomatoes. Was it murder? Or had he topped himself? (Giancarlo Rinaldi, United Kingdom)
She stood there waiting for the door to open, her heart thumping and eyes burning. She knew it was the only way. (Michelle Sanchez, United Kingdom)
While checking the post you find that a letter has been sent to you from your deceased partner, what does it say? (Jordan Simmons, United Kingdom)
You awaken encircled by eleven skeletons, your hand stamped with the number 12. What does this mean? Are you next? (Kirsty Skidmore, United Kingdom)
A detective is assigned to investigate the very murder he committed. (Alex Sprackling, United Kingdom)
The wind blew hard, and as the waves crept further up the beach the evidence was slowly disappearing from the sand. (Nikki Thomas, United Kingdom)
You stumble across your headstone at your local cemetery. Someone has written your epitaph. What does it say? (Olivia Todd, United Kingdom)
Then, very faintly, from the house next door, came the sound of breaking glass. (Linda Tyler, United Kingdom)
You sail back to land after a storm. No one remember who you are – not your wife, friends nor children. (Liam Wakefield, United Kingdom)
A murder at a secluded crime writing retreat leads to some unusual methods of detecting the killer. (Imogen Walker, United Kingdom)
She had her party all planned out; a night of luxury, games, and twisted schemes. (Kyle Walters, United Kingdom)
The car sped away. They’d left me for dead by the roadside, which was stupid of them when I was alive and furious. (Carmen Walton, United Kingdom)
He tried hiding his ex’s shoes from his new wife. He didn’t know how the shoes came back from the grave to his bed. (Rebecca Warner, United Kingdom)
Recount the story of a family name, as told by the ghosts who wore it. (Kayleigh Wenham, United Kingdom)
You awake with a jellyfish tattoo on your palm. Turning on the news, everyone has one. You set out to find out why. (Jacqueline Williams, United Kingdom)
You’ve been trying for a baby for two years. Your husband disappears, returning with a newborn after two weeks. (Jessica Williams, United Kingdom)
The moonlight was bright and woke her. Looking out her window, she saw the taxidermist working. (Ena Fowles, United States)
The protagonist investigates a murder, only to find out he was the one who committed it. (Ceci M. A., United States)
You’re a valet driver parking a car. Inside you find a crumpled note with your own address on it. What do you do? (Sarah Penner, United States)