Weekly Writing Challenge: The Setting’s the Thing

Today, we challenge you to create a compelling setting for your story.

I wrote this as the first paragraph for a short story (Doppelgänger) that I started when I was on holiday in Switzerland. I never quite finished it – it has lurked around in draft form until now. However I thought I might add a bit more meat to the bones of the story.

The opening lines were:

Olivia woke in a cold sweat. “What a horrible dream” she thought to herself.

She removed her duvet, sat up and switched on the bedroom light.

As she looked around her bedroom, she could not quite persuade herself that she was the only being present.

She called out “Who are you? – I know you are there!”

Nothing could prepare for what happened next.

From under her bed a women crawled out

Olivia almost fainted with the shock.

The woman sitting on her bedroom floor and the woman was  a mirror image of herself.

Olivia gulped and then said”Hello”

The other woman looked back and smiled “Hello” she said in return.

Olivia whispered “What are you doing here?”

The looked surprised and then amused “You summoned me of course!”



The setting to all of this?


Olivia is in her thirties  and lives alone. She works as a nurse in a teaching hospital and spends her free time trying to develop her painting skills. Unbeknownst to her she has a doppelgänger that appears when her life is going a little out of kilter and she needs a helping hand. This encounter in the night is in fact the first time Olivia has actively acknowledged the doppelgängers  presence. However as the story unfolds, it would become clear that Olivia’s ‘shadow’ has always been by her side. The current cause of Olivia’s difficulties was yet to be established but I was thinking either relationship difficulties or work troubles. Likely – it would be relationship issues and the doppelgänger would be able to provide some perspective on the interactions she is having with other people. The story would take place in the 21st century in the UK with all the trappings of modern technology, however, my focus was more on the characters thoughts and feelings and interactions with the people around her. As the story moves on we would hear about the other people in her life – family, friends and work colleagues.


Anyway – I might write it – one day.


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